Thursday, 14 February 2013

I Is a Thought and Belief in the "I" Thought Is THE Illusion



Sheenu 
Hi Ilona.... I have been beating around the LU bush for a few weeks now, getting goose bumps, first on discovering it, reading through the GG, navigating the website & watching the interview on BATGAP! Everything resonates DEEPLY but I feel stuck, like I'm going in circles. Please let me know if you are available to help me see through the illusion. Much appreciation, Sheenu.
PS. Ready for as many slaps & zen stick beatings as needed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ilona
Hi Sheenu.

Thank you for email.
Yes, I can help you, but I have to say, that at this time, sometimes it takes me more then a day or two to answer. If you are ok with that, we can start looking. The process is yours and all I can do for you is hold your focus, by asking you some precise questions.  You have to do the math.

Please introduce yourself, tell a bit about your journey so far and also what is it that you are looking for?


Sending love.


Sheenu
Thanks for your response, Ilona *** CARTWHEELS***

I am Chicago based, live w/ my husband, 14 yr old boy & 100 lb yellow lab :) I didn't consider myself a seeker when I first attended a 10 day Vipassana retreat in India in my mid-twenties. Shortly after my marriage I went through a traumatic period (read suicidal) & reading the Autobiography at that point brought peace and led to initiation into Kriya Yoga but almost a decade of formal practice fell away when Advaita teachings made their way into my life a little over a year ago. Since then I've been a typical seeker, reading voraciously on the subject feeling "so close" but lacking any experiential understanding whatsoever. At this point I'm looking for the TRUTH whatever that is! To see through the illusion of self!!

I feel blessed to have been directed to LU & am honored to have you as a guide. I am more than happy to wait patiently for your replies, as suits your schedule. Coincidentally, I started a thread(3 on 1), my first post on LU, shortly before I received your email. Pl advise if I should delete that now that you'll be working with me.

Much gratitude,
Sheenu.


Ilona
Jan 2

thank you for intro. I have checked, nobody answered on your thread, so I deleted it. we can communicate over email. while we are in the process I suggest you do not read or watch any videos, all you can read is LU forum for now, ok? The gateless gatecrashers book is a great companion to this process too.

Here we are, the first question. Expectations. what is it you expect from this process? what do you think that truth is? how do you imagine this seeing will happen to you, how should it happen? what do you think the illusion of separate self is, from your own experience right now?

please sit with these questions till you know answers and write to me all that is relevant.

sending love.

Sheenu 
Jan 3

Hi Ilona! Thanks for taking care of the open thread.

OK, No more reading & videos, only the forum :) I am loving the pointers!!!! Must confess that reading has been like oxygen in the last few years- a way of unplugging from the tyranny of self, or so I thought, b/c it may have been just the opposite, an escape from direct encounter with what is?????

*Expectations? What do I expect from the process?*
There have been lots & they have changed over the years. In all honesty, I'm guilty of having wanted enlightenment to result in unlimited bliss, prosperity, peace, love for everyone, seeing God in everyone, being a good person etc etc, BUT it wasn't until I read about self being like " the snake in a rope" in Robert Adam's Silence of the Heart that I realized that all my expectations from the spiritual path, till then, were to enhance the sense of self, not see through it. Then frustration that why is just knowing this truth not enough to see thrugh the illusion? Now, I want to stop living a lie- that is the main expectation. And also there is so much fear, about myriad things, most of the time, sometimes I think I know the reason but mostly vague..... Yeah, there's hoping that this would end & result in relaxation. Is that an obstacle? I do want the Truth for it's own sake now, but this came up when I looked.......

*What do I think that truth is?*
Truth is freedom. Freedom from belief in a separate self. Life unfiltered.... Without an overlay of judgements, story, endless interpretation from a limited perspective, point of view
To know what I really am.... Or what I am not/ this contracted, limited, fragmented experience
Seeing what is real & what is not

how do you imagine this seeing will happen to you, how should it happen? 
I have read so many accounts & imagined it so many times.....till I stopped imagining lol but there is this feeling that it is more likely it'll be gradual, although a timeless moment, as opposed to being hit out of the blue- maybe b/c I think there is an intellectual understanding, but again, for all I know, that may amount to nothing....

what do you think the illusion of separate self is, from your own experience right now?
Belief in there being a separate person, individual entity. Non stop mental chatter. Absorption in thoughts referencing 'me'. Very hard to step back & just watch thoughts, get easily pulled in & engaged in the content. Very frustrating that this continues to be even when at one level there is no doubt that self is a fiction. It has been humbling to see I have no control whatsoever!!! I may make plans, decide to behave a certain way, intend to say something.... & I may as well have not bothered as things will happen as they will, words will come out as they will etc etc Yet I continue to be stressed about how things will unfold, trying to control the outcome. So, there is  no control, yet cannot stop trying to control, feeling dumb for not "getting it", knowing intellectually, theoretically, that there is ' no one' to get it, but not knowing- knowing it.... & that's my experience right now.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Love,
Sheenu.

Ilona

Nice. And this is where honesty becomes your best friend. If you type something and it feels like a lie, delete it and type again, till you feel that every word rings true.

And also there is so much fear, about myriad things, most of the time, sometimes I think I know the reason but mostly vague..... Yeah, there's hoping that this would end & result in relaxation. Is that an obstacle? I do want the Truth for it's own sake now, but this came up when I looked.......

