Once begun, better to finish

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SeeEye
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Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:02 pm

Hi,

I'd like to have some guidance so I can have direct knowing and experience of no-self.

My expectations are to do the work as asked, and my hope is that I will be able to save some energy in effort in daily life not worrying about "I", trying to get somewhere and attain something that allows me to be a "better I". Hoping to stop sending energy to all that, being tense with that.

My psychological house is in order, and m life is in order. I feel that I am close to seeing. I've liked koans and J Krishnamurti questions...such as "Is there a self outside of your memories?" He says to look all the way through until you see it. Think I just need some pointing to help me to look into it all the way.

I still somehow feel that there is a center from where motivation/intent comes from, but I also experience this as a fraction of a second later, as if thought pops out of a black hole, then I see it and label it as "I am thinking"...which seems to prove, or i have always taken as a "good enough proof" that there is an I, without really looking into it. There is fear that there is no self, seems to increase tension in my neck. I know that nothing will cease except the illusion, but perhaps fear I will lose something.

Let me know what's next. Looking forward to this.

CI

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SeeEye
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:43 pm

Hoping some people can jump in soon, but until then I will post my work.

Have done a lot of reading of exchanges here, and from the Gateless Gatecrasher book. Yesterday I was really burning to start, so I thought to use whatever resonated and then use that to LOOK. Some things stood out that I used to guide looking:

10am Sunday:

"Direct experience can happen without ownership"

"If you are waiting for something to happen (enlightenment), relax, nothing is going to happen"

I started to imagine that what if the delivery man came with a box of enlightenment for me, who would he give it to? The body could hold the box, but "who" would I give the enlightenment to? And even if someone could be found, it would not cause anything to happen. This line of inquiry caused a feeling of sadness for a moment, that there was nobody to be enlightened and nothing would happy anyway, like the loss I was afraid was going to be me was the loss of hope for something to change and for something to be gained by my self.

I was feeling funny, so I went out or a walk. Outside things seemed different. The trees and plants and flowers and houses seemed to be more vibrant and almost 3d. Walking was a little jerky and almost awkward. What I noticed was how quiet mind was. Thoughts came and went, without requiring so much attention. A sense of relaxation continued to build and remained for the rest of the day. My thought about the process was "Something is happening, maybe today is the day".

After a trip to the mall with my wife for lunch and shopping (the above continued and has remained since) I did some more reading, and had some ambient music on. I laid on the couch to focus on hearing, could hearing happen without ownership. Doing this inquiry, it seemed that the music "impacted" my body in a different way, as if the body was surprised or moved with parts of the music that stood out. I've heard this music many times before, so this was quite interesting.

Where I still felt connected more to a "self" was through my thinking and internal dialogue. I have collected lot's of "smart" over the years and this is one thing I may still be clinging to. With seeing and hearing there is a much bigger gap between the experience and the inner dialogue about it, and there doesn't seem to be a need to label it anyway. If thinking happens around these, there isn't ownership about it...just the mind labeling and talking. With moods also these seem more owned by a self, so i have been asking "who" owns them?

Monday 8 am:

I weighed myself this morning, and I was off from my target weight (I have a lose 1 pound per week goal). I was disappointed, and at the same time asking myself "Who" is disappointed. "Who" has a goal? Can this experience and this ideal happen without ownership? Is the result of weighing personal? "Who" is there to take it personally?

A little feeling pops up, a slight tension in my chest/throat area upon this asking, as it to say "ME". It seems that the gap between internal dialogue and dialogue/sensations that are ownership has grown somewhat, hopefully enough to work with. But "who is hoping?"

Mind can ask questions "Is (elightenment) it happening?" But this is on top of life and experience so "not it". Typing that just produced much quiet.

Will continue to work to look at thinking and see who is there to claim ownership and label the self so smart.

Please jump in here and give me your insights and questions

Looking at dialogue happens without the dialogue.

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Ilona
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby Ilona » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:06 pm

hey, thanks for message and nice intro.

let's see what you brought. what is the i? what is me? and what is self? write as you see it with full honesty.

:)
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:26 pm

Thank you Ilona for responding and lending a hand.

