No self

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Juliana
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No self

Postby Juliana » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:49 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand that there is no real and separate self that decides, thinks, and does things. Self is a thought, or just an idea that comes and goes.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking to get stabilized in rigpa. I had a glance of it, however, I still get caught up in thinking I am an independent person. I get caught up in drama and also I am creating drama by expecting reality to conform to my thoughts and expectations. I want to be able to just be. Nothing more. Nothing less. Let it all unfold as it does anyway.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be liberated from small self once and for all. I would like to not get caught up in thinking that I am this body and this person and I can decide, choose, etc. I would like my confusion to end and lead a peaceful life.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been practicing meditation for some time in dzogchen tradition.

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

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Skygazer74
Posts: 117
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Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:25 pm

Hi Juliana,

If you are still looking for a guide I will be happy to help - I have some experience of Dzogchen so I was drawn to your thread. If you are happy to have me as a guide there are a few bits of housekeeping first:)

At LU we are described as guides - not teachers - as our role is to directly point to what IS, through the use of exercises and questions. Your role is to LOOK carefully to what is being pointed at. It is this simple LOOKING (not thinking) that brings the realisation that there is no separate self and never has been. This is an experiential based guiding and is not a discussion or a debate.

This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have.

Before we begin, here are links to information I would like you to read please.
Disclaimer:-
http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Terms & Conditions:
https://www.liberationunleashed.com/register/terms/

“Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU.
http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

A few ground rules:
1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. This exploration is based on Actual (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, color and thoughts - only. Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process. There is no ‘self’ to improve.
4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
5. Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

A few technical support:

- You can reply to this thread by pushing the 'Post Reply" button at the left bottom of this page.
- You can learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ[/

Technology is not perfect and sometimes there is a glitch which can wipe out your responses. It is advisable that you copy and paste questions asked into Word, answer them there and then copy and paste them to your thread. Always save a copy of what you have done, it will save time in the long run.


If you are happy to agree to the above and have me your guide, we can start the process.

Throughout this exploration I would like you to answer ALL questions that I have written in blue text. Please answer questions INDIVIDUALLY, remembering to use the Quote function to highlight the question being answered.

To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration (for example, what life will look and feel like and what you want/hope will change or not change). Could you please answer the following questions:

How will Life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?


Best wishes,

Nic

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Juliana
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Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:47 am

Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:15 am

How will Life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?
Dear Nic,
Thank you for becoming my guide. I really appreciate it. Here are my responses:
1. How will Life change?
I do know know. It is impossible to answer. Life is change. Constant. Unpredictable.
2. How will you change?
Again, I do not know. It is not possible to know that. I am hoping that this "person" will become more relaxed and happy, but I do not really know. :)
3. What will be different?
I have not idea.
4. What is missing?
Freedom. I feel trapped. Enslaved by illusion. I am caught in the story and can't get out. Life is sucking me into the story, and I do not like it.
Juliana

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Skygazer74
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:21 am

Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:58 pm

Hi Juliana,

You are very welcome and thank you for your answers, I appreciate the honesty :)
Freedom. I feel trapped. Enslaved by illusion. I am caught in the story and can't get out. Life is sucking me into the story, and I do not like it.

So perhaps we could begin by finding out what is trapping you. In your initial answers you said that you understand that the separate self is an illusion, a thought, so apart from the thoughts, is there any other way that you feel trapped in the illusion?

In other words, how does self manifest for you at the moment?

Best wishes,

Nic

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Juliana
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Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:30 pm

"So perhaps we could begin by finding out what is trapping you. In your initial answers you said that you understand that the separate self is an illusion, a thought, so apart from the thoughts, is there any other way that you feel trapped in the illusion?
how does self manifest for you at the moment?

Dear Nick,
What is trapping me is false beliefs and wrong perception. When I am on a silent retreat my perception totally changes and I see it all unfolding effortlessly. I am rested and relaxed. Then, when busy and stressed out, I revert to my usual way of acting/thinking and I get caught in the belief that I am this body/person. I know that I am really powerless and I do not choose what I am believing or thinking, I cannot really choose to revert or not, but I would like to somehow permanently remain in the flow state.:)
Also, I think I have issue with concept of the body. There is this thing we call "body" appearing. I call it my body, I move it, I go to sleep, etc. I am perceiving everything through this body. It is not separate from consciousness. It is all consciousness but I again get trapped in separation belief.
Juliana

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Skygazer74
Posts: 117
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Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:19 pm

Hi Juliana,

Ok great so there are some clues to go on :)

In this enquiry it is so important to be really clear about what is constructed, added, or thought into our experience, and what is actual raw direct experience (DE) This is because in DE, no such thing or entity 'self' can be found, whereas in thought, or construction/assumption it exists. 'Separation' is the same.

So it would be good to do an exercise to help you and I be really clear that you see the difference clearly:

Here is an example to illustrate the difference:

If I ask you what colour socks you are wearing right now you have two ways to come up with an answer:

• You can have a think about it, you can think back to this morning and try to remember putting your socks on, and you can probably tell me what colour you think they are.

• Alternatively, you can take a quick look at your socks and tell me what colour they actually are!

