Can't quite let go

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Dizzily
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Can't quite let go

Postby Dizzily » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:42 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That this idea of "I" is a construct of my mind. I have moments where I step back from the stories of my life and identity. When that happens, it seems strange--like this conditioned ego and reactiveness, projected beliefs and identity--they're not me in the present moment. It's just awareness.

What are you looking for at LU?
It's like I'm stuck, and I'm looking for help. When these moments of seeing it all as a construct of mind fade away, and the ego kicks back in, it's almost like it never happened. Slowly, beliefs are dropping away for me. Nonsense about myself that no longer seems true. At one stage in my life, it was like I was trying to build up a bigger idea of myself--more beliefs. Now, it's a stripping-away process. But there's some part of the self still clutching hard inside--it won't let go. I haven't walked through this gateless gate yet, that's for sure.
People who do this process, whether it's LU or awakening in other forms, they report living life more in the moment, more selflessly, with self-acceptance. I spent years in misery after my PTSD event without any self-acceptance, and while I'm not expecting miracles, I'd still hope that this stripping away of bit more of this egoic nonsense leads to just a happier existence--less self-created suffering. I don't expect the existence itself to change--just perhaps some of how I think about it.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Just help in understanding why I don't get it yet. Why these moments where it all seems like it's not me don't stick. Having somebody else's mind point out where I'm getting stuck, what I'm not grasping. Someone to beat me over the head until I get it.

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

Been a seeker for most of my life. An event that led to PTSD really pushed me further that way. I was trying to build the self up in response to the trauma, to prove everything was okay. Spent a bunch of years investigating the content, but not so much the pattern, not so much the me. Did a somatic therapy that helped with the PTSD greatly, and then it led to an experience where I spent three days feeling like I was one with everything (unity consciousness) and that there were no problems unless I labelled things as a problem. I was in complete peace and harmony with the world. Began meditation after that. Recently, I've been trying hard to be mindful and just kinda exist--be in the moment.
More recently, I read the first Jed McKenna book. It resonated because I'd been feeling like I was starting some kind of deconstruction process myself. Even writing notes for therapy each week, it's like I give up on some notion of myself, I surrender, and it's like a release. Through McKenna, I discovered LU, read the FAQ and a few articles such as the "Start Here" and "The Gate" posts. I've also begun reading the Liberation Unleashed book.

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

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JonathanR
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby JonathanR » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:10 am

Hello Dizzily

Welcome to LU. My name is Jon and I'd be very happy to assist you in exploring o self.

Thanks for your intro. It was very informative and a great place from which to start.

I completely understand what you are saying in the following statements:
I haven't walked through this gateless gate yet, that's for sure.
So what would it be like if you had? Write down how it should be experienced. This will help us a lot. I'm just here to assist by asking questions. But its you who will look into your experience to find the truth.
. But there's some part of the self still clutching hard inside--it won't let go
We will address this. Have you tried to find this part of self? How does it manifest?

Looking forward to working with you. Let me know if you wish to go ahead? If you have a change of heart I'd appreciate it if you could let me know that too?

Warm regards

Jon

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Dizzily
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby Dizzily » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:41 am

Hi Jon,

Thanks so much for taking the time to help me. It's very kind of you. Yes, very happy to go ahead and investigate!
So what would it be like if you had [walked through the gateless gate]?
I suspect that life would go on with highs and lows, but I wouldn't be taking things so personally. There wouldn't be as much attachment to this ego who wants to be successful and capable. I wouldn't be stuck on my silly problems so much, perhaps. Perhaps I would have more gratitude for the present moment. That sense of life being a constant struggle might diminish somewhat--I've had three days in my life like that: no struggle, non-striving, you just do what you need to do.
Have you tried to find this part of self? How does it manifest?
When I look at my awareness, I can find no centre. I used to think the "I" was behind the eyes (like it seems a lot of people do), but that just seems to be some tension and a sense of vision moving as my head or eyes move. For me, I suspect the sense of self resides more in the thought patterns. Yes, "I" is just a word, and between thoughts there might not be an "I", but there's still a sense of intention--my intent. My body does many actions without a self having to constantly direct every little movement, but I still feel like I direct that higher-level intention to choose the greater task at hand. Is that clear?

