Sunday, 4 March 2012
Paola:
Hello from Italy Ilona, I would like your help. I believe I still didn't see through the illusion properly, I think I had some 'states ' but also I kind of forced myself into believing.I feel quite frustrated now. Please Ilona help me, I want to get out of this and I want to do it with you. I don't want to fool myself anymore. Love, Paola


Ilona:
Hello from England
Hm, interesting, so you think you tricked yourself into believing rather than seeing it. I'd say you saw it, but mind using all the tricks to fool you in going back the way it was. It keeps going back to the I trying to find it, but it's not there, so doubt comes up and confusion starts. It's pretty normal at this stage.

Tell me with whole honesty, can you believe again that there is a separate entity behind word me that is in charge of your life?

Don't try to please anyone here, just say as it is.
Much love.

Paola:
Ilona , thank you for getting back to me.
This is where I seem to be:
I don't think that I am in charge of my life, but I do feel that this life that is happening ( I don't do life, sure) is also happening to me. I feel the separation.
After a couple of days in which there was this light feeling and more spaciousness, or so I believed, something happened and a strong emotion arose, fear of losing a close person, jealousy etc, and it didn't feel like 'there is fear or sadness', it felt like I was sad, I was jealous.This is my honesty. In my mind, because of a silly attitude, I felt like I had to show Bill that I was" getting it", that I was good.....and intellectually there is not even the shadow of a doubt that there is no me. you have no idea how frustrated I feel, last two nights I couldn't sleep more than a few hours. Sometimes It feels like I am almost there, but I have noticed that I am forcing the experience. Hugs from Toscany xxx

Paola:
I don't believe that there is a me entity behind the word me, but this is not enough, is still in the mind.

Ilona:
What are your expectations? Do you think that something needs to happen? What would make it enough?

Paola:
My expectation is to really see / feel that there is no self, that there is not an entity that needs to deal with life in some way. To end this feeling of searching for something, for fulfilment.just more peace and natural ok ness . There is this seeking energy .....nothing big or nothing in particular needs to happen....may be a little uncaused joy? less striving?

Paola:
Also I would add less anxiety in general which has always been my big problem that from time o time became serious depression that needed to be treated with drugs. I guess than when is really seen that there is no self there is really less sticking to fears and anxiety ....no one is giving this emotions energy, they are free to go

Ilona:
Hi dear.

What you are going through now is settling in period. Some say it lasts around 2 months. It may be very intense at times and feels like everything is slipping away. The key is to let go. Don't try to hold on anything. The more you resist the harder it gets. There is no meaning in life other than what meaning you give it to, so let go of that too. And hope. And all the rest. Just watch the feelings and let the fire do it's thing. Remember always, everything is unfolding in a perfect way.
One of best tools that I can suggest is writing. Write whatever comes up, see it outside your system, throw it out. All that repressed crap needs to go, do let it go.

After a while it will get lighter and lighter. And lighter. But for now your job is to face it, allow whatever comes up come up and release the shit. It's not pleasant, but it works. How long it will take is up to how much you resist and how much was repressed.

It's like purging time. Burning time, clean up operation. I know it sounds crazy, but as soon as you feel shit coming up say - wow, yumm, I have an opportunity to release this. Ok. Come up, let's see what's behind. I can deal with this and so on. Rather than try to avoid, welcome the suffering. It can not take it. It will go.

Sending love.

Paola:
Thank you Ilona, for your time and dedication.I already thought I was facing things. I am not trying to avoid all the nasty feelings and the general 'shit' , actually in the last year I use to practice 'rest as awareness' without trying to change the experience according to the teaching of Candice o'denver Balanced View. . I write from time to time but I will do it more often.I just feel alone, separated.I was just disappointed that I didn't see through illusion , I really believed I could do it. I just want to tell you that probabably in my dialogue with Bill at a certain point things became a bit different , we exchanged a lot of PM and I felt it was becoming a bit too intimate, different from what I expected, and Bill also agree with this, He put a lot of energy and dedication in our dialogue , but he become a bit captivated and something didn't go right towards the end.Bill also recognise this. I would like so much to do the inquire again. Starting from 0 again with total honesty and focus and no other stories in the middle of it.Can you go through it with me once again? whenever you have time and in the way you prefer. But if you don't feel like I will understand. Sending love to you.

