I am wondering if/hoping you could guide me. I am on the brink of 'getting it’, just need a nudge or a push or someone to confirm the way...
Have been reading the Gateless Gatecrashers and looking at the Start Here instructions on your website, but already before that -just over 2 weeks ago- something happened where the boundary between me and everything seemed to dissolve a lot. What a relief, after 16 years as a Buddhist and all the searching, waiting, seeking. Sometimes moments or days of insight (usually on retreat) then the falling back into the imprisonment of separation, contraction, resistance, grief, depression. Exhausting.
In the last few days there is a transparency to everything, things are as they are, flowing, no resistance, sounds pass through me, there is light everywhere, joy, no separation between anything. Some fear in a dream last night as the force of a river started to carry me away! But generally this amazing sense of ease and lightness.
I am very moved by what you are doing -the generosity of liberation.... If you have time to respond and guide me I would be blessed. Thank you Ilona, Anika
Thank you very much for email. Yes we can have a chat.
Is there anything that is not clear, any expectations that haven't been met?
What would you say that I is?
Looking forward to hear from you.
many thanks for responding.
Can't say that any expectations haven't been met: it is all very new and surprising at the moment! I guess previously part of me knew that 'waking up' would be very simple in some way: just a shift in perspective where life/the world would carry on as before but my experience of it would be quite different. Another part of me wanted to 'escape' into Enlightenment, to escape the suffering of being human. The experience of the last few days is one of great spaciousness, with the feeling of a gentle smile constantly in the background... Also the sense of just taking it in, with occasional arising of old patterns like doubt, but quickly realizing there is no reason to let those thoughts/feelings hook in -they are just old habits. Amazing to see it so clearly -and so, simply having the choice of not going with a thought of doubt, seeing that its familiarity is what has kept me with it before. Such a lot of energy used up in the constant self-confirmation of self hey, and unavoidable pain...
What is 'I'? From this place now I'd say: a construct, a way of protecting a sense of a separate self which although created by a biological/existential (?) urge for survival, creates a lot of anguish and uses a crazy amount of time, emotion, energy, and preoccupation! You see, it is all still very familiar to me, and there's some shock at seeing what remaining there means for most of current humanity.
I really am hoping that I have made this shift. I am sensing that there is some kind of 'purifying' process that happens now, with waves of old tendencies visiting -I had this image of sediment being stirred up and of that being inevitable, as if one has to meet all our 'stuff' again before really being able to say goodbye....
Much appreciation to you, Anika
Thank you for reply.
Yes, once the initial shift happens, there is a lot to clean up, beliefs come up to be looked at and released, it's just a start for this process.
Can you say YES, I does not exist in reality as a separate self entity.
If not, what else needs to be looked at?
Are you feeling ready for the final questions?
think I can say yes, but maybe not YES quite yet. Probably need a few more days just to trust it a bit more ie. that this experience of no real separateness isn't going to fade and will continue to be there even when habitual responses take over for a while. So far so good, though I've been tested a few times. Many emotions visiting: sadness, anger, anxiety, but nothing has lasted very long, and the spaciousness and peacefulness is there to be reconnected with. Incredible!
So, if there's anything useful you think at this stage do let me know. Otherwise I wait a bit longer.
Much gratitude to you for this exchange -it is the greatest gift. Love, Anika
Sweet. Let it sink in..
It's good to spend time in nature, just watching totality of movement.
Let me know if anything comes up that needs to be investigated.
well I can say YES, 'I' does not exist in reality as a separate self-entity. Even when an 'I' congeals in my experience through force of habit, it cannot last very last as there is also the knowing that it is fictitious and so limited -my life can't be ruled by it anymore!
So I feel ready for whatever the final questions are.
Much love, Anika
Great to hear this!
Here are the questions. ...
Please answer in full, when ready, no rush.
Dear Ilona, hello again after a two-month gap....
How are you? No doubt being kept very busy with all of us freedom-seekers!
I have been travelling, and just seeing what happens... I apologize for just 'disappearing' -I had meant to let you know but somehow it didn't happen...
