Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

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RickATX
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Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Fri May 17, 2019 8:26 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
“Self” is a thought / label. Me, I, and Rick are just like Santa – a real thought of a fictional character. Thoughts happen on there own, including that "I" am doing the thinking. The Gate was seen when I looked and saw that these four are one: the character, the reader, the writer, and the awareness of it all. It’s not “I AM” but "AM"

What are you looking for at LU?
I am interested in "after care" discussions that are mentioned occasionally in Gateless Gatecrashers. This is all quite a new and a bit disorienting, and few people in my immediate circle have any idea what's been seen and the massive impact it is having on my state and being. Many attachments are falling away on their own. It feels like I am walking around in a bit of a daze / slightly lightheaded; if I wasn't stone cold sober I'd wonder if it was drugs!

In a nutshell, it'd be wonderful to share insights with folks who've had a bit more experience of being in the world but not of it (although as that is typed a thought occurs that while that phrase as commonly understood captures my current state, isn't it a backward phrase? Most people don't see they (as a being) are always in the world but instead get so blinded and caught up in their thoughts it takes their awarenesses out of this world. But enough digression.)

Would love to discuss with folks via the forum (and phone and in person) what it's like to live when "self" is seen for what it is. It'd be wonderful to share authentically what it's like (assuming it occurs with many thoughts and feelings of joy, aliveness, freedom, etc. but also some lingering fear, or, even guilt that "I" am no longer investing in the fictional drama "I" created, but that has real-world impacts on those around me).

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect mutual honesty and respect, more Socratic in nature than lecture, and mutual sharing. I would not expect let's hold hands and sing Kumbayah but rather people doing their best to share truth, what they see and experience, even if it is perceived as challenging.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
A couple of decades of rigorously pursuing Christian mysticism, then mindfulness, and then in the last three months, seemingly out of the blue, first the Landmark Forum, the Jed Mckenna trilogy, Landmark Advanced course, lots of Richard Rose stuff, and now Liberation Unleashed (including reading 90% of Gateless Gatecrashers). There has been more "progress" or seeing in the last three months than the previous three decades.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

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Ilona
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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Fri May 24, 2019 2:33 pm

Hi Rick,
Welcome to the forum.
We can have a chat here and see where that takes you.
I hear that you are interested in aftercare. Can you tell a bit about what happened? How recognition happened? What pushed you to look?

Looking forward to your reply.
Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Fri May 24, 2019 9:57 pm

Hi Ilona,

Thanks for engaging in a conversation and all you do for folks via this site.

What happened? "I" saw that there are no separate, distinct parts of me -- i.e., prior to seeing the Gateless Gate, I would have told you something along the lines of the "real me" is the witness that observes my thoughts or sees my ego in action; I would even have said that when I am mindful I can witness a thought and then I can decide how to respond to that thought. What happened was seeing that "I" is a label and thoughts happen without a "me" to make them happen; they just happen.

How recognition happened? For some time I'd been wrestling with the notion that there is (1) a character named Rick playing a part and while it seems so real most of that is an illusion (in the sense of "reality" and the story and meaning "Rick" gives to reality and believes is reality are separate), (2) this character Rick actually has agency to write / re-write the script (as in simply telling a different story about what happened changes reality as Rick experiences it), (3) this character Rick can be mindful and actually step outside of this play and be the viewer / witness of it all, and (4) there is an awareness of all of this. This is a long way to say that when I walked outside Plato's cave I kept getting stuck on who or what was walking outside the cave and aware that he was walking outside of it.

That's when Gateless Gatecrashers facilitated the recognition that thoughts happen on their own and that the mind in a millisecond or less after a thought often adds an "I decided to think this" type thought. This was beyond witnessing thoughts and seeing that they arise and fall (that's not a new experience) but that the thought "I'm witnessing" was untrue. Seeing that the "I'm" in that sentence is a label and a thought but in fact is no different than saying "Santa witnessed" really helped me to see that "me" or "I" or "the witness" are thoughts only.

