First off apologizes for the belated responsive. The body has been experience a fever and sickness however this experience is just perfectly fine, in fact blissful. :)
1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form?
Was there ever?
None can be found. And no it 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.
The mind labels each action, thought, and feeling with ownership. i.e.. I walk, I think, I stress out, I believe, I could, I should, why didn’t I.
The mind also labels the body as “my body”, “my hands” “my foot” etc
The I points to other thoughts about an I. All these thoughts about “I” “me” “my” create a story about a character named “Amit”, who took certain actions, made certain decisions, felt certain ways, experienced joys and pains.
This entire story is created by the mind and only exists in the mind. It has no basis in reality. The character Amit has no basis in reality anymore than Santa Claus or Batman.
The original “I” thought, “I am” that began the story points to nothing. It’s just a thought (accompanied by a sensation).
The true reality that is seen directly is this: thoughts arise - there is no thinker, sensations arise, actions arise - there is no doer. Sometime feeling arise, but are seen as thoughts + sensations. There is no feeler. Works are spoken, there is no speaker.
There is awareness of all that appears, through this awareness there seems to be a body always present (with no head!). This body operates on it own just like all other content in awareness. It is not separate from it, other than labeling by the mind saying “this is my body, this is a keyboard, this is a monitor, they are separate objects with dimensions and weight”.
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.
The difference is profound. There is some conditioning that arises, and sometimes there is a brief forgetting of true nature of what is (triggering from the wife!).
There is a profound sense of freedom in letting go of the ILLUSION of control.
An 95% drop in self-reference thoughts and the ones that come up simply bounce off. There’s a lightness to this experience.
The weight of responsibility and worry have resolved as there is a settling in to just being and awareness of the beauty that is unfolding all on it own.
There is more energy showing up, more confidence, not caring what anyone thinks, a boldness and an aliveness to this experience.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Really looking at the mind labeling ownership and doership to an “I” and examining the source of that. Looking at both both explicit and implicit “I” thoughts.
Once the false was seen as false there was no going back.
5) a) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control.
Who is there to make decision, or exercise free choice? No one or no thing can be found. Decisions are made, choices are made spontaneously.
b) What makes things happen? How does it work?
Actions, thoughts, and decisions arise spontaneous.
What is the source of this? God, the universe, consciousness? The 1 thing, the 1 reality that is this experience. There is no separate from this. It is the manifestation and the source. The form and the formless.
c) What are you responsible for?
There is no “me” to be responsible. Question does not compute.
d) Give examples from experience.
There is deep sense that actions arise on their own. Even as these words are typed, there is no sense of agency. It’s just happening.
There is the experience of the body moving about the house doing chores, but no sense that anyone decided to do anything. There is the experience of words being spoken, but no ‘speaker’ deciding what words would be spoken.
The world seems the same, but very different at the same time.
Actions, words, thoughts, all seem to arise spontaneously. There is a great freedom to that :)
6) Anything to add?
There is a tremendous sense of bliss and connection to this experience.
At first 'i' was not sure why this was arising, but on further reflection it is the arising of true being, without the guilt, need to control, self doubt, negative self referential thoughts, feelings of separation and isolation. All created by the false sense of a separate self, a doer.
This is the TRUE nature of this experience without being tainted by the iVirus.