Hi, My name is Marty,
and I came through the gate a month ago using Ilona's 7 step guide. I waited a while to feel settled into this new way of being, and to be certain I wasn't kidding myself. I would like to know my next steps. Is there anyone I can correspond with?
with much gratitude for the LU wonderful work,
Thank you so much for email.
It is great to hear that 7 steps was what got you to look :)
We usually ask a few questions and invite those that cross the gate to join LU community on Facebook for continuous support and friendship.
We can talk here, or on forum, whichever you prefer. You can sign up and post in home section.
I was delighted to get a reply from you in person. I am so grateful for what you do. This is a fantastic, amazing uncomplicated gift of freedom you have made possible. What you have made possible has been the biggest thing in my 67 years on the planet. In my years of searching, I have been a catholic cleric, and a Buddhist cleric, without finding what I was looking for.. until now.
So, yes please to questions. I'd really like to help others.
A friend of mine ( who is in the Buddhist order I used to be in) is in a care home with MS, and asked me to help him crash the gate. He is really impressed with LU, and is ready to go. However, he finds it very hard to type, he feels he can't go for it on the LU site. I started looking at the seven steps with him, but thought I'd better check in with LU first.
p.s. I had started an account of how the seven steps worked for me (and my wife!), if that would be useful.
I'm delighted to hear that 7 steps were helpful for you and your wife. What a joy to share this journey with your loved one!
Lets see if you are through with both legs :)
Here are the questions that we usually ask:
1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', 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 from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
5) Do you decide, intend, choose, control events in Life? Do you make anything happen? Give examples from your experience.
6) Anything to add?
Please answer in full, when ready.
Once you answer I will see if there are any sticky points. So take your time.
As for your friend, you can guide him! There are also a few guides in LU that do at over Skype.
hi Ilona, thank you very much for getting back with the questions.
I'll have time tomorrow to sit down and write my responses. Yes, it was great to follow the 7 steps with my wife- even when she sailed through while I snagged and got scared!
I'll tell my friend about Skype and see what he thinks.
Thank you again so much for this gift
1. Is there a separate entity, self, me, I at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No, nowhere. There is no self to be found in my experience, and I have looked and looked. I have looked . What I find is a big bundle of tendencies, thoughts, urges, all competing for attention. Yes, there is attention too, but that isn't an entity. There still arises a desire to control, to manage, but that’s all it is, a desire, even and urgent desire at times. But that’s all it is. There is no self, and what a relief. I am so happy to be rid of the burden created by that belief. No one to defend, even though the thought, the wish to defend comes up. There is no one to promote and show off, even though the wish to be admired still shows up. There is no I, even though I use the word all the time. I know that the ‘I’ that I refer to is just the way we talk, because that’s how language works. There is no self in anyone else either, and that’s so fascinating. We are all big bundles of urges and tendencies, and anything can happen! It’s so much more relaxed with my grandchildren, and kids I teach art to in school. No need to be so heavy about behavior, no one’s setting out to do anything on purpose. It all just happens in the moment. A kid gets a bit excited, he or she needs reminding, but it just happens , and its nobody’s fault. No big deal.
There never was a self here in me or in anybody else. The creating of the self that we all have done is nobody’s fault either. That’s just what happens.
2. Explain in detail what the illusion of a separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
The illusion is an act of creating that we all do as we grow up in families, in school, in society. Maybe there is no other way for people to learn how to get what they want and to fit in with family and society at the same time. My grandchildren are home educated and are hardly ever sanctioned, but they still create a clamouring self, in order to compete with siblings. So, I’m thinking that it’s pretty much an inevitable that children learn to do that. Especially when they start to say “ I want…”
I can’t remember early childhood, but I do remember having the desire to be accepted along with the desire to keep myself separate. I think maybe that’s the dynamic that creates the sense of self.
Looking to my experience now, I can see how that desire to defend, to promote myself, to look out for my advantage is still there as a default bunch of impulses that pop up quick as a flash. Now, those impulses don’t have anything to hang on to. I see them, and they just drift off. I certainly recognize that as a falling away of stuff of its own accord.
What my wife tells me is that I’m not reactive now. She doesn't have to worry about upsetting me . She can tell me challenging things in a straightforward way. That’s my feeling to.
3. How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
It feels so different and at the same time so ordinary and matter of fact. As its been about five weeks since I saw there was no self, I've had time to absorb and to check out my experience. At first , I felt I couldn't really be sure. Had it really happened. Was I kidding myself? Were things any different at all? But then, things began to fall away. First of all, a heavy sense of guilt that had been dogging me for over twenty years just evaporated. That was the guilt about breaking up from my wife and kids and starting another relationship. I thought I was going to take that to my grave and now its gone. The next thing I noticed was that a habit of mentally picking on my adopted daughter for all sorts of things just started to fall off. I just began to leave her be, she’s just her own bundle of tendencies. No need to try to control any of that. Then my obsessive e-bay habit of looking for windsurfing stuff began to fall off too. I would log on and look lots of times a day, every spare moment I had. And that just started falling off. What I have now is just more internal space, where I am happy with a strong sense of this just right here and now.