Yes, fear is often in the way of seeing. We will look at the fear in depth


Truth is freedom. Freedom from belief in a separate self. Life unfiltered.... Without an overlay of judgements, story, endless interpretation from a limited perspective, point of view.

It is also freedom to experience story as it is.


To know what I really am.... Or what I am not/ this contracted, limited, fragmented experience
Seeing what is real & what is not.

Nice.


I have read so many accounts & imagined it so many times.....till I stopped imagining lol but there is this feeling that it is more likely it'll be gradual, although a timeless moment, as opposed to being hit out of the blue- maybe b/c I think there is an intellectual understanding, but again, for all I know, that may amount to nothing....

It is best to just look fresh, without any expectations of how it will happen.


what do you think the illusion of separate self is, from your own experience right now? 
Belief in there being a separate person, individual entity. Non stop mental chatter. Absorption in thoughts referencing 'me'. Very hard to step back & just watch thoughts, get easily pulled in & engaged in the content. Very frustrating that this continues to be even when at one level there is no doubt that self is a fiction. It has been humbling to see I have no control whatsoever!!! I may make plans, decide to behave a certain way, intend to say something.... & I may as well have not bothered as things will happen as they will, words will come out as they will etc etc Yet I continue to be stressed about how things will unfold, trying to control the outcome. So, there is  no control, yet cannot stop trying to control, feeling dumb for not "getting it", knowing intellectually, theoretically, that there is ' no one' to get it, but not knowing- knowing it.... & that's my experience right now

Thank you for honesty. Yes, it's like a vicious loop, where you know that there is nothing that can be controlled and can not stop trying to control.


Now I will invite you to let this thought in and sit with it for a bit, consider that to be truth.

There is no separate self at all in reality, no I/ me as a manager, controller, experiencer of life, none as in zero. All there is life flowing freely as this. As everything. 

Write to me what comes up in the body and mind.
If you stubble upon fear, see what is there to be protected. What can be lost if this is true?

Sending love.

Sheenu
Jan 7

Hi Ilona!

I have been sitting w/ this..........

*******There is no separate self at all in reality, no I/ me as a manager, controller, experiencer of life, none as in zero. All there is life flowing freely as this. As everything.

Write to me what comes up in the body and mind.
If you stubble upon fear, see what is there to be protected. What can be lost if this is true?************

The effect on the body & mind is of profound relaxation, feeling of lightness, just like when I first conceptually understood it. The relaxation in the form of diminished physical tension, anxiety, worries is experienced every time this truth is focussed on.....At other times, slipping back into the experience of contraction, tightness resulting from a belief in a separate self.

Although there is a lot of general background fear present in my experience, considering this to be true does not generate any conscious fear. On the contrary, this brings relief b/c there seems to be an understanding that my gazillion fears are rooted in taking everything personally & that the seeing the non-existence of a person per se would mean seeing through fear as well......

Not sure if this is relevant but I share it b/c this may point to the presence of fear at a subconscious level. There is a Sufi song I love, the main lyrics of which go like: May I be released from my self, May I finally be face to face w/ my true Self/ Truth. A few months ago, I tried pot for the first time, & what started w/ a high marked by heightened perception verging on an experience of oneness, turned into a full blown panic attack, marked by vomiting & nausea. Most intriguing was that throughout it all, I kept asking my husband to "save me" " don't let 'me' go" that I DIDN'T want to be "released from myself" (referring to the lyrics of that Sufi song!) We laughed about it the next day but I couldn't help but think about the dichotomy of my desire for liberation at the different levels of consciousness. My apologies, if this doesn't seem relevant. I shall keep looking.....

Much gratitude,
Warmly,

Ilona 
Jan 7

Hi Sheenu,

That was quite an experience with pot and fear.
But let's leave this for a bit, we will come back to it later and examine this thought- if there really is no self, then there is nothing to release from anything, there never was a self to be bondaged. There is no prison that you are kept captive. The self /I, is a thought, just like any other thought, it does not command or manage other thoughts, it's just a word, a label, that this body is labelled, when communication is happening.

Test this:
Are you a thinker of thoughts?
If so, can you control thoughts?
Can you control what is happening with thoughts?
Can you stop a thought in the middle?
Do you know what next thought going to be?
Can you stop thinking for 10 minutes at will?
Can a thought think?

Is I thought the thinker or a thought?


Write what you see in your experience.

Much love

Sheenu 
Jan 7

Hi Ilona!

* No, I am not the thinker of thoughts
* No, I cannot control thoughts
* No, I cannot control what is happening with thoughts. What is happening is untouched by thoughts. Things happen one way or another irrespective of thoughts.
* No, I cannot stop a thought in the middle. It may, as a result of another stimulus or shock, but I cannot.
* I have no clue what my next thought is going to be. Sometimes, it may be related to the previous thought giving a semblance of continuity to the thought stream, but there's no way of knowing what it's going to be
* I cannot even stop thinking for 1 minute or a few seconds at will!!!!!!!!!!


CAN A THOUGHT THINK?
Hmmmmmmmm Well Noooooooooo, but I'm getting stumped w/ the last qu: IS I THOUGHT THE THINKER OR A THOUGHT? I know the correct answer is that it's a thought not thinker but it doesn't feel honest, not first hand......