Ilona:
Ok, we can go through it. Step by step. I thank you for coming out with honesty.
For tonight just rest. We start tomorrow. We can talk on fb rather than forum and I will let you know what time is best for me, you let me know when it's good for you and we will have a proper chat.
Sweet dreams, my friend.


Paola:
Thank you so much Ilona. Really. I have some family reunion' tomorrow but the chat with you is a priority for me. I think for me it would be better either in the morning before 11 am (England time) or in the afternoon after 3pm (England time). If this doesn't work for you, I am also completely available on Monday from 2pm on. Thank you dear Ilona. Sleep well, love.


Ilona:
Cool. I think 3 is good, will still be having people in the morning.

Hmm family reunion is a powerfull catalyst as you get to see lots of conditioning playing out. Keep your eyes open. And trust your intuition.
This is actually very interesting and consider all what comes up as a gift.

Much love!

Paola:
Good morning Ilona!Yes it is interesting. The attitude towards my family changed completely in the last years, there is just much more love. Eyes open. Speak to you at 3, I will have about 1 hour, need to stay with people visiting..... But then Monday afternoon I ll be much freer. Love and gratitude!

Paola:
Hello Ilona, I am here when you are ready, xxx
Here when you are ready, xxx
I have just noticed that the poper chat on fb doesn't work on this I-pad, we can chat directly here on private message or through Skype ( paolalondon44)

Ilona:
Hey paola. We can chat here .
Cool. So tell me, what is the I that you are referring to?


Paola:
It looks more than a thought, it is dense, a kind of claud

Ilona:
More than a thought? How?

Paola:
It is almost a physical contraction of energy or space, I know it sounds absurd but this is how it feels,

Ilona:
Look at that contraction right now, is it there?

Paola:
It is felt, or may be it is only assumed...
There is this unity moving through space and time


Ilona:
Feeling is real.
The label 'me' is assumption. Not real.

Paola:
I haven't been able to isolate the I like a thought

Ilona:
There is no I. That is why.


Ilona:
Look now at the feeling of being (verb) aliveness, awaring of senses.
This is real.
Notice that sense.

Paola:
Ilona I don't see your message straight away but only after some seconds is it fine?

Ilona:
Yes, it's ok.
Do you have fb messenger app on your iPad?


Paola:
Every time I need to check if the message is arrived. Sure the sense of Aliveness is real
No idea it's the first time I use it...


Ilona:
Is that sense personal? Is it here if there are no thoughts?
Ok, download fb messenger of you can if not, we talk as now. A bit of delay is fine.

Paola:
This is the point I don't see where the thoughts stop and the feelings begin, it seems jut one unit


Ilona:
It's not one unit.
Thought is sensed as thought. Wait for next thought to arive. Can you spot it as thought?

Paola:
Let's continue like this, I'll download for tomorrow if we continue

Ilona:
Feeling is thoughtless. It's a sensation in the body.
Thought labels feeling.

Paola:
But feelings and thoughts seem both to belong to this body and this body seem to belong to a me

Ilona:
Seems. Yes. It's assumption. What is 100% true? Feelings are felt in the body, true?

Paola:
When a feeling is felt is felt by a me it is nit just felt

Ilona:
What is feeling now that is here?

Paola:
Yes in the body
Kind of rentlessness in the body, and agitation in the troath


Ilona:
Is it there if you don't think about it?

Paola:
I am not sure probably if I don't think about I it I don't even realise that it is there

Ilona:
Feel it. Sense it. Watch it. Where is it in the body?

Paola:
What the feelings?
I sense something in the head and troath

Ilona:
What happens when attention goes there?

