The delusion of self

Two years ago I looked into the delusion of self. I wrote about it in the articles categorized as No Self.

It’s a simple and direct technique. With focus and intensity, you look for the you in your thoughts, and see that the you in thoughts does not refer to anything.

I went through it two years ago and in a few days recognized the absence of what I had presumed to be the center of experience. Experience does not happen to me; experience just happens.

But nothing really changed after the seeing. So I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a valid technique but doesn’t go anywhere.

Recently, a friend pointed out this site: http://liberationunleashed.com. They are all about just this one seeing–the seeing that the self that most of us think we are does not exist.

If you go through this looking, keep your expectations clear. This is not about liberation or enlightenment or any such thing. What you will see is the truth that the you you think you are in thoughts does not exist.

If you look inside for you, you will immediately find the sense of you. It’s just you, the personal you. This is the sense of you, the sense of I am, the sense of being, the sense of existence, what it feels like to you, the experience of you. This of course does exist. But the you in thoughts which you think is the center of your experience does not exist.

My experience had been that it was not huge seeing. Nothing much changed.

So do this if you want to, but have the clear expectation that what you’re doing is seeing through the delusion of self in thoughts.

You’ll see that the way it’s done is that you work one-on-one with someone who will guide you. If you’re not comfortable in that setting, I’ll be happy to work with you. Drop me a line: http://www.beyond-karma.com/about/.

103 thoughts on “The delusion of self

  1. Neerav

    Wow! Definitely Buddhist in theme!

    Looking at “No-Self” (annanta”) is a tool used to see past the delusions of the false/small self (i.e. ego) to see what is behind even that. That is a common practice in Buddhism based on the doctrine of “annanta” (no-self). Oddly enough, self-inquiry by Sri Ramana Maharishi has the same goal……to look past what is false in order to see that which is not just true……. is “truly true”. The mind (or egoic mind) is always trying to draw or entice you back into its games. Seeing past it is one way to weaken its grip on you.

    There is one thing that you are missing from this blog post, however…….the famous quote by the Buddha himself that summarizes your idea:

    “No self, no problem”.

    I figured, I would indulge myself and throw that in there for fun, just to make it more interesting and make it easier for people to understand what you are getting to with the message of your blog post. Take care!

    Neerav

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, that’s it.

      I don’t know much about Buddhism–not in an scholarly way. But what you say makes sense.

      It seems to me that all methods and practices eventually must come to Ramana and Nisargadatta’s inquiry. It’s a little misleading to call it inquiry. It’s clearer to call it looking. That’s all that need be done. Look at you, the sense of you, the sense of being. It is immediately accessible, not something deep, and looking just means to bring attention to it. I have increasing confirmation that this severs the delusion of fear and starts the process of healing.

      For me, it had been helpful to see through the delusion of self first. The self we think we are, the ego, the you that you think is the center of all experience, the thinker, the doer, the controller, does not exit. I think many people will agree to this, but intellectual agreement is not enough. It can be actually recognized. To recognize, we can bear down hard on it, use honesty, and bear down attention on thoughts to see that the you does not refer to anything.

      Thanks for clarifying, Neerav.

      k

      1. Neerav

        Hi Kaushik,

        You are very welcome! I forgot to add another famous saying in Buddhism:
        “Events happen, deeds are done, but there is no induvidual doer thereof”.

        That is my favorite quote. I got that from reading a book by Ramesh Balsekar, who was a disciple of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. The book’s name is “Confusion No More” by the same person. You might like that book.

        According to another spiritual teacher/author by the name of Dr. David R. Hawkins (who recently passed away), everything is seen, from a higher perspective, of happening or occuring on its own, as an expression of potentiality becoming manifest actuality when conditions, including karma, become favorable. This means that there is no “cause” of anything – causation, from a higher perspective, is nullified, even though the delusional self (i.e. the ego) would ascribe causation/causality to things happening that it observes. With everything happening automatically/autonomously on its own, there is also no “doership” or “actor” as well, so the delusional false/small/not-self has nothing to grasp onto for which to claim its own as the “doer” or as the “actor” let alone the “experiencer”. This pretty much leaves the ego in the dust, with nothing to show for it.

        Sorry if this stuff is a somewhat advanced for you and others here, but this also shows how the ego likes to claim itself as the one who does everything or experiences, everything, etc… and is what you call, the “delusional self”, when, in reality, the opposite is true. The ego loves causality and doership, but when it realizes that such is not and has never been the case, expect the ego to try to grab hold again, even going as far as throwing a temper tantrum like a two-year old. When you see past the ego (false self), even the “temper tantrums” that it has, in order to try to grab back power and claim itself as the “actor”, “doer”, “thinker”, “decider” let alone “experiencer” are seen as “not worth your time” and you can safely ignore them and look past them.

        That is what the ego has tried to do to me, and I have since recently put my foot down and said “enough!”. It can cry and whine and try to impose negative feelings like guilt for not doing what it wants, as well as fears about the future and regrets about the past, etc… but it still won’t get even a dime from me!!!

        – Neerav

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Again, I don’t disagree with any of this. This is how I see it. But I don’t quite understand the “advanced” stuff because the actuality is so very simple. See through the delusion of self, look at the sense of you, learn to notice, learn to release. That’s working pretty well for me, and when it is time for a new or different understanding, that’s what will happen. I’m not saying everything that works for me is absolute–but if someone asks me I would say you don’t need to learn any advanced spirituality. It will get in the way.

  2. Jeff

    Hi…it’s been a long time.

    My experience has been the diminishing of asking myself who i am and what i want and what I am striving for. I interpret this as living more from the experience that just is and less from the sense of who i am. Living is becoming more effortless and even these things I recognize less and less. This is the gauge that I trust – that eventually it will become a foreign concept when someone asks me to comment on who I am.

  3. Blueflame

    Hello again, let me get this straight…There is me, the person my mother loves and the one who goes to work, eats, complains, etc…

    Then there is this “me” that I have to look at. This “me” has no ambition no needs, just is there. Not God right? Not a spirit right? Oh and my life is not mine right?

    Oh and by the way with all this looking you still have life’s torments and challenges along with goal satisfaction. Only you have less fear.

    First there was God worship that put the ball in God’s court for what happens while you try hard to live a happy life. So if tragedy and joy comes along God made it happen.

    Then the inside out version of God=Dissociation is all this old and new stuff that’s going around LOA+budha+or Looking=Dissociation. My life is not mine or God is in control not me or my Ego has to be put in the basement closet!!!

    What it means to me is we still try to escape in every way we can. Look at the entertainment industry or just about any thing we focus on as a means to escape is there for us humans! We buy a fantasy right down to the gum we buy, it’s incredible. All this you and I discuss here is just another fantasy to the point that we begin to BELIEVE it Till we focus our attention on something else……All we do is just a fantasy like clothes, cars, food, partners, vacations haircuts, everything 100%

    Example: you take a walk to the park. You first fantasize how this walk will go. Then at the park you fantasize how a nice cool ice cream would taste. You buy one. Then you realize that you have to go to work in an hour to maintain your other fantasies. Later you fantasize how that new restaurant in town will be like only to see that it went beyond your expectations or below your expectations/fantasies. Buying that new set of cool clothes or that cool BMW brings on FIRST the fantasy of the whole vision, then the attainment…

    Aldo Nova said it in that song “life is just a fantasy come on live the fantasy life”

    1. Neerav

      Ok, I am not really understanding the post or the point of this post. Maybe I am missing something or I am reading it wrong, in which case, I need to reread it. Could you clarify what you are saying to Kaushik and everyone here? Sorry if this is more trouble for you to take. Thanks.

      – Neerav

      1. Kaushik Post author

        Yes, I know I need to clarify, because it sounds like what I’m saying here is the opposite of the looking at the sense of I am.

        The sense of I am is very real. It is what existence is. If we follow Ramana’s and Nisargadatta’s inquiry, it leads to the where attention is on consciousness, on the sense of I am, the sense of being, the sense of you. I don’t know how or why, but looking at the sense of I am has the effect of curing fear and its effects in the mind.

        This delusion of self is a different technique. When I tried it two years ago, I found that it was a valid technique. If you sit down and you look you find that the you in your thoughts does not refer to anything real. It’s only an idea. I saw through that, but nothing seemed to change. So I concluded that it was a valid technique, but doesn’t really go anywhere.

        Now I think that it has actually been very helpful. Because of seeing through the delusion of self, the technique of looking at the sense of I am was more effective. Of course, I cannot prove this even to myself–it seems reasonable.

        One way to discover the puzzle that the you in your thoughts is not real is to consider this:

        It’s not like you existed, and someone came by and said here, this is your body, and this is your mind, and this is your awareness, and this is your life. Take them, and go and live your life. That did not happen. What happened was an infant was born. A body-mind-awareness-life was born as an infant. The you came later. You is only an idea. The you that is weaved into every one of your thoughts and emotions and beliefs does not refer to anything real.

        k

        1. Andre

          Actually, it does. It is a structure. From a materialist point of view, it is a neurological structure woven into your body. This structure directs the flow of electricity moving through your body. It is as real as anything else. The computer you used to post this is also a structure which directs the flow of electricity. Is it not real?

          1. Kaushik Post author

            Hi Andre,

            Thanks for writing. I do not fully understand your comment. Perhaps you can elaborate or provide some context? Thanks.

            k

      2. Kaushik Post author

        Oops, sorry, I misread this.

        Neerav is asking Blueflame to clarify. I thought Neerav was asking me. Sorry about that–I’ll let the comment be.

        k

    2. Kaushik Post author

      🙂

      Yes, that’s how it works.

      We try to escape life as a human being. This causes us trouble–fear, inner resistance and so on. We’re unhappy. We realize we’re unhappy because of something inside. So we try to figure it out, through practices and understanding and techniques and what I do here. But the tail chasing just continues. Until it doesn’t.

      So, yeah it’s whacky. But I don’t know any other way to do this.

  4. Blueflame

    Hi, what you and I or whomever is trying to accomplish here is just one of millions of human fantasies. We fantasize that someday we will find some answer, some method that will free us from mental pain.

    I’m just saying that every thought is conjured up by an original fantasy. We can’t know for sure what will happen next because we don’t have perfect knowledge, meaning knowing every fact in existence.

    We are just living out our fantasies because we can’t predict the future. You see my fantasy is different than yours and visa versa. Who can tell us the right path in life if the TEACHER is living his own fantasy from his/hers imperfect knowledge?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, I think I see what you mean.

      But what’s the alternative? What I see may very well be fantasy. But it has improved life. There is less resistance. I think what’s you’re saying is the “less resistance” may be part of the fantasy.

      It could be. What’s the alternative?

  5. Blueflame

    Hi, the part about Dissociation is something I believe is what’s going on here and out in the world. People that believe in God leave it up to him.
    People that believe something else as I describe above LOA/Budha dissociate there mind from their own mind! Still leaving their life up to that other mind Example : ego, you, I am or looking or plain old meditation. Separating yourself from yourself. Escaping from your own mind.
    Like when Tolle makes the ego almost a problem we have. A sickness!
    Or LOA people escape by focusing on happy thoughts till they eventually crash one day realizing it’s not natural.
    I could go on….

  6. Blueflame

    Those threads above that you are answering to are just shorter versions I used to explain it to Neerav what I was up to.

    But the thing I found and that you have found is this the key to change! Neville, Bashar, E Tolle, J.S.all the teachers all have that common use of attention!!! I don’t subscribe to all that it taught out there but I do see a common reference to this ‘focus’ use.

    You see the power of our focused attention is more than a tool for merely getting a specific goal accomplished in a normal way but there might be much more to it.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Ah, I got it. Yes, I agree about focused attention. I call it looking. Whatever has worked for me has always been some sort of looking and honesty.

