Truth and Freedom

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Cavebear
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Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:48 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?

That the personal self is a construct built out of conditioning and beliefs since early childhood. We are so identified with this construct that we forget who we really are. I recognise this personal self does not really exist, although struggle not to identify with it. Perhaps I have not seen it clearly enough.

What are you looking for at LU?

I would like some guidance so that I can be liberated from the false self, and live and experience from an authentic place, my true nature. I would like to know the truth about god, life, the universe and myself!

What do you expect from a guided conversation?


I would hope that I could converse and be directed by a being who has achieved liberation and truth, and could help me to do the same. I understand that there is probably always more to learn, but I would like to reach a place where I have a firm conviction of who I truly am, so that when the false self rears its ugly head I can recognise it and have no doubts about the truth.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?

From an early age I have had an interest in spirituality but have never found anything that truly satisfied me. I was touched by The Celestine Prophecy and The Power of Now about 20 years ago, but for some reason didn't continue. In the past 4 months I have rediscovered Eckhart Tolle and found Mooji. They have both had a profound effect on me. I now meditate and watch non duality videos at every possible opportunity. I feel like a fire had been lit inside me and I am driven to discover the truth. I can't stop. I have experienced the 'witness' in myself for many years, although was not aware that it was a thing or that everyone had the capacity, or that there was even a term for it until these last few months. I practice self inquiry when I remember, but find it difficult.

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: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:12 am

Hi Cavebear,

Welcome to LU forum :)
We can have a conversation and explore together. All i ask for is complete honesty and writing from your own experience, as you feel is true to you.
This process is about Seeing that there is no separate self, no ego, no I in charge of what is happening.
When you feel identifying with ego, what is happening precisely? What is that owns this identity and where is a problem?

Looking forward to your reply.
Love.

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Cavebear
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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:03 am

Hi Ilona,

Than you so much for getting back to me. I'm really excited to be having this conversation.

I'll consider your questions and get back to you with my answers before the end of the day.

Thanks again,
Claire x

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Cavebear
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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:12 pm

Hi Ilona,

When I wake up in the morning my first thoughts are about what I have to do today - I am a mother of a 15 year old and an 11 year old, I am a wife, I have a dog, I work as a psychotherapist. I feel that I have things that need to get done and an idea of how they should go. If things don't go the way I have planned I seem to take it personally and get annoyed, frustrated etc. Or feel pleased, have a sense of personal satisfaction if they go well. I spend a lot of time in my thoughts and feelings mainly based around dissatisfaction with relationships and with myself, (despite understanding that they are merely thoughts), and can often get lost in my perceived problems and the feelings that come with them.

When I first understood the concept that we can drop our thoughts and simply be, which was about 4 months ago, I had a week or two where I felt very peaceful, light, positive and able to deal with whatever arose in my life easily. However since then it seems that my ego has taken control back. I set aside time for meditation every day and after the kids have gone to bed I immerse myself in silent time and watch many, many non-dual videos. I also watch short videos at several times throughout the day. During meditation and in the evening I'm able to see that my ego is unreal and experience peace, however outwith these times my ego springs back. I am now at the stage where these quiet times seem to be merely an escape from my real life, and also appear to amplify the suffering when functioning from an ego place. I am so frustrated.

What is it that owns this identity?

During these months of seeking I have become aware of/rediscovered a sense of 'I' which is much deeper than the ego 'I'. This deeper 'I' is very hard to describe. I recognise that it has always been there, is still constantly here when I think about it, can observe the ego and all of its thoughts, feelings etc. It appears that this deeper 'I' takes the shape of the ego, or is eclipsed by the ego. Whether it owns this identity I'm not sure.

I hope that this gives you some idea where I'm at, and a sense of what I'm missing or need to do next .

With gratitude,
Claire x

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:20 am

Hi Claire,
Thank you for reply. Yes, I can see where you are.
On one hand you can see that there is no ego, on another you see that it springs back and takes control. Then what is really going on? Is ego something that comes and goes? Is it an entity in charge? What is it in control of?
Where is it right now?

Can you explore this closer and write what you find out.

Love.

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Cavebear
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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:20 pm

Thanks Ilona. Great questions which I've pondered all day.
When I really look for the ego I can't find one!!
Then what is really going on?
All I can find is thoughts. Some positive, some negative. Different perspectives. Some obviously coming from a conditioned perspective, such as 'not good enough' or coming from a place of lack.