Paola:
Seems they are aliveness, energy,

Ilona:
Yes, it's energy. What mind does it automatically labels it and i claims the ownership of feeling, Can you see that?

Paola:
Yes the mind says: this is my feeling, this is me having this feeling but the label that claims ownership is so immediate that it is very difficult to isolate it like a label

Ilona:
All words are labels. No exeption. Words are pointers. Do you get that?

Paola:
Yes I do pointers for everything

Ilona:
Can you see that thoughts are only pointing and describing, they are never things themselves?
What does thought I point to?

Paola:
Yes they describe all aspect of experience
I points to a body, a mind, feelings and data in general perceived from a brain,


Ilona:
Does it? Is there a body if it's not labelled I? Does body need an I? How about baby, does it have an I?

Paola:
Yes, there is a body even if it is not labelled I, body doesn't really need an I. Baby does not have an I, she looks like pure perception but her brain is not totally developed...what if I is a function of te brain?

Ilona:
Have a look. Does I have a function?

Paola:
It seems like every cells if my body says I
Of my body

Ilona:
Check again. Ask if it's true. Is it cells that say I or the mind?

Paola:
Mmhh the function for the sake of communication, to communicate the needs and preferences, to communicate experience

Ilona:
Language thing. Yes.

Ilona:
It is helpfull to communicate when speaking to someone else, so it's clear what we are talking about.
Is there any other function other than that?

Paola:
But what is then this power to know, this capacity to experience, this capacity to narrate experience

Ilona:
Does any of that require an I?
Des cat need an I to explore environment?


Paola:
I am not completely sure what you mean, I as a label is probably not required but this does not make a difference in the felt sense of i
But cat are not self aware probably

Ilona:
They are aware, for sure, and more than human as they are not lost in thought.


Anyway. Sense of I. Where in the body is it?

Paola:
There is pure wonderful instinct in them
It looks in the head behind the eyes


Ilona:
Is it I or is it some kind of feeling + label I?

Paola:
Feeling and label are so glued together that it is perceived like one but yes it is feeling and this feeling is assumed for I

Ilona:
For the rest of the day watch how mind labels everything. It's it's job and it happens on automatic.

Paola:
Yes I will pay attention to this mechanism. Thank you Ilona, I find it very good to speak with yoy
You
It feels good to be honest

Ilona:
We'll speak soon. Tomorrow. Today your task to notice that thought and feeling is not the same.
Feeling is before though and thought labels feeling. Also thought is charged with memory and triggers feeling. Play with that.
Cool about honesty.


Paola:
Ok sure, tomorrow I ll be available from 2 pm anythime

Ilona:
Sweet. Enjoy the rest of family fun :))
Xx

Paola:
Lots of gratitude. Enjoy your day too xxxxxxxx
And my cat says hello to you miaooooo

Ilona:
I am. Xxxxx thank you.

Paola:
Good morning Ilona ,
Can you let me know what time is best for you today?
xoxo

Ilona:
Hi Paola.  I'm here today and we can chat throughout the day.

So what was that you have noticed yesterday, give me a full report.

Paola:
hi Ilona,
first of all I notice constantly the mind or better to say the thoughts saying, "do I still feel like an I?," " is the I gone'?" " how should it feel?", Trevor said this, Ilona said that, Ciaran wrote this in his blos,Bill said this, endlessly trying to guess how it should feel.
There is definitely a feeling of being (energy in the body)+ a costant chattering on the mind trying to find out if I still feel like I

Also when the attention is focused on object there is an immediate label on them : chair, door, sky,glasses....the funny (well not so funny for me) thing is that 'I' constantly check if I am behaving like someone who has seen through the illusion. It seems I am stuck when I say to myself : what is the I? what it refers to? can it be the sum of this body+ this mind+ feeling experienced by this body-mind, experiences experienced through this body mind ( life expeiences)= I, Paola. Also a chair is a label for something pieces of wood put together in a certain way = char.Hope I make sense in this probably non-sense.I discvered that my brin is more logical and rational than I tought. in this moment: feelings of cold in the hands labelled " feelings of cold in the hands".