      By the way, I checked out Bashar. Totally whacky idea, but somehow I was compelled to listen to him. What he said about following your highest level of excitement–well that made sense.

      1. Blueflame

        That’s right! You have Bashar that says FOCUS on what brings you joy at every moment and the ‘higher force’ will guide you.

        You have E.Tolle focusing your attention on the ‘Now’, to me it almost relates to the FOCUS on each joy as they come along.

        Neville Goddard says FOCUS your attention on what you want (Joy or The Now or LOA’s Happy Thoughts). Just simple meditation or more complex versions FOCUS on one thing!

        It’s all the same but there is one thing you found is John Sherman’s placement of that focus method. It places it on the ‘I am’ or is ness of yourself. Unlike the other teachers placement. That fear baggage is always on top of you when trying the other methods!!

  7. Philip

    Kaushik – Nice to see you posting again I particularly liked the previous post. However on this topic I think you are right in that the core belief in separation is the identification with a ‘you’.Once this is seen then all the other stuff can still happen as it will anyway but no longer with self interest. I was trying to explain this to my wife this morning who was suffing considerable anxiety about our uncertain future ( yes! all future is incertain) when I looked at the difference between inquiry into possible outcomes of future situations and their solutions compared to the the fearful what will become of “me” thought and subsequent anxious emotions and so on. So one is based on simple planning towards obvious preferences and the other is about the fearful separate ‘me’ belief verses the universe.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Philip,

      Good to hear from you.

      In my experience, that seeing through the owning “I” was not that big a deal. It had not felt like a big shift and nothing in life seemed to change. But over the next two years, I think I was more alert and more effective. The mad seeking energy dropped away; I saw that the basic problem is that people are affected by the fear very early and generally feel antagonistic and afraid of their humanness and their lives. And, through John Sherman’s help, I finally saw what Ramana and Nisagadatta meant by looking at the sense of I am.

      I can’t say for certain how these have worked and what has had the most effect and so on. But I am in different place than I was when I started about six years ago. There is much less inner resistance.

      As far as explaining this to people, that’s a bit tricky. It has to be experienced. The technique I suggest–none of them are destabilizing, so there is nothing to be afraid of. I ask people to try them and prove of disprove it yourself and report your experience here.

      k

  8. Jen

    Hi Kaushik, I just discovered these 2 new articles and have enjoyed reading them and the comments.

    I’ve been browsing through posts on the LU site, but still haven’t put myself through the ‘process’, I don’t understand the benefit of having someone else confirm that I either have or have not seen through the delusion of self.

    But I have a question. What is the difference between the delusion of self as on the LU site and the ego? Is seeing through the delusion of an entity called ‘me’ the same as realizing that ego is also a created fiction and never really existed?

    Oh! Two more questions just came up 🙂

    What’s the difference between identity and the delusion of self?

    ….and how does it help me to see through my own delusion of self if everyone else in my life is still expecting that self and relating from their own delusion of self to what they have come to believe is my real self. What I mean, is that it might be fairly easy to see that a stable ‘I’ never really existed, but that ‘I’ wasn’t something I created willingly anyway, it was forced on me from the outside, first by my parents and then society at large, insisting that I become something or someone, rather than just be, from moment to moment.

    Maybe I should be asking these questions on the LU forum, but your thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hey Jen,

      Great questions. If you are going through the process, it is best if you put aside all questions. How the ego relates to the delusion of self is theoretical. If you ask fifty people what the ego is, you will get fifty answers.

      Seeing through the delusion of self is nothing except seeing through the lie that the you in your thoughts refers to something real. That’s all. How the seeing affects you is highly individual. The reason to do it is to see the lie–nothing else.

      “What is the difference between the delusion of self as on the LU site and the ego?”

      The way I see the ego–it is more of a verb than a noun, and it is the collection of thoughts, emotions, beliefs and memory which are about the self. It does not exist in reality.

      Seeing through the delusion of self does not get rid of the ego. Seeing through the delusion of self is to see that the you in thoughts does not refer to anything real.

      “Is seeing through the delusion of an entity called ‘me’ the same as realizing that ego is also a created fiction and never really existed?”

      The seeing through the “me” is the seeing that the mind tends to label all experiences. There is an experience. The mind has a simultaneous experience that this experience is happening to “me.” But the me is only a thought–it does not refer to anything real.

      When you drink coffee, there is the taste of coffee. The mind/body experiences a taste. There is no “you” in between the body and the taste of coffee. There is just the body/ind experiencing taste of coffee. There is no you watching the experience of taste–there is only watching.

      “What’s the difference between identity and the delusion of self?”

      Identity remains. The you which claims identity is a fiction.

      “….and how does it help me to see through my own delusion of self if everyone else in my life is still expecting that self and relating from their own delusion of self to what they have come to believe is my real self. What I mean, is that it might be fairly easy to see that a stable ‘I’ never really existed, but that ‘I’ wasn’t something I created willingly anyway, it was forced on me from the outside, first by my parents and then society at large, insisting that I become something or someone, rather than just be, from moment to moment.”

      Yes, I think that’s what happens. We pick up the abstract “I” from people around us when we’re growing up.

      How this will help you is impossible to say. It will definitely help you–but how is highly individual.

      So why should you do this? Only one reason. Because it is truth.

      There isn’t any other reason to see this. Don’t hold any expectations, not even the expectation that you will “just be, moment to moment.” The reason is to see that there is an unexamined unassumption, a lie, that the you in thoughts and emotions refers to something real.

      If the objective is to be a natural human being, free of inner resistance, then I think this is a good step. It’s not the only step. I don’t call it liberation or enlightenment or awakening. It’s the seeing through of one delusion.

      k

  9. Nitin Panchal

    Good day Kaushikbhai,

    I have read all yours & others posted comments, some times I get lost in words. It’s valid that we all received ‘I’ through parents & society, but without ‘I’ how one can see / look at you ? I have listen lots of Osho lecturers on different subject, they all comes to one conclusion, be alert / be conscious. I am trying to focus and it’s seems to help me during my fear attack / angry moments, but it also has other effect during your joyful time, if you look at you, you lost your joy as well. When you are in good mood & laughing & dancing, soon you look at you and joy disappear. Am I looking right way or it’s something else?
    Fear is like your shadow does not seems to leave you alone, I would really like to ask about fear to those individuals who are brave people (survivor man, Alligator man, Lion man, mountaineers, astronauts & so on) how do they that take fear & get read of it? It seems like that you have to be basically ready to die/suffer willingly ? ? Old day’s Gypsy people has better way to live life?, not sure about next day ? More we safe more we have fear built in. It’s so damn easy to write about all this subject, but also easy to chicken out in time of fear…(hahaha..I do)
    In earlier article you said that ” nothing wrong with our life its just we think some thing is wrong” I like that so much, like UG Krishamurti said same thing that we human feel that we are hear to do some noble task & for that human are destroying all nature around us. We are no better/higher/important then any other living stock on planet.
    May be its ‘NO WAY OUT’ situation or ‘THAT IS IT’ but we are not satisfied with it. We are all looking for that ANSWER, if we get it, what will be happened to us ? Dead end ? and that answer might be not right to other so it could be very subjective to that individual.
    One good thing happening with this searching is that I became better inner side and easy going with situation/adjust & dropped material desires.
    I don’t know about others but I haven’t decide yet that how to live life ? it’s seems like it’s all happening automatically. Some time I am very disappointed that I have not find the way to live, struggle continue. we may not need to find any particular way, be natural to your nature.
    Any way enough said here, there are all lots of comments here are very highly intelligent.
    Cheers.
    Nitin

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Nitin,

      What you say is very heart-felt. I sense some frustration and confusion, and I’ve felt that quite often in this journey.

      “It’s valid that we all received ‘I’ through parents & society, but without ‘I’ how one can see / look at you ?”

      You don’t need the “I” to do the looking. The “I” does not exist, it’s just a label, and yet we are able to look, so the looking does not require an “I”. You already know how to look. No need to confuse ourselves about the I. When you see that the “I” is only a label, it will not destabilize you. You will now forget to how to look, or forget anything at all.

      “Fear is like your shadow does not seems to leave you alone, I would really like to ask about fear to those individuals who are brave people (survivor man, Alligator man, Lion man, mountaineers, astronauts & so on) how do they that take fear & get read of it?”

      The fear we talk about is different from the the courage that some people have. The fear we talk about is something that affects the entire mind. It makes us feel antagonistic towards our own lives. Life becomes something that we need to figure out, to always worry about, it becomes something which is separate from us.

      That’s the fear and and its effects. In my experience, we can address this fear by first understanding that it is fear, and second, it seems like the “looking at you” does have the effect of curing this affliction.

      “In earlier article you said that ” nothing wrong with our life its just we think some thing is wrong”

      The only thing wrong is the fear.

      “May be its ‘NO WAY OUT’ situation or ‘THAT IS IT’ but we are not satisfied with it. We are all looking for that ANSWER, if we get it, what will be happened to us ? Dead end ? and that answer might be not right to other so it could be very subjective to that individual.”

      Yes, it can be subjective. In my case, I was convinced that something was wrong and what was wrong was wrong inside and that there is a solution to it. We have some wrong ideas in our heads. How to go about fixing these is what we explore here.

      “I don’t know about others but I haven’t decide yet that how to live life ?”

      I know what you mean. It’s confusing sometimes. How do you do what we’re doing here while continuing to live life and keep up with the demands of life. Sometimes that gets confusing. But all of it is life. Even the part of life where we try to hard to figure out the wrong ideas in our heads–that too is life.

      Namaste, Nitinbhai.

      k

  10. Blueflame

    Hello, what I think is happening when you do the ‘looking’ is you are simply getting in a meditative state where your mind is blank, then placing a past memory or thought of how you were feeling at that moment with/on this blank state you created. Then by exorcising FOCUS on this enough until it becomes a real memory you have changed your past so to speak with a non-fearing, just plain old you memory in it’s place. That memory now is just you and the blankness that you created with the meditation.
    So by focusing on this new ‘reality’ it becomes so real as to cancel out your fear based past reality….I think.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Maybe that happens. It’s hard for me to say. I think some time has to pass for me before I can look back and make sense of it.

      It seems to me that there is no volition at all in the mind. There is no one driving, or thinking or deciding or doing. There is just drving, thinking, deciding, doing happening.

      But the one thing that is controllable is attention.

      And as far as I can see there is only thing which is undeniable. Everything else could be a an illusion, but there is something which experiences all of it even if all is an illusion, that that is the sense of you. The sense of I am, awareness, being, the sense of you.

      So deliberately putting attention on the sense of you–does something. What and how are not clear to me yet. It could be be very well as you say.

  11. Blueflame

    It’s so cool. You must have heard this, I will tell you. Scientist were studying black holes and how light reacts by watching sub-atomic light particles reacting after two light beams past through a wall with two holes in it then bouncing back off a second wall and back…
    What they found was the molecules reacted a certain way the first time then when they were not observed by human eye (just computers) but when observed buy human eyes the molecules reacted differently to the WHOLE experiment! Not just the first simple light through the first holes!
    Concluding that when we FOCUS our attention on something it TOTALLY changes what’s there.
    That’s proof enough for me!

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Perhaps you’re referring to the double slit experiment, where it is clear that electrons behave one way when not observed, but a very different way when observed. So the act of observing has an effect which science does not understand.

      I do think attention is important. But I don’t know that we can conclude any more than that. I think we can try and experiment and be honest. And see what works.

      For example, this popular thing where people say that you must put your attention on positive thoughts, and visualize positive things, and so on–well, I have not found that to be very useful.

      But to put attention on the sense of you–that definitely does something.

      To look directly to see that the you in your thoughts does not refer to anything–that also does something.

      To look easily, to watch, allow, make space for emotions, and then ask yourself if you can let them go–that works.

      To look easily, without judgement, as a witness, and watch our inner experience–that’s very useful.

