Good morning Stacy,
I will not proofread or correct any typos, etc. Hope that is ok.
1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
Just going to write and see what happens...this body was born, just like bugs and flowers and trees. Nothing separate at all. How could that even be possible? A multitude of separate things with borders? Ludicrous. Not scientifically possible. Just not logical and not DE. Never was or can be any separate entity. Just awareness in the present Now including thoughts which create an illusion of separation. Thoughts, like everything, happen Now. They have no awareness and are not separate either. No separate "me", "I" at all anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Never was.
2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
Do not remember exactly when it started but sometime in childhood, there began a process in which thoughts created a belief of separation. An "I" in the body and an outside world. This was and continues to be our societies belief system so it is reinforced by others. There is no actual "feeling" of a separate self, but thoughts about "I". In communicating, such as in this forum, the "I" concept is needed to express things but if one looks, no "I" is ever found. So, the truth is that there really is no separate self. It is like batman, in that it does not really exist, but unlike batman, this concept of "I" can be helpful in communicating. We just need to know that it does not really exist.
3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
Right now, it feels so obvious. Almost amusing how obvious it is and I want to share it. When I do try to share it with some people, and they have no idea what I am talking about, it can feel frustrating at times as they look at me like I am psychotic. However, there are days in which a thought-story line continues throughout the day and there is tension in the body and contraction. I still need to look for the self, which I know is normal. Still have the expectation that this contraction and daydreaming should not be happening as frequently, so I wonder if there is not a deeper understanding. Right now, there is a lightness and understanding that there is no separation, but just did yoga, so the mind-body is in a different state right now compared to workdays. Now, I can see that despite all this mental activity, there is nothing behind it, whereas before the dialogue, there was a belief that "I" was behind it and that I could control thoughts. Now, they just happen and there is awareness of this activity.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Not quite sure as it seems like the process is still ongoing. However, the reality that thoughts happen and there is absolutely no controller of thoughts, actions, etc...no controller at all!...was liberating to the extreme.
5) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.
Decision, intention, free will, choice and control. That is easy because they all just happen! Cosmic events like the weather. If they existed, that would imply a separate entity. However, that entity has never been found. What makes things happen? I have absolutely no idea! Please let me know, if you figure it out. How does it work? Who the heck knows. Laughing. People try to figure this out with a multitude of theories, but no one really knows. What am I responsible for? I used to think that if I said that no one is responsible for anything, there would be chaos. Now, I would say that there are no separate entities, so it does not really matter if I state the correct answer, which is that I am not responsible for anything, simply because there is no "I". How could "I" be responsible for anything? "I" doesn't exist! Are fairies and unicorns responsible for anything? No, because the question makes no sense. They do not exist, just like "I".
6) Anything to add?
This all seems so obvious right now. However, thought comes in and creates images of future suffering, etc. and it is almost like there is something trying to hold onto a peaceful mind state. Each time things like this happen, there is a looking for something behind it, and nothing can be found. The peaceful feeling is so pleasant, so there is some desire to hold onto it.
With love as always,