Saturday, 17 March 2012
Dacre: LOOK Directly At It.
Hi Dacre, thank you for a very nice message. Please introduce yourself here a little and let's start digging.
What do you expect from this conversation?
What do you imagine seeing the truth is going to be like?
Make a list of all that you are hoping for and do so without holding back, with 100% honesty.
Looking forward to your answer.
Hi Ilona, I have been seeking for almost 30 years. Started with Buddhism, meditation retreats, etc, then over the years much involvement in New Age, healing, motivational seminars, and with numerous often very clear spiritual teachers. Strangely, I seemed to gain a lot from everything I have done only to lose it months, weeks, days, sometimes only hours later. None of it amounted to anything is my feeling now. Wasted money, wasted life.
From this conversation I expect the truth, whatever that is. I expect that the eternal, infernal seeking and endless longing will come to an end.
I imagine that "seeing the truth" may be a non-event, but it will mean that life will be living itself, beautifully, spontaneously, with all its ups and downs, but without the interference of an I who imagines that it controls everything and needs to control everything and with all the exhaustive burdens, guilt, and heavy responsibility that goes with that.
I have suffered with anxiety and depression almost my entire life. While I don't expect this lifelong habit to change overnight necessarily, I do hope that seeing the "me" for what it is will remove the shame and self-blame associated with these states, to allow life to flow, open up and sort itself out naturally.
"It will mean that life will be living itself, beautifully, spontaneously, with all its ups and downs, but without the interference of an I."
That is already the case. Life is life-ing and no I is interfering with that.
Let's get you seeing that.
Tell me, where do the thoughts come from? Can you control them; can you stop thinking at will?
Just take a good look and write what comes up.
Yes, that is already the case, but the content of the mind is filled in part with thoughts about how I am in partial control and have a role to play. Intellectually I know this is not the case, and even direct looking seems not to support it but the feeling nevertheless persists.
"Where do thoughts come from?" They arise from nothing, from nowhere. Or kind of like some space around the head area. I cannot control them or I would certainly have better ones than I usually do. On the other hand the mind seems to be able to be programmed to some degree. Is there an I entity doing this? No. Again just thoughts arising..
I definitely cannot stop thinking at will, though thoughts will quieten on their own when left alone to just be, eg. with meditation, etc.
Content of the mind is just thoughts. Do thoughts have to be true? Thoughts can be about real or about unreal.
But they are never the real. So if you don't take that content seriously, is there a problem with anything?
Life is already full. Including that feeling of control. Is there anything personal about that feeling? If you look closer, can you catch it when it's felt?
Control appear to be coming of me. But see if it's true. Is there a controller?
Yeah, there is nothing in the mind but thoughts, feelings, imagination. Some thoughts seem to be truer pointers than others. But even thoughts about real things aren't actually real. The thought 'tree' is never the tree itself..
"If you don't take that content seriously, is there a problem with anything?" No, there isn't. I was going to say, what about real "problems" in life that you have to take seriously? The content of thoughts seems to matter then. But they don't really do they? Great sadness or grief or anger can happen on its own. It doesn't need an ongoing thought commentary to translate everything that happens. Life can live itself through the body and mind through its natural intelligence with or without the content of thought. Anger isn't a problem unless you 'think' it is.
The feeling of "control" can be a part of life. And no there is nothing personal about that feeling. There can't be. It appears to come from 'me', but me is just another thought arising, as is the feeling/thought of control.
And yet there is still a subtle feeling of a controller here. So I will have to look at the whole mechanism a while longer and then get back to you.
Great! You are getting close.
Yes, life goes on including thoughts about life and those thoughts are only commentary, not the driving force of life.
So now look closer at language and how it's working.
Every noun points to some object, real or imaginary.
Every verb points to action
Put them both together and we get a sentence that is a label for movement, action, doing.
I walk, you read, fingers type, batman flies and table stands.
Is there I in walking?
Is there you in reading?
Is it fingers typing?
Does table do standing?
Play with this a bit and tell me, what is the word I pointing to?
Is there a doer in the doing?
Is there a thinker in thinking?
"I walk, you read, fingers type, batman flies and table stands.
Is there I in walking?
Is there you in reading?
Is it fingers typing?
Does table do standing?"
There is no "I" in walking, no "you" in reading, the fingers don't 'do' typing, and the table doesn't do standing. This, as you say, is all a function of how language operates. It deludes the mind into thinking that there is a subject and object, a separate person who is initiating the action. But this is merely a description in words. All of the above actions are simply happening. Then there is an interpretation after the fact that "I" did it or whatever. It can be subtle and insidious, but ultimately it's all words or thoughts. And words or thoughts are not the reality that they are pointing to.