  12. Blueflame

    Yes I found what you just said to be true. Not the ‘looking’ yet for me but other methods do help.
    I do watch what my ego is up to or those negative scripts that keep circulating in my head until I go through them, then let go of them as you say. Could you, Would you, then when?

  13. Blueflame

    The funniest thing to do is to read those post at the LOA/Abraham Hicks forum. It’s very active but I find it funny how everyone their seems to have dropped acid or something. They have this happiness thing down pat but they may all be just sheep (blind followers) or something.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yeah, I think people look to escape the basic fear in many different ways. LOA, positive thinking, religion, spirituality–all of it seems to be various ways to escape being human.

      I think any human exploration which comes from love and curiosity is legitimate. But it seems to me that the first and most important thing we can do is to eliminate the off-centeredness in us. And then whatever we choose to do, we will of course be much more effective at it.

      That’s how I see it, and I leave room in what I see for self-questioning.

  14. kate

    I think there are two possibilities: enlightenment and wholeness. I’d describe the first as the transcendence of the ego and the second as the integration of all aspects of self. I have tried the first but I found that, since I don’t actually see this existence as an illusion, although I think it is, I was just developing an ‘I’m above all this’ identity. I found I didn’t really want that.

    I am working on developing mindfulness, operating more from my awareness than my ego, while at the same time expanding my compassion for all my human aspects. I really don’t believe that many people are evolved enough yet to transcend their egos. The danger then is that they are spiritually bypassing themselves. Since the little me doesn’t exist they don’t have to look at their pain or face their shadow. So, it continues to influence them unconsciously.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Kate, I see two possibilities as well, though I think I describe them differently.

      The first is enlightenment. It’s spiritual and vague.

      The other is to be a natural human being. This is probably what you describe as whole. It’s just being free of fear, free of the basic off-centeredness. It has nothing to do with transcendence or any such spriitual thing.

  15. Joshua Tilghman

    Hi Kaushik,

    I believe this to be a very sacred practice with profound implications. I have heard of people minimizing this monumental step in our spiritual development, but it is important for several reasons.

    It helps release fear, as you already mentioned.
    It can also aid us in getting rid of limiting beliefs that we have held onto for so long. As you know, these beliefs can stop growth. But realizing the you that you think you are is truly nothing is the beginning to getting a grip on the ego.

    Thanks for making people aware of this important step.

    Blessings!

    http://www.spiritofthescripture.com/blog

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Joshua,

      Yes, I agree, this has been an important step for me.

      After seeing through that the thought “I” does not refer to anything, the actual experience of life did not change much. Except perhaps during times of distress, I am able to see that there no one feeling the distress; there is only the feeling of distress.

      Some people think this is nihilistic. They feel saying you do not exist is denial of reality. But that’s a misunderstanding of the recognition. You do exist–the sense of existence, the sense of I am, is real and easily accessible. You just look at you, and there you always are.

      This recognition looks at the you in thoughts.

      Thanks Joshua.

      k

  16. Kaushik Post author

    I got a very frank email about this article:

    “Seriously, I mean seriously man. WTF? LIberation unleashed? Forgive me for being frank here, but I feel that you were on the path to something real, I don’t know if this is just a stepping stone for someone but I am here to address what the nitwits on liberation unleashed won’t.”

    The writer goes on to say that he had done this looking, and effects of it lasted no more than a day, with fear coming right back. The writer feels that the technique can actually be detrimental. He thinks it takes away the self which can direct and control. He feels we need the acting agent to heal. He feels seeing through the label of self give up responsibility while leaving the all other labeling in place. It replaces the thought of you with the thought of no-you. He also feels that the Liberation Unleashed site is cultish.

    I actually agree with most of what he said.

    I don’t think this seeing through the you-in-thoughts is detrimental. But I agree with the writer that it is no no-big-deal. And the writer pointed out something interesting which I had not thought of, and that is that this may not be an actual seeing, it might just be replacing the thought of you with the thought of no-you. That’s very interesting–it’s very possible that’s what is happening and that may explain why this seeing does not lead to big changes.

    The email actually reminded me that I’m in confusion right now. About eighteen months ago I saw that the basic problem with us is the fear of life. That recognition led to a beautiful time where I felt free and very connected. Then I found John Sherman’s site, agreed with him on fear, and tried the looking as he suggested. That led to a period of confusion.

    But confusion is good–it tells me something is happening. And so I recommend John Sherman’s looking. I am not done with it–that is I don’t complete certainty yet, but there is enough confirmation that I recommend it.

    So I’m not sure why I took this little no-self side track. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe this is part of the confusion I’ve been feeling.

    I thought I was already pretty clear in the article that this no-self seeing is not a big deal. To be even clearer, this is a specific technique of seeing that the you in your thougths does not refer to anything real.

    Anyway, to be as clear as I can: what I feel has had the biggest impact in me is the recognition that the only problem there is the basic fear of life, and the solution may be to look in the way John Sherman suggests.

    k

  17. William Veasley

    Kaushik: I believe this world to be full of delusion and deception. I always tell people to look within themselves in order to find out who they are instead of looking at a T.V program. I have found out a lot about myself lately and made some important changes, but overall there is a good feeling knowing who I really am and want to be. For much of my life, I have been decieved and even tried to be things I couldn’t, but no more will that happen. Me finding myself was a big deal because the change was a good thing, at least in my case.

    Best Wishes,
    William Veasley

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi William,

      I’m glad you’re finding yourself looking inside. It turns out that we’re pretty good at decieving ourselves too. And as far as I can tell, our self-deception comes from fear.

      Thanks William, I hope to see you here again!

      k

      1. Blueflame

        Hello, I’m starting to feel much better about things. I don’t have the same fears but many are around without that second stage of shame/blame I usually go through. I seem to need to do the looking and I get back on track so to speak. Thanks Kaushik, through you I found John S.

          1. Jen

            Hi Kaushik and everyone else who reads this great blog. I just wanted to share a hopefully brief update and not hijack this thread with things not relevant to the topic.

            I seem to have been stumbling back and forth between two tracks. The mental illness track and the spiritual evolution track. Thankfully, at the moment, I’m back on the more positive one.

            Reading the Jed McKenna trilogy over the course of a few weeks really sent me on a downward spiral into nihilistic thinking. I gave into external pressure from people who were worried about me and visited my doctor and asked to go back on anti-depressants, decided to try Prozac. But within about 5 days I realized I had made a huge mistake, the anxiety had decreased, but my even lower mood had had me seriously thinking about suicide, and that’s not like me.

            I’ve been off the medication 5 days now, of course the anxiety has returned, but I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps its a positive thing.

            I hope this is the right analogy, but I’m thinking that perhaps this ongoing anxiety is some kind of ‘grist for the mill’, and its the actually working through it which is facilitating transformation and integration.

            The medication deadened my thought processes and emotions and so there was nothing to work with. It was a relief for a few days to have a reduction in anxiety, but I hadn’t realized that working through difficult emotions, in an attempt to heal and grow and evolve, was actually the predominant source of meaning in my life.

            So much of what has provided meaning in life has been falling away over the last year and I had come to the conclusion, especially after the JMK trilogy, that life really had no intrinsic meaning and that I was basically done, my life was over, any meaning I found was just going to be another illusion. I could see nothing of any value left.

            But now, here it is. It took killing it off with medication to make me really see it.

            Life, the experience of life itself, in my case labelled overwhelming anxiety, has value, it seems to be keeping me alive, giving me purpose and hope that if I just keep going, moment by moment, dealing with whatever comes up, then some kind of evolution is taking place.

            I don’t know. I don’t have a clue what is true, but this is where I’m at right now and I just wanted to share it.

            1. Kaushik Post author

              Hi Jenna,

              It’s good to hear from you.

              I understand what you mean about the mental illness track. I had taken explored depression and therapy and taken anti-depressant medication for a time. I think that’s fine–sometimes when we get on the evolution path, some of us feel that it somehow excludes any other solution. My advice is not to dismiss any solution, and I have found that this sort of medication does not interfere with your spiritual exploration. And the decision you have made, which is not to take this medication, is also the same decision I made a few years ago.

              I’ve found great success in dealing with anxiety with the release technique I’ve talked here.

              JMK has the same effect on me. It shakes me up, makes me question what I think I know, and often there is a feeling of having gone back to square one. That’s all good.

              I see it the same as you–life has not intrinsic meaning. The purpose is the just the experience of being alive. I find that a very positive view.

              It still makes sense to me to view the problem as the problem of fear. JMK says the same; he says fear is the fire under humanity’s ass. John Sherman is perhaps more explanatory about it.

              And I have more and more confirmation that the looking which John Sherman does work.

              The confusion I had felt for the last nine months or so seems to be lifting. That’s about where I am.

              It’s really good to hear from you, Jen.

              k

              1. Jen

                Hi Kaushik,
                I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. It was a kind of ‘D’ day for me. Do I go back and let him try me on a different kind of anti-depressant….or not?

                I’ve slipped back into my old routine of waking up fairly early and staying in bed as old energies and anxieties and lots of ‘stuff’ rises to the surface to be processed. I use the release technique and just let it come up.

                It seems to be a mixture of childhood trauma, adult trauma and even things I don’t remember, so I think maybe I’m experiencing things from either a previous lifetime or the collective unconscious.

                This ‘stuff’ starts out as pure physical energy in the pit of my stomach, each new surge swirls around increasing in pressure and then rises towards my throat. I focus on my breath and let the energy expand to fill me. Sometimes it just stays as pure physical energy, but other times there are associated images and memories attached, I do my best to just observe, and then let it all go when it seems ready.

                Every morning this happens (if I let it). It can last anywhere from half an hour to several hours and it seems to have its own momentum. Each morning it winds down of its own accord. It comes in waves, its exhausting and frightening, at times there is terror, like as if I’m about to ripped to pieces by a wild animal.

                Sometimes I will fall back into a light sleep in between waves. It reminds me of being in the early stages of childbirth, although by comparison, that was pleasurable.

                When its over for the morning, I get up and I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, disoriented and confused, but the anxiety no longer weighs me down and I seem to spontaneously do whatever seems required for the day. I don’t really know what’s going on with me, this has been my pattern for the last year.

                The medication had blocked the flow of morning energy, nothing came up, nothing moved, there was no energy at all, no reason to get out of bed or do anything. I don’t know if that was a good thing or not, but the longer I stayed on the medication, the worse I felt. My mood was getting lower each day and I didn’t want to be alive any more.

                I didn’t go to my doctor appointment, I phoned and rescheduled it, still not sure what to do, but at the moment I’m hanging onto my last thread of faith that I’m going through some kind of natural healing process and if I just let it take its course, something better and more functional will emerge eventually.

                Jen.

                1. Kaushik Post author

                  Hi Jen,

                  I’m really glad to hear that you are releasing.

                  In the six years or so that I’ve been compelled to look into what could possibly be the basic problem with us human beings, I’ve so far come away with the understanding that the basic problem is the mental lens of fear (dissatisfaction itself). I think the looking as John Sherman suggests does work; it does something, though I cannot right now say with full confirmation that it brings us home in our lives.

                  I recommend it. And I recommend using the release technique, as you are doing, which I’m sure you see is really just allowing, noticing, and letting go. In general, it all comes down to noticing. And perhaps self-honesty, but self-honesty is a mental process, and not completely reliable.

                  In my experience, medication (for the common ailments like depression and anxiety) is not much different from spiritual practices or the seeking of spiritual knowledge, and really not much different from our common addictions like alcohol, weed, and not different from the many other ways in which we try to alleviate the effects of the context of fear. Still, any of these can be useful to us, and we can do exactly what you are doing, which is to use intuition to gauge what we need and what is good for us.

                  I’m glad to hear you’re letting go and you’re evaluating.