Ilona:
Do I still feel like an I? Stop right here. What is the first I?
Can I be gone if it never existed?
Can word I disappear from language once the illusion had been seen through?


Paola:
the first I is the usual sense of 'me' , the sense of someone who is experiences the world (life), the set of habits, preferences, usual emotons, etc, this body here, this face here...
no the I cannot go if it never existed in reality but the illusion of who I take myself to be can go or can be clearly seen without any doubts.
No of course the word I remains.
It is almost like if I cannot know reality without labels. Does the world exist if it is not described? How can I see a chair without the label chair? I go blank here...

Paola:
I meant with 'do I still feel like I?" do I still feel like I am this body, this face, this habits, thiese experiences etc ect


Ilona:
There is feeling of aliveness that has been labelled me and assumed for an entity 'me'. Feeling of aliveness is here with or without the label. Is it true?
Look at the things around you, do touched some of them, see if the sensations are real with or without labels.

Paola:
yes, I am with you. Aliveness in the body is here regarless the label we apply to it. Even though a mental image of this aliveness is created by the mind instantaneously like for example now I feel a kind of energy in the legs and even without watching at them, this energy is accompanied by a mental images of the legs ...and again sensation are real without doubts, for example now with my eyes closed I am touching the blanket on the bed and the description (mental images) of blanket and hands is so glued at the sensation that I will be never able to sense it without immediately automatically applied the mental images. Pure feelings or sensation without labels or mental images are almost impossible to isolate.Conclusion= Sensation are real without labels but the mind immediately ,in syncronicity labels them. Can you be aware of a sensation without mental images or label?

Ilona:
Close your eyes, hear sounds. Focus on breathing. Just relax for a bit and pay attention to sounds. Notice that there are many different sounds coming from many directions and see that there is awareness of them even if mind does not label them. You can shift focus to the legs, but sounds are still here, in the background. That is direct experience of sounds. No matter what mind is doing at the moment, sounds are still here, isn't it?

Paola:
ok yes. there is a direct experience of sounds. Tell you something: I have a tinnitus in my left ear. A few years ago when I heard it for the first time I was almost going crazy, it never stops, nothing you can do (it's like a whistle or better like some electricity noise). I became so anxious I thought my life has finished. It wasn't  then I did a special therapy with a little machine in my ear that simulates this noise after a few months my brain gave up, now even though the noise is constant, literally cannot stop, it is heard only when there are thpughts about it. I see now that many sounds are labelled but nevertheless the sound is perceived....sometimes noises wake you up in the morning but the mind labels them only after they woke you up.

Ilona:
Yes. So you see that there is experience first, then the labelling Right? How about smell. Find something that you can smell now and just indulge in the experience for 30 second. See if you can describe the smell for 30 s after that to yourself. Notice that experience and description is not the same.

Paola:
I took a face cream and I noticed that I couldn't describe it in any specific way rather than the general face cream, but the experience is not the decription. I can say 'intense', 'good' ' bad' but the experience of smelling is not describable really. yes Experience first even is only for some nano seconds, it is first.

Paola:
also when thee is some hunger, the experience is first and immediately after his appearance is described. It is most difficult with visual things though, what is the experience of pureseeing wihtout labels?

Ilona:
So look at the I thought again. Can I be found in reality? Can you take your finger and point to where I is?

Paola:
'I' as an entity it is not found, there is not a little man/woman inside the head. I never thought the I was an entity that can be isolated or seen . I always assumed that I was the totality of atoms, cells, brain that composed me. But see Ilona is here where I seem to be stuck, I am not able to perceive the I-thought. Or to isolate it. It is more like a boundle of everything... example the seeing, ok there is seeing. no one is doing it, the perception of sight exists, what, who is the preceiver? why there is the sensation that there is a perceiver? life is perceived. I can say eyes perceive objects. Stuck because I don't see the diffrence between a body+ feelings+perceptions+experiences and I. You say feelings are rea ok, thoughts ar real ok, body is real ok , world is real ok and the I is not real... I can say I is not real as an entity separated from all this but it remain all a bit mental. Sorry for the shortcomings....