For me, "I" and "Self" are mental constructs that consist of thoughts and are "proven" to exist by feelings. I can look, or better to say awareness looks at a tension, and knows that it is not "I", and immediately following this internal dialogue says "Yeah but it is in here somewhere".

If the question arises "Does "I" exist in the inner dialogue?" Immediately a thought arises "Who is asking?" So it seems that the "I' or "self" exists in the stream of thoughts, although not every thought contains that bit.

"I" seems to pop up around ownership. I own all of my journey to where I am, "my" intellect, "my" accomplishments. This "I" was always hoping and waiting to say that "I" attained. "I" have magick powers, "I" am special. This watch on my wrist is "mine" ...aren't "I" cool. Can possession happen without ownership, just as seeing happens without ownership?

Let me talk a little about yesterday, and then I will work only on your questions from this point forward.

I was angry and frustrated yesterday that what seemed to be progress the day before was gone and that no one had responded to my post here. "I" an in a big hurry. The level of frustration and feeling slighted was embarrassingly high and overblown. So I thought it would be good material to look at. Questions were "Who is the self that is so angry?" "Who is the one who owns self-righteous indignation?" Half the time the response was FUCK IT, the other half was "There is no self to be angry at all", but this felt more like a belief or collected bit of knowledge, not a realization. Since I now it is up to me to be responsible for my own seeing, I worked with this material taken from one of your conversations:

'Take a look from this angle- label me points to other thoughts ABOUT me, but not anything real.
There is no me at all in reality, it is just a thought.

If you look at thoughts close up, is it me that thinks them or me is another thought?
Where do thoughts come from?
Can a thought think?

And it is nothing to do with a state, but pattern recognition. Once it is fully recognised, this recognition won't go away and there is no effort needed to remember that."

I decided that enough work had been done with looking, probably too much...too much reading, so I had a few cocktails and dinner and watched a movie.

Woke up in the middle of the night, and starting thinking about "I". Not sure of the order of things, but was recalling a Zen story about a monk whose teacher told him to meditate on being an ox so thoroughly that it became real. Much later the teacher comes to the monks room and asks him to come out. He then replies that he cannot because his horns won't fit through the door. And upon hearing this from himself he realizes.

The thought went through my head that this must be exactly the way we form a "self" over time. Constantly re-enforcing it and never realy looking at the process. There was a flash of insight, as if it was always evident, that "I' and "Self" our signs or representations that point to "this one here", like the sign "Chicago" tells you where you are, but has nothing to do with the city. It was a very relaxing and relieving feeling.

I woke up with the feeling, and it was very quiet internally. As the day has progressed, the dialog picks up and seems more real...like the process of thought that insists on there being a "self" gains momentum. Not back to the old way, but not as much of a "knowing" as in the middle of the night. This morning I had the thought that if today was the day I attained, that there really is no "i" and nothing to "attain", almost like a step backwards into what has always been.....this seems like half belief and half understanding at this point.

Hoping the above rant gives you some doors to work with. Thanks again for your assistance.

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby Ilona » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:55 pm

Interesting. Yeah, self is like Chicago, but it is not to be mixed up with the feeling of being, aliveness, existing. That feeling is not going anywhere, only belief that this feeling is a manager/ controller/ owner of life! Does life need a general manager to tell it what to do, does it listen to what you want?

If no, then take a look- there is no controller, just thoughts about it, which also are part of that one life.

Ok, now focus on that sense, aliveness, and see if there is inside and outside anywhere, a line between here and there?
Try with both, eyes open and closed.

Write what comes up.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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SeeEye
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:22 am

Cool. Here is what came up.

I read your post, and didn't have the feeling you described, but had a feeling of tension in my neck, something like holding back crying. It brought up a lot of childhood thoughts, therapy stuff, but that's only memories. Looked at that, these sensations are localized to my body. Laid down, to look more, became super sleepy, dozed off or 30 minutes.

Looked at your post again, got frustrated and my thought was "What is she talking about a feeling and sense of aliveness...I didn't say anything about that, and if I did, that feeling is not here now! How is there an inside or outside anywhere with a feeling that I don't have?"