What pushed you to look? I've been a seeker for a long time, and so much of it was ultimately fruitless. Within the last several months, however, so many things from Landmark to the Jed Mckenna books and other resources all swirled around in a way that I'd never seen before. While there are many limits / issues with the Jed books, the "Further" admonishment in them really resonated with me so I just kept looking and looking and going further beyond those books which ultimately got me to LU and to keep going further to see.

Best, Rick

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Sat May 25, 2019 5:03 pm

Thank you so much for sharing, it’s great to hear that Gateless Gatecrashers book was helpful!

So how is life after? What has changed and what hasn’t? What is the main difference from before? Is seeking still going?

Feel free to answer as fully as you like.
Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Sun May 26, 2019 5:13 pm

Ilona,

Life after is on most levels exactly the same as life before; the same people, circumstances, work, to dos, thoughts, and emotions happen, although with less intensity. At a fundamental level, however, most of what happens now has a sense of it unfolding with me bemusedly watching it unfold without a me having to direct it, be in charge of it, be attached to it, or be attached to the outcome. It is something more fundamental than just super-charged mindfulness and witnessing; there is a subtle shift in being where it is seen that a belief or goal of seeking I held, that "I need to take my hand of the tiller", is not possible in reality because there never was a me with a hand on a tiller.

It's only been a couple of weeks since seeing, and thus there certainly are plenty of times when old habits of "I" and "me" thoughts reassert themselves and things are experienced as if they are happening to "me". These moments get fewer and fewer, and last for a much shorter duration. Even intense moments where it seems the "I" thoughts are all there are, such as an argument with my spouse or when I get super wrapped up in a mind movie fantasy, quickly lose their grip because it is now so easy to see within a few moments or at most a minute or two that my mind was producing "I" thoughts or as I usually say to myself, Santa sure was worked up just now! ;)

The net of all the above is much more freedom and lightness in being, stress and anxiety are naturally falling away, and many attachments are loosening their grip. It's wonderful (although not bliss or ecstasy or heaven on earth). More and more I am able to just be, and enjoy without having to own any strong emotions the experience of just being with life unfolding.

Part of my desire to explore with others life after seeing, however, is coming from the loosening of attachments to all the stories and sense of "I need to control, direct" things like career, life goals, marriage and family, etc. If there is no me to pick my next career move, or no me to decide this is where in our relationship we should focus on growing, or no me to decide I should pursue this new civic activity, if there is no me to direct my thoughts, then the experience is a bit disorienting, as if I've abdicated responsibilities in reality. The "solution" to this that keeps coming up is something along the lines of "pick a vector" and then let it unfold (e.g., pick the vector to be married or pick the vector to be single) but if there is no me to pick the vector, than this seems a dead end.

Here is a typical thought sequence which leaves me a bit disoriented:

*I need to figure out my next career move.

*There is no I to figure anything out. Just let it unfold.

*And after all, virtually everything related to "career" are stories about a fictional character "Rick" anyway so letting go of those attachments will reduce stress, pain, etc. greatly.

*Isn't just letting it unfold leaving it to chance? Here is this being on this planet in a house, with a family, with what seem basic responsibilities to survive and grow as a being, and to do so with other beings to make that possible. Yes, maybe everything is just chance anyway but still.

*Just trust that the being knows what's right / best and the thoughts will come and the happening will occur that is exactly as it should be.

*Wait, who is doing the trusting? "I" don't exist to place trust in this being anyway. It's just being.

Maybe this just a version of it's unclear to me how to be in this world but not of it (and per my opening comments, it still occurs to me that formulation is backward).

Regarding is seeking still going on, the answer is no. No thoughts or desires are arising that there is more to seek. That said, thoughts do occur that there may be more to see about reality now that less energy will be spent on the fictional "I" -- but the thoughts about what more there may to see are not about the truth of being or there is more to see about "me" but that there could be energies in reality that have not been seen to me that could be now.