Ilona:
Good good. What is I real as?

Paola:
don't understand the question well....

Ilona:
You say I is not real as entity. What is it real as? What is the form of I?

Paola:
I guess i, it is the perception of my mental and phisical activity , perception of body, perception of others,perception of thoughts, I is the perception of the world

Ilona:
No. I is just a word. Does perception need an I? Check it.

Paola:
perceptions need a brain. brain needs an organism to sustain it. organism needs an environment to sustain it. all is interrelated. but the brain is just a brain or my brain? ( this brain here seems to have had different perceptions throughout its life than my mother's one)and it seems to have formed a sense of individuality...is the I just an illusion of the brain? brain simulates an I.

Ilona:
When was brain given to you? How do you own it? Does brain need an owner to be able to function?

Paola:
right sure I see. brain is just a brain, no ownership. the point is that at certain moment in life, it is said 2 or 3 years is the brain itself that inact this simulation, like if the brain 'create. a mechanism of perception which wasn't there before... How can the brain see its own simulation as a simulation. Can the brain see that I is just its own simulation, that there are only perceptions and no real perceiver other than a brain.

Ilona:
Yes, no I I between perceiving and brain. It's an illusion.

Paola:
it's totally made up by brain. When a strong emotion is felt, there is no I feeling it then. for example sadness for the loss of someone, where the suffering comes from?

Ilona:
Suffering comes from conflicting beliefs the root of which is belief that there is I.


Paola:
yes I can see that this belief can add a lot of suffering based on 'why this happened to me, poor me, the victim'. Nevertheless the disapearance of a dear one, the death, generates suffering anyway. A romantic partner leaves you, generates suffering, with or without the belief of an I suffering.Meanwhile mind says ' see you understand very well that there is no I, it's just not possible, nowhere to be found'

Ilona:
There is no I. Is it true? Yes or no?

Paola:
There is no I, it' s just a projection, an idea, a thought.Now I understand that the brain simulates the existence of I/ me, but it is not a real entity,

Ilona:
Good, now look at paola. What is paola?

Paola:
Paola is a label. We use language to label for the sake of communication. Strange to say that Paola it is just a label
When I think Ilona I think of your image. Same with others names

Ilona:
Ok, can you look at paola as a character in her story. What drives the story? How does it evolve? Is there a director, actress, writer, manager?

Paola:
This word Paola also evokes a story in the mind
Must go for dinner ....

Paola:
The story just happens, no one drives it. No director, no actress, no writer, no manager, the story appears to happen in the mind, it is told by memories (thoughts), and Paola looks a character. This questions make 'me' feels a bit agitated, may be there is not much clarity. Trying to work it out but cannot grasp a definitive answer.

Ilona:
keep digging. story is not told by memories. story is about memories. and story is about character paola, only there is no actress. no control over the role. all it just happening. it's a story that is told by the thoughts and believed to be real. what else comes up. if there is a feeling of aggitation, it is a good sign that you are going to the right direction. keep following it.

Paola:
Story is about memories and the character Paola is part of these memories.Main character.if story is not real it means that past is not real, memories are not real,past is just a story told by thoughts, mind.what is real then? Only what is happening now? Only the present experience.? Just tears now watching my old mother, once strong and full of energy, going to bed. Lot of love and sadness because tomorrow I will leave knowing that she will not be healthier or stronger. Tenderness for her. Love is real and it Is painful now. There is a feeling of not-knowing. I will keep digging. Good night Ilona, I would like to have your clarity and your generosity.


Ilona:
You are getting this. Spot on. Only this is real. The rest is stories. It's when we belief that stories are solid and fixed is that create suffering. Nothing is fixed. All is movement. Flow. And there is nothing outside of flow.
Love is real. Tenderness kindness, sadness- these are what is experienced. The story about feelings is just story told in the mind. It's when we stop taking the story seriously and focus attention on what is right now the spaciousness appears. The beauty is perceived.