After that was around for a few minutes, I started laughing. Now it seems a little funny, but there certainly is a powerful link between feelings and a sense of "I". They are MY feelings, they make me an individual. Will work more at bedtime.

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby Ilona » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:37 pm

Looks like you are over thinking that. The sense of aliveness is always here. It is what you think is 'me'. It's the alertness, perceiving, amness, being. Close your eyes and focus on it. It's simple.

Then let this thought in:
There is no self at all in reality, none as in zero. No 'me' that is a general manager, owner, director of life. No witness, no observer, just stream of perceiving through senses, feeling and thinking, that all happen by itself.

Sit with it for a whole and write what comes up.

Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:32 pm

I giggled the rest of the evening. The emotion that flared up was so strong and yet so unnecessary that it "exposed itself" as not having ownership...it was easy to see without being "owned by a self"....even though the feeling was all about a "self' not being acknowledged properly. It's hard to put this into words. If feelings before were proof that "I" exist, then this experience was proof that there is no "self" to own them.

We may have tipped the "self" over, but would like to see how the realization settles in.

Can sit with the the feeling of being, sort of a vibration or hum without sound. The more I run the idea that there is no self, or the more I ask "is there a self?"...the more it seems to want to reassemble that perspective. The observer is a thought that correlates memories of observances. "I" exists in thought, although there is this body here with eyes that see and ears that hear. Still seems like there is an attempt to cling, and to string all those thoughts together...like "self" wants to assemble reality back that way through having lots of thoughts and saying "Yes, see, I do exist".

When I say "There is no self and there never was" what comes back is....Yes, that is so. "But I used to think there was" is also a thought that comes up, and there is recognition that this is only a thought, and the recognition of self as a thought seems still to be a little tenative, or maybe "self" is thoughting so hard to try to obscure what I was and attempting to create doubt. Who is doubting? Thought is doubting.

Does realization strengthen over time, or is this not realization if acceptance of it needs to strengthen? That seems like such a dumb question now..there is nothing to attain that can be put into the void, because nothing can't contain something...but thinking really picks up and distracts from this and starts screaming "there is a self...yes there is, feel that? Yet something outside thought remains to watch it, or watching is happening regardless of what thought is doing.

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:49 pm

It's funny to use the word look...but when I close my eyes, ask the question "Is there a self in there?" ...just silent and black. Empty space.

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby Ilona » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:17 am

Realisation is simple recognition- yes- it is clear that there never was this separate self, nor it can ever be.

Integration of this realisation deepens. Sure thing there will be times when beliefs will surface, when conditioning will cause suffering. That does not affect what has been realised. It is just the same like you can never believe that Santa is a real deal, a magical being.

There is no magical being I either.

How is it going today?
How does it feel to see this?


Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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SeeEye
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:05 pm

Thanks, Ilona.

Yesterday morning I woke up in a very nihilistic mood "What's the point"? Seemed as if all motivation had fallen away. Recalled that many people have said here that the realization is not a state, things rise and fall, etc. so figured that processing was in order, and not to focus on it. Looking at objects still had most of the difference that were there over the weekend and past days, just not the happy feeling.

Later in morning went for a bike ride, and it was my fastest loop this year (used to compete). DIdn't go out with that intention, but just to relax and watch body sensations. What was noticed was that cycling happened on it's own, and I could ride faster by just "letting cycling happen" - just letting go of the control, which was a certain nervousness and tension about crashing, getting hit by a car. Very enthused about this as a focal point for further work..just letting life happen, trusting instincts and letting old conditionings and the presuppositions they were based on, a "self" that was separate and up for loss at all times and therefore addicted to attempts to control.

Today I awoke in a much freer place. Sensate experiences like a deep breath and morning coffee produce joy, and their is a sense of freedom from chronic worry, chronic OH-OH!, a sense that I can trust in the process more. Very grateful to have stumbled upon this site through Elana's postings at DhO.