Of course, the I thought has to be a thought, & a thought cannot think, it's just a label, tag to facilitate communication, but why does it feel like yeah, yeah, that's all right, but then there's an I, a real I, like I-I, b/c it feels more solid, concrete than a thought. Sorry for being so dense, obtuse......

Lotsa luv & gratitude,
Sheenu.

Ilona 
Jan 7

Ok, take a look, what is behind the I thought. What comes up here?
Does there need to be a thinker for thoughts to pop up?
Where do thoughts come from?

Write what you see..


Sheenu
Jan 8

Clear
Does there need to be a thinker for thoughts to pop up?
Where do thoughts come from?
No, there is no need of a thinker for thoughts to pop up. Don't know where thoughts come from, where they go. Nowhere? Just spontaneously arising & disappearing....

Still foggy
Ok, take a look, what is behind the I thought. What comes up here?
The I thought? What comes up is an image, self image, body image tied w/ sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts ad infinitum ad nauseum ( memories, fears, desires, preferences, to-do lists, history....)

This mix/combo is not constant but ever changing, shape shifting...... This sense of me is more defined w/ "others" but relaxed when alone (free from thoughts of how others are perceiving me, the need to be someone)

The I thought? An after thought maybe? That attaches to the things(sensations, feelings, other thoughts etc) arising independently/ spontaneously & creating the sense of self/I/ me/mine. What links the two? Not sure....

Much appreciation,


Ilona 
Jan 8

The I thought? What comes up is an image, self image, body image tied w/ sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts ad infinitum ad nauseum ( memories, fears, desires, preferences, to-do lists, history....)

An image, yes.  Now bring that image closer and see what it is made of. Exactly and precisely, what? Is image reality? Or story about an image? What is the centre of that image? What is the core? What is behind that image?

Investigate from all angles, see what you learn about it.

Also take a look at what is the worst that can happen to an image and if it needs to be protected.


Sending love.

Sheenu
Jan 8

The image is not real. It has no substance. Just thoughts/ story. Nothing behind the image.
The worst that can happen to an image is to stop believing in it. To see it for what it is.... Or what it is not. It does not need to be protected b/c it is not real/ true

Much gratitude,

Ilona
Jan 8

Yes, nicely noticed. Do you think the image cares if you believe in it or not?
:)

If you go around the day without thinking about past or future, do you think that the images would suffer?

In your direct experience right now, is there a gap between experienced and experiencer? Is experience happening to a centre, a me? What do see here? Is there a doer of action?


Sheenu
Jan 9

Haha... Of course not! The image doesn't, cannot care whether I believe in it or not, neither could it suffer for lack of attention :)

No there is no gap b/w experienced & experience..... Experience/ experiencing just happening, but not to a center/ me/ anyone. No doer of action in direct experience... Till I think about it & then there's a split, a sense of me here & the experience out there....

Many thanks for your time & guidance, Ilona!
Warmly,

Ilona 
Jan 10

Hi sheenu,

Very nice :)
Let's look at language angle and investigate how word I pays it's role in the communication and descriptions.
There is an exercise in this post, please take your time to do it and write what you notice.

http://markedeternal.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/labels.html?m=1


Sheenu
Jan 11

Hi Ilona.... AWSM article! Verrrry interesting exercise :) Yes, I undeniably plays a significant & practical role as far as communication is concerned but the second part of the exercise makes it clear that it is totally redundant when it comes to describing experience! Also noticed that the writing could not keep up with the thoughts, much like the thoughts were way behind the actual experience. By the time I'm writing about a moment, it's already old news. In the absence of thought, in describing a perception, I'm missing the gazillion other sensations, perceptions, feelings going on & words just seemed inadequate to truly convey the wholeness of the moment, but seemed to cut it up somehow by focusing on a part of the whole.......

Ilona
Jan 11

Brilliant, yes, in describing experience I, the doer, is redundant :)

How does it feel to see that I is empty?
What is behind word me? Is experience happening to a me?

Looking forward to your reply.
Sending love.

Sheenu
Jan 14

Hi Ilona.... I've been with this over the weekend. I'd open your email again and again but a reply just wouldn't formulate. There's uncertainty.... For example, like when I did the exercise you recommended in the last email, there was clarity that I is empty, experience is just happening, not to a me & it felt very light, aaah/ expansion, but the feeling is not consistent. It is lost, comes back when there's a recognition of identification w/ character/story & attention brought back to what is real in the moment. It's back & forth, the understanding is there, which comes & goes, depending on where attention is, but not clear seeing, which wouldn't come & go, be solid, like you say, once seen, cannot be unseen. Feeling quite unsure.....
Thanks, & ever thanks,


Ilona 
Jan 14

There is a common assumption, that once you see it first time, that should stay forever, that identification with story should no longer be happening. But, this is a process and at this stage going back and forth is exactly what is happening and it is right. Seeing now is available any moment you look.
Once seen it can not be unseen does not say that once seen it is seen constantly.  It is saying, that once it is seen that I is empty of self, one can never believe that there is an entity there.

It's not that seeing lasts, but that now you know where to look, so keep looking, let the mind do what it does, relax into it. Notice how flipping in and out of story is happening. Is it happening to a me?

Sheenu 
Jan 15

Hi Ilona.... Thanks so much for your patience. I feel as if I've hit a glass ceiling...... I didn't feel any click or shift of "really" seeing, just very close. Yr email is reassuring & I gather the thing to do is to keep looking???? Much appreciation, Sheenu.