                  Kaushik

                  1. Neerav Trivedi

                    Hi Kaushik,

                    The combination of “just looking” (at the sense of “I AM”) and the release technique by Lester Levinson that you mentioned is very helpful indeed. For Jen’s case, that would be very good for her to use when she goes through every morning.

                    By the way, if pursuing spirituality is the same as drinking alcohol, consider me drunk. LOL! 😀

                    1. Kaushik Post author

                      “The combination of “just looking” (at the sense of “I AM”) and the release technique by Lester Levinson that you mentioned is very helpful indeed. For Jen’s case, that would be very good for her to use when she goes through every morning.”

                      Yes, that’s what I was trying to say–you’ve said it succintly.

                      “By the way, if pursuing spirituality is the same as drinking alcohol, consider me drunk. LOL! ”

                      Hehe! Well, I’m just trying to say that the motivation behind all of this, whether it’s spiritual practice or alcohol or something else, can be the seeking of relief for the symptoms of the fear. In which case, we can use our intuition and honesty to try to evaluate what to do, though I realize figuring out what to do when we’re in the hold of fear is not the easiest thing.

                  2. Neerav Trivedi

                    Hi Kaushik,

                    Definitely, and you don’t have to be pursuing the spiritual path or be “spiritual” to do these techniques. That’s the beauty of it!

                    By the way, Happy New Year! Here is hope that the new (Hindu) Year brings you much peace, happiness, prosperity…….and most importantly, success in your endeavors to be ultimately a peaceful, free and happy person!

                  3. Jen

                    Kaushik wrote ” I realize figuring out what to do when we’re in the hold of fear is not the easiest thing.”

                    Yes, so true, an understatement even 🙂

                    I’m smiling about it now, but this morning I had a really rough time and not knowing what to do while I was in the grip so much fear and doubt just added to the impossible nature of it.

                    My body was wanting to do one thing and my mind (ego) was doing its best to convince me I was losing touch with reality, going completely nuts and should just get up like a ‘normal’ person.

                    Sanity prevailed today (what I’m deciding is sanity anyway). I ended up experiencing some fairly intense shaking and convulsion like tremors, which is something described by Peter Levine in his trauma healing methods. I’ve been scared that I might not be able to achieve proper levels of release by myself, without the aid of an experienced healer or body worker, but today gave me some hope.

                    I’m not ‘feeling’ any better though, still quite disoriented, anxious and fatigued, but with renewed hope. The timing is quite lucky, after talking with my sister on the phone last night for a long time, I was seriously considering letting my doctor try me on a different kind of medication. My sister has also had several spiritual and awakening experiences over the years. The last one was a few years ago while she was practicing yoga. She felt a huge surge of energy start to travel up her spine and she freaked out. She stopped doing yoga after that. She has experienced some anxiety and depression too and now takes medication, it seems to work for her. She isn’t interested in spirituality any more.

                    I’ve been thinking about combining the release method and looking method, like what you and Neerav have been writing about.

                    Sometimes its as much as I can do to just remember to keep breathing, but I sometimes do find myself spontaneously doing the looking, usually its when I’m close to panic, it seems to calm the terror as I recognize that there is something consistent which actually exists over time…it always surprises me though.

                    This morning, it had the opposite effect, I became aware of the sense of ‘I am’ from previous times, and connected emotionally, but the emotional ‘memory’ was more fear, so it had the effect of solidifying a very fear based, consistent awareness, like as if the intrinsic nature of awareness is fear. Is that possible? Or just my confused experience from today?

                    I wish I could just stop playing now and go home. I’m not sure where home is though, or even if such a place exists. I am so tired of all this, but there really is nowhere else to go, I seem to see that a bit clearer every day.

                2. Neerav Trivedi

                  Hi Jen,

                  From what I can gather, the medicines are making you worse because they are causing you to supress whatever “stuff” that needs to be healed from the unconscious mind, which, you recognized as not being such a good idea. The reason why this is happening to you is to get rid of the “junk” that prevents you from eperiencing a greater degree of peace, happiness and freedom.

                  I am not sure if you had one or more experience of a spiritual awakening, but at that point, according to the spiritual teacher Gina Lake, a you become detached from the ego and its identidications with the mind-body organism that is “you” and can objectively bring up that “stuff” from the conscious mind and heal it, as being identified with what she calls “Essence” (i.e. God/Divinity). In this way, the “stuff” from the unconscious mind can be brought up and healed rather gradually. To me, this is what it sounds like you are going through lately, and even right now.

                  Here is a link to that article:
                  http://www.radicalhappiness.com/all-blog-articles/145-newest-blog-post-what-happens-after-awakening

                  The decision to just let things take its course instead of trying to supress or prevent is it is a wise decision, which you will find as the right one, in the end. I am not sure how much longer you have left in terms of healing the past conditionings of the mind (and unconscious mind), but know that I am here, as well as Kaushik and others, if you need any support, as you go through what at times can be tumultoous and frightening. Please keep us posted. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

                  – Neerav B. Trivedi

                  1. Jen

                    Hi Neerav,
                    Thank you for your reply and the link. I read through the article fairly quickly and of course, it was exactly what I needed at the moment. I’m going to read through it again and keep it for future reference.

                    Here is a link for you and for anyone else who is interested: http://www.bipolarorwakingup.com/#!videos

                    I first stumbled onto Sean Blackwell a couple of years ago. (not literally) He had a spiritual awakening while at a personal growth seminar and was subsequently hospitalized, medicated and diagnosed with bi-polar. He has gone on to make a very successful youtube channel, web site and he’s also written a book, which is impossible to put down.

                    Anyway, I mention him because your reply reminded me of the information which is in some of his videos. His work is a combination of personal experience and scientific research, which does add some much needed credibility. There seems to be a very strong connection between some of the ‘symptoms’ of various ‘mental disorders’ and what might actually be our body/mind trying to attempt its own natural healing methods.

                    I had what could possibly be called my first little awakening experience when I was just 5. When I was in my early teens I spontaneously made what I now understand is a shrine, and started to meditate regularly, much to the horror of my mother, who thought I was losing my mind. At the time I didn’t know anything about meditation or anything related, just felt called to do it.

                    In my 20’s I became interested in spirituality, did lots of reading and had my first really intense experience after doing Osho’s dynamic meditation. I was in no way prepared for the overwhelming nature of such an experience. Even though I had a couple of friends who were also somewhat spiritually inclined, they weren’t equipped to deal with the after effects of such an impact and so I ended up in hospital, medicated and diagnosed with an illness I knew (without a doubt) I didn’t have. I was told I would have to be on medication the rest of my life. But when I got out of the hospital I stopped taking the medication, it would have killed me anyway, made me feel suicidal. I recovered with no medication over the next 6 weeks.

                    Since then, there have been two separate periods of time when I’ve gone through brief episodes of a kind of ‘non-ordinary state of consciousness’ But having had some previous experience, I’d learned how to handle the altered perceptions and still function reasonably well, while it took its course. Its almost like straddling two worlds at the same time, operating and functioning in one, while at the same time being aware of a whole other reality going on. It sounds kind of cool I guess, but if you don’t know what’s going on, it can be very frightening.

                    None of my experiences have been facilitated by any drugs or substances, only practices like mediation or exercise.

                    Those first experiences were a mix of fear and bliss.

                    What’s been going on the last year has been different though. There has been nothing pleasant about it, its been pure hell, to varying degrees. It started after I had quite seriously got back into qi gong, tai chi and yoga kinds of practices. It was starting to feel like some kind of strong energy was taking over my body at times, moving me, like as if I didn’t even exist, mainly when I was doing qi gong. To be honest, I started to feel a bit unbalanced at times, its a very intense, blissful kind of energy, although I didn’t know much about it at the time and wasn’t actually trying to achieve anything, just wanted to enjoy the activity and train to teach it. I’ve never been the kind of person to enjoy feeling like I’m out of control, guess I’m naturally a bit of a control freak 🙂

                    I went through a few really stressful things over the course of about a month and then one weekend I kind of crashed and had what I now understand could be called a full on kundalini activation. At the time, I didn’t know what was going on. I haven’t been the same since.

                    Have I had a spiritual awakening? Am I still identified with my ego? I have no idea. Half the time I don’t believe all this new age, eastern, woo woo stuff and think I just need to swallow a handful of pills every day and accept the fact that I’m insane 🙂

                    Two years ago, I fell down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole, got trapped there, listening to the likes of David Icke, Alex Jones and Project Camelot, learning the secret truth about who really runs this planet. My world view got seriously turned on its head, so I guess that was a kind of awakening too. I managed to drag myself back up out of that strange place and am left believing about 25% of what I learned.

                    You are right about the tumultuous and frightening part, and thank you for being here and offering your support.

                    Jen.

                    1. Neerav Trivedi

                      Hi Jen,

                      You’re welcome. The terrifying feelings that you have every morning, as you described in your first post, is that of the ego trying to fight back. The ego is basically trying to resist being weakened or eliminated by attempting to induce a “spiritual crisis” (i.e. a “Dark Night of the Soul”) experience in you, thereby getting you to stop spiritual practices that might cause its demise (i.e. ego death). The ego wants you to think you are going insane and to dissuade you from going further for this reason as a means of its own survival and self-preservation…….this is a scheme by the ego…….a trick………an illusion.

                      While reading your post, another piece of advice that occured to me is to simply surrender to it…….that is, to accept the experience for what it is (without resisting it, or the need to change or modify it) and simply allow it to be. What that does is to let the experience run its course and go away all by itself. All you have to do is to just observe what is going on objectively, as a detached witness, without getting mentally or emotionally involved in the process. After what you have gone through, understandibly, this may not be easy for you to do, but I think it is worth doing to see if it helps you. If you need anything else, please let me know.

                      – Neerav B. Trivedi

                    2. Neerav Trivedi

                      Hi Jen,

                      Just to clarify what I said previously, the ego is the one feeling “terrified” when you have those daily morning experiences because it is afraid of looking its shadows of the “stuff” that is being brought up from deep within the unconscious mind. That “stuff” is the impressions (i.e. conditionings) that you have accumulated as a result of the ego’s actions, which the ego is now afraid of looking at.

  18. Neerav Trivedi

    Namaste Kaushik,

    A thought occured to me in the shower yesterday, and I wanted to run it by you to see what you thought. I know you are a big fan of the technique of looking at the sense of “I Am”, by both Nisargadatta Maharaj and John Sherman; as well as the Release Technique/Sedona Method by Lester Levinson, but what happens if you can combine the two and use both of them simultaneously (or almost simultaneously)?

    For example, let’s say that looking at the sense of “I Am” brings about a negative emotion, say anger or fear in the mind (ego/mind) from deep within the unconscious mind. At that point, could you then use the Release Technique or a method that you mentioned in your book to surrender and thereby, “let go” of that negative emotion…….that means, using your terms, just accepting it for what it is without resisting or pushing it down back into the depth of the mind and not reacting to it……..just being with it and then letting it disappate by itself as a detached witness. Whatever conditioning that might be brought up by looking at the sense of you (“I Am”) can be effectively be dealt with by using the Release Technique or by surrendering it. In that way, all past conditioning by the ego/mind can be seen and healed and the unconscious pain and suffering and be put to an end, leading to a state of increased overall peace and happiness.

    I don’t know……just curious to see what you think. Thanks and stay warm down there!

    – Neerav B. Trivedi

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Neerav,

      Good to hear from you.

      The way you say it here is how it’s worked for me.

      The releasing is something I discovered a few years ago. And it’s been very helpful in letting go of anger and anxiety and similar difficult emotions. And at this point it has become a very natural skill, where I don’t really even consciously think about letting go. It’s just what happens.

      The looking-at-me, what Nisargadatta and Ramana suggest, and which John Sherman makes very clear and easy–well, my experience with that is that I tried the looking about a year ago. I did the looking for about two or three months, and then the urge went away. What followed is about a nine month period of confusion and low-energy and low-motivation, sometimes with emotions of anxiety and anger and confusion coming back. The release technique was and continues to be very helpful–just letting these emotions and states of mind be, allowing, accepting, watching and letting go. This is the process of healing.

