Looking for guidance to see

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thbl
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Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:59 pm

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
In short: a strong longing to see with my own eyes what others on the forum see. I've followed a number of threads on the forum and tried to "play along" in my own pace. I've been impressed and moved by the freely offered guidance and by the seeing reported by people being guided.

What do you expect of the conversation on this forum?
I hope rather than expect that one of the guides will offer assistance. I hope direct pointing can stop this oscillation I experience: Most of the time I intuitively assume there is a "me" and act from this assumption. At other times it is clearly seen that the "me" reference is just an idea with no real substance. During those other times there is contentment and a sense of completeness, unity here. I hope to nourish those other times through guidance from someone who see these things clearly.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?

I used to attend buddhist retreats on a fairly regular basis. I used to meditate (zazen) about one hour every day. I did this for several years. I came to buddhism because I was so intrigued by the notion of enlightenment, of seeing through illusions. The idea resonated clearly with me. During 5-7 years of buddhist training I forgot my initial impetus and started to focus more on buddhist tradition & philosophy. Eventually I re-discovered my motivation to pursue enlightenment rather than buddhist studies. This led me away from regular meditation practice, away from the sangha. It also led me to read & explore other approaches. I have read Douglas Harding's book and Adyashanti's with great interest. I remembers days and weeks where there was walking but no one doing walking, thinking but no one doing thinking. I come to this forum hoping to stop the oscillation.

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Ilona
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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:13 pm

Hi thbl. Can I call you that? Or you prefer a different name?

Wellcome to the forum! We can have a chat and see what happens.
All I ask for is that you respond from your own experience, using your own words, not from what you read or heard.

You say, that you came here to stop oxilating. But what if it does not stop, what if it's natural? Can it be ok to get sucked into the story sometimes?
What is so bad about feeling emotions?

Is doer and thinker something that comes and goes? How do you know this? What is doing reading right now?

I'm looking forward to our conversation.
Kind regards
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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thbl
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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:27 pm

Hi Ilona

I am delighted that you offer to engage in this kind of conversation with me. I feel privileged and excited.

What if oscilation doesn't stop, you asked. Well, if it is the way of things I guess it doesn't stop. And "my" story is mostly a good story to be sucked into. I have no complaints about that story, nor the emotions invested and harvested from the story. Life will be good even if oscilation continues. Good, but... Those times with just seeing, just walking, just doing, I recall those times as saturated with an intense sense of being alive. In comparison life burdened with a sense of "me" and "my" feels like a life lived wearing oven mitts, metaphorically speaking. There is a strong desire to live a life without wearing those thick oven mitts. I'd rather feel life with bare hands. These days I seem to spend most hours wearing oven mitts, even when they're completely unnecessary and quite frankly a bit clunky.

Is doer and thinker something that comes and goes, you asked. After reading your question I found myself staring into the monitor expecting a thought with an answer. But there was no answer. I mean where would the thinker go, or come from. For the thinker to "go", it would have to be a "something". And I sit here with an intuition that the thinker/doer probably can't be categorized meaningfully as a "something". I guess ultimately thinker/doer can't really go nor come. But it feels like a thinker/doer comes and goes. How do you know this, you asked. When there is a thinker/doer present, there is also a sense of thoughts, feelings, memories and actions are felt to be "mine". I understand intellectually there is no real "me" as such and when I investigate I seem to find no "me", just openness. I guess you could say a "me" is perceived sometimes, but it isn't really believed in. On the other hand, there is a sense of "my" and "mine".It is paradoxical really, and downright perplexing. At times, "my/mine" is seen as just labels, at other times "my/mine" feels so real, so right.

You also asked about reading. Reading your words and reading this reply simply happens. I seem to have no say in the matter at all. Colours are seen and understood as letters, words, sentences, meaning. I never thought about that before, but "I" can't convert colours to letters, much less letters to words to meaning. It just happens. As it happens I notice a tingling sensation that seems boundless. I'll follow that tingling after I post this.

All the best,
Thomas

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thbl
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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:28 pm

Oh, and please call me Thomas - thanks!