Ilona 
Jan 15

Yes, keep looking, keep staring at the obvious and noticing what is already obvious.
Is there a doer? Is there a liver of life?
Is there a witness?

What do you see right now?
Describe the experience that is happening right now..

Much love.


Sheenu 
Jan 16

Right now, there's fingers moving on the keypad...breathing going on, sounds of traffic, sounds of TV from the next room, sensations where parts of my body touch the bed, taking a deep breath, exhaling, hum of the machines around the house, eyes moving around the dark room, vague outlines of the doors, furniture, my hands poised to type, the glow of the iPad screen in the dark room----- stopped typing, was lost in thought/s for last few minutes----phone rings, hand reaches out, happy to see it's from ma, chat for a few minutes, hang up....all flowing, then thoughts again about failing to get "it"... Frustration. What is already obvious? Why can't "I" see it :( ? When the focus is on the immediacy of the moment, there's a flow, no doer, no liver of life, but thought seems to be dominating most of the time & getting lost in the content & the story seems to be the current experience........ Feeling a strong yearning to SEE beyond a trace of doubt.....aaarrghhhhhhh

Feeling totally off track, like I've gone back several steps. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for bearing w/ me. Love, Sheenu.

Ilona 
Jan 16

Well, this is it- experience happening + description of it happening too. Thinking is happening, but content is all just thoughts about experience.

Close your eyes after you read this. Imagine you are holding a melon between your hands. See it so vividly that you can almost taste it. Feel the size, shape, temperature, texture. Stay with it for a bit, notice sensations.

Open your eyes and see, what happened to a melon?

What is a difference between holding an actual melon and imagined one?
What is a difference between imagining a melon and imagining a person, that is called sheenu?

Is sheenu real?

What have you learned?
Sending love.


Sheenu
Jan 16

There is so much gratitude rising here for the blessing of your guidance, especially since this case is turning out to be a hard nut to crack, so much gratitude that it has me misty eyed....

The melon exercise. Had tried the first part of it before when I first came across it on the website. There is no melon when I open my eyes.... It never was, never existed in reality, except in imagination. The difference b/w an actual melon & imagined one is that the former IS, is real, can be perceived, sensed & the latter is not, not real, cannot be perceived, sensed, is an idea in the mind, an image w/ related thoughts(which btw do trigger feelings & sensations that are perceivable)

The difference b/w imagining a melon & imagining a person named sheenu is just the different image associated w/ the respective labels. The similarities, on the other hand, are that both conjure up an image of the physical appearance/ attributes in conjunction w/ associated thoughts- a simpler story in the case of melon & more complex baggage in the case of a person/self, BUT both are non existent in reality, both products of imagination, ideas in the mind.

Sheenu is NOT real. A name tag referring to this body or body/mind? A label, a thought & other thoughts about the primary thought/ image .... A name tag for the body is at least practical but the rest- associated thoughts about identity, from conditioning, past experiences, memory... All of that definitely doesn't serve in any way, is not even true, assumed to be so b/c it is reinforced from all directions all the time, even encouraged... In fact, isn't autism a word for behavioral dysfunction when a child cannot be socially conditioned to recognize it's boundaries aka separation from the rest of the world/ experience? Maybe the development of a healthy sense of self serves that purpose- ability to function/ adjust well in society. Ok, I went on a tangent there, but sheenu does not exist other than a fictional character as part of a story which is not real.

Is it possible to be clear as can be about this at one level & still not see in direct experience? Is it possible that even though it feels like a sincere and honest response that it is merely arising from all the past reading done on the subject. Wouldn't there be some sign if the understanding was experiential? In all honesty, I've never had ONE mystical, other worldly, blissed out experience in all my years of seeking & am not consciously looking for one, but a certainty of some sort....... The reason I bring this up is that I kinda freaked out when you asked " how does it feel to see that I is empty?" and I was like whoa, hold on, I haven't seen anything, b/c on the forums & GG that question usually came when some shift had taken place.

I realize this has turned out to be a relatively long email... But the second part of the melon exercise really seemed to zoom in on the imaginary nature of self, & there seems to be a defreezing after feeling stuck the last few days. I have been looking, looking, looking & although "I" can't put my finger on it, something seems to be changing....omg did I just say that?????

Anyway, Ilona, I'll never be able to express my appreciation adequately via words, but thanks soooooooooooo very much for your continued support. Lotsa Luv, Sheenu( hehehe whatever)

Ilona 
Jan 18

well, this has nothing to do with mystical experience. it's a drop of belief and that is not mystical at all.
when you look at direct experience that is happening right now, is there anything missing? what kind of confirmation is needed to see the obvious? noticing the obvious is all it takes. all is going on by itself, just because. there is nothing else to see or understand. there is only one movement, one flow and nothing is outside of it. what is happening is IT, and that includes labeling experience too.

test this:
lift your right arm above the head. do it now, before reading further.

......

how did that happen? did you make the arm come up, was thought about lifting it up coming  before or after it happened?
does owning action change what is happening?
try that through the day, see if thoughts or actions come first.

write what you notice.

much love.

Sheenu
Jan 20

Hi Ilona,

When I first read this, there was a cup of tea in my right hand, & there seemed to be this spontaneous calculation that made the hand reach out to place the cup on the coaster before lifting it above the head. I repeated the exercise many times over the weekend along w/ noticing other actions, & it is obvious that thoughts come after the actions, & that owning action does not change what is happening!