'I am sitting'. I can see that the I in this sentence is completely superfluous, unnecessary. What we label sitting is just happening, or is. Yet words aren't a problem when you don't take them for reality, but simply as tools to be used as needed.
"What is the word I pointing to?"
Perhaps I can say that the word I is pointing to the action or state of the body/mind, eg. I am sitting, provides information on what is happening. On the other hand, the word I is not really pointing to anything, as the I is a fiction, a word that is part of a story, not a real, actual thing.
"Is there a doer in the doing?" Again, it's only language that says there's a doer, you can't find one in reality. There is simply the doing. There doesn't have to be a doer. Things happen or don't happen. No doer, except in language, in words, in interpretation. Not in reality.
"Is there a thinker in thinking?" No. There can't be if thoughts just come out of nowhere, out of thin air. Any initiator of thoughts in any case would just be another thought, with no thinker behind that either.
It seems like thoughts just arise on their own, probably due to genetics, habits and environmental conditioning. They just appear, just are, like a bird sings or dog barks. But we think they're ours and suffering and seeking of some kind inevitably ensues. So yeah, in a literal sense, I'd say the word I points to nothing in reality. There's no actual I or me or mine, just life happening spontaneously. And lots of stories!
How does it feel to see this?
"How does it feel to see this?"
I don't really feel anything that much. Everything I've written down I have known for many years. Although I think it might be the first time I've actually written it down. There has been a lot of depression here for a long time and it still persists.
As for the seeing through the illusion of a 'me' or 'I'. In my twenties I saw several psychiatrists with the central problem that I did not have a "self", there was simply nothing there. Nobody at home. This was diagnosed as Depersonalisation Disorder (probably erroneously). There is a feeling here that all our descriptions of life and reality are conceptual, almost kind of arbitrary and made up, but what we are and what life is is non-conceptual. Just is. All explanations are bullshit. Which certainly doesn't mean they're not worthwhile! Or that stories aren't fun and entertaining. All action-reaction. Neurons firing in the brain. "I" am their product not their cause. Everything on automatic. One Universal whole. No separation. No separation from life. We ARE life.
So I suppose I mean to say that deep down life is 'good', in a non-value judgement kind of way. How does it feel? There is sometimes being carried away by the story, other times clarity. Sometimes sky high elation, but mostly depression. Life expressing itself!
Thank you Ilona. Your pointers are very, very clear and help me concentrate and clarify things. I feel better because of it. No doubt about it.
This is cool, you can open up, all those years you have been seeing it. Wow.
Depression? How is it feeling these days?
What is the main feeling there? Can you identify it? What is behind those feelings?
Hi Ilona, I am going to have to log off in a minute but will think about the depression over the next day or so, what's the core feeling or reason behind it and so on. I do know it's confusing and there are many reasons I can think of. But will get back to you..
Cool, spend some time with it. But don't over think it, don't look for the reason as that is mental stuff, rather look feelings themselves as a mechanism and what is behind all that. Employ curiosity for how it works rather than what is the content of depression.
I’m here any time you are ready to continue.
To be honest, I'm not quite sure what you were getting at in your last post, but here is what I've discovered.
Every time there is a thought of the future, it triggers depression: things will stay the same, I cannot or don't want to change. No job, no money, no assets, no relationships, no qualifications, addictions, poor physical and mental health, etc., etc. I don't want to die destitute and alone. The core feeling behind all the other feelings is fear, fear of change, fear of people in general. I can't really get in touch with it much but I just sort of know that this is it. The fear is derived from very early childhood abuse and being attacked, etc. So just deep conditioning that has stayed in the body and mind.
Sometimes I find it all a bit funny because what is the future anyway, a completely made up thing. There is no future (or past), except in the mind now. And it's always now! And focusing on an imaginary 'me' on a timeline into an imaginary future is also a bit of runaway fiction ultimately. Now's generally ok, and now is all there ever is. So sometimes there is this Seeing and there is not a problem with any depression or anything else. At other times there is getting caught up in the story because it's so frightening and I still have to live a practical life. Food, shelter, the basics. For me, this isn't happening. I am having to rely on others, so the depression (with meaninglessness and apathy), is triggered. At other times life is fine just as it is.
I don't know what the solution to any of this is. Does it need a solution? Or just observation of the mechanism. If the unreal is seen as unreal, mind stuff, then can it be a problem?
You stopped at a very interesting question... Can unreal be a problem?
If you know that all thoughts are about real or unreal, but never THE real, do they have to be taken so seriously?
Yes it's always now. Would that worried voice be missed, if it wasn't here? That one that looks into the future, worried about 'me'. So when you see that me is not, there is nothing to worry about in the future.
