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This is the simplest, most logical; most obvious truth- there is no such separate entity as self. There is no self at all, no manager, controller, but life flowing freely, all is one reality, one life. Life just IS.
It is so simple, that it's most difficult to see. Thinking that we all have a special separate self that is in charge of our lives it's nothing else, but unquestioned assumption. It's a core belief, through which a human sees life. The feeling of separation persists in everyday life, making one always stressed, depressed or seeking for more. There is deep constant feeling that something is wrong, that there is something to find out, that life is not full, not abundant, stressful, unfulfilled.
Of course there is something wrong.
There is this feeling that something is wrong. It rises up from deep and keeps us searching for answers.
The answer is simple- there is no self. There never was. We are not doing anything in life, life is happening not to us, but as us. There is no manager involved that decides what, when, with who, why. Life just happens, by itself, for no reason. It's life alive. It's Life-ing.
The big question is how to see that there is really no self in reality at all.
If you accept this as a belief, without testing, nothing will change. You will have one more belief running in the system creating more conflicts than before. To see the truth of it you need to look for yourself.
Looking is very simple- one just needs a clear intention to finally see the truth, no matter what distractions stand in a way. One needs to be ready to set all expectations aside. It's not scary and it is not magic. One just needs to start thinking for himself and answer some precise questions with whole honesty like never before.
When you start looking first thing to do is clear the path. This can be done by writing. You can have somebody guiding you or just do it yourself. Take nothing for granted, question everything. There is nothing at all that you need to know to start digging. Just begin writing and clarify stuff for yourself, by yourself, for the love of truth. No one can do the looking for you. Don't even think about that.
(Don’t start just yet. Read the whole thing to the end, then start)
I came up with these steps as a result of seeing what really works for most people.
All you need is pen and paper, plus honest desire to know.
At this stage it is important to realize that looking and thinking is not the same.
For example, if i asked you to describe what is behind your back right now, you can answer from memory- thinking, or you can turn the head around and see, then describe what is there as you see it. In this work you need to look in your experience and forget all you know, all you think is true, all you heard or read. Trust your direct experience.
Clearing the path
Write this down.
There is no separate self at all in reality. No agent that is in charge, no manager, no watcher, no owner of life; all there is is life flowing freely as one movement.
Watch, wait, notice, write- what comes up? Is there fear? Is there doubt? Resistance? Frustration? Something that wants to scream and make a turn away, something that says this is not working? Or maybe there is feeling of wow, joy, relief?
Notice all that is going on inside and just put it down in writing.
Done? Ok. Bring all closer. If there is fear, focus on fear.
Notice, that it's protection mechanism. The fear itself is like a door, it holds you from looking behind the door. But it's just fear. It’s ok for it to be here, it is only doing it’s job. Just let it be there, acknowledge its presence with respect and gratitude, check where it feels physically in the body. Notice sensation.
What is fear itself?
What is it protecting?
What needs to be protected?
What is that feels threatened?
Ask it to reveal why it’s here, what it is trying to tell you, ask the fear to share it’s wisdom.
If there is no self, then there is nothing that needs to be protected, right?
Honor the feeling. Bow to it, thank it for doing it’s job. Notice, it is here to protect, it's a friend. Fer is really love in disguise. It is only showing you where to look, the dark areas.
Now look behind it.
Is there anything behind the fear?
if so, what? And what is behind that?
( note that the silence is not the absence of answer, it is the answer)
If you passed this stage and saw that there is nothing behind the fear, you are ready for the next step.
Strip away all expectations.
What do you expect that liberation is going to be like?
What do you want from it?
How do you imagine a liberated human behaves?
What should it be like?
What will it give you, what do you hope for?
What don't you want it to be like.
Just write all this out and examine it. Your full honesty is the key here, find all expectation and write them down, then look for the hidden expectations. This article on Exectations may be of use here.
Once you write it all out, accept that expectations are in the way of seeing with fresh eyes, so leave all this behind in order to take a fresh look. If you keep clinging to your expectations, go back to the fear section and look what is behind the expectations. What is there that feels threatened?