Yeah, nothing mystical, just noticing the obvious going on, yeah, it includes the labeling & slipping into the story.....
Confirmation not needed to see the obvious but that the obvious is being seen, no?

 all is going on by itself, just because. there is nothing else to see or understand. there is only one movement, one flow and nothing is outside of it.

This is beautiful! JUST BECAUSE!!!! Everything going on by itself.... YES, but one movement, one flow... Not sure, there's this sense of separation still.....

Love & Gratitude,
Sheenu.

Ilona 
Jan 20

How I would you define the sense of separation? Is that sense still here if it's named that or not? When is it felt strongest? And what is separate from what exactly?
Look in deeper into that and report what you find.  :)


Sheenu
Jan 20

Separation feels like me here vs the other there. It is a felt sense that is experienced whether it's named that or anything else or not named. It is NOT felt when I'm in nature, alone or in the house w/ my dog, doing chores, running errands etc. It is felt most strongly around people.... A total contrast, in fact to when I'm by 'my''self'!!!!!!!! When alone or w/ certain 'people' there is a flow, appearances don't matter, there is joy, uncaused, just because, no matter what the weather or outer circumstances. When there's 'others' there's definitely a felt sense of separation( another way I'd define it is as not feeling the flow anymore...) I feel drawn to play the 'self'/ 'sheenu' role that they relate to & it is felt as a conflict b/w the expansion of being a 'nobody' that is the experience at times as opposed to the contraction of being a 'somebody'. Sometimes, an intention is set, in spite of the realization that 'I' can't control, to 'not lose the flow' when such situations are anticipated, & time after time, 'I' see 'myself' falling into the trap again. That's the flip flop going on here.....

Ilona 
Jan 21

Thank you for answer.
Let's examine this close up. The contraction that you feel around certain people, the resistance is labeled "being out of flow". Is anything outside  of the flow? Can anything go against the flow or feeling contraction is also flow of what is happening?

If you look at river- in some places it runs fast, some places it is deep and quiet, water is still flowing in one direction- towards the sea. And if there is a stone in the river, does it stop the flow, does anything stop the flow or make it go backwards? See how this metaphor fits with flow of experiencing.

Is flow just sweet and happy feelings and sadness, anger, contraction is not flow? Can flow be lost?

See if the felt sense of separation is resistance to what is happening. When you are around the others, that make you feel separate, notice resistance and just let it be there for the moment, seeing how it feels in the body, where the sensations appear. Notice thoughts about what should or shouldn't not be happening, and judgements of those others that are behaving the way that is not agreeable to you. Be open to the resistance itself and let whatever shows up show up. Those others are only pointing to unresolved issues, sore spots. Reactions happen. Is that outside the flow? Instead of saying no to unwanted reactions, welcome them as they are showing you something. Find out what.

Write to me once you have a chance to examine this properly.


Sheenu
Jan 25

Hi Ilona,
Thanks for the beautiful response. The last few days have provided the perfect platform to investigate. Parents visiting for a couple of months & in-laws in close proximity too... Phewwwww. Pressed for time but feel that the process is active. Staying close to arising thoughts, sensations & judgements. Not aware of any progress but it's become clear that the so called "flow" has been associated w/ just feel good emotions, thoughts, situations & there's tremendous resistance when things are not in agreement w/ my idea of how they should be. That's all for now.......
Much, much appreciation,


Sheenu
Jan 28

uff coming up. Sore spots, rough edges, judgements galore, unresolved issues, the works! There is awareness of it, the accompanying thoughts, feelings, sensations, emotions but don't know what the reactions are trying to say. Resistance to what is happening seems to have become a way of life... Earlier, it was at a unconscious level & now there's noticing of it. Am 'I' on the right track? Is there hope for 'me' ? Feel as if I'm neither here nor there. Thanks, Sheenu.

Sheenu
Jan 28

Isn't resistance to what is happening also part of what is?


Sheenu
Jan 29

Hi Ilona... Just a note to thank you for working w/ me thus far! Have not heard from you.... There must be a good reason, the best of course is 'just b/c' :) Sincerely hope that you are well & healthy. There's not been clear seeing & things've been topsy turvy on the emotional front w/ no one here to share the nature of this radical journey, but an underlying peace that all is as it should be, all is well. Thanks for everything!
Best always, Sheenu.


Ilona 
Jan 29

Hi sheenu.

Thank you for writing.
Yes, the answer comes when it comes, just because. I read your messages, and wait for the answer to come, so here it is.

Can you look at resistance and the mechanism how it work. Examine it closely.
Firstly allow the resistance to be here and show it self fully. Notice what sensations in the body are present and where these sensations are felt. Notice how thought triggers this mechanism and  reaction happens. Now see what is behind resistance? Is it protecting anything? What is here that needs to be protected and from what? Look into it and write what you notice.