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:44 am

Hi Thomas,
Thank you for thoughtful answer. I like your metaphor of perceiving life with owen mits, rather than bare hands :) hehee, you can feel those owen mits from inside with bare hands, don't you?

Yes, this idea that something is me/mine is like an owen mit. But let's look directly at it and find out what is there.

Find out, through the day, when this alleged ownership arises, is it in good situations, or unpleasant? What is exactly experienced when ownership happens? What is that owner?
Is there a me that owns memories, sensations, thoughts, feelings? Where and how is this me perceived? What form does it take?


Here is a little metaphor for you. When a kid realises, that Santa is not real magical entity, but a simple man dressed up as one, he can still enjoy Christmas and presents and play along with everyone. Santa did not disappear, the belief in magic dropped. So this doer thinker thingy, still shows up, dressed up and ready to entertain, but it's clear that it's an illusion. Like you say, it's not believed anymore. That does not mean, that sense of ownership, me/mine can never show up again. And when it shows up, it's here to bring some patterns for examination. Some gifts, that are yet to be received.

So find the sense of separate self and write to me all about it.

Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:57 pm

Dear Ilona

I love the mental picture of being able to sense the oven mitts from the inside. Reading your words feels like a gentle, but persistent nudge. I guess when the mitts come on, a sense of ownership is projected on to the mitts.

I also really enjoyed the Santa metaphor. Very fitting, very amusing! You have a way with words.

Anyway, I have looked for the alleged ownership arising today. It arises when I interact with people. It is difficult to see clearly because it happens so fast. But it seems to go something like this: The person in front of me is perceived here as a separate being. Along with this sense of separation we (me and the other person) are seen as separate beings. This separation isn't particularly strong at first. It will dissolve if looked at directly. The separation seems to grow stronger if the other person uses language asking for my opinion, my action, my engagement. Almost as if a "my" gets created when people around me ask for it. Now, it seems clear that the "my" arises because other people are seen as "other". It seems so true that other people are in fact other.

It's funny how the sense of ownership is much more pronounced than the sense of owner. It seems the "my" thought is believed to be true. The "my" thought can feel true even when no "me" is found. That is ofcourse complete nonsense (how can there be a "my" without a "me"), but it is honest nonsense. It seems ownership is primarily asserted on thoughts and actions. Sensations and memories just happen.

The sense of ownership can also arise quite convincingly if I'm deeply absorbed with some activity and someone comes along and invites me to do something else. For example if I'm playing guitar and one of my kids comes along and asks if I can help her with something. When attention switches from (for example) playing guitar to something else, ownership sneaks in. Subsequent thoughts and actions are perceived as mine.

Finally, ownership arises if I am busy trying to do too many things at once. I guess the sense of ownership is a deeply ingrained habit, and when things get busy the auto-pilot kicks in.

There has been no unpleasantries today. So I can't report any direct experience of what happens when unpleasant situations arise. I must say it has been a most interesting day. I have tried inquiry many times before, but compared to following your hints about where to inquire, my previous inquiry has been like the blind leading the mute. Your proposals for where to look and what to look for are really working here. Thank you so much for pointing at the blind spots.

In gratitude,
Thomas

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:05 pm

good stuff! thank you for looking. so the ownership itself what is it? can you see that it's some kind of sensation + thoughts? is it that sensation that owns something or the thoughts own something? have a look for yourself. look at the screen, is it A SCREEN or MY SCREEN? what makes it mine?

look around and find out what do you really own. what is the difference between A thing and MY thing? is there an attachment to MY thing? what is this thing attached to?

when looking at another human, how do you know that there is a separate self in there? is it in the bag of skin?
look in the mirror, what do you own? a reflection shows up, what in that reflection is MINE? where is the me that claims ownership?

consider this, do you do anything to control the blood flow in the body, the heart beat, the hair growth? if so, how do you do that? look at another body, do you control the blood flow in that other body? do you control the movements of that other body? can you see that things happen without you in charge of that? how do you know that that there is an i that is the manager?

what is not happening all by itself?


looking forward to reading your answers.
much love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:19 pm

Wow!