All expectations, no matter what you expect are not what it is going to be like. Anytime you feel stuck, come back to expectations, if there is something that you think that should be happening, but it isn't- there is an expectation behind it. They are not useful, but in the way.
Get in touch with real
By real I mean that which is actually here, that does not disappear if you stop believing in it.
Imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine form, size, weight, temperature, keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon.
Open your eyes; is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or it never existed?
Notice, that there was no boom and no bright light flashes in the eyes when imaginary spoon was no longer imagined. Remember this, shift is not going to be more than this, it’s just a drop of belief- the glue that holds the illusion together.
Look around the room notice what is real. What is here now? Notice things, notice looking around the room. If you think that this world is not real, check it against an imaginary picture.
Here is another exercise:
Close your eyes and imagine you are in the kitchen. Just visualize and look around, notice where things are put. Notice the space, the feel of it.
This is an image, it can trigger feelings and contractions - expansions, thought stories and feelings attached to them.
Open eyes and see how an image can be created and explored in the mind.
Go to the kitchen and look at same things that you saw in the image, how does imagining and experiencing same things differ? Is the image of the kitchen and experience of kitchen the same?
Focus on the image of me, the separate individual entity, is it an image or an actual entity?
If I was to tell you that Santa is real, would you see it in the room right now? Can you see the difference between real and imagined?
Self is imagined. You can look for the real self, but can it be found? Look in each sense- can you find the self? ( is there a self in touch, smelling, tasting, seeing and hearing? Test with each sense.
Is controller/manager in a head? if so, how does self give commands to the body?
I is a thought. Thought does not think.
Opposite to what we have been fed since childhood, I is not a soul or a being, I is a thought. It is not a being, it is just a label. Being is a verb, not a thing.
I think therefore I am- a famous statement proposed by René Descartes. The simple meaning of the phrase is that someone wondering whether or not he exists is, in and of itself, proof that he does exist – at the very least, there must be an "I" who does the thinking.
But let’s not believe what somebody else says and test it.
Close your eyes after reading this paragraph and find that which is always present. Feelings of aliveness, aware being-ness, ‘I am’ stay with the feeling. Is it personal? It feels personal because for all those years you thought that you exist as a separate being. It’s a sense plus labeling of the mind as “me”.
Look at thoughts:
Where do they come from?
Can you control them?
What influences thoughts?
Do you know what your next though is going to be?
Can a thought be stopped in the middle?
What do you know for sure?
Answer these questions for yourself, notice the thinking process. How do thoughts come, in bundles or one after another, one at a time?
Notice that thoughts come and go by themselves. They are just thoughts, like clouds in the sky. And there is nothing that controls them, they roll one after another and there is no way to stop or get rid of them. Like a river that is running freely.
Look at mind as labeling machine. Experience happens, labeling follows. Noticing, observation, witnessing happens, labels pop right after.
This article on language and how it woks may be of use at this point.
Notice body breathing, look, is it breathing by itself of is there a breather? Label says “I breathe”. Is there an I that does the breathing? How about when you sleep? Does breathing need a breather?
Same with walking, eating, listening to music, dancing. Every experience is followed by “I did this” commentary. But look closer; is there a walker, an eater, a dancer? If language says that there is an object doing action, is that true in your direct experience?
Play with the labeling for a bit, notice that label I is just a label, a word that precedes other words in the labeling. Right now reading happens effortlessly and if you just stop for a second, thoughts appear and start labeling………I is one of thoughts. I is not a thinker, it's a thought arising in awareness.
Can a thought think? Can a thought do anything?
So if I is a thought and thought does not think, where is the thinker? Is there one?
I think therefore I am can be broken down to:
I is a thought itself
I does not think
There is no I
But thinking happens.
There is an exercise in this post, do it and notice, if I is more then a thought, more then a label.
There is no separate self at all in real life.
Is there a gap between experienced and experiencer? Is there an experiencer, a center to which life happens?
It’s good idea to get outside into nature at this point. Watch trees, animals, babies, other people. See how everything moves, wiggles, trees, grass, animals, birds, humans, thoughts, feelings, the body that is here now. Notice that thoughts are arising dependent of what is being noticed, what is being experienced.