Best, Rick

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Mon May 27, 2019 2:01 pm

Thank you for answer and sharing thought sequence.
Let’s look closer at free will and choice. Describe what you notice in your own experience.
How choosing happens?
What are you responsible for?

Can you see the difference between these two sayings: I don’t exist and I does not exist.?

One is denial of life the other is saying that I, as it was imagined- a separate self- is not real.

So what is really going on with control? Explore this and write
Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Tue May 28, 2019 4:23 pm

Hi Ilona,

How does choosing happen? Using an every day experience of packing for a trip, this is what I see: The mind produces thoughts ("take the blue shirt" or "you'll want jeans if it's going to be cool") upon which I act (I pack the blue shirt and jeans). In general all this is perceived as "me choosing" but I didn't choose or cause to happen which thoughts occurred to me (e.g., why the mind produced "take the blue shirt" instead of "take the pink shirt" is a mystery of the mind).

It seems to me this is how virtually all choosing happens, with me usually unaware of it (for instance, when out on a walk the thought seems to occur "that's far enough, time to turn around" and then I act on that, but if I'm listening to a podcast that thought and choice may happen as if on autopilot without me even being aware). When I have awareness of choosing happening, isn't it the same except my mind likes to create thoughts that there is "me" doing the choosing?

Taking this example further, I was packing my suitcase when I had to choose which pairs of shoes to take. My mind produced a quick list of pros and cons of each pair of shoes (which takes up less space in the suitcase, which is more versatile, which is more comfortable, which is most suitable for the events, etc.) and then "I chose" the pair to pack. What occurs to me is something they teach in Landmark, which would be "I chose to pack the red shoes because I chose to pack the red shoes" is the true answer to what happened whereas saying "I chose to pack the red shoes because they are more comfortable, lighter, and make a fashion statement" are all rationalizations / stories I tell myself about my imagined separate me, which gives me the illusion of choosing and having control.

What are you responsible for?. What I see is I am responsible for the consequences of what gets chosen. If my mind produced a sequence of thoughts to get me to pack the red shoes, and it turns out that was a terrible choice for whatever reason (or the perfect choice), the real world consequences of living with that are what I am responsible for.

This seems very unsatisfactory to me as an answer, however. A lifetime of philosophy, morals, and civilization's rules are at the periphery of my mind trying to tell me what my answer "should be", but I am choosing not to engage those thoughts. ;)

That said, one of my favorite sayings "mind the gap" seems to be the most satisfying answer to what I am responsible for. A stimulus happens (be it received via my senses or just a thought that occurs) and there seems to be some agency for how to engage with that stimulus. The exceptionally small gap between stimulus and response seems to be where I have some responsibility ("what just occurred brought forth a feeling of anger. Do I just observe the anger or engage the anger?") My guess would be 99.9% of what happens in reality is an automatic stimulus / response because my mind and body response faster than my conscious brain processes so it may as well be automatic.

Can you see the difference between these two sayings: I don’t exist and I does not exist? Yes, this is very clear. I am a real human being. My mind constantly creates a fictional character I've identified with as being real and being me.

So what is really going on with control? Explore this and write

(1) I have no control over what occurs or happens. It just does. People, other animals, events, weather, and my thoughts all just happen all day and all night long, whether I'm hyper aware of some of it or lost in a mind movie, and there is nothing I can do to stop any of it from occurring.

(2) It's much easier (and produces a feeling of general lightness / freedom) to have all of this occur without believing it's all happening to the fictional self called "me."

(3) As things occur, there seems to be some ability to engage or not with certain thoughts and based upon that, there is some modicum of control (if I stub my toe (stimulus) thoughts could occur such as "ouch that hurts" or "you're such a stupid klutz" and depending on which thought I engage with it can change how things occur to me).

Still struggling with this...