      The releasing is not essential–but it is very helpful in dealing with some of the more difficult emotions which can come up in the healing process.

      And so now based on my experience and what I think is happening, I recommend exactly what you are saying. I recommend to people to try to see that the root cause of our problems is the fear of life, and I recommend to do the looking, and I recommend to learn the release technique as it can help in dealing with emotions and confusion which come up during the healing.

      Thanks for bringing this up, Neerav.

      Kaushik

      1. Neerav Trivedi

        Namaste Kaushik,

        Not a problem. We have a lot of “junk”, if you will, in our unconsious mind that has been accumulating over many years (and lifetimes) that need to be gotten rid of. Since you are already doing this, you should definitely recommend it.

        For me, I am just surrendering whatever comes……..surrendering (in spiritual terms) has worked SO many wonders for me in terms of getting rid of negative thoughts and emotions…….it’s like taking a deep breath and exhaling out the negative emotions/feelings, but mentally. I also many times observe what my mind is doing, but now, instead of being bothered by the negative thoughts of the ego/mind, I just laugh at them, as if I am watching Comedy Central or my 1 year old niece. Since I had that spiritual awakening experience that I told you about this past June, I can observe my mind (ego/mind) and not get entangled at all. Then again, for the most part, I just ignore it and keep doing whatever I am doing. But combining the Release Technique and looking at the sense of self (“I Am”) is very good, and you should definietly recommend it to others.

        Actually, you should do a new blog post about this, since you are doing it already. Maybe others can try it and see if it helps to relieve them of fear, anxiety, stress, anger, etc…

        Also, another thing has to do with the practice of “I don’t exist” (as the false self, which is the ego or ego/mind) that you have referenced to. In this case, the question would be: “If I don’t exist as the ego/self, then for whom are the negative thoughts, emotions and feelings for?” I would be immensely curious as to what happens to the negative thoughts, emotions and feelings when you do this technique, which is combining the “You don’t exist” technique with self-inquiry by Ramana Maharishi. Or even better yet, let’s combine everything together:

        “I am looking at the sense of “I Am”, but if “I” don’t exist (as the ego/self), who is having these negative thoughts, these negaive emotionbs, these negative feelings (such as judgements upon others, hatred, fear, anxiety, wanting vengance for a wrong done against me, etc…)?”

        Now THAT would be an exercise worth doing!!!!

        – Neerav B. Trivedi

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Well, I have mixed feelings about seeing that “I do not exist.” The I in my thoughts which thinks is me does not really refer to anything–this as you point out is good to see. But some time ago, when I had this recognition, nothing really happened. Nothing seemed to change. Of course that might have to do more with my expectations, as later I’ve seen that a lot of the confusion which can come up in us is often the result of having particular expectations.

          But for some reason, I felt compelled to re-visit the technique and write about here.

          Surrendering, as you mention, is probably very powerful, where you can simply observe the inner experience with dispassion. It seems to me that releasing (letting go) and surrender are similar–maybe just different ways to think about the same thing.

          You’re right, it is time for a post which clarifies this.

          Thanks Neerav.

          1. Neerav Trivedi

            Hi Kaushik,

            I can see what you mean with the “I don’t exist” technique, and I agree. I mean, WHO is saying that “I don’t exist”? That does cause a dilema, so maybe it is best to put it on the back burner for now, if it is problematic. Maybe I can help you identify where the problem is, if you like.

            Surrendering and letting go are two sides of the same coin. In surrendering, you are accepting that thought, emotion, feeling, etc… and observing it objectively without opinions or judgements. As you say, surrendering it accepting without resistance…….it is the acceptance of what is. In fact, by resisting the thought, feeling, or emotion, you only make it stronger, so resisting it will only make it harder for you to deal with that thought, emotion or feeling that you have. It is like watching clouds flow through the sky without commenting or judging it. Letting go means that after observing the thought, emotion or feeling that you have to just let it exit out of you. You don’t need to make any efforts to have it disappate…….as you accept it for what it is and observe it, it will go away on its own. As I mentioned before, it is akin to watching a cloud in the sky come into view and then pass out of sight. The sky is not affected by the clouds coming and going through it in any way. Remember, you are the sky, not the clouds.

            Surrendering also means surrendering to a Higher Power (i.e. God or Divinity, by whatever name you call Him), which also includes the same things…..thoughts, opinions, judgements, feelings, emotions, etc… but in a manner of prayer, faith and devotion. In this case, the “letting go” aspect is to let that Higher Power take away the negative thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc… without resisting it. This also works very well. It is the exact same principle as I mentioned above, but in a different manner.

            Whichever definition of surrender and letting go you use, the effect will be the same. I can tell you this from personal experience of having done both of these things, moreso the latter method of surrendering to a Higher Power. Combine this with “just looking” (at the sense of self/”I Am”), which is what John Sherman and Nisargadatta Maharaj teach, and you have a powerful technique that can undo the ego/mind’s mechanisms and make you feel lighter, and more peaceful and happy. The mental/emotional and physical benefits are tremendous. For the spiritually bent, this will help them to transcend the ego and realize God/Divinity as their true nature and no longer suffer from punishment in Hell/Purgatory or karma/reincarnation. For the ordinary person, they will find and eliminate blockages that will help them become better parents, husbands, wives, coworkers, employees, teachers, bosses, etc… etc…They will be more at ease and at peace, and be more loving, caring, peaceful, joyous and understanding to others and to oneself especially. Problems will be more easily solved or be seen as not a problem at all; and work can be done more productively and effeciently both at home and at one’s place of employment. One feels less stressed out and tense, and get better sleep and eat better, which means better physical and mental health overall.

            As you can see, both spiritually and non-spiritually speaking, the benefits of combining these two methods…….just looking (at the sense of self/”I Am”) by both John Sherman and Nisargadatta Maharaj; and surrendering/letting go (including the Release Technique/Sedona Method by Lester Levinson), as mentioned in my last post, will be quite beneficial. I

            I cannot wait for your next blog post, which will be on this. If you need any help, feel free to e-mail me. Stay warm down there…….winter will be here soon enough!

            – Neerav B. Trivedi

    1. Neerav Trivedi

      That was hilarious! I was surprised he was able to say some of the Indian words! I just posted this on Facebook and showed this to mom! I could not stop laughing from the point he said “mithai”. How was he able to even say that? LOL! What a great way to start the New Year! Thanks for the laughs.

      And by the way, if he can say the actual prayer in Sanskrit that he said the translation of, I would be impressed. I believe it is in one of the Upanishads.

      If you have a Facebook page also, post it so your family and friends can see as well.

      1. Kaushik Post author

        It’s Om Asato Ma Sadgamaya. I only know that because I googled it. My knowledge is very sparse–just a few sanskrit words, embarrassing Hindi, passable Gujarati.

  19. Jen

    “Neerav Trivedi says:
    November 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM
    Hi Jen,

    Just to clarify what I said previously, the ego is the one feeling “terrified” when you have those daily morning experiences because it is afraid of looking its shadows of the “stuff” that is being brought up from deep within the unconscious mind. That “stuff” is the impressions (i.e. conditionings) that you have accumulated as a result of the ego’s actions, which the ego is now afraid of looking at.”

    Hi Neerav,
    Thank you for your clarification, but now I’m even more confused. If the ego doesn’t really exist, its just an illusion created by the mind, then how can it be feeling anything?
    The fear is real, but its not in my mind or thoughts or head, its not a psychological thing, its a pure physical thing. Maybe it shouldn’t even be called fear, but a bunch of sensations triggered by the release of cortizol and adrenaline into the blood stream by the biological fight or flight response.
    Maybe what you mean is that I’m still identifying with ego, believing its nonsense and so I’m taking its stories to be the truth and that’s what’s triggering the fear response?

    …..I just thought about this some more, and you might be right that ego uses fear in order to stop the breaking down of its own structures, but its not ego that feels the fear, its in this body, sometimes as pure awareness (when I can manage it), but more often than not as something which is happening to ‘me’, the me which doesn’t really exist. Is that ‘me’ that doesn’t really exist the ego? If so, wouldn’t that mean the ego was just hurting itself, which it can’t because it doesn’t really exist, but by pumping itself up with fear energy, then it appears as if it does? Because when I manage to just be the awareness of fear with no separation of the fear and a ‘me’, then the whole thing seems to dissolve so much faster… including ego? Does ego actually enjoy fear? Something which does’t really exist, is scared of annihilation, how can that be? I can’t help thinking that this fear of annihilation is somehow deeper than ego.

    @ general comment (everyone)

    This is such a difficult ‘process’ to be going through, there’s not even any choice in the matter now.

    I’ve just finished reading a book called “Collision with the Infinite” by Suzanne Segal. Yesterday I wrote a comment here about loss of a ‘me’ and fear, using several quotes from the book, to get some feedback, but then I ended up deleting the whole thing and not posting anything, I was even more confused, not knowing what I was asking or why I was even expecting anyone else would have an answer if I didn’t know what was going on inside myself.

    I hope I don’t end up deleting this 🙂

    I woke up from a dream this morning where it had felt like I’d had a direct experience of …..something? It was like there was no separation between what was being experienced and the experiencer, in the dream it was as if ‘source’ or God and me had merged into one continuous movement of energy, but not as a concept, it was happening, and then in the dream, there was a sudden awareness of this new ‘state’, then separation happened, something separated out of the experience and turned around and looked at the experience, then immediately the fear crashed into me and I was being dragged awake, still surging with the overwhelming terror. I’ve subsequently had a rough morning, being filled with physical fear sensations for hours, completely forgetting to accept and release, just my mind tying itself in knots trying to figure stuff out in an attempt to ‘escape’ from this nightmare of existence.

    Its been 7 hours now and thankfully this body had settled back down again, functioning can happen, I can go and get some milk before the store closes, might even be able to cook dinner tonight for daughter and me. 🙂

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jen,

      I understand what you’re going through.

      I no longer look at this conceptually in terms of the ego. The ego doesn’t exist–it is just thoughts and emotions and beliefs we have of ourself. If you look inside, you can’t find something you can call the ego. I don’t see the ego as a problem–it is only troublesome because of the fear.

      I find it clearer to conceptually see this in terms of fear. It is the fear of life–this unexamined assumption that there is something wrong with life–which leads to consequences that we feel as unease and misery. To erradicate this, I recommend the looking in the way John Sherman suggests.

      I know you are feeling anxiety these days. In my experience, the release technique has been very helpful in handling that. Also, to know that the person which is feeling the anxiety can be helpful. You are not feeling anxiety; there is only the feeling of anxiety.

      It’s a natural movement of the mind to want to escape from this nightmare of existence, but existence is life itself, and it is only a nightmare because of the fear.

      Kaushik

      1. Jen

        Hi Kaushik,
        Thank you for responding so quickly, its helpful to know there are other people in the world who understand because they have been there too.
        How are you doing?

        I was reading back through threads and comments from a couple of years ago and it was nice to read some of your posts about what you were struggling with at the time, not that I was happy you were ‘suffering’, but its nice to know there are other people who experience the exact same things and keep going and transcend and move on.

        I understand about how its best to keep it simple and not get into complex concepts, just do the techniques. I do the looking, throughout the day now and it always brings me back to the present moment or a pure experience of awareness. The ‘problem’ is, that the nature or quality of anxiety (panic, terror) is not pleasant, even if it isn’t being struggled with or not-identified with. In some ways its like strong physical pain, a kind of pain particularly difficult to deal with like nerve pain, the shock seems to drain the body of its life force, even with acceptance, it still seems to take a toll, less of a cost, but it still seems to take a lot of energy, and for me, its just there all the time, with varying intensity, always there, not triggered, its my ‘normal’ default setting.