Keep talking. You are getting it. :)
What do you mean that all thoughts are about real or unreal but never THE real? I'll just clarify to make sure I understand you properly. Real is like chair or sky. Real things. Unreal is like Santa Claus or Batman, unreal, fictional things. But ALL are thoughts. Not things, not real, words and thoughts making up stories. Stories about me or you or them or us...
If this is what you mean then no, they don't have to be taken seriously. No thoughts have to be taken seriously. No thoughts have to dictate reality and cause psychological suffering. "Can the unreal be a problem?" No!
Future, past, me, them...it's the 'thoughts' of them that cause the horrible sensations in the body and the awful suffering in the mind. Not Reality itself. And even if they are taken seriously out of habit. THAT doesn't have to be taken seriously, but seen instead as thought story. Not the REAL.
My mind is non-stop commentary. Absolutely non-stop! Even as I am writing this. But it is not really real in the same way that just Being here is real, the room is real, typing, etc. Life lifeing, I think you say. So the worried voice would not be missed, the me would not be missed. It would be such relief without them! Without these concepts the default position is Now. As it ever was. Now with all its feelings, thoughts, sensations but not taken seriously, that is, formulated into a story of my life and the need to fix it. My life is a story, it arises, it's there, but it is fiction. The me is an idea given to me in childhood which I believed all my life. But it is not real is it? A concept is a concept. Not reality. Freedom from suffering is seeing and living that. Such thoughts also have no actual substance and don't even exist if you don't believe them. What is real will exist whether believed in or not. 'I' is not like that. So "I" am not here now and was never here. Except as a believed in concept. Maybe not even that.. Just an occasional idea in the mind.
The end of it I suppose, is that "me" is not even here. Only living..
The end of is when it's seen that there never was an I to start with.
Now look up into the past, like a childhood memory and see if there is an I in there, then go few year into the future and see if the future me is there.
Keep talking. You are getting through nicely.
Is there a gate?
A childhood memory: falling over as a child and breaking arm, strange sensations of numbness and pain signals to/from brain, thoughts arising to get help, driving to hospital, thoughts/complaints about pain, general anaesthetic, morphine, weird sensations, happiness to leave hospital. Talking. No I involved in any of this just sensation and a reaction to it. No I needed to make it all happen. Stories of 'I' did this or that came later but not at the time of intense or strange sensations and circumstances.
"go few years into the future and see if the future me is there". From my experience the me is always in the future. The future is usually some story about me or what I will do or not do. But it's all happening in the present. Very ephemeral and changeable. It's a story that arises automatically. I don't make it happen. So there is no I that is doing anything now. And as it is always now. Then also there is no I in the future. Also the I in thought is not real, but a thought.
"Is there a gate?" If there is no actual I except as a thought, then passing through the "gate" is just seeing this. But since this was ALWAYS the case, then there is no gate. It's just seeing the truth of what is and what always was. There's no enlightenment, nothing tangible to find. Only something to lose, an imagined I who thought it was in control, but was only ever a thought. And as a thought it has no actual power. It can appear to have power if believed in but in reality it is harmless, powerless, just a word or idea. It doesn't matter if it is there or not.
It's recently become clearer that I have spent years trying to figure this out mentally. When ultimately it's a non-problem. If I can see there is no REAL I here and never was, then WHO can understand and WHAT? Thought can never get it. Thought churns over and over trying to 'get it'. But if it's not in thought then the answer can't be there. There's nothing to get, And nowhere to go. Only here. Thought doesn't like this at all but its truth. And truth isn't about mental knowledge.
Is there a you in any shape or form in reality?
How does it feel to see this?
"is there a you in any shape or form in reality?"
There is no me in any shape or form in reality. There can be a thought I in a story told about "me". But the thought I doesn't refer to anything at all. It's just a thought. It refers to nothing. One bit of story referring to another bit. No I at all in reality.
"How does it feel to see this?"
I feel sort of lighter. Also like there is just one reality or feeling of spaciousness, and no I apart from it.
That's so delightful to hear.
:) I see you are through, let's get you answer a few last questions.
How would you explain, describe this illusion to somebody interested, but not familiar with it?
What was that last thing that made you look and see?
At a very young age we are told that our body and thoughts are ours. We are given a name and identity. And are led to believe that this identity is in control and is responsible for everything we do. It is an identity solely in thought but it can lead to thought based stories of great tragedy or delight. But LOOK directly at it. The "I" is a thought only, it does not refer to anything in reality. It does not exist in reality. Only as a thought. And you can't control your thoughts ultimately, they just appear out of nowhere with no author. You can see this just by observation or even better, with the help of someone who has seen through the illusion. The answer to the great yearning of life for fulfilment and satisfaction is not in the mind. It is right here and now, and in seeing through the false apparent reality of the controller me. Without that, life flows more easily, freely, and is free of psychological suffering, through apparent good times or bad. In essence, "you" are not a problem and never were, there is nothing wrong with you. The you that you think you are, you're not. What you are is nameless. You could call it life itself, or existence or presence or awareness, or nothing. You are already free. It is just a matter of seeing through the thought illusion that makes you think you are in bondage. The bondage is not real. Just a story. You are not a story.