Thanks, Rick

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Thu May 30, 2019 1:40 pm

Hi rick, thank you for reply.
I can see that you are still struggling and it’s not entirely clear what’s going on.
So let’s take a look here.
You say that 99.9% is happening automatically. What is the 0.1%? What is not happening on automatic/ naturally by itself?
Also, you say you are choosing to engage with thoughts or not. As if there is an agency? Hmm. What would be lost if there really is no i at all, none as in zero?
You say “I am a real human being” what do you mean by that? What does it mean to be a human being? And what is that identifies with human being?

Describe what you see, what feels true.
Love
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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Fri May 31, 2019 6:46 pm

Hi Ilona,

Fear. That's what was going on. When seeking to answer
You say that 99.9% is happening automatically. What is the 0.1%? What is not happening on automatic/ naturally by itself?
I chucked because it's clear and was before you even asked that "everything is natural" yet almost simultaneously a feeling of fear deep in the gut arose. Looking at the fear it seems it's the remaining deep attachment to the thought / belief there must be an "I" that has some agency / control. Just seeing it loosened that attachment.

Now what is going on is feelings of sadness, almost despair. Everything just happens. Life happens. Sensation happens. Thoughts happens. Thoughts of a “me” and “I” happen. Thoughts that there is an “I” aware of some of what is happening just happen. There is no “me” doing any of it. No choice. No free will.

Is it liberation? Sure, from the illusion that there is anything outside of what is just happening of its own accord. Sure, it would seem to lessen “suffering” since there is no “I” to be sufferer. What is not happening are good feelings.

Instead thoughts from scenes in the Jed McKinna books keep coming to me, when the characters are talking about if they murdered each other or nuked an entire country, it wouldn’t matter. It’s just something that would happen. If there is no “me” to try to be a good person, no “me” with any control over behaving “well” toward others, then if behaving badly toward another person occurs, well it is what it is. Talk about depressing.

This is the core of why I reached out to discuss aftercare. Thoughts occur to me that the best is to just hope that all the prior conditioning, education, socialization that happened before now will in the future produce “non harmful” actions, as “I” don’t exist to influence “my” actions. Yet even as typing this happens, it all seems a joke — there is no “me” to hope, there is no “harmful” or “non harmful” actions as those are just labels, instead actions just happen.

No one promised and “I” never expected liberation to be bliss or that it would bring pleasant feelings. But the feelings of almost nihilism that seem to arise with seeing there is no I with any free will or choice sure aren’t very pleasant, but who cares, right? There is in reality no “I” to suffer the unpleasant feeling, it just a feeling that arose and thoughts about that feeling that arose and they will subside and be replaced every moment by other feelings and thoughts. It’s all just happening. There is no personal responsibility as there is no separate person to whom I am responsible. Then why care? Being good, doing well, not treating others poorly –- if that happens it happens, if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen. Depressing as hell.

Rick

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Fri May 31, 2019 8:08 pm

Thank you for reply.
Next time this fear shows up, can you welcome it and honour it. It’s here to protect. An old friend. Can you see that fear is a friend?

Take a look behind it. What is there? What is that needs protection?

As for nihilism, I hear you. Jed’s books are strong, I had been through them too. Of course, falling beliefs are not meant to feel good, it’s not a pleasant process. But there is an end to that and joy and lightness shows up. But first all the old has to drop. Trust the process. All is unfolding as it should.

Nihilism is welcome to visit. It’s not the truth of how things are. And look at this, can you be nihilistic without thinking? It’s the thought story believed that creates that sense of depression. But ‘kill jed’ just like he says ‘to kill the Buddha.’ He just shares his experience and it’s irrelevant to you. Your experience is relevant here.

One Can live from the heart, seeing that all is one, being of service and loving life. When war with what is ends, there is no longer desire to harm anyone or anything. There is peace and joy. That comes forth more and more.

With love.
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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:25 pm

Ilona,

Thank you, again, for communicating so clearly. There are no more questions or seeking so we can conclude, but as I spent this past week steeping in your comments it was wonderful and the sense of nihilism lessened greatly.

My only question really relates back to the thread title of after care. While all unfolding is happening as it should, can you recommend venues or vehicles or resources to connect with folks who may have had more time seeing that all is one and want to share experiences with that?

