The non existent self

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Kan
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The non existent self

Postby Kan » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:23 pm

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

There is no concept of self in experience - senses, emotions and thoughts are all part of the layer that is the self, which is the observed. The self is not the point from which my existence is defined, rather the concept of existence and self are just thoughts that appear.

What are you looking for at LU?

I am a bit stuck in how to proceed next in the realization of the separate self. To best explain it, I think I understand the theory well but am not getting the practical. I am able to understand that my senses, emotions, especially thoughts are external to the observer and are just appearing in consciousness and can't be controlled, and I do have moments where I experience this too, but majority of my reality is still identifying itself with thoughts and emotions - that is, say if I get a negative thought, I'll be telling myself that there is no power in the thought and it's not real. I am able to understand that, but only as a thought still; I'm not able to know it. Another example - for a few minutes, I experienced that the concept of time itself is just a thought, which means everything we experience is external to the observer and hence there is only the observer and the observed. I'll have moments like this, but mostly still am driven by thoughts.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?

I'm hoping to have a discussion that will help me go beyond the theoretical understanding of the separate self - maybe the guide is able to see exactly where I'm stuck since they have been through the journey and have been or seen other people stuck here.

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

Not too much. Vedanta has been the only one that I've spent some time on through discussions, you tube videos or talks.

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

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MichaelD
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:38 pm

Hello Kan,

I am happy to assist you in exploring the illusion of the ‘separate self’. I can only point the way but you have to see it for yourself. That is why we are described as guides and not teachers. If you haven't already read the disclaimer, please read it now. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Also please read “Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

Please learn to use the quote function. When replying to a question, please use the quote function to highlight the question being answered. Instructions are located in the link below:

http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Just let me know that you have read the disclaimer, the FAQ's and we can then start the exploration.

Many thanks,

Michael

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Kan
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Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:27 pm

Hi Michael,

Thank you for guiding me through this process.
If you haven't already read the disclaimer, please read it. Also please read “Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU.
I've read the disclaimer and the FAQs.

Thanks,
Kan

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MichaelD
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:37 pm

Hi Kan,

One more practical point before I forget. If you can click on the spanner icon at the bottom of the page then we will get email notifications of posts. It can glitch a little but is generally helpful.

So let's begin our journey.

Typically, I will ask a series of questions and or ask you to do various exercises and I hope you will answer from your direct and actual experience as honestly as you can.

From your introduction it is clear that you want to see and to 'know' so I needn't really mention not digressing into abstractions and theory.

To this end it is recommended to not read Dharma / spiritual books or watch 'spiritual' videos while engaged in this enquiry so outside ideas do not colour your direct experience.

Crucial to your looking (like with so many things in life) is having the right attitude and this is what we will now address.

So to get underway I would like you to do two things please:

Firstly, can you identify what your expectations are and write them out for me.

And

Secondly, can you also tell me any reservations, fears, or possible obstacles that may hinder you.

We will then address whatever comes up which will be a bit like clearing the decks, or emptying the cup!

Yours,

Michael

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Kan
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Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:18 am

Hi Michael,

I clicked on the spanner below, let me know if you still aren't getting notifications.

Before I answer your questions, can you explain 'direct experience' a bit? I feel I get confused with what it means, and I know I'm just complicating it :) I think LU defined it as everything except for the content of a thought - so visual, emotion, hearing, touch, the coming of a thought etc, but not the content of thought. I'm not really getting it - if I see a blue sock, I'll say is a blue sock - how can I separate content of thought with direct experience here?

Now to answer your questions
Firstly, can you identify what your expectations are and write them out for me.
My expectation is that with your guidance I'm able to identify how to go to the next level of recognizing the non existence of the separate self, to a point where it's much more clear - not necessarily the end or complete understanding because that I believe will probably be my individual journey. But at this point I'm not able to move further in my understanding of the non existent self. It feels like I truly can grasp this concept theoretically, but is only limited in the 'thought' about it rather than the 'knowing'. At this point, I'm in a 'so what next' stage where 'i get it' but don't think I 'realize' it. Also it's a struggle to convey this with words since the concept goes beyond that, so sorry for using these phrases :)

In summary, and the best way I can put it - I understand the concept that separate self doesn't exist but I am still not able to separate my 'identity' from thoughts, feelings, emotions. I understand that the concept of 'identity' itself shouldn't exist with the realization of the non existent self, but I think that's where I'm stuck.
Secondly, can you also tell me any reservations, fears, or possible obstacles that may hinder you.
I think that my mind is in denial because it seems that my understanding is fine but acceptance is poor. The main obstacle is probably just the resistance of my mind to accepting this reality, because I think I am an over analyzer as a personality so tend to depend on my mind and thoughts a lot.