Notice life, aliveness and how everything is happening effortlessly. Turn the focus outside. Notice how everything simply is. perceiving is happening. It's here, now, alive.
See how seeing just happens. There is no one behind the eyes, no watcher, no observer, only watching, observing happening in the present moment. No agent that switches seeing on and off at will. Mind is doing it's usual business of labeling experience and it is also just happening by itself without an effort.
When you look at what is looking, what is there?
If there is a doubt, notice that, look right at it, see it for what it really is- another mechanism of protection. Just that. It is just a thought that arises and passes away. Keep looking at the obvious. Focus. Is there a focuser? Or focusing is happening?
You are seeing it already at this point, all that is needed to recognize this fully is noticing that it's already the case.
At this point there is nothing that you need or can do. Let it unfold. There is no agent that can even let this unfold. See that there is no one that can do anything, admit that. No one to let it happen. It all just happens. It's all happening already- noticing, recognition, seeing. There is no separate self, there never was, there is only life, unfolding. Trust that.
There are many traps here and you will need to focus hard. Everything that is not direct looking is a distraction from looking. Mind will be creating all kinds of distractions, but just remember to stare at the gate.
Gate is the best friend in this search for freedom. It's a sure one time crossing, once the truth is seen you cannot fall back into belief of separate being. Same way as you cannot ever belief that Santa is real in real life. Once a pattern is recognized it can not be unrecognized.
At this point if help needed, please come to THE GATE Forum where you can get help by our dedicated team free of any charge. Either you see it or you don't, don't let it just hang in there unresolved, there are some questions that will help to clear doubt and really see it.
You either see it or you think that you don't.
How does it feel to see this?
Has anything changed on the outside? are any changes in ordinary every day activities?
Does it feel different inside?
Write it down. Putting thoughts on paper in front of you really helps mind to focus and clarify.
If you passed through the gate it becomes obvious, that there is no gate, there is no I that needs or can cross the gate and there never was. And you may be glad to see that seeking has dropped.
At this point answer the question: is seeking still here?
One thing for sure you are not going to hear angels singing and no sonic boom either. It’s just like seeing an recognizing that there is no imaginary spoon, just a drop of belief. The shift can be very subtle or it can come with intense experiences, it does not matter how it is for others, it is perfect for you in every way.
Right, this is when it gets interesting.
Since the core belief has been busted, there will be a lot of lost beliefs hanging. Imagine, it's like a computer system, if you delete some programs, there will be some files left behind that will slow down the performance, so you usually clean it up. Defragment the system, tune it up.
Knocking the core belief out is like a tsunami to your system. It leaves a lot of rubble behind, lot of corpses to take care of. So what you want to do here is clarify and clarify, and clarify more. Keep an eye on the truth, let the beliefs surface. They will come up one by one ready to be released. Don’t fight them and hold on to nothing. As soon as you start holding on to belief, idea, you get stuck. To unstuck, just let it all fall of. I call this stage “Falling” as all that is untrue, falls away, all that it is true, falls into place.
Some say it takes around a couple of months to settle in , but everyone is different. So there is no guarantee how long it will take for your system to reboot and re-balance. Faith in truth is your friend. Desire to get the last lie of your system is another friend as well as readiness to let go of everything that does not serve anymore. Doubt your precious beliefs and keep investigating. This is only a beginning, not an end. It is not a gate to happy ever after, it's a tiny first step, a very important one, but not final one, by any means.
Look close at the most precious beliefs that are close to the heart, in no touch zone. They are the ones that you really want to inspect up close. You will recognize them by feeling resistance. Follow resistance. It is here to let you know that another bit of lie is sitting somewhere waiting to be noticed.
When the sticking point is removed life becomes easier, it has got a real sense of freedom, appreciation, effortlessness, trust and awe. There is freedom in every situation. There is freedom to express without feelings of guilt fear, being wrong. Freedom is not from negative situation, but within the situations. Life is no longer looked at through the lens of “me”. It’s wide open, ready to be explored. It is an end to seeking, but not an end to exploring.
Live, enjoy, pass the message.