Best, Rick

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:53 pm

That’s lovely to hear that seeking has ended. And as you noticed, there is so much to explore.
One of the best ways to deepen realisation is by guiding. You get to walk with a friend and ask different questions. It’s a beautiful way to explore and give back. Other than this, life is providing all that comes up to be seen and met with openness. And that process continues, it comes in waves. Sometimes it may feel very intense and unbearable. And even that is an invitation to step forward and look at what is happening.
There are couple of groups on Facebook where you can connect with other LU people.
But first, are you ready for the final questions?

Love
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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:55 pm

Yes, I am ready for the final questions. ;)

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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby Ilona » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:14 pm

Sweet! Here they are :)

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it ufully as you see it now.

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.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

5) Can you talk about decision, intention, free will, choice and control? What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.

6) Anything to add?

Please answer in full, when ready.

Much love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Where do we go from here? Discussing "after care"

Postby RickATX » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:56 pm

Hi Ilona,

I was in Mexico City the past few days and marinated in these questions.

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

No. The mind produces thoughts of a "me" and "I" that used to seem to be reality. What's real is the thought, but not actually a separate self. There never was a separate self.

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.

My sense is the illusion's roots were in very early childhood as human language became the primary medium to interpret (and try to make sense) of what is occurring rather than merely experiencing it as very young infants do. For example, while there is no actual memory of this personally, from observing kids my hunch is that as a six month old if my head hurt I might cry in response to what is occurring but without language to say "oh, that's a terrible headache, "I" feel awful, etc." there was likely no illusion of a separate self.

Today the illusion works when something occurs (a sensory stimulus, a thought, an action) and faster than normally conscious of it occurring the mind produces a thought that whatever is occurring is about "me" or happening to "me" or that "I" and causing what is occurring. For example, if there is a beautiful sunset, that occurred; too often my mind will almost instantly follow sensing a sunset with some thought that is more than "what a beautiful sunset" but with thoughts that create the illusion of a separate self, such as "I love sunsets" or "I don't get to see enough of them" or "Why don't I stop and smell the roses more" or "I wish so and so was hear with me to see this." Soon the "I" seems to be real rather than merely thoughts.

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 feels like a heavy wet blanket draping my entire being has lifted.

Things that used to occur that would "upset me" or that "I would brood over" or that "I may wonder "why me", more and more every day things are just occurring without all this added emotional and mental stress and increasingly without the immediate "I" thought. If those do occur they are beginning to quickly falls away since seeing that the "I" thought is just a thought has occurred. Granted, there are still times when I say "wow, for the last X minutes the illusion seemed fully real again." There is so much lightness, freedom, peace with this.

Before this dialogue I conceptually understood "take your hand of the tiller" but wrestling with free will, choice, the feelings of nihilism, etc. moved me beyond conception to seeing that what that really means is letting go of the illusion that there is even a tiller which "my" hand can be on and steer.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

Really seeing and getting the Santa analogy was the biggest bit but the last bit was seeing that I don't control my thoughts, that if I did I could tell you what the next thought would be, but in fact the mind produces whatever thoughts it is going to produce and there is no "me" that controls the mind or directs the thoughts.

5) Can you talk about decision, intention, free will, choice and control? What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.

Things just happen and, frankly, I have no idea what makes them happen or how it works. The heart beats, the lungs breath, the body moves and sweats, the mind produces all sorts of thoughts, stimulus and responses happen every moment (usually unnoticed by the conscious mind). This means there is no separate "me" with powers of free will, decision making, choice, control, or intention. That reality still brings up feelings of nihilism, although many of those have abated over the last week or so.

It seems that the human being typing these words has some innate sense / desire to grow, live, protect itself, love, work, etc. and that as a human being actions, thoughts, feelings, etc. occur to further those ends, although for much of my life the illusion of a separate self made those naturally occurring things seem something more than they are in reality.

6) Anything to add?

Nope, except for a big hearty thank you!


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