1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form?
Was there ever?
No, there never was or is. Before this guidance, this was known through other teachings, but never really seen so closely and experienced in such a way this guidance has .
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 illusion of the separate self is a belief that you are an independent entity in control of "your" life, your body, your thoughts. That there is a thinker, feeler, chooser. That you are the one "doing" and having to "do" and that everything is separate from you. I see these ideas and beliefs come from conditioning, and what we are taught we are, and the world is.
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.
Its not a completely new revelation to me, as this was known before hand to an extent. But this guidance has taken me into a far deeper seeing than before. To really experience this, rather than just understand it. I definitely see things in a different way now. There is just a resting in that, a relaxation, like a "coming home" feeling, though knowing there is still a lot more to see through yet and unravel.
Before starting the investigation, I was definitely identifying with thought a lot more, and this has shifted a lot through this looking. It has been fascinating doing such a deep investigation into thought. I had no idea before, just how big a part they played in the illusion of a separate self.
I have also noticed that there is a feeling of being more "complete" , through seeing in my experience that nothing is separate , and there definitely a sense of peace that comes with that.
Generally my perception has shifted in many ways, and still doing so, as the seeds of these discoveries are starting to sprout in the most random of ways, and my eyes open further.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over; made you look?
There wasnt a last bit that pushed me over. I felt a push from the start, and would sit for hours going over the same thing. I found it fascinating to look, and wanted to throughout
5) a) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work?
Give examples from your own recent experiences to how things happen and how things work.
These terms suggest that there is somebody that has, or doing these things. In my experience, I see that things just happen by themselves...there is no thing to be found that makes things happen, or that is doing anything.
I noticed from doing the "making a cup of tea" exercise , and from then on, that everything was getting done, not by me, but choices were being made, not by me, but just by a noticing , a "knowing" ...each apparent movement wasnt being done by "me"..there was no thinker that controlled every movement, there was no doer doing anything.
I noticed recently when "I" making some food, that things has been happening that "I" didnt know about. I was contemplating some of the guidance. Then suddenly felt a jolt in realising " I " had no memory of cooking. Which made me look more at memory again, but also it was a strong seeing that there was no "me" doing anything.
b) What are you responsible for? Give examples from your own recent experiences to how this works.
Garatefully, we looked at this quite a bit, and I eventually saw that I am not responsible for anything. Because there is no me doing anything. We looked at this because I had felt responsible for creating my own suffering . But I saw these are all just thoughts , and a belief that I was responsible .
I actually had an interesting experience during the investigation. I was sat outside and I saw a bee in the long grass that looked weary. I felt that sense of "I" should do something, make it better. I knew from learnt knowledge that sometimes they get weary and need sugar water, so I got some, and tried to move the bee and give it the water. But I seemed to make things worse and felt like I caused it suffering. I cried a little as I realised and saw that this is what I often did, and saw that its what I did when I felt responsible, and that there was a "me" who had to fix things. It was following the excercise we had done about the decision maker, the chooser, and I saw clealy that I had thought of myself as a separate entity that had to fix things, that I had been the chooser and decision maker instead of letting things just be and see if there was a "movement " from nowhere to " do " anything
6) Anything to add?
Its been a really valuable investigation. I have loved the depths of the questions, and have seen so much through the actual experience of looking. Things are so much clearer now, and I will continue to look at everything we have explored.
I am still looking at memory at the moment, and need to go back to our exercises on that, as there seems to be something that I havent experienced fully , as there is still a belief about memory lingering.