        I took a look at the JS forums to get an idea of if I’m doing the looking ‘right’ and how long its supposed to take. Anything from a few months to several years in order to see a real decrease in fear and dissatisfaction. I guess I’m just getting tired, I’ve been at this for just over a year now. Not that I even wanted anything in the first place, it just kind of happened.

        Like you, I’ve mostly been interested in just wanting to get to the truth, not looking for bliss and joy and altered perceptions. I used to drive my parents crazy, always asking why, wanting to know what were the reasons underneath everything they told me because not much of what they said made much sense. They used to think I was being disrespectful and difficult, but I honestly was just curious and had a strong need to know what was really behind the surfaces of life.

        Earlier today I was sitting outside in the sun. Several bees appeared, headed towards me and started flying around my head, they seemed to be interested in me for some reason, wouldn’t go away even though I was trying to brush them away, so I got up and moved under the patio for a while, then went back in the sun, they came back. I got some insect spray and tried to deter them with that, it seemed to work for a few minutes, they disappeared. Then suddenly, this one bee came from somewhere and basically staged an attack on me, I was trying to brush it away, but it was determined to sting me, I hit it several times, but it wouldn’t go away. I had my hair up in a pony tail and it got me on my ear. I was more angry and frustrated than scared, I just wanted to sit in the sun in peace, not be bothered by some crazy bees flying around my head.

        That was the first time I’ve ever been stung by a bee, it wasn’t that bad, in fact it was a pleasant distraction from the fear. The sensation of annoyance and anger was a vibrant kind of energy by comparison with the heavy, dragging sensations of fear which are usually here.

        I came inside and treated my bee sting, found the stinger, took it out and showed it to my daughter, I was amazed at how tiny it was and then felt a strange sensation as I realized the bee that stung me was going to die, it had sacrificed its own life by attacking me. Then there was confusion, incredible confusion. There had been no reason for those bees to attack me in the first place, I was just sitting on the ground in the sun.

        But it had been an interesting experience and a pleasant break from the anxiety.

        1. Neerav Trivedi

          Hi Jen,

          When you are in the “present moment” (Eckhart Tolle) or in Pure Awareness, problems and negative emotions such as anger, fear, etc… don’t exist. Look at what I wrote in terms of surrendering to the moment (i.e. the feeling or experience) in my last post and see if that helps, along with “just looking ” and the Release technique that Kaushik mentioned. I hope you get this done and over with soon! I feel for you and wish you all the best. As always, you are in my prayers to feel better as quickly as possible. Please be well.

          1. Jen

            Hi Neerav,
            Yes, surrendering to the moment, whatever it contains and then releasing is the ONLY thing which ends the suffering.

            So I guess the obvious question is, why don’t I just surrender and release when the anxiety arises 🙂

            I do, more often and I’m getting better at it. But I’m not sure I’m communicating just how intense and constant this sensation of anxiety, dread and impending doom has been over the last year.

            This isn’t like I will be happily working away at my job, absorbed in the activity and then some anxiety will arise, causing a ‘problem’.

            Starting from one weekend, almost exactly one year ago, I wake up every morning and what greets me, without fail is an overwhelming sense of horror. There are no thoughts at first, just physical sensations and a strong sense of vulnerability and helplessness connected with a kind of constant awareness of this life force flowing through this body.

            But its not just an awareness of me as an individual life force, its an awareness of all life, the connections between everything and how vulnerable we all are, how little control we have over anything, but don’t realize it. Maybe fear isn’t even the right word, more of an increasing awareness of the helplessness and vulnerability of existence.

            Before a year ago, I would get ‘glimpses’ of this direct awareness, it would come an go, at times in my life, its stayed for weeks at a time and more often than not its been a positive, blissful, oneness kind of experience, where I’ve experienced it as awe, wonder and perfection.

            Pure awareness of the bliss of life is just as overwhelming, but its effects, short term and long term are different on the ‘organism’, its experience and functioning.

            Bliss tends to be a ‘helpful’ or ‘positive’ movement. Its nice.

            This is the complete opposite and its constant. Its breaking me down. I honestly think that’s literally what’s happening its breaking the ‘me’ down. Intellectually, I know ‘I’ don’t exist, but something here is resisting.

            There is a constant silent scream, howling through my awareness all the time. Something is dying, moment by moment and I’m acutely aware of its desperate struggle. Its hanging on relentlessly, its energy is terror, sometimes a gentle kind of trembling terror, sometimes a screeching primal fear which rips me apart from the inside.

            When I’m alone, its fairly easy to surrender and release, and thankfully, the strongest of this stuff seems to arrive in the mornings when I’m still alone.

            But it accompanies me through every waking moment to some degree and at times something triggers a stronger surge. Its really difficult to surrender and release when my social environment is swirling around me, triggering what remains of my conditioning. Sometimes I see and sometimes I don’t see until later.

            I am SO tired, but I can’t stop. This is life, this is what it is, the only difference between then an now is that I’m seeing it more clearly than ever before. Seeing, or being more aware or more clear, not sure how to word it.

            There is no escape, I can see that clearly too and that adds to the horror of it all. There is no escape, not even by ending this particular life because I don’t want to have to come back and go through this again and there is a VERY strong sense that this is what would happen. Not a belief, but a kind of knowing, because, in some weird way, I know this from a time before, but I gave up, so that’s why there is no escape….ever.

            “When you are in the “present moment” (Eckhart Tolle) or in Pure Awareness, problems and negative emotions such as anger, fear, etc… don’t exist.”

            Its true that in pure awareness, what we label as fear or anger don’t get considered to be problems, there is no judgement or a separate concept, just pure awareness of fear or anger or whatever appears.

            But that doesn’t mean fear and anger don’t ever arise. Our basic emotions are wired into us biologically, they are part of the survival system of the body.

            Fear is fear, it does what it does, it feels the way it feels, it effects the body the way it does. Its not always unpleasant. Most people like theme park rides and seeing a scary movie once in a while.

            But ongoing, primal terror, which wears away at a mind and body, day after day is a very different experience.

            Thank you for your prayers, I also hope this is ‘over’ soon, but I think I really need to accept that its going to take as long as it takes, my wanting for it to be over is just part of the general resistance to what is.

            It really sucks that knowing something doesn’t make it the slightest bit easier to deal with. 🙂

            Jen.

        2. Kaushik Post author

          Hi Jen,

          You are doing the looking as JS suggests. I increasingly recommend it to people as I have more and more confirmation that it does unravel the fear of life.

          My guess is that you are in recovery. I think you are searching for confirmation that it actually works, just as I was. Or perhaps, you like me have particular expectations. I had the expecation that soon I will be “done” and free. And it was the very expecation which bound me up in mental conflict. Maybe you are tired. I was. I was tired of always thinking about this, considering, evaluating, looking at everything and trying to see how it fits into my spiritual concepts of life.

          The recovery can be difficult. Use whatever tools you want to to handle it. Use the release technique. Meditation, breathing, observing–whatever resonates. Maybe the understanding that it is only a mental state, and mental states come and go and have no effect on you. You have never changed–you can see that by looking at you.

          It might sound trite right now to hear that this will pass. But that’s exactly what happens.

          I empathize.

          Kaushik

          1. Neerav Trivedi

            Hi Jen,

            Kaushik is right…..it will pass. Nothing is ever permanent in life…….everything is fleeting, even experiences such as this. He is also correct in pointing out that you should not have any expectations of reovery, because that will only cause you more problems. Instead, do what they say in Taoism and “go with the flow”. If you add expectations into the picture, you are only going to get yourself back in trouble. Please keep us posted as to how you are doing. I also empathize with you and hope you get back on your feet quickly!

          2. Jen

            Hi Kaushik,
            Your reply has got me wondering if I am in fact actually avoiding the present moments because I’m desiring some future ‘better’ moment of freedom when I’m done… like you wrote that you did.

            Do you still consider that you are not ‘done’ yet?

            I just tried to imagine what I think it will be like when this ‘recovery process’ is over….. and I can’t. Sometimes I look at spiritual teachers and listen to interviews as they talk about what they went through and then how they became ‘what they are now’. I try and imagine myself doing what some of them are doing… and I can’t.

            I try and imagine different scenes where there is me and a place and I’m there and I’m feeling happy and free. Sometimes I think back to a nice memory of such a time and place, when I’ve been completely in the moment and in bliss….but when I try and imagine it again in the future…I can’t…. there’s just nothing there.

            I think I used to want freedom and happiness and peace, as a kind of image or idea, but now its different. I don’t want to go back and I don’t even want to go forward into some imaginary future where ‘I’ am happy. This sounds weird and probably just like words, but on some level, I really don’t want eternal bliss and happiness and joy.

            When I think of the word ‘freedom’, I have to ask, freedom from what? Freedom from suffering of course, freedom from awareness of being. Yes, this is becoming just words again. I used to be certain that I wanted the truth, the complete pure truth at any cost, no matter what it was, but now, I’m realizing I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

            Gini Grey, in an article says “If we move towards enlightenment slowly, or with much ease, trust and acceptance, we may only experience minor ascension symptoms. But if we go through an accelerated process, which many are going through now that consciousness has evolved to a higher level, we feel an intensity of experiences. One moment we touch into the peace and oneness with the Source of all life, and another we feel as though our flesh and skin is being torn off our bodies as we release false beliefs and programming. This can create a bit of fear in the mind and body (or a lot depending on your body personality).”
            Overcoming Fear and Anxiety During Spiritual Awakening
            http://ginigrey.com/spiritualtransformers/overcoming-fear-and-anxiety-during-spiritual-awakening/

            When you say I’m in recovery, what exactly do you mean?

            I’ve read from several sources that once there has been an initial awakening, then the process of dissolution of the programming or conditioning, which is the substance of the mind or ego, seems to happen naturally and at an accelerated rate. I see this as happening at an accelerated rate in myself, but to a certain degree, this has been happening on and off for years through my life.

            Yes, I’m using what seems helpful, from day to day and moment to moment, getting stung by a bee was helpful, but listening to dolphin meditation music last night kept me from sleeping properly, I think it was too stimulating for my brain and I slept in that state where you are asleep, but it feels like you are awake.

            I tried to do some qi-gong this morning, from memory because all of my DVDs are packed away in a box somewhere….don’t know where…that helped, it felt like the energy was being expressed and released in a natural kind of way.

            Thank you for the reminder about everything passing.

            I find one of the benefits of regular journaling is that there is a written record through life of all the experiences which did in fact occur and then pass. Reading back through my journal is often helpful because it provides a sense of strength and a reminder of how resilient I have been, in spite of feeling so helpless and vulnerable.

            1. Kaushik Post author

              Hi Jen,

              “Your reply has got me wondering if I am in fact actually avoiding the present moments because I’m desiring some future ‘better’ moment of freedom when I’m done… like you wrote that you did.”

              You might be. The trouble with having any sort of expectation is that it is difficult for the mind, already affected by the fear, to imagine what it would feel like not to be affected by the fear. Anything the mind imagines will be off. So I’ve found it best to try to watch whatever expectations I have.

              “Do you still consider that you are not ‘done’ yet?”

              I think there is still resistance in me. I can tell by some of my reactions. But there is a different quality to it. It just is what it is. I recognize that there is no such thing as being done.

              “I try and imagine different scenes where there is me and a place and I’m there and I’m feeling happy and free. Sometimes I think back to a nice memory of such a time and place, when I’ve been completely in the moment and in bliss….but when I try and imagine it again in the future…I can’t…. there’s just nothing there.”

              I understand. I have felt the same in the past, where I have fantasized about a happier future, and at the same time, found it difficult to see myself in it. These are just movements of the mind which is affected by fear and its effects.

              “When you say I’m in recovery, what exactly do you mean?”