Never considered looking in the mirror quite like that before. What an eye-opener! There was no control of the hand seen in the mirror and there was no control with the hand seen at the end of this arm. Obviously so, but I never noticed that before. There was something about looking at that person in the mirror and realizing no control. Excactly the same applies to people around me. It was no news that I have no control of other people. But it was quite a surprise to see that there was no distinction between so-called here and so-called there. "My" world collapsed while looking in the mirror and only direct experience remains here. No bells, whistles or fireworks. Just this. All of a sudden it became so clear all those things considered mine where just actions, sensations, thoughts labelled "mine" so quickly that the labelling process went unnoticed. I used to feel as if I moved my hand. Now I have no idea how the hand moves. It just does and then thoughts arise. Thoughts claiming "I did this". It's hillarious really.

Everything is happening all by itself right here. There is no other to be found anywhere. Right now there is a deep relaxation and surge of energy happening at once. I am grateful you took the time to point at this. Thank you! There is a strong curisoty to explore this unfamiliar yet strangely familiar world. I wonder what happens next?

All the best,
Thomas

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:10 am

Wow! Amazing. How are you feeling today?
Has anything changed?
Is the search still here?

Yes, it's hilarious, how thoughts apear to claim ownership and it goes unquestioned. Hehe, laughing with you.

Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:55 am

Dear Ilona

It's been very busy day, cooking Christmas dinner for 16 guests. It has been a most curious watching those hands prepare all that food. There really isn't the slightest control. Thoughts pop-up stating that I should take control of things or chaos will ensue. But absolutely no opportunity for actually taking control is found here, so how could control be asserted? Who would want to pretend taking control anyway? Who, really?

Search is gone. Curiosity is very much present. I am very curious. It seems I know nothing, or nearly nothing. I know I have no "I", if you know what I mean. All other "truths" are up for re-examination. But there's no urgency or rush. Re-examination will happen when it does. There is curiosity and a distinct underlying sweetness to the whole experience.

I find no words to adequately describe how the world is perceived. To say everything is tightly interwoven would be misleading. It seems tigher than tight, seamless actually. And no separate strands are woven together. To say the world is one seems to be a slightly better description. But the world is less than one and so much more, in a sense. Perhaps the best description is that the world is perceived as whole and complete. Sometimes during the day a slight separation between the world and here is felt. At other times it seems there is absolutely no separation between the world perceived and here. It is almost as if there is no distance anywhere, but yet again words fail me in describing closer than close.

Merry Christmas and a millions thanks for nudging attention to see this.

Thomas

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:42 am

Merry Christmas to you too! Wonderful times! What you wrote shows me, that something shifted, that the seeking has been replaced with curiosity and wonder. Amazing.

Yes, there is so much to exprore and re-examine, haha, only all of it! But as you say, there is no rush.. This is the first step, that opens the doors, not a landing point to happy ever after. I agree, it's difficult to use words to describe, they feel so limited and clumsy.

Is there anything that you feel to explore further now? Or can you say with a big fat YES, it's clear, the I/ separate self is an illusion.

Much love your way!
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Fri Dec 25, 2015 2:22 pm

YES!
It's clear now. There is no one typing here :-D

Thank you so much for offering your guidance so freely and readily. What a Christmas gift. Utterly incomparable to any gift I've offered or received. Chatting with you has been as unsettling as it has been amusing.

A friend of mine has asked me to guide in Danish. Are there any ressources available for learning to guide, or is the best advice to go wherever conversation flows?

Again, thank you for spending time with me and so many others. It's a gift to individuals, former individuals and humanity as a whole.

In gratitude,
Thomas

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Fri Dec 25, 2015 3:01 pm

Awesome! Welcome home, so to speak. Yes, there is some material to read about how to guide. But first, here are so called final questions for you. Take your time, write a lot!


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 fully 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? Give examples from experience.

6) Anything to add?

Much love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby thbl » Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:16 pm

Dear Ilona

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No! Not now, not before. It was all an idea that was believed to be accurate.


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 idea of a "me" experiencing life through this body's sense organs becomes an illusion when it is believed to be completely true. For me, my entire world used to be flipped upside down by this strongly held idea. I perceived the world to be out there and me to be in here. The world was understood to be experienced through the body. That is now seen as complete nonsense.