I did spend quite a lot of energy looking at Buddhism again, and I wondered if my seeking compulsion was still there, and that I hadn't crashed the gate after all. But that seems to have found its level now.
What I do find is that unpleasant feelings such as anger, anxiety and fear are SO much more visceral, so it’s not like its all happy clappy. Nevertheless, there is a sense of deep peace and confidence that the way forward will just show itself.
4. What was the last bit that pushed you over?, made you look?
I had found the LU site through a friend, bought the book and raved about it to my wife. She began to read the book. I found your steps on the site, and we decided to have a go.
Following the 7 steps with my wife was great fun.. until step 5. When it came to looking to find if there was a separate self, I began to become really frightened. Meanwhile, my wife (who is really pragmatic, and had no expectations) just saw, with some tears, that there was no separate self. When I felt stuck and upset that evening, she remembered what you said about going back to expectations if you get stuck. So, I went back to look at my expectations and saw that I had big ‘Buddhist Insight’ type expectations, about the death of self. However, I still felt stuck in being too frightened to go on. I realized I needed just to be honest and honor the fear, bow to it, trust it and just stay with the process. I still felt really disappointed. Next morning I woke up with the simple certainty that the self is just a myth. No big feelings, just that simple truth. The self is a myth. It’s just a story.
So, what pushed me over was seeing that I needed to honor my fear and acknowledge my unhelpful expectations. Then seeing just happened by itself, no effort, maybe when I was asleep!
5. Do you decide, intend, control events in life? Do you make anything happen? Give examples from your experience.
This for me has been BIGGIE. The final place I found was the refuge for the belief in self was in being the controller. The story I had been telling myself, was that no matter how varied my life circumstances, I had been in control. In my many years as a class teacher, I had prided myself in having a lovely system of control. As a practicing Buddhist teacher for years, I had taught the central role of volition in creating karma. Do battle with the root poisons. Overcome the self. And so on and so on.
I see that the belief in a controller is such a big lie. There is no one in control. Its all an illusion. There are thoughts of wanting to control, there are really urgent, even painful feelings of wanting to control. There is even identification with the thought” I am in control”. But that’s all there is. That’s how nature works, how evolution works, how survival works. And it works for survival. But there is no body doing that. Its all nature’s programming doing its job really well.
Do I intend anything? No me needed to intend. Intending, organizing, knowing when a task is complete, when a need is met is all there in the program. Even my hens can do that when they lay their eggs.
All the things in my life, like getting to school on time, looking after the kids, all happen because the habits and tendencies are all there, making it all work smooth as clockwork.
Even in the higher order events happen by themselves. Going on LU, reading the gatecrashing book, reflecting, looking for a self: these happen by themselves. Now that is an amazing miracle- new ideas , new contacts, LU guidance, all just happening, unfolding all by themselves. Its just a wave of energy and tendencies all bundling along.
What a relief. That burden is more and more being laid down. I don’t have to worry about control, or make others feel they need to exercise control. It feels so much more like play.
6. Anything to add?
Ilona, I’m aware that all this might sound a bit euphoric, a bit too much like a big conversion high, but its been five weeks now, and the falling off has been steady and incremental. In many ways, I feel that life is just the same as before. I often forget this central awareness of no self , being involved where I am and what I am doing, in being anxious, fearful, excited about success, but the awareness seems to come back quite quickly, and the deep sense of peace with it. This is such an amazing gift. The greatest gift. Look. I've gone euphoric again!
That's it so far, Ilona. I just sat down and wrote this straight off without reflecting or correcting, in the belief it would more easily show any gaps or snags, or caught legs.
with much gratitude,
Thank you for answers, it was delightful to read! I'm very happy for you and your wife, what a joyful turn of events. You have each other to share an support on this journey, so beautiful.
I can see from your answers that gate was crossed with both legs, great! And of course it's just a beginning, a fresh start, there is much to explore.
I'd love to invite you to Facebook groups. Could I post our conversation on my blog? It maybe helpful for someone else. I can use your name or whatever name you prefer. This way other guides can read this too and ask questions if they have any.
Much love to you both.
Huge smile :))))
I am thrilled to get the thumbs up from you. I have been nervous, waiting to hear from you! I have tears in my eyes as I write. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to you for this wonderful gift.
Yes, very happy to have our conversation available under my name. Yes, I'd love to go on the site on that link and find my way around. I'd love to help others, and would like some help and training on that. much love and gratitude,
You are most welcome! I love to hear that you are interested in sharing this gift with others. This is the biggest gift to me, when you pass it on. It makes this work spread and frees people's mind from confusion. What can be a bigger gift then freedom..
much love to you and your wife.
Here is a link to correspondence with Meg, Marty's wife http://markedeternal.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/meg-i-was-surprised-how-simple-that-was.html