As an attainment, it is something special and yet it isn't. It is special in that the connection to "what is" is restored, and you don't have to expend so much energy on seeking. Interests, preferences remain, but have a different flavor and not a desperation to create a personal identity. It is not something that needs to be broadcast from the rooftops "I attained stream entry" of something along those lines...that really doesn't make sense any more...but something very peaceful and loving has been restored, and that in itself is worth it, even though very little of this was what "I" expected.

Looking forward to using this as a base to continue working from. Enhanced concentration, experiencing the void...next steps.

What are the next steps?

Ilona, thank you for your guidance and your kind, compassionate touch.

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby Ilona » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:06 pm

sounds that something is definitely shifting. next steps we let this settle in for a bit and you can join aftercare groups, enjoy connect with comunity and share the further adventures. :)

can you tell me are you ready for the last questions? does it feel that the invisible line was crossed?
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:49 pm

Yes, as today has unfolded the realization is settling in as a one-way doorway. If anything changes I will let you know, although this seems quite unlikely now.

Ask away!

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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby Ilona » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:53 pm

Please answer in full when ready.

1) Is there a 'me', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever? how about self, is there anything that is separate from everything else?
2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.
3) How does it feel to see this? describe in detail.
4) How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion but is curious about it.
5) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? was there a specific moment when seeing happened or was it gradual? what exactly happened?

looking forward to your answers. :)) no rush.
Truth realized will set you free.
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SeeEye
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Re: Once begun, better to finish

Postby SeeEye » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:36 pm

1) Is there a 'me', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever? how about self, is there anything that is separate from everything else?

No, there is no “I” or “self” or “me” or “mine”. These things were never there. Although some objects are unattached from others, they are still a part of the “one everything”.


2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.

The separate self is a trick of language and is born in thought. It starts when children begin to develop the capacity for language, and this learning starts with learning what things are called, learning the labels. Children are repeatedly asked “what is this, what is that?” “Where is your nose, where is your ears, where is the cat?” Children do not have the logical ability or the need to question the verbs of “being”, that something “is” something and that the label is not the object, the “map is not the territory.” Language is useful to convey information, but language itself is a system of symbols used to “represent” something with the presuppositions that it is “true” and exists. It is easy to overlook and never question the presuppositions that support the illusion. Often emotions become proof, as something just “feels right” or wrong, and the information from feelings may be specific to the body, these happen before thought, or by thought, yet are separate from thought.

3) How does it feel to see this? describe in detail.

One can read the above paragraph and say “yes, that makes sense” and accept the data, but it is not really known until it is experienced, much like skydiving, sex or snow. When one experiences skydiving, sex or snow for the first time, it is a new experience. Seeing the truth has a component of this, although it is not a new experience. When one looks for one’s keys and then finds them, there is a feeling of “oh, there they are”, and the realization has a little of that in it. That experience does not contain anything magickal, mystical or otherworldly, so it can be difficult to accept that that is all there is, especially with all the build up around “attainments” in zen circles. There is also the remembering that it was always like this, but we are so caught up with mind activity that we forgot.

4) How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion but is curious about it.

I would talk about how the label does not equal the thing it labels, how language develops in children, use a story like the ugly duckling, who was really a swan but labeled itself “ugly duckling”.

5) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? was there a specific moment when seeing happened or was it gradual? what exactly happened?

Hope. In this case, it seems that hope is a positive motivation…the thought that one can actually wake up, experience the truth of no-self for themselves, and reap the benefits from that…that it was real, this was the motivation. The process was gradual up to a point, then it was seen. The evidence is gathered and this serves to “point” to it. At some point, all thoughts became “not it” and the seeing of it was very sudden, contained a big “O Yeah, of course” moment which was very brief, and then one has to process what happened. My experience was since the patterns are so engrained and automatic, it took some time to be sure I had actually seen. Easy for thought to ask “Are you sure?” But the question is the first step away from the truth, and another trick of language.

Thanks Ilona for creating the site, and for your time and grace. Even though much of my process happened before we really connected much, the Gateless book and conversations here have enough nuggets to get one going if they are willing to work with it. That said it is priceless to have a guide to challenge and confirm and celebrate one's steps on the path. Looking forward to giving back to others and returning the favor.


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