Thanks,
Sean

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JonathanR
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby JonathanR » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:16 pm

Hi Sean

Thanks for your reply. Let's get started then.
. I suspect that life would go on with highs and lows, but I wouldn't be taking things so personally. There wouldn't be as much attachment to this ego who wants to be successful and capable. I wouldn't be stuck on my silly problems so much, perhaps. Perhaps I would have more gratitude for the present moment. That sense of life being a constant struggle might diminish somewhat--I've had three days in my life like that: no struggle, non-striving, you just do what you need to do.
These expectations are not too emphatic. The real barrier tends to be when people have very definite criteria about "how it should be', such as" no more thoughts at sll".

If possible don't entertain expectations or, of they pop up notice that they are there and then let them go.

Perhaps take a look at the ideas you wrote down and try to locate the 'self' that 'thinks' them?

'Ego' is an interesting word. Do you think there is one?
. For me, I suspect the sense of self resides more in the thought patterns
Very interesting. Is that something you've noticed? Can you give an example of how this happens?

All best

Jon

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Dizzily
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby Dizzily » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:04 am

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your help.

Concerning your comments on expectations, it's fair to say that there's still a "me" that desires some kind of change--some form of awakening or realisation. And a "me" that is a little afraid at times of it destroying my life--my career, my marriage, my role as father. Would it? Can no-self love?
Perhaps take a look at the ideas you wrote down and try to locate the 'self' that 'thinks' them?
Thoughts arise and pass. They often contain the word "I", such as I should realise no-self. That "I" refers to this human organism. Its thoughts conceptualise the world and sometimes create an expectation that things should be different to how they are. But the present moment just goes on--awareness of senses, awareness of thoughts. Who is this "I"? I'm starting to see it's like a story, like a collection of memories and beliefs, like a role. The role can change, the beliefs can change, the story can change--these just seem to make sense of the previous experiences and the current sensations. Other people see "Sean" as whatever is in their heads, but is that me? No, it's just their thoughts and memories.
'Ego' is an interesting word. Do you think there is one?
Good question. It's a label for... what? A pattern of thoughts, speech, actions to prioritise this organism over other organisms. To define itself as separate. It's this concept of "me". Of Sean as father, as academic, as guy who likes reading, and so on. When I examine that more closely--there is just the present moment. But I still feel separate. Others still seem like others. But I haven't quite answered the question: Is there an ego? This feels like a zen koan. Yes, at a conceptual level. No, at a level beneath that--hard to put into words. I'm bumping up against something I can't articulate. If the ego is "me", well, there is "me" the organism, but "me" the self...? It seems more like another story, told either by myself or others.
Is that something you've noticed [about the sense of self residing in the thought patterns]? Can you give an example of how this happens?
Sometimes, I feel I should spend more time playing with the kids. At times, I don't want to because of other demands and desires in my life. But is that a self? In the moment, it's more like sensations and thoughts in awareness. Again, the thoughts are expectations but not reality.

I'm sorry. I feel like if we went back a few weeks, I would have had very definite intellectual answers about all of this. Since doing some of the exercises in the LU books and at the no-self website, it's confused things for me. All my answers seem like childish nonsense.

Thanks,
Sean

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JonathanR
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby JonathanR » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:30 am

Hi Sean
. All my answers seem like childish nonsense.
Admitting that is so much better than thinking or believing that we know something already. I'm in the same boat. What do I know?
."me" that is a little afraid at times of it destroying my life--my career, my marriage, my role as father. Would it? Can no-self love?
Fear like this is very common and usually not too difficult to address successfully.

If it is seen, even only intellectually, that there is in reality no separate self entity and never has been or could be then how do you suppose that career, marriage and being a father has happened so far? What made all that happen?

We don't say 'how did those clouds form themselves'? or 'how did that sunflower create its self'? Yet these things and, of course love, all happen anyway.