              You say you are looking in the way JS suggests. Are you still looking? Does the urge to look come up? My experience is that in the beginning I had to remind myself to look, and then I found myself looking at various times, and then the urge to look just went away.

              I think what happens is that when the fear of life of goes, the psychological structures in us begin to change. This change can sometimes be unsettling.

              It sounds to me like you are using the various tools you know to manage this time of anxiety. You are trying to release, journaling, looking, and allowing yourself some time and space. That all sounds like a reasonable approach to me.

              Kaushik

      2. Neerav Trivedi

        “The ego doesn’t exist–it is just thoughts and emotions and beliefs we have of ourself. If you look inside, you can’t find something you can call the ego. I don’t see the ego as a problem–it is only troublesome because of the fear.”

        Hi Kaushik…….That is actually one of the way the ego is actually defined. The other is the seperate sense of self…….”I” or “me” attached to the body-mind organism. Both are equally good definitions of the ego. I am just wondering what is causing her to feel terrified or fearful when the “stuff” from her unconscious mind comes up? What is that in her mind that is feeling this “fear” or is feeling “terrified”? Hmm…….

    2. Neerav Trivedi

      Hi Jen,

      Don’t delete any of your posts or your discussion abour your situation on here, as they can be used as a reference for your progress, anmd to help others who are or may go through what you are going through. I find this very instructive, and so, to keep these would be beneficial to everyone. I really hope that this “nightmare” that you are going through ends soon. Both Kaushik and I are praying for you and are here if you need anything. Feel better soon, and know that you are loved by many people, as well as by God Almighty.

          1. Jen

            Hi Kaushik,
            Thank you for writing this.

            There’s a bit of a paradox going on, not sure I can put it into words, but I’ll give it a go.

            Victor Frankl, who wrote ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, wrote that humans can endure anything, as long as there is meaning in it.

            For me, what I’m going through at the moment is bearable only because I’m struggling to attach a positive meaning to it. I’m telling myself that its growth and evolution, that I’m becoming a more functional, loving version of a human. I journal and write about it, believing that in some way, somehow, my words might help someone else.

            But I think that maybe, giving into the ‘desire’ to find meaning, my mind’s desire for meaning, understanding, a sense of control, might be sabotaging that final ‘giving up’ which may be required. Maybe I have to give up the illusion that I can actually help anyone, including myself.

            Helping equals purpose, value and goodness. But who or what has the purpose, the value and the goodness?

            Perhaps this desire to help other people is just another ego trick, keeping itself existing through this purpose.

            In some ways, writing about what’s going on is the most natural and obvious thing to do because this is what I’ve always done…. I write, just like breathing and eating, for me writing is a basic need, but I sense a very subtle thing going on… its not only writing, there is a desire to help and I can’t be sure who it is that wants to help.

            Perhaps before I can really help, I need to get to a point of realizing that there is nothing I can do to really help anyone else or myself, that I am totally helpless…and then be ok with that…. like a final surrender into giving up all illusion of control.

            So having got that out, and hopefully it makes sense, I also wanted to say that if you really don’t mind me filling up the comments section of your blog with what to me, seems like a lot of ramblings and nonsense half the time, then I will, when it seems like something wants to be written.

            But like I replied in a comment to Blueflame, I really don’t know what’s going on with me, I could just be completely insane, deluded, mentally disordered, chemically imbalanced, not evolving towards a more natural state of being at all.

            Of course I’m not evolving into anything, ‘I’ is just an illusion, and personal evolution through looking at my sense of self, releasing of fear, awakening and recovery are just some of the stories it tells itself, giving itself something to do, inventing meanings where there are none 🙂

            Adyashanti says “Don’t do anything” That’s the hardest thing.

            But who is he? Maybe just another storyteller.

            1. Kaushik Post author

              Hi Jen,

              You’ve done the looking and so I think what you are going through are mechanical reactions of the mind. I’m not trying to be dismissive–I understand how it can feel. I understand it can get tiring, and I understand the search for a deeper meaning for what’s happening, and the need for confirmation, and the attempts to make sense out of seemingly contradicatory movements. Is there meaning to it or isn’t there? Shall I accept and leave it alone, or shall I look for deeper meaning?

              I think during this time we can use whatever tools we find to be effective. Acceptance, meditation, understanding, or leaving it all alone, distraction, yoga, exercise…whatever you find to be effective right now is fine. One thing that did help me was the understanding of expectations. I had certain expecations, some of them very subtle, and hold onto expectations was unhappy, as actually never conforms to expectations.

              I don’t mind at all that you use the comments to talk about this. It helps everyone.

              k

              1. Neerav Trivedi

                Hi Kaushik,

                Yeah, you mentioned that too that having expectations when you did the technique of “just looking” did not help, and I think that is a great point. The mind’s (or ego/mind’s) expectations do you no good and just keep you trapped in suffering. The same thing goes for hopes and desires, as they lead to suffering, without a doubt.

                – Neerav Trivedi

              2. Jen

                Thank you Kaushik, not dismissive at all. This can be so difficult and confusing when right in the middle, but obvious in hindsight. The little reminders (of the obvious) from outside are like tiny lights at the end of the (current) tunnel. 🙂

            2. Neerav Trivedi

              “Victor Frankl, who wrote ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, wrote that humans can endure anything, as long as there is meaning in it.

              For me, what I’m going through at the moment is bearable only because I’m struggling to attach a positive meaning to it. I’m telling myself that its growth and evolution, that I’m becoming a more functional, loving version of a human. I journal and write about it, believing that in some way, somehow, my words might help someone else.”

              Hi Jen…….you have hit the nail on the head here. Attaching a meaning (or attempting to do so) is where your problem lies. The mind (i.e. the ego/mind) is attempting to label this experience by adding “meaning” or “value” to what you are experiencing, Let go of such attempts by the mind to do so, and just let it be as it is without any labels, opinions or judgements. Experience what you are experiencing without labeling or judging it, let alone trying to expect or hope that something “good” will come from it…….that is the mind attempting to get something from it…….usually, that does not work in terms of rationalizing it. In fact, that will keep you (and your mind or ego/mind) trapped in this suffering. Just let the experience happen without any interference from your mind in terms of labels, opinions, judgements or even any desires, hope or expectations that you have of it.

              Hope things are getting better for you as the days go by! =)

              – Neerav B. Trivedi

              1. Jen

                Hi again Neerav,
                I just found this response, thank you for this confirmation, that’s what I was thinking. I respect the work of VF, but I was noticing a conflict between his theory and my own reality.

                People (us) seem to be built from an endless succession of layers of reality, none of them true.

                Jen

                1. Neerav Trivedi

                  Hi Jen,

                  Some of the spiritual literature, especially by the late spiritual teacher and author, Dr. David R. Hawkins, says how the mind likes to label and judge things and tries to thereby categorize them sucha s good and bad, favorable and unfavorable, etc… As for your experience versus what Victor Frankel said…….I would go with subjective personal experience, as it is not only the greatest indicator of what is going on, but is also the greatest teacer.

  20. Blueflame

    Hi Jen, what helped me through life up to now is to get into the habit of healthy diversions. It’s the only way to tone down the fear & anxiety until the looking ever takes hold or releases.

    The easiest way is to focus on happy thoughts. Happy music, beautiful art landscape, funny memories. Most important thing is to realize that this is your reality and you can change it with focus and belief. Eventually it becomes a habit like any other habit to the point where you enjoy bliss for no reason because it becomes automatic. The subconscious takes over. It starts as a weird process but if you just constantly divert your attention to good things knowing that you are the boss of your reality. When bad thoughts sneak in, take a look at them and say “gee that doesn’t help much and it’s untrue I’d rather think this” because I decide what goes in MY reality! Sure you will have bad days. Just divert as much as possible till the pain falls away.

    If you have listened to John Sherman as I have, he mentions from time to time that we are all connected and we are the same. The feeling of yourself in the looking is the same for everyone he says. Meaning we all have the same feeling. Not an individual feeling that’s different from other people. We are God living through underdeveloped minds with no input other than existence and awareness.

    1. Jen

      Hi Blueflame,
      thank you for your reply and suggestion to use diversion as a method of dealing with the fear and anxiety. Are you still experiencing anxiety, or has this stage ended for you? I’ve read that not everyone has such a difficult time, for some people its mostly a gentle, peaceful blissful experience.

      Sometimes I’m able to divert my attention from unhelpful thoughts and feelings, more so now than during the beginning of this process, at first, I just couldn’t find anything thing which made me happy or peaceful. Practically everything changed, almost overnight and things which brought me happiness and pleasure and interest, just didn’t any more. I lost so much so fast.
      I can no longer watch TV, movies, listen to music, go shopping for pleasure, eat anything for any reason apart from hunger, drink alcohol, read fiction, go to the gym, walk anywhere there are a lot of people and I have to be careful what I look at or listen to in general, I’ve become very sensitive. I’m more sensitive to the energy of other people too. I went and got a massage earlier in the year, thought it might help, but I was picking up all kinds of negativity from the massage therapist, she seemed irritated and stressed and was passing it on to me.

      I love art, can spend hours wandering around art galleries, getting lost in all the sensations the images evoke, but as I just wrote, I’m super sensitive at the moment and sometimes just looking at a tree, watching the breeze move its leaves can feel too overwhelming…causes even more anxiety. I hope I will settle down soon and be able to enjoy some of the things I used to.

      About 18 months ago I was outside and caught sight of a small bug walking along the ground. Suddenly I was engulfed with a total connection with that bug. It was like that bug and me and all of life was suddenly one continuous whole flow. There was an incredible sense of awe and respect for all life and I had a feeling of loving protectiveness towards that bug. It sounds funny now, but it was so real at the time, like a sudden surge of pure love for everything flowed through me because of a bug.

      Now I seem to be having a similar effect to lots of things in my environment, but instead of love, its fear (its opposite) which keeps coming up, I never know from one minute to the next what is going to trigger it.

      Jen.

  21. Blueflame

    Hi Jen,
    I do believe your recovery may be stronger and more painful than mine. Still you must find a new diversion. Do as I said. Find a thought that makes you happy like any small thing. I drive this car great! repeat it over and over out loud. I’m so clever, I’m just a funny person. One thing you like or know you are good at. When you repeat it over and over again your mind starts to wander into that positive thought. You start to remember the funny things you say, or the last time you drove yourself out of an accident or a ditch etc. You start recalling cool things you have experienced or accomplished..

    The key to this is you begin to make it a subconscious exercise on it’s own. Every time you get sad you begin to think of better things naturally. Fantasize about winning the Lotto and all the things you would buy. Giving money to your friends…Now because of The Looking, when I get sad it’s not quite as deep. It’s easier to think of better things with more hope. Those bad thoughts start to sound foolish without any strength to them anymore. I know this works because read it in some book. Then I started seeing this method in different explanations that people were trying to teach in other books.

    This method to me is the basis for all that we do in life even the Looking. You are focusing on something different. When you accomplish anything you are focusing on it first then imagining it’s effects before it happens. So if you imagine something good most of the time, only good must come from it. I had a fantasy once and still have it from time to time. I wish I could divert all my attention all my waking hours to good or constructive thoughts then go to sleep and do it again tomorrow.

    Jen, just do it. You got nothing to loose. John Sherman says in this recovery period do what helps to dull the pain (no chemicals). He says to do the breath focus. Notice how that word focus come about? This will speed up your recovery I believe. I do get down as you do Jen but not as deep or as long as I used to.

    1. Jen

      Hi Blueflame,
      I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at work a couple of hours ago and something you wrote came into my mind:
      “Find a thought that makes you happy like any small thing. I drive this car great! repeat it over and over out loud.”

      I almost laughed out loud because actually the complete opposite is the truth now.