I have no idea how I started believing a "me". I don't remember a time before a "me". But I guess it is quite likely that upbringing played a significant role in forming a "me". Language and culture assumes a me here. The natural languages I know use a syntactical structure of object, subject and verbs. I guess language rubs off. The syntactical structures of language enforces the assumption of a "me" located somewhere here. However, I'm not sure we should blame language for the grand illusion. I'm more inclined to believe that languages are structured that way because people believe object-subject is an accurate representation of reality. I guess the illusion came before language, but language certainly re-inforced the illusion i used to nourish here and language continues to make it difficult communicating the notion of life without "me".

I think thinking is another strong candidate as the source of the grand illusion. It seems easier to believe thoughts come out of somewhere, rather than out of nowhere. It is tempting to label that "somewhere" as "me". When thoughts appear in rapid succesion they seem solid. I think it may be the same cognitive bias that leads people to perceive still pictures played in rapid succession as moving objects. Speed creates the illusion. In my own experience I (until quite recently) felt my "me" to be more solid when I was busy. Thoughts happening immediatly after eachother certainly makes the illusion easier to believe.

On a similar note, things happening almost simultaneously also makes the illusion easier to believe. Thinking and moving almost simultaneously can create the illusion that a "me" controls the movement. It's like playing guitar. If you pluck three notes in rapid succession it is heard almost as one sound. If you don't pay close attention, the three individual notes aren't registered, only one sound is heard: the emergent phenomenon of a chord. I find that to be a rather fitting metaphor for the emergent phenomenon of perceiving a separate "me". When close attention is brought to the idea, the illusion evaporates, like a musician that can hear the notes that make up the chord.


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 more right than any other experience to see the utter absense of a me. It feels perfect. It is not perceived here as a high, there is no ecstacy or rapture. It feels whole, united, perfect with a continuous sweetness underlying the whole experience.

I entered this dialogue because I have had periods of seeing, but seeing was not sustained. The illusion kept creeping back in. Right now the illusion seems sustained but who knows if it will stay that way? Before this dialogue I used to stumble into seeing during meditation, but I couldn't consistently initiate seeing. Seeing was a lucky accident when it happened. I also mistook meditative rapture to be intrinsic to seeing, so I assumed I needed longer, deeper, more concentrated meditations to see better. Not so! A significant difference is that I now know exactly what induced seeing. I believe I can direct attention back to seeing again unguided, but I don't really know as no me is perceived here now. It seems to be gone without a trace.


4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Several effectful pushes put the "me" off balance during the conversation with you. The question about the doer/thinker coming and going and the part about feeling the oven mitts from the inside. What really un-did me was looking in a mirror. It shouldn't have come as a big surprise that there was no way of controlling the human form there. But the bag of skin in the mirror could not be controlled and by extension it was clearly seen that there was no way of controlling other human forms out there in the world. And then the world crept closer until there was no distance between there and here. It felt as if the "there" pushed out the "me" that used to reside "here".


5) Can you talk about decision, intention, free will, choice and control? What makes things happen? How does it work? Give examples from experience.
I don't have much meaningful to report about decision, intention, free will, choice and control. Decisions and choices seem to make themselves, intentions arise, but I find no free will or control over any of it. It's a mystery here how those fingers type this very text. I haven't got the faintest idea about what makes things happen. I am very curious about it. I am also very curious about how feelings of shame, pride, resentment and attraction will unfold in days to come.


6) Anything to add?
There are so many beliefs waiting to be re-examined. But there is no rush, no urgency, no search as such. Just curiosity.

Dear reader, if you're reading this as part of your own search, I can only recommend that you create a profile on the forum and request a guide. There is a world of difference between following someone else's direct pointing conversation and actively engaging, investing in a direct pointing conversation where questions probe, prod and nudge your blind spots. Just go for it!

All the best,
Thomas

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Ilona
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Re: Looking for guidance to see

Postby Ilona » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:32 pm

Brilliant, thank you very much for answers! This was delightful to read.
I have no further questions for you and I'm happy to invite you to Facebook groups for sharing and further explorations.
I will send you a PM.

Much love your way!
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book


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