Let me know if fear keeps appearing?
. it's fair to say that there's still a "me" that desires some kind of change--some form of awakening or realisation.
What I'm going to say now is not intended to annoy. Stand in the sunlight or, failing that, run your hand under warm water. Now, does 'me' need to 'awaken' to this direct experience?
. Thoughts arise and pass. They often contain the word "I", such as I should realise no-self. That "I" refers to this human organism.
Have you ever tried trying to prevent a thought from appearing? Is it possible?

And try creating a thought, 'thinking' a thought. Is that doable?

Just referring to the title of your thread: 'Can't quite let go'... What about letting go of letting go?

Thank you

Jon

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Dizzily
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby Dizzily » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:37 pm

Hi Jon,

I hope you are well.
If it is seen, even only intellectually, that there is in reality no separate self entity and never has been or could be then how do you suppose that career, marriage and being a father has happened so far?
These are the wise words that I needed to hear! I have been reading the second Jed McKenna book, which is gloomy about people going through a similar shift, and that led me to fear rather than thinking logically from my own experience. So, if "I" never existed before, then what has changed? Nothing other than my dropping of a previous belief. Thank you. This is reassuring.
Stand in the sunlight or, failing that, run your hand under warm water. Now, does 'me' need to 'awaken' to this direct experience?
No. This is something I can do right now, awakening or not. This is the truth of my experience, I feel. I am awareness of senses in the present moment, along with some thoughts, such as memories. And memories are not the actual past; they are inferior copies that take place in the present. Other thoughts are conceptual labels to communicate or understand the senses, but they are not the senses themselves.

These senses operate without "me" for the most part, such as hearing. I don't choose to hear; it simply happens. Same with touch and taste and smell. Even emotions are mostly physical sensations in the body with an overlay of thought--they happen without my choosing, too.

Vision--seeing simply happens, although there is a greater sense of control perhaps, because of that idea that I can choose where to look. My eyes mostly focus by themselves, but it seems like I can choose to bring them out of focus as I stare at this laptop.
Have you ever tried trying to prevent a thought from appearing? Is it possible?
Hmm, I know what you're getting at. With meditation, I can sometimes quieten the mind, but I can't prevent any specific thought from appearing. If I had any real control, I could have just chosen to stop thinking at any time. Or I could have chosen to stop having any crazy or inappropriate thoughts that sometimes occur. By the time any one thought starts to arise, there it is, then it passes.

But I guess I'm still stuck on intention. It's a bit like the choosing where to look or focus, a bit like walking where I don't really have to think about what my legs are doing, yet I still feel like there's an intention behind it to go somewhere of my choosing. "My" intention. Or that "I" choose to meditate because it seems, very slowly, to allow greater control of the mind, greater control over my attention.

So, where do these higher-level intentions come from? Are they just manifestations of thoughts and emotions and sensations I can't control? I think I'm expecting to experience a strong sense of having no free will. Hmm, am I expecting too much? Just to watch myself as I go on like an automaton? That I can make no decision in the present moment other than what these unchosen thoughts and sensations would direct this organism with its unique brain to do?

For me, this place leads to nihilism... nothing matters. Why do anything? Why choose anything? But, of course, no one is choosing, no is doing. It's all just happening, just being.
What about letting go of letting go?
Well, if there is no self, then no one needs to let go. And, yes, this concern about letting go is another expectation. And what is that expectation? A thought? Perhaps with some overlaid emotion? Did I choose them? No. This realisation will happen when it happens.

Thanks for your help, Jon.

Regards,
Sean

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JonathanR
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby JonathanR » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:27 pm

Hi Sean,

Very happy to work with you.
. My eyes mostly focus by themselves, but it seems like I can choose to bring them out of focus as I stare at this laptop.
Ah. Interesting. Try this:

The words on this screen are seen. Conventionally it is said that "I see' and the assumption is that it is 'eyes' that are the body that is 'me' that is doing the seeing.

So, right now notice this experience of seeing. What's it actually like? Is there a 'me' doing seeing? Is there an experience of eyes seeing or the body seeing? Or is it that seeing just happens without a someone making it happen?
. But I guess I'm still stuck on intention. It's a bit like the choosing where to look or focus, a bit like walking where I don't really have to think about what my legs are doing, yet I still feel like there's an intention behind it to go somewhere of my choosing
Have you ever had the experience of having an intention and then anything but that happens?