In some ways I think the questions are now less easy to answer as the initial 'shift' is less vivid in my experience, and it all feels rather ordinary to 'be' like this now! But still, I haven't forgotten the prison I was in, and I know there is much 'unravelling ' still to be with. So here is my attempt at describing:
1) No there is no separate self that is 'me' at all -there used to be an idea that there was, but that was an unquestioned habit/assumption, and on looking it turned out to have been an illusion/delusion. So it was never there except in imagination, which was believed to be reality: crazy! The habit of imagining a separate self can still manifest itself of course, but cannot be believed in in the way it used to be. Like the bottom has fallen out of the story...
2) The illusion of a separate self is the assumption/belief that one is a self-determining agent that is in control of thoughts/actions, directing and forming one's life and environment. It starts when we believe that our thoughts are ours/are us/are 'real', and that from these thoughts we shape our life and future, and that we 'know' what is happening ie. that our version of 'things' is real/correct/important.
3) In the beginning it was very freeing and wondrous as well as being ordinary simultaneously. Now it feels more and more ordinary with a sense of humour coming in when the thoughts/stories are believed in for a moment or two (or longer....). Some shock initially at seeing how my whole life up to now has been lived in that way which inevitably caused 'me' so much suffering. But otherwise only infinite gratitude to have made this shift which now seems so obvious and simple, and accepting that it could only happen when it happened! Joy and love and ease and acceptance are becoming much more part of everyday experience.
4) It seems a conversation with my partner about Liberation Unleashed one evening, following excitement/inspiration/re-ignited faith that freedom is possible here and now, brought about a kinaesthetic/bodily shift with a visual counterpart: in that moment 'self' as I had known it seemed to disintegrate/evaporate. Doubt (a strong tendency of mine) did come and visit quite strongly after that but could be recognized as such. And Ilona, I found your suggestion of looking at the totality of movement outside in nature really helpful as a contrast to witnessing the more 'internal' processes.
5) Well, I can get myself to an appointment or cook dinner or go to bed, but how that happens is a bit of a mystery in that I can see that I don't really control anything! If/when these things happen they are just part of the unfolding movement/moment: life expressing itself as it is... In other words, I can have a thought eg. I'm going to make that phone call, but whether it happens or not (my body moving to the phone etc.) and the exact timing of it -if it does happen- are not 'me' doing it. It's like spontaneous movement happens which may or may not be appearing to 'obey' the thoughts. And very often when 'doing things' there's no thought or conscious intention and movement of the body happens anyway and things get done!
6) I just want to say that it hasn't all been joy and light... My recent travels were largely to visit my parents on the other side of the world, and though we all wanted to see each other, family dynamics came up that were not easy, and I was dismayed to see how some of my patterns are so deep-set. How does one experience such frustration, irritation, impatience, upset when one has supposedly seen through self! So I see how this is just the beginning of another phase of the 'journey'. I am no longer seeking, but there is a 'working through': the momentum of the habits and patterning of this life expressing themselves until they are transformed/dissolved/burned up/released into something else I guess?
Is that enough description? Not so easy to put into words.
Boundless gratitude and love to you for your generosity, your gift, and sweet spirit in all this, Anika
Thank you so much for email and beautiful clear answers. Yes, seeing no self does not make all patterns to evaporate and is not the happy ever after, rather a start of the journey. All beliefs that were attached to the I identity start to fall off, some need looking deeper and work, some vanish by themselves. Resistances are still here and life goes on as it did. But what is recognized can not be unrecognized, it is always available to see here now. Deepening, unfolding happens. It's a whole new journey, and a very exciting one! This is the first step and awakening is a process, so no surprise, that triggers are still there and more stuff comes up to be accepted.. Surrender to what is happens.
I'm delighted for you and I see that you are through. Welcome home!
I usually post conversations on the blog and other guides can read and ask questions if they have any. Would this be ok with you? I can use any name you like. After that I can invite you to join LU aftercare groups where you can meet others and share experiences. It is a beautiful growing community with many members around the planet. Would love if you joined.
Thank you very much for answering Ilona, and for your words about the ongoing process -it is so helpful to have this guidance.
So again, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for helping me -a complete stranger- so generously, for all that you give to others in this way, for this priceless gift...
And all the blessings in this universe for YOUR continuing beautiful unfolding!
Thank you, Anika!
I will post the conversation today-tomorrow,
Thank you for blessings.. Sending lots of love to you!