Hopefully you would agree that you can only be 100% certain by looking.

For the purpose of our dialogue together, it is going to be very important that you are clear about this difference. Knowing is about knowledge which is all in the mind and we are not interested in that. We are only interested in looking at and seeing what is actually going on in your present moment to moment experience. We are only interested in your direct experience in the moment.

Please let me know if you are clear about this or if you would like any further clarification.



Here is an exercise to help you explore the difference:

Sit quietly and relax, take your time just looking at what is in front of you for awhile.
Observe how the mind is dividing and labelling every thing into objects and is embellishing them with stories about what they are.

Give it some time

Then, stop watching the objects as labelled objects. Just look at the seeing itself. Observe the pure process of seeing. This is direct experience (DE).

Can you please try this and let me know how you get on?


Best wishes,

NIc

PS - I work crazy hours in the mental health field, and occasionally work is hectic and tiring, so if there is ever a delay in replying this is why and I hope you can understand :)

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Juliana
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Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:42 pm

Dear Nic,

Thank you for your last eye-opening post. When I focus only on experience without any "add on" then life is whatever it is in the moment. Just being, breathing, watching, hearing, etc. I really enjoy it.

Juliana

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Skygazer74
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:21 am

Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:37 am

Hi Juliana,
When I focus only on experience without any "add on" then life is whatever it is in the moment. Just being, breathing, watching, hearing, etc. I really enjoy it.
I am glad you enjoy this experience of DE, it helps so much to have a carrot as well as the stick of suffering. My question about this statement, which we will return to later, is can you find anyone focusing on the experience? Can you find the watcher or hearer or breather or be-er?

Before we move onto looking at this in more depth, and the body, it would be great if you could have a go at this exercise, just to be sure we are clear about DE :)

I would like you to try this as many times throughout the day as you can. Label daily activities simply colour/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:-

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and report back how you go.


I hope you enjoy this exercise,

Nic

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Juliana
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Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:53 am

can you find anyone focusing on the experience? Can you find the watcher or hearer or breather or be-er?
Dear Nic,

When focusing on DE I cannot find any watcher, doer, or be-er.
Watcher, doer or be-er are added/constructed by thinking. Raw experience is just watching, doing, or being. There is just watching and then thought comes that "I am watching." It seems that all that thinking actually does not do us so much good:)
Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and report back how you go.
I am doing this exercise and I find it interesting. Many times I just forget to break it down and action happens without any labeling. When I do label I seem to be more focused on the activity. It looks that all activities that I do actually boil down to those categories.

Also, it seems to me that since I started concentrating on DE I do not get lost in thought so much which is a relief.

Thank you, Nic,

Juliana

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Skygazer74
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Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:25 am

Hi Juliana,

Great looking!

When focusing on DE I cannot find any watcher, doer, or be-er.
Watcher, doer or be-er are added/constructed by thinking. Raw experience is just watching, doing, or being. There is just watching and then thought comes that "I am watching."

Exactly. Do you experience any sense of duality or separation when looking?
If you are looking at an object in front of you, can you find the looker?
Is there any division in DE between the seen and the seer?
Can you find a division between inner and outer?


I am doing this exercise and I find it interesting. Many times I just forget to break it down and action happens without any labeling. When I do label I seem to be more focused on the activity. It looks that all activities that I do actually boil down to those categories.

All of these exercises and pointers can be used as much as you like, until you feel clear :)


So lets also have a look at the body, and here is the first exercise:

Sit with eyes closed for about 15 minutes.
Paying attention only to the pure sensations, without relying on thoughts or mental images:

Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or volume?
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?

Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?

Is there an inside or an outside?
If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?
If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?

What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?


Look very carefully, especially with the last question. Take your time, don’t rush. You can look several times during the day while doing other things (like washing hands, showering, having a short break from work, walking, etc) before replying.


It would be really great if you could use the quote function and answer the questions in blue, so I can be clear that you are getting it at each stage, or we can find out what needs further investigation.

It really is as simple as you say - There is just watching and then thought comes that "I am watching except you can insert any action or experience for watching. In DE, it all happens, it all arises and passes, it is all free to be as it is, perfectly, until the thought comes that inserts the I. In DE, as you look and will find, there is no self. Self only appears as thought, as an assumption. In Rigpa, the open, clear, radiant awareness, there is no self or suffering.


Best wishes, and I hope you enjoy the exercises :)

Nic

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Juliana
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Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:00 pm

Dear Nic,

Thank you for your email. Here are my responses:
Do you experience any sense of duality or separation when looking?
No there is no duality or separation when looking. It is just looking, nothing else than that. Duality comes from thinking.

If you are looking at an object in front of you, can you find the looker?
No I cannot find a looker because there is just looking.

Is there any division in DE between the seen and the seer?
No, in DE there is no division. All division is made by thinking and concepts.

Can you find a division between inner and outer?
No, I cannot find division between outer and inner because these are created by thought.

Can it be known how tall the body is?
No, when sitting with my eyes closed with no external thinking, or images there is no way to know. Tallness is the subject of knowledge. When knowledge is not available I do not know.