Good night sweet Paola.


Paola:
Good morning Ilona, I can see how the story exists only in thoughts and it is not solid, fixed.in fact where is it right now? What you wrote about the flow resonates, feeling a kind of spaciousness and relaxation. If I don't think about my eyes and my face there is only looking, sights. Last night some fear arose in the body, fear of disappearing .I will be travelling today and will have the possibility to write again only tonight. Italy is blessed with sun today. Much love.


Paola:
Hello Ilona, I am back home finally, I have been reading Gateless Crasher all day, very good, I am addicted now. Feeling a bit space out, my brain is working a lot. Always fearing to intellectualize.Are you still with me?

Ilona:
How was your trip?
Rest today, brain is doing its thing, don't fear intellectualising, let it run free. It's an internal process and it's a lot to take. We'll speak tomorrow.
Much love.

Paola:
The trip was nice, good to spend some time with my old parents, enter their world. I really want them to be well. Rest is a good idea. Thank you so much. We'll speak tomorrow. Sending love


Paola:
Hello Ilona, I am seeing how it's all mind stuff. The reality looks much simpler than all the chattering...but this is reality too, nothing get excluded, no? I mean the chattering in the 'mind' exists.The I is just made up, it's like an habitual pattern. Your very quoted sentence' thought doesn't think' it is still a bit confusing for me. Here it is why: mind it is not an entity, mind and thoughts are the same ok? when we say 'mind activity' it seems that there must be a verb....a thought it is the same than thinking - there is not a thought and a thinking, they are the same, -the only thing that is not in the equation is the thinker !so a thought thinks, a leg walks, a smile smiles, an eye sees. It is the content of the thought that doesn't think. The I is a content...am I going to far? Does a thought exists divided from thinking?
And in the end it is brain activity.
I red again our conversation, I am afraid to admit that I feel relieved  I can really see all this mind stuff. Not fear at all, the only one is that one to fool myself again but it doesn't looks like. I never had such a desire to recognise the truth like now. Back to work now.
Love. P


Ilona:
Great to hear from you.
What is mind? It's just a label. There is no mind. All there is is stream of thoughts that come one after the other. Like a train. Mind is nothing but label for thoughts happening. Thinking process is neurons firing and thoughts appearing.
So check again. Thought comes up and disappears. Can a thought think?

Paola:
Yes, mind is a label for the train of thoughts, this is clear.Thought comes up and disappears, this is clear too. Uncontrollable. Thought is just a thought, doesn't have a real power in a way, no, thought cannot think. Thank you for the clarification of the thinking process.
The thought and its content are the same thing?. Thought happens, I- thought happens, but there is not a substantiality, it doesn't refer to anything real...you cannot even pin it down and say ah..this is the I-thought! when one is sleeping there is no ' I- thought'. so this is another proof that the I is not real. 'I' is no more than a thought. A big thought that, constantly appears out of nothing...and this is how the character is 'built'? and this is how one gets to live life a lost in thoughts?
I had a good day. Feeling a bit lighter.
Sending love

Paola:
...I mean lost in thoughts about a character, a story.

Ilona:
story is part of what is. and it's gonna keep going. the difference here is seeing that it's not real.


Paola:
Sure, it's gonna keep going,story is not real because I is not real, but experiences are real. What do you mean exactly by 'story'? I went to Italy and came back yesterday is not a story...is something happened, isn't it?

Ilona:
everything that is in the mind is story. only what is experienced right now, right here, this moment is direct experience. all the rest is story. ­ ­

Paola:
Very good clarification. Very useful. Now the experience is that the I is a thought.. Thanks for being direct and coincise.

Ilona:
You are welcome.
let this settle in. do not over think it. just relax. mind is reorganising itself.  notice that there is no noticer, but noticing happening...

Paola:
everything that is in the mind is story. This moment is very fleeting, it is really a flow. Yes Ilona, I will let this settle in and relax, noticing happening..

