I have been a studier of this way for years and have been to satsang with Adyashanti and also with Suzanne Marie, who has been on Buddha at the Gas Pump. I have read the book Everyday Enlightenment, which is about 7 people around the world who have awakened and their various unique ways of waking up and seeing through the illusion. I have also read some of Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wisdom, but I no longer wish to read about other people's experiences as they are only stories and not a way for me to directly experience.
I have looked over the LU site and was ready to start but saw that it is recommended that we post once a day. I'm not actually even sure what posting means here but I'm sure the site will walk me through. My question is though, since I know that I cannot commit to posting daily, should I even start the process? Should I wait until time permits me to dedicate more fully, or should I just go ahead and post whenever I can, which could be only once a week?
I appreciate whatever advice you can share regarding my question.
Hi Harry, thank you for message.
Having some time to focus each day keeps the momentum going, I'd say if you are not ready to commit to the forum process fully, then you can work by yourself with my blog and if you get stuck you can email me.
Thank you, Ilona. I read the first article last night and then moved on to "Start Here," as a result and have only read part of that. I intend to read more articles from the blog. And thanks for extending the email invitation if I get stuck.
Hi Ilona, I've gone through Step 5 of the "Start Here." I would like to let you know what I am experiencing.
I felt different after the first 4 steps. There was a sense of freedom and more of a lack of concern for many of the things I usually get concerned about. As the week progressed, I got farther away from that and slipped back into a more familiar way of being, but there has been a lingering experience of lightness of being. It fades when I'm really tired and reappears when I'm rested and energetic.
Regarding step 5, today it feels like the same old life-long familiar. It seems I only have concepts and beliefs of no "I". The truth is I don't see anything because every time I look, I end up at a place where there is nothing to see -- just something that feels like ALL -- all connected, nothing separate. Just the happening of what is happening in this moment. It is not strong. It is not powerful. It is quite subtle.
But there still ends of being something, an old habit or something that wants to claim the experience. I, me, mine. So moving on to step 6 doesn't feel like the thing to do. So I guess I'm stuck.
And thank you for any guidance that you can provide. Sometimes I feel so close to seeing clearly and I even do see clearly, and then it fades. I appreciate the work you are doing. It's pretty amazing that you would do all this work and offer all of this guidance for free.
Thanks for message. Just keep going. Take the step 6. The resistance and feeling of stuckness only shows that you are getting closer, examining unexplored areas.
Rather then looking for what isn't, turn focus on what is. You can not see, experience absense of I, nothing to experience, it's always been like it is. So notice, what is that you can experience. Get out in the nature, observe the movement of totality.
You can watch this video by Alan Watts, he describes it very well.
Thank you so much for corresponding with me. I watched the Alan Watts video plus a couple more by him. One thing that he said really helped, and that was when he referred to everything as energy, which I know is true. But that energy is constantly fluctuating, constantly moving... in and out, from waves to particles and back again. It's the Yin and Yang of it. So to feel like the seeing is intermittent and that I sometimes stand in the vastness without a personal I, and then sometimes the habitual brain patterns go back and reinforce the old condition of I, is actually natural movement.
What you said at the end of "Start Here" regarding the end of seeking, but it's not the end of exploring may be what is happening now. The two are very similar in feeling and essence. Seems each day being (the verb) is moving through me more and more. But I think, to my surprise, that I still have some expectation of it being a big splash, something huge, but obvious, and my experience is that it isn't.
When I end up back in the old conditioned feelings, being able to let go, or free fall, or let things fall away doesn't seem possible to me. It's not because I have fear around it. I did for awhile. 'I' felt threatened by the idea, but then my friend Susanne Marie who is an awakened person, soon to be in the UK for an interview on Conscious TV, showed me that there is nothing whatsoever to fear--just by her presence. When I feel stuck, I think it's because I think I don't know How to let go. I think I don't know How to BE, rather than just simply being.
One thing I and my wife have noticed is that I am much softer with life these days. I have moments of reaction or upset, but they don't overtake me. I have them and then let them go. When I do react or when some emotion moves through, it's okay. This is very different for me...so something is happening. I am very curious about this and I find it very interesting. At times when fear crops up, I seem to be a little more curious about it rather than just being so fearful, and I question what it is that is fearful. I always come up with nothing. It's like the 'I' that I thought was me, is unraveling.