One example - I had a pleasant conversation with my neighbor. The conservation just happened as it happened. Afterwards my mind started to replay what had been said and add meanings, such as 'why did I say that?' 'perhaps he meant...' 'was he trying to manipulate me?' etc.
Without the thoughts I can experience it simply as a pleasant encounter. With the added analysis from the mind it becomes much more complicated, even sinister if I choose to believe the thoughts.
Is ego something that comes and goes? Is it an entity in charge?
Well, thoughts definitely come and go. Some thoughts grab my attention more than others.
It seems that what I have previously thought of as the ego is actually just a collective term for whatever thoughts/feelings/responses come up in relation to an event, or just randomly. Ever changing. It is not an entity. Not in charge.
What is it in control of?
Nothing. Although certain thoughts seem to be able to influence my feelings about myself, others or life. If I let them!
Where is it right now?
The ego as an entity does not exist. However there are thoughts present at the moment such as 'Ilona's going to think you're an idiot when she reads this' and 'You're never going to get this' and 'don't be so hard on yourself', which seem to have some personality about them. Different personalities for different thoughts.

I'm left wondering: who/what is aware of these thoughts and processes? When particular thoughts grab my attention, whose attention do they grab? Who is letting or not letting certain thoughts have influence? Are these just other thoughts?

Not sure if I'm on the right track here.

With gratitude x

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:59 pm

Hi Claire,
Thank you for thoughtful answer. Good insights. Yes, you are on the right track and you know the next questions.
I'm left wondering: who/what is aware of these thoughts and processes? When particular thoughts grab my attention, whose attention do they grab? Who is letting or not letting certain thoughts have influence? Are these just other thoughts?
How would you answer them?

Love.

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Cavebear
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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:58 pm

Hi Ilona,

Ha ha that's not fair!!
I've actually really struggled with these questions today. My mind keeps going to all the stuff I've read/watched about enlightenment etc. and what the 'right' answer should be, but I know that's not going to help me. So...
I'm left wondering: who/what is aware of these thoughts and processes? When particular thoughts grab my attention, whose attention do they grab? Who is letting or not letting certain thoughts have influence? Are these just other thoughts?
The answer that seems to come up is simply "me". The real me. The me that has always been here, unchanging.

There is very little I can say about this "me", but I do seem to attach a mental image to it. The image of a person, maybe an amalgamation of all the versions of me over the years, if that's even possible! Very hard to explain. There's also a physical sensation in my heart chakra area. Warmth.

There is fear that I will lose this "me" through this process with you. However also a strong urge for the truth.

Thanks for your help. Hope you're well x

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:37 am

Thank you for reply.
Nothing real is lost as a result of this process. Nothing that is always here can disappear. Only the illusion is seems as such, not real. So rest assured, there is no danger to disappear :) the fear shows up as you approach areas that haven’t been looked at before. It’s a warning signal, that something is there...

Ok, let’s look at the real “me”. What does this word point to?
Can you see, hear, taste, touch, smell this me?
Is warmth = me?

What is there that word me refers to? Is there a real me and not real me?

Where is the line between me and not me?

Explore this and write what you find out.

Love

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:19 pm

Hi Ilona,

Thanks for your reply. I've had a very enlightening couple of days pondering your questions. I really appreciate the time you've put in to help me with this process.

The words 'the real me' point to nothing. Well nothing tangible. Nothing that can be seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled. If I look for the real me, it is me that is doing the looking! Or more precisely, it is me that is aware that looking is happening, and me that is aware that nothing is found. Warmth is simply a sensation that I perceive, so is also not me.
What is there that word me refers to?
All that is here is an aliveness and an awareness of everything. I want to say a field of awareness. An intelligence. A knower.
Is there a real me and not real me? Where is the line between me and not me?
There is a sense of a character, although much less solid than ever before. I know now 100% that it is fiction. There is no line. It feels more like a role I play occasionally, or get lost in occasionally, but essentially it is still me. I'm actually finding it quite funny when I catch myself playing in this way. It feels like the character's days are numbered.
When I woke up this morning my default was still to function from the character (with some detachment), however after looking within again and confirming the nothingness, the character has fallen away. I presume this is something I will have to keep confirming for some time, or do you think that there is more I need to see?

I feel unburdened, lighter, joyful. I'm so grateful for your time and effort. I've realised that I've been attempting to 'get it' through listening to other people's experiences and understanding, but actually the only way is to really look for myself. I thought I was looking whilst I read or watched, but realise now that I was actually avoiding/distracting/resisting the somewhat uncomfortable process of actually looking at myself.

Do you think I'm done Ilona?
With much gratitude x

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:31 am

Wonderful! Yes, you have to look for yourself, for the love of truth, no one else can do that but you. That’s the key. Looking.
And when you see something clearly, you can describe it in your own words.

Let’s look at character.
What is character made of?
Does dog or cat have a character?
If you consider this example, that once a kid realises that Santa is illusion, he no longer believes that santa is a real entity that lives up north and brings presents. That story is realised to be a fantasy. The same is with the separate self, or Claire. What is Claire? There is clearly a story about Claire. There are different stories about Claire from different character point of view.

Does Claire run the show, called Claire’s life? Is she making things happen? Is she the manager, the doer and director of what happens in the story about Claire?

Where is Claire now? How is she perceived?

Explore this :)
Love.