Ilona:
beautiful ♥­ ­

Paola:
Good morning Ilona ,

I feel like a veil has lifted , actually is still lifting, in fact I cannot say that there was a precise moment of revelation, more like a process that it is still going on. There is definitely less compulsive behaviour and it is more natural to relax. Finally clear to notice how thoughts apply a label to everything , sensation, feelings. The sense of 'self' is more transparent. Talking with you and Bill, reading the forum, your blog and Gateless Gatecrasher has been and still is very good. I have seen more in the last month that in the previous 5 years of non dual readings and satsangs. I don't need to deny the story, I just know that it is a story. I don't need to deny the 'I', I just see that it is a word and it is used for communication, a label, mistakenly taken as an entity in and of itself. There is sense of being, aliveness, spaciousness, difficult to use words to describe it, but the feeling is simple and soothing.
All my love.

Ilona:
That is beautiful. Thank you. I'm so delighted that the veil is lifting. Yes, it's a process, it's not just one moment, but all that is happening. And it will keep revealing more and more.
:)) I sense from your letter that you are relaxing.
Good news.

Ilona:
Can you go through these questions

1) Is there a 'me', 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.

3) How does it feel to see this?

4) How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion.

5) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

So I see where you are.
Love!

Paola:
Yes Ilona I can and will get back you you later or tomorrow morning. Much love

Paola:
1)Is there a 'me', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

No me/I/self in any shape or form, and never was. There was the belief in a'me', the 'me' was kind of taken for granted because was never questioned, was never seen for what it really is: a word, a thought that is automatically applied to experience. It was never seen that the 'I' was made up by thoughts.

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.

The illusion consists in the fact that the I is assumed to be an entity, an autonomous separate entity that goes through life. Like if it resides inside the body and it has control over what is happening.
I don't know exactly when it starts, but probably at a very young age, at a certain point instead of there is only what's happening, a story about 'me' starts, the I-thought appears.
The child starts to take herself like an I-entity when she begins to realise that people around her and society in general are pointing at her and treating her like a separate entity, the trick of the language adds a lot in the creation of apparent separation. In the language there is always subject+verb+object.
The belief in an I-entity create a separation, because of that life appears to be something one must always deal with. 'What is' is never enough because the belief in a separate I always induces a sense of lacking and therefore striving to obtain what is apparently lacking .Life is not seen already full.

3)How does it feel to see this?

Well, there is relief, there is no longer that sense of urgency or lack, the thoughts continue to arise about everything, but they are not taken so damn seriously, in fact they are much easily realised (by themselves).
I see that I can relax in the moment. Especially when walking I am in awe sometimes, all around is so full, so much beautiful than before. It looks like my perception has embellished.
There never was a feeling of loneliness in these last days. I guess there will be more to see in time but for now this is how it feels.

4)How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion.

I would probably ask him to be open minded for a moment first. Like for example, let's pretend that we don't know anything and let's observe together what is happening. Let's start first with what is real, what is perceivable by senses...Let's see now what is the 'I', where is it? What does it mean my/mine etc. I would probably show him the video by Marcus du Sautoy on free will. (It also depends very much on how open the person is).


5)What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

The chat with you was very intense for me and it made me see a lot, especially to really see how thoughts label experience almost immediately, and the I label was attaching to almost every experience. I finally had a clear vision about thoughts separate from feelings, and how stories are made up by thoughts. Also I didn't want to give up, really felt it was 'vital' to know the truth about it.



Ilona:
I can see that you are speaking from your own experience and that seeing has happened. I'm so glad :))) delighted.
I will take some time to readjust and rebalance. But what has been seen can not be unseen. So life will be same, but feeling about it will be different. Old patterns will start dropping.

Can I put our conversation on my blog? With or without your name. It will be helpful for others. What do you think?

Lots of love!


Paola:
Dear Ilona, I love your blog, it is really very helpful and you can put our conversation with my name.I am totally grateful and feel very lucky to have met you. I will continue to read your blog and the forum. BTW I like Alan Watts too a lot.
Sending love

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