1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was
No, none found. 'Self', 'me', 'I' are mere words and letters which arise with certain feelings and sensations
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 separate self is merely words, mental images, feelings and bodily sensations coming together to create, assert and maintain a sense of separation. The self starts to form once a child begins to learn a language, which deeply implants the subject-object relationship into the child, through its constant use by subtle and overt means. This creates a strong sense of separation at all levels including the physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels.
After several years of training, this sense of self is so strong that it's almost taken for granted that this 'self' is as real as a table, a chair or a car. This self, being a contracted one, thinks, feels and acts like a separate entity. It feels vulnerable, and demands survival at all costs, so it keeps asserting itself many times through the day so that it is acknowledged and 'fed' through attention.
This separate stance causes a lot of suffering through being controlling, demanding, needy, feeling threatened, threatening others, feeling unsafe, feeling unseen, feeling physical pain, being rejected, humiliated and so on.
The suffering thus created confronts the now grown up person to look more closely at their experiences to see what's happening...thus ultimately paving the way for their eventual freedom from suffering :)
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.
It's a funny feeling, because it was a lot easier to see that there was no self than to ACCEPT what was seen! It was only when you bought this fact to my notice that has helped with the acceptance of this seeing. The dialog has been a tremendous blessing in this sense. Also it was quite thorough in that we weren't leaving anything out.
The tricky part was the mind holding out for a samadhi kind of experience (as the dialog went along), or some such transformative experience, where all separation was gone. This was the main stumbling block, in retrospect...
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over; made you look?
Like I mentioned, looking wasn't hard. It was accepting what I'd seen which was...which happened 2 days ago when you suspected that I already seen through the notion of 'no-self'. I feel like this was crucial
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' are useful conceptual tools to translate ideation to action or vice versa. All these are valid when seen this way, but to assume there's an operator using these tools is erroneous and cause lot of mental and emotional suffering.
Things happen automatically, needing no agency. Of course, we could assume a sense of agency, but this doesn't change the nature of things one bit.
Personally, when looked at directly, I'm not responsible for anything, and this is seemingly true for others as well. But I do notice a sense of responsibility which arises either spontaneously or habitually depending on circumstances which prompt action. These responsibilities would include maintaining personal hygiene, following traffic rules, showing up on time to teach exercise to clients, paying for goods and so on. But it's clear that there's no self or I doing these actions or being responsible
6) Anything to add?
:) :) :) :) :)