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Cavebear
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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:58 pm

Hi Ilona,

Thanks for your response. I'm really glad that you've given me more to look at, as after my last post to you I felt like I was missing something. These questions have posed a real challenge to me, and it has seemed like a lot of effort has been required to come up with a response. I'm pretty sure my response is not what you're hoping for, but I have to be honest.
What is character made of?
It seems that character is made of a mixture of conditioned and unconditioned traits. Conditioned traits could include beliefs such as 'I'm not good enough' or 'things never work out for me'. Desires and fears. A desire to feel attractive may lead to flirtiness. Fear of being unloved may lead to always trying to please others. Unconditioned traits could include being reserved, a deep thinker, empathic; preferences such as liking certain foods, music; possessing artistic or sporting talents.
It seems to me that a body/mind is unique and has a (possibly) genetic predisposition to certain things (unconditioned traits). On top of that is built a story based on experiences (conditioned traits).
I presume that this process is to help us become free of the conditioned traits, but the unconditioned traits will remain?
Does dog or cat have a character?
I have always lived with dogs and cats and they do all seem to have unique characters. Different breeds have different traits. Also some are more affectionate than others, and have different skills. My current dog sings when I play harmonica! We did not teach her, it's just something she did on her own. They also seem to have conditioned traits built from experience. One dog took a dislike to all black dogs after being attacked by a black dog.
What is Claire? There is clearly a story about Claire. There are different stories about Claire from different character point of view.
Yes there are different stories about Claire, seeming to be dependent on mood. For example, if I'm in a low, depressed mood I focus on negative traits, or see certain traits from a negative perspective - I'm quite messy and can see that as being disorganised or chaotic. When in a positive mood I can tell myself that messiness is a by product of being creative and that messiness is unimportant. I've always been a deep thinker which can be perceived as really positive, or as over analytical depending on mood.
I'm aware that these different stories are purely thoughts and feelings on top of the basic facts.
Does Claire run the show, called Claire’s life? Is she making things happen? Is she the manager, the doer and director of what happens in the story about Claire?
I'm becoming more and more aware that life just happens - a thought/image/feeling occurs like 'a cup of tea would be nice', then I find myself getting up and making a cup of tea. Or I may find myself just doing something with no apparent thought process involved. However at other times Claire does seem to make the decisions and run the show. For example - I've really struggled to sit with these questions and write a response to you. I seem to get distracted very easily, even choosing to do something else instead. It felt like I had to be quite disciplined with myself to sit down a few moments ago. There is a strong sense that I made that decision.
Where is Claire now? How is she perceived?
As I am looking at myself in this way, the conditioned Claire is a fantasy. I can still see that this body/mind has particular traits such as artistic or an animal lover..... Or can I? Feeling very confused actually. Is this Claire writing now?
Perhaps I need to spend more time looking at this Ilona. Feel like I've taken 2 steps back.

Looking forward to your response.
With gratitude x

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:53 am

Hi Claire,
Thank you for taking time and looking in your experience. There is no right answer, there is only what is true for you at this moment. I don’t expect any particular answer. We are looking together at what is showing up. And everything is welcome.

This is onteresting
I presume that this process is to help us become free of the conditioned traits, but the unconditioned traits will remain?
Let’s look if there really is two different kinds of traits. Perhaps there is perhaps there isn’t, so let’s dig in and find out.

When you separate conditioned traits and unconditioned traits, it may get confusing.. which is which? But, if it’s all one, then it’s all clear. Conditioned means that a trait does not exist independently of conditions. Now which trait exists independently of conditions? And conditions include DNR, family, social, cultural situation. What is not part of the whole? Can there be an artistic trait independently of what is given by nature?

Explore this.

What exists independently, inherently, not affected by everything else?

Love.

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Cavebear
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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Cavebear » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:46 pm

Thanks Ilona,

Yes I was getting very confused!

I realised today that it's possible to have a genetic trait that you're not aware of, such as being artistic. If you've not had an opportunity to discover that trait it does not become part of the story of the character. Also, there was a time before I knew that I was artistic, or a deep thinker or whatever, before I added them to the story of Claire. That's helped me see that even DNA is not inherent to my being.

This seems to uncover a belief that I am somehow a part of my body. On one level I can say I am not my body - I know that if I gain/lose weight, get ill, even lose a limb, and now also despite the contents of my DNA, that the sense of 'I' is unaffected. (I know that we have already established that there is nothing tangible to this 'I', but I'm not sure what else to call this sense of being). However I still believe that when this body dies, I die. Sorry if this is off topic!
What exists independently, inherently, not affected by everything else?
Only this sense of being, I, awareness.

Warm regards x

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Re: Truth and Freedom

Postby Ilona » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:34 am

Nice answer. Thank you. Yes, sense of being is always present, no matter what situations are playing out.
Sense of being is sense of being, does it need to be called anything? Does sense of being needs an identity? Or can it simply be?

Then what is that needs an identity? What is that feels naked, unsafe without an identity? What is that is holding on to idea “I am in the body”?

When the body dies, does a story die too?

Explore this.
Love.


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