Sheenu
Jan 30

Hi Ilona.... The resistance feels like a sinking feeling, congestion in the chest & solar plexus area, and tension in the neck/ back muscles. If the situation persists, all this culminates into nausea :( Some patterns have repeated themselves times and over. Yes, the mechanism is triggered by thought- different thoughts in different situations, but all 'self' centered- to do w/ 'self' image- will I come up tops? Coming across as intelligent(not stupid), savvy, beautiful..... A lot of vanity that I was not aware of. Oh God, also this need to BE IN CONTROL- hope things don't go WRONG( the house should look perfect, things should unfold according to 'my' plan or else..)..didn't see that coming, & yeah y'day in a situation where I felt someone was trying to take advantage, I reacted but later realized that it was b/c that threatened my sense of self. So there's always a script in place about how things should be ( appearances, performances, outcomes, goals, accumulations, relationships.....) the theme of which is self-aggrandizement, & the resistance kicks in when Life doesn't accommodate that (surprise!) So much self-generated suffering & the shocker is that for a long time I've thought myself to be a totally different self (the epitome of authentic person embracing non-duality "concepts").... Shame at the ugliness that's come up. So yeah, resistance is protecting the self & I-dentity & all that it is attached to..............
Felt helpless when efforts to break the patterns of resistance & cycle of suffering in the past failed, but who was making the effort & for what? So the self that was threatened could be cushy again? Now, if there's no self...... Then there's nothing that can be threatened & nothing to be protected!!!!!!! Till Life's next curve ball..........
Much lighter.......aaaaah,
Thanks mucho,


Ilona 
Jan 31

Good stuff. Now look from a different angle, can you see that resistance is a friend?

What is behind resistance? Does that need to be protected? You say, if there is no self, well, is there?


Sending love.


Sheenu
Jan 31

Yes, resistance is a friend. It brings to the surface the lies, beliefs that we are not aware of, the sticky stuff, the yucky muck that is shoved under the carpet. Noticed welcoming such situations today as opportunities..... A kind of 'bring it on'... Very liberating at its own level after running away from things all my life, not exaggerating. Thank you!

Is there a self? If I still believed that I was the body, I'd say I'd bet my life on it that THERE IS NO SELF. Truth is I believe & know that there is no self, but don't see it.

Already all this has resulted in 'Operation Mind Clean-Up'. Ever since this process started & there's been noticing of thoughts, sensations, perceptions etc from waking up till sleep comes at night, many times during each day this thought* comes up *'seeing is not happening.... I may not get it ever'. It still comes up but is not followed by frustration, dejection, sadness( labels for the thoughts & sensations as a result of belief in thought *. In fact there is childlike delight when it is recognized as just a thought..... No charge..... Squeal!

Most of what I write to you feels obsolete right after I hit the send button, but here I go again..........

Love~ Gratitude~Love~Gratitude~Love
THANK YOU ~THANK YOU ~THANK YOU

Ilona 
Feb 4

Is there a self? If I still believed that I was the body, I'd say I'd bet my life on it that THERE IS NO SELF. Truth is I believe & know that there is no self, but don't see it. 

Ok, let's see, look around the room, do you see no unicorn? How about no Mickey Mouse and no fairy god mother? Can you see an absence of imagined cartoon characters? How do you know that they are not here? How do you know that self is not here? Do you expect to see some magic veil lifting and revealing something else, that it is not here now?

Already all this has resulted in 'Operation Mind Clean-Up'. Ever since this process started & there's been noticing of thoughts, sensations, perceptions etc from waking up till sleep comes at night, many times during each day this thought* comes up *'seeing is not happening....

What do you need to do to see with eyes? Or to hear sounds? Is there on and off button, that you are on control of? Can you switch off taste or sensation of smell?

Seeing is already happening, just like every other perception- it's awaring of whatever comes into attention. That is also on by default. It's always here now. It's not that something is going to come on in order for seeing to happen. Not at all. Aware presence that is here this moment reading these words is all that needs to be noticed. Is anything separate in this space of being? Is there an entity, doing aware-ing?

Much love to you!

Sheenu
Feb 5

Hi Ilona....

*What is here underneath the thinking?
What is here including the thinking?*

Do you mean what is prior to thinking?
That which is aware of thinking/ thoughts..... awareness/ awaring!

Ok so if there is something that exists & then ceases to exist, it is conspicuous by absence, but what is needed see the absence of something that's not present(already absent?) .We're looking at something that not only does not exist, but never did? It exists ONLY as a belief/ assumption / idea/ thought/ concept. Once the erroneous belief is seen through, it is not taken for real! What a compelling illusion. You are pointing.... I'm looking....& yet.... All I can say is I must be your densest one yet :(

*Aware presence that is here this moment reading these words is all that needs to be noticed*

..... Is all that needs to be NOTICED. I keep being drawn to that..... I know that's what is needed!
Nothing will come on, turn on....The seeing is happening already here now...... The self is not, never was, then ???? Logically it doesn't make sense for anything else to happen. Is this some kind of stalling going on here? Like sometimes I stand in front of my open closet looking for an item that's under my nose... sigh....Is it unreasonable that I am waiting for a clear sign as w/ the cases in GG & on LU forum where a distinctive shift marks the shift?

I MUST, MUST express gratitude for the pointers on the LU website! They've been my BEST FRIENDS :) :) :) :)

Many thanks & lotsa luv,


Ilona 
Feb 6

Ok so if there is something that exists & then ceases to exist, it is conspicuous by absence, but what is needed see the absence of something that's not present(already absent?) .We're looking at something that not only does not exist, but never did? It exists ONLY as a belief/ assumption / idea/ thought/ concept. Once the erroneous belief is seen through, it is not taken for real! What a compelling illusion. You are pointing.... I'm looking....& yet.... All I can say is I must be your densest one yet :(

Oh, don't worry about that, far from densest.
Ok, so how do you know of a unicorn exist or not.