Thanks,
Kan

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MichaelD
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:39 pm

Hi Kan,

Thanks for your post.

Direct experience comes next :)

My expectation is that with your guidance I'm able to identify how to go to the next level of recognizing the non existence of the separate self, to a point where it's much more clear - not necessarily the end or complete understanding because that I believe will probably be my individual journey. But at this point I'm not able to move further in my understanding of the non existent self. It feels like I truly can grasp this concept theoretically, but is only limited in the 'thought' about it rather than the 'knowing'.
This forum is not about deepeneing your theoretical understandings of anything, including non self. It is about you realising or seeing that for yourself.

Are you completely clear about this point?

So rather than spend time considering the rest of your answers in any detail I want to be really sure.

Are you ready to move from conceptual ideas and experience / see for yourself the illusiory nature of the separate self?

Please rank again 1-10.

Many thanks,

Michael

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Kan
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Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:15 pm

Hi Michael,

Yes! I definitely want to get out of the theoretical and conceptual aspect of this to actually seeing it.
Are you ready to move from conceptual ideas and experience / see for yourself the illusiory nature of the separate self?
Yes!
Please rank again 1-10.
10

Thanks,
Kan

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Kan
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Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:43 pm

Hi Michael,

Just checking that you received my previous note, since you said the notifications can be glitchy.

Thanks,
Kan

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MichaelD
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:54 pm

Hi Kay,

Thanks for your posts.

I am not receiving notifications but who knows perhaps they will start to work some time soon?!

There is not a lot of theory that we need to get going, however, it is worth just mentioning what I mean by 'direct experience', since this is going to be a recurring theme.

When I use the term 'direct experience', I mean immediate sense experience (what is seen, felt, heard etc right here and now) and also thoughts as immediately experienced.

So for example "I am hungry" is a judgement, not a description of direct experience.

On the other hand, "There is a hard ache in my stomach, and thoughts about food and the possibility of eating keep arising" is describing some of the direct experience involved in being hungry.

So as a warm-up exercise, can you write a few lines to convey some of your direct experience as you (I assume) sit in front of your computer now?

Thanks,

Michael

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Kan
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Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:49 pm

Hi Michael,

Let's hope it starts working soon!

In terms of some of my direct experiences, here's a few examples, with some questions as well. Let me know if I am getting the concept.

'I breathe' versus 'air goes in and out of my nose. My abdomen expands and contracts'

'I am anxious' versus 'there's a knot in my stomach and my breath is shallow'.
In this case, 'my breath is shallow' is direct experience, but in the example above, 'I breathe' is not direct experience. Is my understanding correct?

'I like chocolate' versus ??
I'm not sure what direct experience is in this case but I understand the concept of 'like' is not direct experience. Even explaining it scientifically that it releases dopamine etc is not in my direct experience. So how can I see it as that?

'I drink water'. This I believe is direct experience. If I say it quenches my thirst, that's not direct experience. If I had to say that as direct experience, it will be something like 'I drink water and it stops my mouth from being dry'

Thanks,
Kan

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MichaelD
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:13 pm

Hi Kay,

Yes you have the idea.

So what is your direct experience while you sit and type?

Michael

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Kan
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Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:20 am

Hi Michael,

Sorry I've been and will be traveling so might be off schedule due to poor signals, but will aim to respond daily.
So what is your direct experience while you sit and type?
My direct experience is that a thought appears in my head and my fingers move. I see fingers on the keyboard and I hear click sounds and see words appear on the screen.

How does that sound?

Thanks,
Kan

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MichaelD
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:27 pm

Hi Kan,

Don't worry if you become a little irregular due to travel.
My direct experience is that a thought appears in my head and my fingers move. I see fingers on the keyboard and I hear click sounds and see words appear on the screen.
Ok as far as it goes, but do you feel anything?

Try sitting quietly relaxing and then notice what your experience is. If it helps you stay focussed then become particularly aware of the sensations associated with your normal relaxed breathing. Do this several times. So if you have been taught meditation - like zazen or the mindfulness of breathing. Focus particularly on sensations.

In daily life try and be as aware as you can of physical sensation.

Report back after a few days or take longer if you wish.

Enjoy,

Michael.

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Kan
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Re: The non existent self

Postby Kan » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:52 am

Hi Michael,

I've been doing this exercise and it's been helpful. I want to do it a bit more frequently, and will report back in a few days!

Thanks,
Kan

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MichaelD
Posts: 467
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Re: The non existent self

Postby MichaelD » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:55 pm

Excellent!!

Do that please.

Michael


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