Am I there yet?

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:48 pm

Ilona,

I'd like to take this in kind of a different direction. This discussion of how stories play out with thoughts of past, present, or future seems to be leading down a path which is interesting to me philosophically, but also feels like kind of a side- track. Where I'm feeling the most resistance right now is that I know my identity is something empty, just thoughts, emotions, and symbols all pointing at each other, but there's still a lot of attachment to it. To follow a previous example, for this
- The hook is just seeing my name (not my pseudonym here, the name my parents gave me at birth).
- The glue is feeling different than I used to when I saw my name. A hesitation, ambivalence about latching on to it as "that's ME!". This is followed by a bunch of thoughts and emotions: Confusion- How is this possible? Fear and sadness- Much of the stuff I've put aside so far in this process have been a relief to let go of. But my own NAME?
- This leads into a loop I can remember being in and out of my whole life- wanting to matter, wanting to be significant, even wanting to be famous, but then realizing that no matter what incredible thing I did, hundreds of years later I'd be at most a footnote in some boring history book. Wanting to make a difference in the world in various ways, but also feeling powerless a lot of the time. Realizing that a human life is only so long, and that means having lots of dreams and desires that will go unfulfilled.
- This time, the loop is playing back a little differently. Instead of "It'll all be over when I die", it's "Is it possible that it's all over -NOW- ???" Stuff that's usually buried in the subconscious is coming up and asking for attention. There's grief here. I'd say it's like mourning my own death, but that's making it sound more melodramatic than it is.
- Then the thought, "Why don't you stop here? It's been really good to get more insight into those "shoulds" and thought- loops, and even giving up the notion of "free will" ended up being kind of a relief. But giving up my very identity???
- But something else doesn't want to stop. I'm still writing here, after all, haven't just run off. And seeing all the stories that identity is hooked on to is such a contrast to the release when "I" am not here, even in thought.

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:57 am

<bump>

Ilona, you there?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Ilona
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:18 am

What is that owns the name?
Does a coat own a label?
Does this thingy that you sit on own it's name?

Name is not a problem, you will still be responding when your name is called, just like a cat or a dog or a baby.
It's like an itch and a scratch- an itch comes up- scratch follows. Your name is called, response follows, simple as that. But feel me, what is that this name stick to? What it there that is scared to loose it? Is name = identity? Does name create character?

Look deeper here. Write what you notice.

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

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:40 pm

Illona,

I've been working through the name thing. There's nothing that owns the name. What there
is is a _feeling_ of ownership, a felt _sense_ of identification. Or was- it doesn't
feel so strong now. The fear was of losing my identity, but there's no less identity
than there ever was. What I used to think of identity I now see as a process of
identification. Something shows up in perception or thought and another thought follows,
"ME!", or "MINE!", accompanied by a feeling of attachment. The process of attachment isn't
me any more than any other thoughts or feelings. My name isn't me, either. It's a symbol
that provokes a process of attachment, certain thoughts and emotions. It's like seeing
your country's flag. The symbol is arbitrary, and could be anything else. I could change
my name if I wanted to, and other than the different name nothing else would be different.

The other thing that's been coming up is the past and memories. I thought again about
the relationship between past and present as described in the video you linked to. We
experience the present. By definition, the present _is_ what we experience. We don't
directly experience the past, we infer its existence from what we experience in the
present. We use memories and records to make sense of the present. Memories are clusters
of thoughts and emotions that occur in the present, but only make sense with the
assumption that there was a past. The past is what set the conditions of the present,
but the past can't act in the present.

I've got a lot this time. It feels like I'm at some sort of watershed, but oddly enough
the sense of urgency around the need to "figure this out" or "get it" has really dropped.

Here's where things stand in my understanding:

- Present/ direct experience includes sensations, thoughts, feelings, impulses, and
actions.

- There is no "I" or "self" perceivable apart from these sensations, thoughts, feelings,
impulses, and actons.

- There is no "I" or "self" controlling any direct experience, any thoughts, impulses,
or actions.

- There is no "I" or "self" separate from, and perceiving, any sensations or emotions.

- There is a process of identification. This occurs when something perceived or thought
is followed by the thought "ME!" or "MINE!". It's accompanied by a feeling of attachment
or possessiveness. The process of identification is not, itself, me.

- The process of identification attaches to thoughts, sensations, emotions, memories,
objects in my possession, and symbols such as my name. There is no inherent difference
between those things identified with and those not, other than whether identification occurs
or not.

- Often what is attached to is a physical sensation, usually tension in the head, chest,
or stomach. These sensations can accompany identification with or attachment to anything
else.

- Attachments also form around memories and anticipations of the future. The memories
and anticipations occur in the present. They are thoughts and emotions. They often
include the attachment process and "I" in some form. They may or may not be accurate or
useful.

- "I" am a character in these stories, the memories and anticipations. Thinking about the
character ties to the identification process.

- Without the thoughts about the character and the identification process, "I" do not
exist (except maybe in others' minds).

- Understanding that there is no "me" apart from this identification process does not put
an end to the identification process. It's something that pops up in experience
every now and then.

- This is what seems true now. It can be forgotten, but if any of this is brought up and
questioned there are no objections that I can really take seriously. All that's left is
the thought, "REALLY?" and feelings of doubt that aren't attached to any good reasons.

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Ilona
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:17 pm

REALLY? Lol, yeah.. Simple as that. :)
Great!
So how does it feel to see this?
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:15 am

It's still sinking in. There has been a lot going on in my "regular" life the last few months, which was part of the process that led me here, and that stuff is still going on. When I'm busy or preoccupied it doesn't feel that different.