If I told you now to look back, there is a unicorn there, how do you know that there isn't?
Is there a difference between what is real and what is an image in the head?

..... Is all that needs to be NOTICED. I keep being drawn to that..... I know that's what is needed! 
Nothing will come on, turn on....The seeing is happening already here now...... The self is not, never was, then ???? Logically it doesn't make sense for anything else to happen.

Yes.

Is this some kind of stalling going on here? Like sometimes I stand in front of my open closet looking for an item that's under my nose... sigh....Is it unreasonable that I am waiting for a clear sign as w/ the cases in GG & on LU forum where a distinctive shift marks the shift?

Shift can be very subtle and be happening over longer time, so it's not necessary a Big Bang that is going to happen. It's just a drop of belief after belief, till the point of not going back.  And even after that point there is continuing drop of beliefs. So nothing changes, but all looks different. It's a shift in perception. One day you staring at the open closed looking for something that does not exist, next day such action does not make sense any more.


I MUST, MUST express gratitude for the pointers on the LU website! They've been my BEST FRIENDS :) :) :) :) 

Thank you! Lots of people are involved in making them happen.

Many thanks & lotsa luv,
Sheenu.

Love back.


Sheenu 
Feb 7

Hi Ilona!

***Ok, so how do you know of a unicorn exist or not. 

If I told you now to look back, there is a unicorn there, how do you know that there isn't?
Is there a difference between what is real and what is an image in the head? **********

I know that a unicorn does not exist b/c I *believe* that it doesn't exist. I'd know it's not there if you said to look back for one b/c I know that it is fictional, fantasy, a figment of imagination, not real.....
The difference b/w what is real & what is an image in the head is that the former is present in direct experience (can be perceived via the senses) whereas the latter is only sustained by thought/s, does not exist outside of mind......
The body however cannot differentiate & if an image/thought is believed to be true, it'd react to it as if it were real, & then the reaction(feelings) would be part of the experience.....

*******One day you staring at the open closed looking what something that does not exist, next day such action does not make sense anymore. ******

Love how you turned that around!

Brimming w/ gratitude for the blessing of your guidance,

Ilona 
Feb 7

So what about this separate self, the I, is that real or is a figment of imagination and more importantly does it affect and manage what is?

What does a thought affect?

Much love


Sheenu
Feb 8

Hi Ilona!

Sorry, In the last email I meant that the mind (& not the body) cannot differentiate b/w real v/s imaginary.

The separate self is not real. It is a figment of imagination. It does not manage and affect what is.

Thought... Well, thought by itself is impotent but belief in a thought being true is what gives it power to color & thus affect current experience & therein lies suffering......I is a thought & belief in the 'I' thought is THE illusion.

Much appreciation & love,

Ilona 
Feb 8

Yes, spot on. :)

How does that show in your everyday experience? Do you notice any changes in behaviour? How does it feel to see that belief in I as a separate entity is an illusion?

Sending a hug. :)


Sheenu 
Feb 8

Dear Ilona... In awe at the generosity of Life for the priceless gift that this exchange is :)

Everyday experience: there is definitely an overall ease & when there is resistance that is seen as part of the flow too. Things that bothered a lot don't matter as much. Really enjoy the food, snow, colors, music +++++.

Behavior: small talk down to minimum, have always enjoyed silence but that has deepened too, some irritating, fearful patterns continue but there's distance as if ' Sheenu can't help it...' It's ok....judgements, commentary, reactions still there but lesser & short lived

How does it feel to see.... ? : hmmmm kinda like being in love .... W/ no one! Childlike in ways :-D Freer, lighter, okayness w/ things.... Definitely not saintly, virtuous, overtly compassionate-y etc.... Very normal, or maybe natural is a better label.  Def no Big Bang thingy & still feels like there could be s'thing more around the corner but at the same time this just feels like totally enough, even if it is not it(still as anal as ever)..... This pointer seems to sum it up:

Image 87 / 95   There is no need to try and stop the mind from waiting for a pop. Just watch it with a playful curiosity. Allow your expectations to play themselves out and dissolve.

It's not rosy rosy n I still don't feel the distinct shift of seeing-seeing ( I think there's a masochistic  desire here to be beaten to a pulp by the zen stick lol) bbbbbut honestly the search has fizzled. Whatever this is, seems to be enough....... Not doing a good job of answering b/c it changes moment to moment. Mainly a sense of idk & the relief of it being very ok to not know/care about the next moment.

Bear Hugs,
Much appreciation,
Utmost respect for your guidance & time,
Lotsa Luv,

Ilona
Feb 10

Dear Sheenu,

What you wrote shows me that the line has been crossed, but there are still some expectations lingering. As in assuming that all needs to be rosy rosy now.

Do you expect that life is now going to change, no more intense situations and emotions, no more things happening that are considered to be unwanted?

Are you expecting freedom from these feelings and situations?
How about freedom TO experience what comes up without judgement and resistance?

If I told you- this is it, yes, it's that simple, natural, obvious- is there anything else that feels incomplete? Is there any doubt at all?


Sending tons of love.


Sheenu
Feb 11

Oh Ilona, Ilona , Ilona.... Thank you, thank you, thank you soooooo much from the bottom of my heart!