Intention, free will, choice and decision are interesting.

Lets take "choice" first.

Place both hands palms down on a surface in front of you, maybe a table. In a moment one hand must be raised high in the air whilst the other hand must remain where it is. The point is to notice the exact moment of choice as the choice is taken. We could call it the "choice point". See what happens, let me know what's noticed?

Decisions is another. Another time go and make a drink. Don't read the remaining questions until you have gone to do this and returned cup in hand....


OK. Was a decision noticed about getting out of chair? Were there decisions about how muscles should be manipulated so as to make walking possible? Decisions about balancing and offsetting weight and energy of movement. If so who or what was making decisions? Was there a experience of someone intending to walk effectively so as to avoid falling over? Was there a decision about pouring drink?

If so, was the decider noticed deciding?

Let me know how it goes?

Jon

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Dizzily
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby Dizzily » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:06 am

Hi Jon,
So, right now notice this experience of seeing. What's it actually like? Is there a 'me' doing seeing? Is there an experience of eyes seeing or the body seeing? Or is it that seeing just happens without a someone making it happen?

There's a visual field that simply occurs. I don't need to try to see; seeing just happens. The "I" in my mind has nothing to do with this. Reading is effortless. My eyes skip forward of their own accord across the lines of text--my thoughts become the words. Concerning my eyes, it's a sense that my visual field is correlated with physical sensations of their movement.
Have you ever had the experience of having an intention and then anything but that happens?

Yes, like my entire life. :)
Place both hands palms down on a surface in front of you, maybe a table. In a moment one hand must be raised high in the air whilst the other hand must remain where it is. The point is to notice the exact moment of choice as the choice is taken. We could call it the "choice point". See what happens, let me know what's noticed?

This movement sometimes occurs without the need for thought about what "I" am doing. It's a non-symbolic/pre-verbal experience. Sometimes, my brain will think, "Yes, lift now", and my hand does, but not always. I can't really predict in advance. The movement occurs when the choice is made. But what is behind the choice? I find nothing.
OK. Was a decision noticed about getting out of chair? Were there decisions about how muscles should be manipulated so as to make walking possible? Decisions about balancing and offsetting weight and energy of movement. If so who or what was making decisions? Was there a experience of someone intending to walk effectively so as to avoid falling over? Was there a decision about pouring drink?

No, all this just happened again at some deeper level than the "I" in my head. It's all learnt behaviour, such as balancing and offsetting weight, or navigating around obstacles.
If so, was the decider noticed deciding?

I can't seem to find a decider at the level of verbal thinking. Only an "I" that tries to rationalise itself afterwards as the decider.

I've had some fear about this different sense of my experience in the past few days. This deep sadness that I don't have anything but the now--all my memories are inferior copies of past nows, and that life might be out of my control. People who get no-self seem to find gratitude about this. I find it tragic and depressing.

But, of course, what is this fear? A bodily sensation overlaid by thoughts. Yes, there is nothing beneath that sensation, but recognising it's just a sensation doesn't seem to be helping.

Thanks for your patience, Jon.

Cheers,
Sean

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JonathanR
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Re: Can't quite let go

Postby JonathanR » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:29 am

Hi Sean,
.
Thanks for your patience, Jon.
No patience needed Sean. Thank you for your willingness to look.
. I've had some fear about this different sense of my experience in the past few days. This deep sadness that I don't have anything but the now--all my memories are inferior copies of past nows, and that life might be out of my control. People who get no-self seem to find gratitude about this. I find it tragic and depressing.
I understand. But again. How does the rich tapestry of life happen? Perhaps not as was supposed? Not 'controlled' by an 'I' in the way it had seemed?

Nevertheless everything is happening and does appear, sensations and thoughts.

But what's in question is not all that but the idea of a puppet-master somewhere, behind the scenes, pulling strings and making things happen. Or a guy sitting in a control room somewhere watching computer screens and pulling levers or pressing buttons.

Once it's seen that that is not the way things work in reality it simply allows for an expanded or less nutty view of what's going on.

Is anything lost through this?

I apologise. I've run out if time. I'll post more later today.

All the best Sean

Jon


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