Since you are a tattoo artist you might appreciate this. I have 2 tatts. One on my right leg is the Chinese symbol for truth. The other tattoo on my left leg is the symbol for surrender. I know in the end that is what we must do. We have no choice. It feels like I'm finally learning to surrender...or surrendering is just happening.
Bless you for your generous guidance. Lots of love,
How sweet- surrender and truth, you wrote that down on the body already!
Yes, seeking and exploration are similar, only first has a flavor of desperation and second has sense of wander, amazement, curiosity.
There is no you to let go or hold on, simple, it's all just happening. Trust that all that is happening is exactly what and how it should be happening, because- here it is!
Awakening journey is about acceptance and surrender. All that is not yet accepted will show up. Patterns will come up to be looked at and released. This is clean up operation.
Can you say with a big fat YES, that separate self is an illusion? If not, what else is not clear, what other expectations are at play?
Mind you, the shift can be very subtle, Big Bang is not meant to happen, it's just a drop of belief.
Exploration is so much softer than seeking. I agree that seeking carries a degree of desperation and a feeling of insanity.
Thank you for the reminder that there is no me to let go or hold on. It's a habit of being or a habit of behavior to try to perpetuate that.
I can absolutely say YES that a separate self is an illusion, although my experience of that has not been riveting. But I can't honestly go back and say there is a separate self anymore. I think one expectation that I have is the desire to really sense that or FEEL it in a big way, since everyday life constantly includes the reference to I or my, as a convenience of communication. And that tends to maintain or reinforce that continual illusion of a separate self. There may be other expectations that have not surfaced yet, but in this moment, I am not aware of any.
Thank you also, for the reminder that it's just a drop of belief. It's so simple. Subtle can actually feel powerful depending on the perspective. That's really it. Very simple like the imagination of the spoon not actually Being the spoon.
I need to take more time to observe nature since I live right in the middle of it. It seems busyness has overtaken me lately. Still, in reactive situations, a perspective seems to happen much sooner than it used to. It feels like a process of coming in and out and a process of continual falling.
Lovely to hear from you and yey to the drop of belief!!
Would you like to answer the final questions and see if there is any sticky part left? If none, I can invite you to aftercare groups to meet others.
Yes. I know that I can never go back to that belief again as the truth has presented itself. There is just ongoing house cleaning to do.
Yes, I would like to answer the final questions. Please send. If I'm clean and clear, then I would like to continue on to aftercare.
Thank you and bless you.
Sweet! Here they are
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.
I want to thank you for taking all this time and putting all this energy into guiding me. I am deeply grateful.
1) There is no separate entity self, me, I. There never was. It is just a made up thing that now seems to run out of habit. With that made up thing developed a need to be somebody and maintain and protect that. While I see clearly there is no I, me, self because I can't find it anywhere, there is a habit that wants to continue--a habit that does continue. The brain creates this continuum and that's what seems to be going on. Merely a habit of playing out this old belief. The thrill of Santa was still there long after the truth was revealed, it just wasn't true anymore.
2) The illusion of separate self is: that there is a personal me that reacts to, accepts or rejects everything else in the world. It starts when very young--around 2 years old, I suppose, and begins with being identified as something separate, learning the conditioning and being taught ownership and belief of who I am suppose to be. It really starts way before that. It's conditioning that is passed on from generation to generation. I learned to take responsibility for who or what others thought I should be. I fully bought into and integrated the belief of me. The belief of me became one with this body and continued to be something to stand up for, maintain and protect. The belief and the thought was me. I often felt threatened. I felt somewhere deep that if I did not continue to maintain a sense of me, and protect that, what would I be--where would I be? Other people always seemed so anchored in themselves, so concrete as they knew exactly who and what and when they were. They knew who they were supposed to be, which, in all this illusion, strengthened that belief of being separate.
The illusion of a separate self as a "me" feels divided from everyone and everything else. Truth is, we are different but not separate.
3) A little disorienting at this moment, but also a relief. Disorienting because it is unfamiliar and there are moments of wanting to cling to the familiar. When I go looking deeply into the discomfort or disorientation, I come to a place of what at first feels like a dead end, but then I realize it is nothing—literally. It could also be referred to as silence. It is impossible for me to go beyond silence. It’s just empty—the mind feels empty.