No, all doesn't need to be rosy.... Don't expect life to be w/o intense situations, emotions & unwanted things. Not expecting freedom from these feelings/ situations. Yessssss, freedom TO experience what comes up w/o judgement & resistance.... Like you said in one of the first emails, freedom to experience/ enjoy the story.....yesssss & life is good :) :-) :-D

If You told me- this is it, yes, it's that simple, natural, obvious- I'd say yesssssss, it is enough!

No, nothing feels incomplete.

*** Is there any doubt at all?****
Every thing that came from you resonated so strongly from the start.... Something here knew it was THE TRUTH, so true-true that I'd bet my life on it being the real thing, so to say! Never doubted a word ever. The only doubt, & that too is being seen as a currently arising thought, is that if that you didn't acknowledge about the line being crossed I wouldn't know that it had happened, the non-event, that is. Your showing, just like your focused pointing, has made all the difference!

I BOW TO THEE,

Ilona 
Feb 11

Thank you Sheenu!

Nice, very nice...
So, are you ready for the final questions? Can you say, YES, the illusion of separate self has been seen through? Is all clear right now?

Big hug :)

Sheenu
Feb 12

Yes, bring on the questions & let's see what comes up :)

Amazing that someone I've never met should open my eyes to the most precious gift.... The *MAGIC* MIRACLE* of LIFE!!!!!!!!!

Thanks, & EVER THANKS,

Ilona 
Feb 13

Sweet! Here they are, sweet sheenu :)

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

2) in the experience, is there an experiencer? Is it body that experiences or is the body the experienced?

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

4) How does it feel to see this?

5)How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion but is curious about it.

6) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? Can you describe the moment when seeing happened?

7) Anything to add?

Please answer in full, when ready.

Much love.


Sheenu

1) Is there a separate 'me' 'I' 'self' , at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No, there is not, & never was a separate 'me' , 'I', 'self', at all, in any way, shape or form.

2) in the experience, is there an experiencer? Is it body that experiences or is the body the experienced?
No experiencer, only experiencing. The body is experienced as a bunch of sensations/ perceptions.

3) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.
The illusion of a separate self is just that- an illusion, an assumption, belief in the existence of a separate entity, person that does not exist in reality.

It starts early w/ the conditioning of the child by parents, society, educators by way of naming, labeling objects.... Repeated pointing to the body saying this is Tommy, then away at things saying that is mom, table, sky....kinda like 'reverse pointing' away from DE, cutting up/ dividing the oneness of experience into pieces. Then layers upon layers of attributes, ( pink, small, heavy....), judgements, (good, nice, silly...) till there almost complete identification w/ the self image.

It works by interpreting 'what is' thru the filter of 'I' , the I -thought latching on to the raw perceptions, sensations, thoughts.... Experiencing what is happening personally to a 'me', reinforcing the character & strengthening the story by stringing memories of past events, desires etc.

The belief in the separate self exists only in imagination, nowhere to be found in reality, is at the root of all suffering( self-centered feelings, thoughts, emotions)

4) How does it feel to see this?
UNCLUTTERED,

LIGHT, FREE-ish, RELAXED, EASE OF BEING, RELIEF.... AAAH

BEING IN LOVE

5)How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion but is curious about it.
ONE WAY: Check out LU, read GG, seek out one of the AWSM guides :-D

Alternately, I'd start by drawing out their definition of self & then ask how they felt if I said that there is no self... That self is like the snake in a rope, water in a mirage, belief in Santa. If there is readiness & burning desire for truth just hearing this can create an opening for actually looking in DE & finding out how there is no control, how mind by labeling splits experience etc till there is clarity

6) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? Can you describe the moment
when seeing happened?
Here's the thing- there was no last bit or 'A' moment when seeing happened. Instead, there were many bits n pushes along the way. It's been verrrry gradual n subtle bit w/ every email in the exchange there was a nudge that dislodged the 'stuck' feeling.

EVERY WORD in yr emails resonated verrrry strongly and exploring n looking at all that was received,in DE & finding it true made the difference, as did your focused pointing & showing.

The feeling that something needed to happen persisted till u pointed along the lines:
1) no self already does not exist
2) seeing is already happening
So, what is needed to see that which does not exist?

And w/ that the realization that there was NO THING to be seen....& seeking dropped.

7) Anything to add?
I've noticed that in the final questions the guides like to ensure that seeing has actually happened & that answers are not coming from getting it intellectually. The line seems foggy here since there was no thunderbolt moment of seeing where all became clear, nor any experience of oneness etc, but more the deepening of an understanding arrived at by looking again n again n not finding the self.
Whatever the verdict, I am where I am, it is what it is, & the feeling is A-OK!

Thank you, dear Ilona, for your loving support & hugs.... Priceless!

Brimming w/ gratitude, love, joy, respect.....
********CARTWHEELS**************


Ilona 

Thank you for answers, they are almost too perfect, but the number 4 answer says it all. :) I'm so happy for you and I feel your joy.

Can I put this on my blog? Whatever name you like. Would be great if you joined LU groups.
It can be useful, if/when doubts come up or in times of intense falling. ( by that I mean the collapse of belief system that was built on the belief in separate I )

Sending you lots of love on this valentines day!
*bows


Sheenu

Dear Ilona..... A very happy V Day/ evening to you too! Feel free to put this on your blog. Sheenz, my LU id or even sheenu is fine. How do I join the LU groups? Is there more than one?
GRATITUDE UNLEASHED...........
Sheenu :) :-) :-D

No comments:

Post a comment