When that last realization hit, about identification as a process, it was followed by being stunned for a while. But the stun moved on after a while as I went about my business. Every once in a while since then it comes back to mind and the stunned feeling comes back, but weaker than initially. It's, "REALLY?" But there are no substantial doubts, thoughts or experiences that change the conclusion.

Emotionally- Relief that the intensity around this has subsided. Fatigue from having been through the intense wrestling through this at the same time as continuing to live "normal" life. There was some nervousness or fear about how life might change. That's been replaced by curiosity. In other ways, loosening up the identification process has reduced tension and anxiety in circumstances where I might have felt it before, mostly around being judged by other people. Some confusion because it seems that at the same time life has changed completely and irrevocably, things haven't changed one bit. I haven't been discussing this with anybody but you, and don't think anybody around me suspects this has been going on :)

There are probably other dominoes that will fall now that the "I" separate from experience has been seen through. Hard to predict what those might be. There is a desire to take time to let things settle, then go back to living life- the same life, but different.

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Ilona
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:26 pm

:) how is it going?
Is there anything still that needs to be resolved?
What's next?

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

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:45 pm

Not much has changed, except the stunned feelings seem to have mostly run their course. Every once in a while- really?, but it's accompanied by fewer intense emotions. Sometimes the thought, "Wait a minute! I'm still here!"- next thought, "Who or what exactly is this 'I'?" It ends up being some other thought or a sensation. Then the identification process latches on to something else. Sometimes there's frustration about how persistent and even greedy it can be. I don't blame myself for it, though- that would make no sense!

It feels like remarkably little has changed through this process- but on the other hand it's becoming hard to remember just how things were before. Even when I started posting here, the process, the questioning had been going on for a while. There's less mental chatter than before. Emotions run through faster, especially if they're not resisted. Sometimes things are more peaceful and contented. But many of the same emotional reactions that used to come up are still there. I'm somewhat less reactive.

I'm working through the idea that none of us can help it- nobody is really "in control" of their thoughts and actions. When it sinks in it's a reason to be forgiving rather than angry.

As far as what's next- ??? Just living. Not sure what else exactly. It feels like more changes may happen, but of course nothing I can control. There's a desire to "let it sink in", maybe to reinforce the understanding? To live it out more, maybe?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:46 pm

It just sunk in what "live it out more" means- to live more consistently with the changed understanding. To feel and act out the really deep acceptance that's the only reaction that makes any sense any more.
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:05 pm

Oh- and thank you for helping along something that I may have been "ripe" for, but could have taken years otherwise. With all the people you're helping, you're racking up some serious good karma!

Hail Bodhisattva Elena!!
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:57 pm

Ilona!!! Credit to where it's due, and embarrassment that I got your name wrong!
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:56 pm

Hahaha, bodhisattva Ilona hails you back!

Sweet..
So, can you say with big fat yes, that gateless gate was crashed? Or there is doubt still?
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:37 pm

The only thing that's keeping me back from giving you a 100% affirmative answer is that sometimes I don't feel that different. There are no doubts, on the level of belief, that "I" am not in control or separate from experience, and that the story of "me" is nothing that exists outside of thoughts and symbols. But the identification process still happens a lot, especially in conditions of inattentiveness/ distractedness. Life goes on, and I'm not in a monastery or ashram where I can just sit and contemplate this for hours. I do some meditation, but I am very much a "householder". (At least that's my current story :) And there's a long way to go on the compassion/ forgiveness front. I recently found out that an acquaintance of mine was a victim of a nasty crime. I know, without a doubt, that there are a whole set of conditions that led the perpetrator to do it and blame really isn't possible. But, my emotional reaction is still towards being vengeful, even though I wasn't big on revenge even before starting this process. These sorts of negative emotions still come up, but go uneasily with my understanding.
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:44 am

Some of this is probably related to expectations, what I thought the gatecrash would be like and how I would feel afterwards. I wasn't expecting eternal bliss, but I was expecting more peace with experience/ the world. Some thoughts and behaviors are followed by the thought, "Now, that wasn't very enlightened!" I guess there was also an expectation that the final gatecrash would be more dramatic. There's been some drama, but most of it was earlier on in the process.

I feel a potential for, and pull towards, a much more profound letting go than I have experienced yet in the process, or than I have ever experienced before. Without having self- righteousness and blame to hide behind, the best way to relate to others is with understanding and compassion. This isn't a "should", it's recognition that none of us can help it. I don't have a belief in karma as in past lives affecting your present life, but there's a form of karma that's feeling more real and present. Negative emotions just feel bad! Once the beliefs supporting blame are undermined, they seem unreasonable, too. It feels like any negative emotion or behavior just comes right back at me unless I really let it go.

There's also more sensitivity to internal conflict. Without the general manager, it's clearer how much the committee argues. It can be disconcerting, but it also feels like a more accurate perception of how my mental processes work.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of unnecessary crap has been dropped, it's just that some of it's still sticking.
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Ilona
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:57 pm

Well, now you can see what is not at peace and know where to find it!
As for expectations, obviously, there will be more coming up. All shoulds and shouldn'ts. However subtle they are.
Some crap won't be easy to drop, it's the most precious beliefs, closest to the heart. These are the ones to question first.

It's a bit like if you have sunglasses on and see all in one light, then take them of and colour changes, but still what is seen is the same, just a shade is different. So nothing changes, other then perspective. To see a change in what is happening some work may be required. But once the line is crossed, the desperate seeking ends.

Is seeking still on for you?

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


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