A relief because I can let go—or at least begin letting go of all the maintenance and imposed responsibility. I can let go of trying to control it. I see that I can’t and I might as well relax into it.
4) What pushed me over was a combination of things:
A) Following fear for years to get to what and where it is, what’s behind it, but always ending up with nothing, finding nothing—running into silence but feeling like I just had not found it and continuing to search for what was behind it, until I read your statement in “Start Here” that said “note that the silence is not the absence of answer, it is the answer.” Until then, I always felt it was the absence of answers. It was a big eye-opener.
Seriously considering your belief in Santa Claus analogy and seeing how this idea of separate self was created only by a belief and that it isn't true.
C) Your spoon exercise was another thing that helped me to see that imagination and believing that imagination has fortified the illusion.
5) I don’t decide, choose, or control events in Life. I really get what has become a cliché statement, “I make plans and God laughs.” Happens all the time, only now I am so much more aware of it. Almost inevitably when I make plans, or when I think I make plans, something else comes along to change those ideas. I do not control anything. I used to like to think I did and it used to feel like I chose or decided, but not anymore, especially after seeing evidence that 6 seconds before we think we make a decision, it has already been made. Deciding happens, choices happen, but not by me, and there is no control over anything. I can no longer say that I do. I cannot prove that I make anything happen. Everything that happens appears to be the result of a combination of Everything happening at once to make that one thing happen. Does that make sense? It just feels like everything is involved. Since there is no separate me—no separate anything, everything comes together to make things happen. I cannot find who or what makes anything happen.
6) Anything to add? Yes. Since I answered most of this and was in a place of seeing through the illusion, I feel I have fallen back. That is very okay, even though a little discouraging. Things happen when they are supposed to. The thing is, I am trying to be really, really honest with myself about all of this and there are a lot of moments where I question whether I just Believe there is no separate self. Maybe that is where it starts so that we can even open up to the possibility that there is no separate self. It feels like I could be kidding myself. I definitely was stepping through an opening and a clarity and relaxation was present. But now the habit patterns that have been so strong throughout my life, have returned. Life has such momentum and so much if it travels at a pace that is quite unnatural for me. I get caught up in it, and I race and become more and more time bound and time referenced. The life-long habit patterns and behaviors have a lot of momentum, as well. I can’t tell that I have any fear around this, although there may be some that I haven’t realized yet. It just feels like I cannot completely break free of the habitual way of being. I can’t try either, because that makes no sense to me. I saw it. I sensed it. I felt it. But now it is just a memory played over and over. I rekindle some of these realizations to hopefully set up a new momentum, but I would be a phony if I said I am still there. Perhaps my experience will just be very, very gradual and gentle. I don’t know, but again I’m trying to be as honest with myself and you as I can.
There you have it, Ilona. All truth as it is for me right now.
Love and blessings.
Hope I'm not a lost cause. Said with love and laughter. I suppose "I" IS a lost cause. There is "no driver on the top."
Love & blessings.
Sorry for delay with answer.
Yes, there is no driver! Is there still doubt or it cleared? Is seeking still going on?
No worries, Ilona. We never really know if the messages that we send out there get to their destination.
Their is no doubt. I can't go back. I wouldn't call it seeking so much as a desire to feel the sense of being home, of being with what is, of Being, more fully and more often. The focus and attention still wants to spend more time with the content and chatter and labeling. As the way continues to be cleared, I'm hoping the attention and focus will naturally go more often toward the silence in which it is all contained--that is, the silence will be in the foreground and the content will be in the background more of the time. This is an unraveling and an unfolding. I see that for me, it is only the beginning.
Thank you, so much. You have been really helpful and you must also be helping many others...all for free. Bless you.
Great to hear that the line was crossed!! I'm delighted for you. And yes, totally, this a beginning of new way of seeing, an opening to explorations and many interesting turns and twists. The silence is always underneath and can be acceded, noticed whenever you look.
The deepening, integration is natural unfolding.
Could I post our conversation on my blog? That way other guides can read and ask questions, if any. And then I can I its tog to join lu groups. There is a lot support and sharing there.
I can use your name, initial or whatever name you choose. I would appreciate that a lot.
And thank you. Yes, please feel free to post this conversation and use my name. I welcome any questions guides may have.