"What was the last thing that made you look and see?"
It was kind of a matter of already knowing it but still trying to use the mind to figure it out and just stopping that. Another thing was reading another post just recently on this site about how the I is no more real than the tooth fairy or Santa. The I was in the same league as them. Not real. Also just sitting down and looking directly for myself, at thoughts, at the space or nothing they arise in, at reality as it actually is.
Let it settle.. We will speak tomorrow.
I'm so happy for you.
How is life feeling today?
Is there any doubt at all?
Ilona, there is no doubt at all about this, it's clear, which feels good. But the background mood here is low or flat, and the physical body feels heavy and a bit unwell, which is all normal for me.
I will be away from the computer for two days so I want to leave it a little while longer and then check in again on Friday.
....................Few days later..................
Hi Ilona, I have been very busy and not so much sleep the last couple of days, the usual light depression and physical illness. But there are differences. I notice less of a boundary between the body/mind and the environment I'm in. A subtle feeling that I am the awareness or space outside of me too, which gives a feeling of solidity and security (and love?).. This is in stark contrast to the diffuseness and fear and confusion that this situation engendered 20 years ago or so. A kind of full presence rather than a void or absence. Someone else might use these concepts differently but I hope I'm getting across what I mean.
Much less thinking (ie. worrying), about the future.
Basically the same mild depression, anxiety and fatigue, which fluctuates, as it has done for 30 years. The mind is as noisy as ever, like a radio on all the time, sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background. The I story is going on as usual, but the difference is that it is as if floating in the air in and around the body, like it has nothing or little to do with me but just goes on from decades of habit and conditioning, like stuck in a loop..
I've also realised that if I just look at the bad feelings that arise WITHOUT the story, the 'I' story, then they dissolve. With the believed in story they go on for hours or days.. but without the story, that is, seeing the story as a story, just thoughts, not real, then the feelings and sensations in the body hang around for a much shorter time. So there is more freedom in that...more ease, more space, more peace.
So everything is the same except for these subtle differences. They are subtle but distinct. I get the feeling they have a life of their own, and will deepen or expand over time....... to reveal the actual timelessness that is already here and now, you could say... which is kind of intuited but not really directly seen yet.
I feel like there is more of a relaxing into Being, and some insights... If the story is not real then we are never REALLY caught up in it. We are free, but dreaming we're not. The story is wafer thin when looked at directly but unobserved appears so full and important. We seem to get lost but never really leave our true 'home'.
Here, it's a bit like the self is still believed in, but in a very detached way. There is a play-acting of seriousness going on rather than an actual real life tragedy. The whole world drama is like a vast movement and field of intertwining energies. One movement appearing as many, happening on its own.
'My' life is happening on its own. Things just are as they are without needing to label everything in the mind. "I" can't do a thing about it anyway, except maybe look at reality, SEE clearly, as is happening...
For example, it's not "my" depression, just a label for thoughts and sensations arising in a body and mind. Nothing is 'wrong' ultimately with 'me' or my life.
This afternoon I was walking along a suburban footpath looking at the shops and the clouds and the sky and the people, and there was a feeling of the possibility of the joy of just Being, of just simply existing, of existence itself.
The mind still occasionally wants to try to figure this out. But I cannot understand this. I is a piece of content in the context of all This. I am, if anything, what the mind and body arise in, timeless, spaceless, aware, alive, uncaused happiness or peace. Or name it whatever you want, the naming or concepts don't matter at all. They're irrelevant.
Finally, I have to say that there is less interest in the mind stories generally and in the seeking of happiness there. Being or spirit or peace already is here, what I am. It's pretty foggy at times but I think the clouds are slowly clearing.. In any case, when it's seen that the stories and the me aren't real, it doesn't matter what is here and what is not. No I (for real), no problem.
Just saw clearly how thoughts, feelings, stories (appearances, fictions), can't affect REALITY, here, now. At all. Nice.
Welcome home, dacre.
Isn't that most amazing, we never have left. And yet it feel so good to return.
Your description is very clear. Loved reading it. And I resonate with how you see.
Nice story :)
Are you on Facebook? If so, friend me and I'll invite you to fb unleashed. You can also use the new section on this forum :)
Looking forward to meet you :) its was a pleasure to work with you. Thank you.
Thank you so much Ilona, for your wonderfully clear pointers and questions, and your lovely nature. What a great service you provide. Short and to the point. So simple! I enjoyed it.
I don't think I am on Facebook but will join and friend you.. Looking forward to it. Thank you once again..