1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form?
Was there ever?
No there is not, I have looked high and low persistently and cannot find any self. If there was a self or an I it would be everpresent and accessible and yet when looking directly for the self it is nowhere to be found. All that is found is thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Thoughts then connect these 3 things together to form a self, but this so-called self is never real, it is never consistent and when looked at directly it is seen to rise and falls as fast as the thoughts that created it.
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.
The concept of a separate self is the idea that the "mind" and body are an independent being an organism that we are in control of. "One" who is under the impression that they are a separate self-believes that "I" points to this mind and body and this mind and body has a static personality, wants desire, aspirations, likes, dislikes etc.....The idea of a separate self is a concept created by society and is taught very early on.
For instance, I have a 2-year-old nephew and daughter. They were both playing in my in-law's yard. My daughter had a toy and he went over and took it away from her, then I went to grab it back from him and he fought with all his being to hold onto that toy and the entire time he was saying "Me" "ME" "ME" "ME". I realized that the root of his suffering was not because a toy was being taken away from him; but because he saw this toy being taken away from him as an attack on his personal being because in his mind I was depriving him of something. So this whole process starts pretty early.
For me now, the "I" is something that comes up every now and then in relation to something. So school work needs to be done and "I" am not in the mood to do school work because "I" would rather do something else to entertain myself. The "I" is in constant need of attention and stimulation when it does not receive it then more thoughts of lack and unhappiness arise. The "I" itself seems to create all thoughts as all thoughts seem to revolve around this "I". In fact, I cannot think of a single thought that does not connect to "I" somehow, someway.
However, these are all seen through and I can trace any thought that arises back to "I" and when I do so both the "I" and the thought are seen through.
How does it feel to see this?
What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
I don't really feel anything seeing this, it feels rather ordinary as if I always knew how this was but simply couldn't see it. It was like having a realistic dream and then waking up and saying "ahh I was just dreaming". What is different though is that there is almost always peace and stillness, desires and need to do and be something are all but gone. I do not care about "making something out of myself" life is going just fine on its own, there is no goal to attain, no status to be gained. These things are not important they are just illusions created by society.
The best way to describe it is that "I" no longer care how I appear to others, I care very little if they like me, respect me or hate me. I have no control over these things, and it is not like they make a difference in the first place. I have no control over actions taken, there is no control mechanism, everything simply happens spontaneously. Its hard to really report anything over the past few days because nothing seems to be keeping track of progress and what is going on. Little realizations happen here and there but they are never held onto, just seen as things that have always been.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
I cannot say one thing, in particular, pushed me over. I had been looking for a while with self-inquiry but had gradually come to the realization that I cannot find this self that "I" keep looking for. Then these exercises got me to look closer into an experience and that seemed to help me to penetrate the illusion of being in control.
5) a) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work? Give an example from your own recent experiences to how things happens and how things work.
All those things are just thoughts that have no substance to them, they are an illusion. For instance, I button my sleeves every day for work with no prior thought, intention, and decision to do so. However, every now and then an "I" makes a "choice" to button the shirt and ends up screwing it up lol. Its funny because "I" am trying to button the sleeves but have such a difficult time doing so because I am thinking about it and saying how much of a pain it is to do so. Despite the fact that I do it every single day and it just happens with nothing making it happen. This seems to be the case with all things in life.
b) What are you responsible for?
Absolutely nothing, I don't even know why "I" am here conducting this exploration with "you" I cannot even recall making a prior decision to come on here and answer these questions. This is just what is happening, nobody is responsible for it anymore then I am responsible for the random thoughts and images that appear in the "mind".
c) Give examples from your own recent experiences to how all this works.
Quite frankly I have no clue how this all works, it just seems to happen spontaneously. There doesn't even seem to be motivation anymore as its just a pointless thought of "I really want to do this". Desires are rare too, as they are pointless. I mean seriously what is the pointing in worrying about something that you do not have but do not need. I do not know how things are driven it's incomprehensible, I can't even begin to think about it. It seems that even the need to understand is an illusion too. For what is there to understand but the things that the mind can grasp, which is nothing. Knowing is just knowing and there is no explanation for it.
6) Anything to add?
No, I will await your reply and instructions.