This is all very good investigation. Well done. I think you have been reading other threads on the forum? That's OK and it has obviously helped you to look.
Thanks for the encouragement. I actually haven't read any other threads on the forum since we had the discussion about the different inquiry styles. I appreciate how you guide me to look for myself. I've just been spending more time looking with your questions before replying.
I think some things that I’ve read previously are coming up in my experience or are starting to make sense.
This one was very cool. Wow.
Trees, dogs, insects, people, the breeze, the sky, the clouds, the smell of the outdoors, my thoughts about this exercise and no distance between a “me” and all of this experience.
Looking for the distance or line between “me” and the experience collapsed any sense of location. Without a “me” that usually seems to be located in the middle, there was just no point of reference for locating anything. Couldn’t tell where anything was, but everything was there. No separate me. There’s just this experience that’s “self-aware”.
Not quite sure how to relate this back to the whirlpools. I guess we’re all just part of one whole experience at different places, but I can’t even tell what location is any more.
In the end it isn't about a looker looking. It's simply 'seeing'. You may start to notice that seeing (the illusion, no self) happens as it happens. Where is the looker, looking, then?
The looker can never be found even though it's assumed there is one.
What is 'seeing' no self?
What is doing the seeing?
Nothing is seeing or doing the seeing. But thoughts will make it seem like there's a "me" doing something. Attention moves around, but nothing can be found that is in control of it.
Is it simply happening?
Yes, but I think I only know this intellectually. Or at least thoughts are saying this!
I think I need more careful looking into how thinking/thoughts happen and how things are done. I'm not that clear on it, even though I can't find the thinker or doer.
What is identified with thought-story?
Nothing. It’s just here by itself. I think I just assumed there was a "me" identifying with it. I don't think I have looked at the thought-story closely enough.
Is the illusion or thought-story 'separate' or different from no self?
I thought it was before. That the illusion would collapse or I could somehow get away from it. But the illusion is not separate. The "truth" of the illusion is no self.
I've had a lot of resistance and expectations with regards to the illusion/thought-story and no self lately.
I realized I've been trying to push the illusion away or escape from it. Worrying that I'll keep getting caught in it and then trying to see things in another way to escape.
I somehow got the expectation that the illusion should disappear and I should get or move towards some kind of "pure" experience with zero sense of separation and no sense of me at all. (Which the exercise you suggested sort of gave me!)
I guess this is a hindrance. And where is the me that is worrying about all this and having the expectations anyways. It seems like I should just face the illusion and investigate it without fearing it.