Does the body have a weight or volume?
No, the body does not have weight or volume. Weight and volume are also belonging to knowledge.

In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?
No, in the actual experience there is no such thing as body. Body is just another concept brought by thinking.

Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
No, there is no boundary. Body, clothing and boundary are thinking concepts.

Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?

No, there is no boundary between body and the chair. There is just sensation of sitting.

Is there an inside or an outside?
No, there is no inside or outside. If there is no knowledge/thoughts there is no inside or outside.

If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?
I have not found inside.

If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?
I I have not found outside.

What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
It only refers to the concept.

What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?
There are just sensations appearing and disappearing in this thing called body.



Thanks for reading:)

Juliana

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Skygazer74
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Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:54 pm

Hi Juliana,

Wow, nice, it all sounds very clear! Did the exercise bring about any change in your experience? You mentioned earlier about how the sense of body and separation were an obstruction, so I wondered if doing the exercise has changed this at all. I also just need to check you are answering from looking into direct experience and not from a sense of what the right answer is? Sorry, got to check!
No, I cannot find division between outer and inner because these are created by thought.
Exactly. So does this mean that at that moment you experienced open undivided awareness? Does that fade away or stay?

You also talked about perception being one of the separating factors, and in your answers it sounds like there is no separation in perception? Do you feel clear about this? If there is clarity when you are looking into it, and not when you are not, then its a case of continuing to look until the clarity does not disappear.


Lets carry on with another looking exercise, just in case:

The usual belief that 'I am this body' is usually tied in with the belief that the body as a separate item is responsible or 'DOING' the senses - 'I see', 'I hear', 'I feel' etc

We will begin with 'seeing' - Just that one sense on its own.

Close your eyes.
With eyes closed, you will now experience 'blackness'. There may be other things you can find going on, sure. If you are looking at a bright light, there may be a red glow. There may be sparkly bits or cloudy flecks appearing and disappearing - It really doesn't matter about the specifics.

Just to make things simple, whatever you can see with eyes closed, I'm going to refer to it as 'black' or 'blackness' just for simplicity.

1) With eyes closed, can you confirm that what is experienced is 'blackness' as I mentioned?
2) Is there anything else in 'seeing' other than 'blackness'?
3) Can what is witnessing the blackness be found?
4) Can a pair of eyes, an 'I' / 'me', a person be found that is witnessing the blackness? Or is there just 'blackness' to be found?
What do you find?

Can an INHERENT SEE-ER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the see-er, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?



Best. wishes,

Nic

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Juliana
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Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:35 am

Dear Nic,
Did the exercise bring about any change in your experience?
Yes, it did change. Your excellent explanation of what is actually DE was crucial. The sense of separation came from thinking that I am this body. Once thinking was seen as an “add on” then what is left is just looking. It is a totally different experience. Much easier way to live:)
So does this mean that at that moment you experienced open undivided awareness? Does that fade away or stay?
Awareness is undivided. Only thought can divide it. Awareness does not disappear. It does not change. Appearances appearing in awareness change. Appearances include everything that is happening in awareness, body, thoughts, feelings, sensations, emotions, sounds, etc.
Do you feel clear about this?
Yes, there is clarity when I am looking. I just need to keep on looking until this clarity is completely stabilized.
1) With eyes closed, can you confirm that what is experienced is 'blackness' as I mentioned?
Yes.

With eyes open, I actually saw everything as light, when meditating.
2) Is there anything else in 'seeing' other than 'blackness'?
No.
3) Can what is witnessing the blackness be found?
No.
4) Can a pair of eyes, an 'I' / 'me', a person be found that is witnessing the blackness? Or is there just 'blackness' to be found?
No. It is just blackness. Any I, me, person would be in a realm of thought.
What do you find?
Absolutely nothing:)
Can an INHERENT SEE-ER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the see-er, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?
No. Se-er can only be found in ideas. HA.

Juliana

P.S. I am totally grateful to you for guiding me.

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Skygazer74
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Re: No self

Postby Skygazer74 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:10 am

Hi Juliana,

Amazing, I am wondering if any further guidance is needed. Do you feel there is anywhere a self is left hiding?

I wonder about choice and agency, and whether it might be worth exploring that?

Just in case, try this:

1. Place both hands on a table in front of you, palms down.
2. When you have done that, rest for a moment and then raise one hand in the air but not the other.

Don't go to thoughts, examine your direct experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:-

What is it exactly that is choosing which hand to raise?
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is doing the choosing?
What is it that is controlling the hand?
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
Can anything be found that makes the hand move?
How is the decision made?


I look forward to hearing from you, and whether you feel we are already done!

Best wishes,

Nic

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Juliana
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Re: No self

Postby Juliana » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:53 pm

Dear Nic,

Here are my responses:
What is it exactly that is choosing which hand to raise?
I do not know what is choosing. But somehow the action happens.
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is doing the choosing?
No, I cannot find any individual. There is no separation.
What is it that is controlling the hand?
I have no idea.
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
No.
Can anything be found that makes the hand move?
No.
How is the decision made?
I don't know.


Let me please settle in this for a little while. I am sure I am going to have more questions:)

Thank you.

Juliana


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