      I’m no longer driving the car and there is no one it belongs to. I’ve been realizing this for a few months now. When I first became aware that I was no longer driving the car, it totally freaked me out. I mean, my body was literally shaking, with sweat pouring out, going hot and cold. The car was being driven, better actually than ever before, but I couldn’t connect to myself driving it and it was extremely unnerving.

      Now, its still very weird and of course there is some anxiety associated with the strange, out of control perception of there being no ‘me’ doing the driving, but I’m very slowly learning to trust that something quite capable is actually driving the car.

      Its ironic really, I always used to be quite a nervous driver, my anxiety was connected to the actual process of driving and finding my way around, but now, there is no anxiety at all connected with driving, the actual process of driving goes very smoothly, instead, there is anxiety connected with having lost my connection with doing the actual driving. I’m no longer a nervous driver because I’m not even driving the car…. but who is? 🙂

      I’m actually feeling more vulnerable and sensitive in general, so I don’t like being out for very long or far away from home, that’s another reason I’ve become anxious driving, still getting adjusted to being back out in the world I guess. This is all so strange, I’ve traveled around the world by myself several times, just landed in strange cities and figured out how to get around and what to do, but now, getting to the local grocery store takes all my courage.

      I also wanted to mention what you wrote about winning lotto. It wouldn’t make the slightest difference, there is nothing money can buy to change this now. This is so much not about anything material and anything I think about which can be bought or done with money…. I see through it straight away… its emptiness, just a temporary distraction. Yes, I could give money away to people who need it, but there would be no personal joy or satisfaction from doing it, it would be done because it was the right thing to do or the obvious thing to do, there is no one here to get any joy out of anything which can be done… a kind of peace often arrives some time in the mid to late afternoon, eventually, and a kind of relaxation, but there just doesn’t seem to be the capability any more for any extremes of ‘positive’ emotion now.

      None of the old tricks work any more, they are seen through immediately.

      I really don’t know what I’m going through or what has happened, but something significant has changed. Is it really some kind of awakening? Is this really some kind of recovery? Even those are just stories created by a mind trying to hang onto a sense of control through understanding. I don’t know what the truth is, that’s the hardest thing to accept, part of me needs to believe something in order to feel some control. If I repeat positive statements to myself, over and over, I will know that in the long run, I’m just fueling my own mind/ego, keeping it inflated, giving it more power. If there was no awareness of this being done, then it would be fine and would work to make ‘me’ feel better temporarily, but there is acute awareness here… awful, horrible, acute awareness…None of the old tricks work any more, they are seen through immediately.

      So, you might be right in that I’m having a harder time of recovery than you did.

      1. Neerav Trivedi

        “I’m no longer driving the car and there is no one it belongs to. I’ve been realizing this for a few months now. When I first became aware that I was no longer driving the car, it totally freaked me out. I mean, my body was literally shaking, with sweat pouring out, going hot and cold. The car was being driven, better actually than ever before, but I couldn’t connect to myself driving it and it was extremely unnerving.

        Now, its still very weird and of course there is some anxiety associated with the strange, out of control perception of there being no ‘me’ doing the driving, but I’m very slowly learning to trust that something quite capable is actually driving the car.”

        ———————————————————————-
        From the highest spiritual perspective, there is no “you” (i.e. the ego or ego/mind) that is driving the car, in reality…….the body itself is driving the car on its own. All actions of the body are occuring autonomously and spontaneously in response to the overall conditons of the enviornment. The late spiritual teacher and author, Dr. David R. Hawkins rightly puts it that from a higher spiritual perspective, “all actions are seen to occur on their own, autonomously and spontaneously, as a result of potentiality becoming manifest as actuality, when conditions (including karma) become favorable”. I know this sounds very abstract and difficult to understand, but that is the understanding that I am working with to explain your situation. As a result of responding to the overall enviornment, your actions are occuring without anyone or any “person” or “entity” (i.e. the ego or ego/mind) as the cause and center of it as the “doer”, “actor”, “decider”, “thinker”, etc…

        To use a favorite quote of mine by the Buddha:
        “Events happen, deeds are done, by there is no induvidual doer thereof”.

        The “anxiety” or “fear” that came about when you had this realization is the ego’s fear of losing control of you…….that is, the ego is scared that it will lose its influence and hence, it will cease to be. Consider this a VERY good sign of your spiritual progress that I am very happy to see. Keep this up, and the tyranny of the ego will soon come to a end. As the ego weakens, you should not only feel more peaceful, calm, loving and joyous, but you will even feel a sense of “at-onenes” with everyone and everything around you.

        I have had this feeling of oneness (the state of Nondual Awareness) recently……..actually, I had it for three days starting on the Hindu New Year a couple of weeks ago. As you feel a sense of being “one” with everything (in Essence, “you” are everything and everything is “you” by the virtue of being at-one with them), you actually feel a greater sense of love, understanding and compassion for everyone and everything around you. That also includes your own self. What is even wierder about it is that there is “experencing” going on of this state of non-dual Awareness WITHOUT an “experiencer”…….that is, “experiencing” is going on, but there is no “person” or “entity” (i.e. the ego or ego/mind) that is “experiencing”. Of course, understand that we are talking about something that is both prior to and beyond the mind (i.e. ego/mind) itself, and it is better known by direct experience, and not by conceptualization and understanding of the mind.

        The fact that you, like me, are now seeing through the ego’s tricks, schemes and games is very encouraging, and you will become MUCH less affected by the ego (i.e. the ego/mind). After my spiritual awakening experience back on June 1st of this year, I am not as much affected as I used to be by the ego…….but the ego still pops up and causes a bit of a headache from time to time, but it is quite managable. It continues to be weakened, as it has been since that time. The next step for me, then, is going through what is known as “ego death”, which is painful and traumatic to the ego itself. That is the last step that one has to take in order to permanently rid oneself of the ego and realize God as the true nature of everything in the universe, including oneself (as its Source and Essence) via Enlightenment/Self-Realization. The only thing here, is that once you cross this point, there is NO turning back!!! Only a very rare few throughout history have taken this extraordinary dificult step, and is the next and final stop for me towards Enlightenment. Wish me luck!

        ————————————————————————
        You are doing great! Just stick with it and keep it up, and you should be feeling the ego diminishing in its influence over you quite a bit for the next few months or the next few years or so. From there, you just have to go through “ego death”, which will finish off what remains of the ego, once and for all.

        – Neerav Trivedi

        1. Jen

          Hi Neerav,
          Everything you have written here makes a lot of sense and is encouraging me to ‘keep going’, not that I really have a choice now anyway.

          I’ve just gone through some of the roughest days of my life with so many small things changing from moment to moment, people, plans, events, circumstances, its like the universe has been showing as clearly as possible that ‘I’ am not in control and so the only choice I have is to let go or go insane trying to hold onto my illusion of control.

          You wrote “The next step for me, then, is going through what is known as “ego death”, which is painful and traumatic to the ego itself. That is the last step that one has to take in order to permanently rid oneself of the ego and realize God as the true nature of everything in the universe, including oneself (as its Source and Essence) via Enlightenment/Self-Realization. The only thing here, is that once you cross this point, there is NO turning back!!! Only a very rare few throughout history have taken this extraordinary difficult step, and is the next and final stop for me towards Enlightenment. Wish me luck!”

          Good luck, if you are sure that’s what is needed, but also I wish you divine grace, strength and courage.

          For me, there was a sense a long time ago that there was no turning back, even now with ego still hanging around, its too easily recognized to ever take complete control again.. for long anyway, but I’m not certain that its ever going to completely ‘die’, either… not in this lifetime.

          Sometimes its like I get a choice…. stay like ‘this’, struggling for the rest of this life, but not having to face that final… ‘whatever’ and then go through it all again ‘next time’ what ever that means. Or keep going, as Jed McKenna says “further”, always further.

          But I’m tired, so tired. I actually slept most of the day today, it was a huge shock when I woke up and realized that the day was gone.

          But anyway, of course my thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue your quest to slay that ancient enemy which stands between ‘man’ and God.

          Jen.

          1. Neerav Trivedi

            Hi Jen,

            All the best to you as well! I have been discussing your case with some colleauges of mine for the last few days now, and the signs are encouraging.Even when this is done and over with, keep going. You now see, as I and others have, the workings of the ego (or ego/mind), which means that you can now detach yourself from the ego and observe it, including the “suffering” that it causes and imposes on itself, ignorantly. Keep up the good work…….you are going great!!!

  22. Blueflame

    Hi Jen,
    I’ve read on the J.S. forums about people like you who have a hard time in recovery. But after a while they come out of it. So in the mean time just relax and focus on happy thoughts that you come up with not the one’s I suggested.
    Just remember that all that junk you talk about are just thoughts. They can’t hurt you. After that sinks in your head you will be ahead of the game. You control your reality. You make it bigger than it is. Look at what you are saying then realize they are just thoughts! Change your thoughts!
    You do it eventually anyway when you wash yourself, clean the house, do whatever! It’s the same process. One thought can be changed the same way you change other thoughts. They all are controlled by you. Not the World!
    The easiest way to get this thought to you is to say, Make believe. Make believe you are happy with something. Believe=Beliefs Make believe until it becomes a happy memory.

    1. Jen

      Thank you Blueflame, I don’t know how I could have got through the last few weeks without the support of everyone here on Kaushik’s blog.

      I found myself sleeping most of today, but I did wake up briefly and was listening to the rain outside and birds chirping and for the first time in months, I was actually enjoying listening to something, getting some pleasure out of something…it was nice, then I let myself fall back to sleep without condemning myself for ‘sleeping all day’.

      1. Neerav Trivedi

        Hi Jen,

        First off, all of this “sleeping” business is either making me want to go under the omcorters, or gts some more coffee. How does Dunkin Donuts sound to you?

        Second, from seeing this, your mind and body is now recovering/recurperating from the “hell” that you have been through for the past year or so. Allow the body and mind to do its own thing in terms of healing itself, and try to do what you can to assist it in any way possible. By doing so, it will help you recover faster and better.

  23. Neerav Trivedi

    While having lunch, I remember adding these quotes by the late spiritul teacher and author, Dr. David R. Hawkins, in his book, “Eye of the I” in the chapter about the “Nature of God” about the ego:

    1) “the ego is the source of all guilt, sin, suffering, condemnation and the creation of all hells” (Hawkins, pg. 204).
    .
    2) Also, similar to that is: “Each entity experiences the consequences of its own doing, its own choices, its own wishes and belief systems. That which is all still, silent, peace and love repel back onto itself all that is unloving, non-silent and unpeaceful. This is experienced by the ego as hell, which is thereby self-created” (Hawkins, pg. 205).

    As you can see, from these two quotes, any suffering, agony, despair or hell that one goes through is sourced via the ego and is an experience of the ego itself for those who still identify with it as the real self. The experience that Jen went through was hell and immense suffering on a daily basis due to the ego itself. However, she stuck with it and is now recovering and is seeing through the schemes and games of the ego itself, which is a sign of good progress. Had Jen fallen for the ego, she would have been dissuaded by the rather terrifying experiences to proceed further on the spiritual path, which demonstrates that it IS possible to not give into the ego, who’s temptations, games, schemes are illuions false; and ultimately, the very existence of the ego itself is false and illusory.

    So there is hope to overcome the ego (however it is defined) and to free yourself from the pain, suffering, misery and sorrow that it it not only imposes on you, but also others around you for its selfish, self-serving purpose. There is hope folks, to don’t despair and don’t give up, no matter how hard the ego tries to get you to do so!

  24. Blueflame

    Hi Jen,
    I don’t believe in all that ego this ego that. John Sherman said the mind is mechanical. You point it some where, it works or focuses attention on what you want. When I think during the day now I just think about good memories, good places etc.. Not in a silly way. Just like an old song brings back the times you have enjoyed it through your life, I revel in that joy. Remembering the friends I had then and most importantly the FEELING I get or got from it.
    It’s like doing ‘the looking’ inside these wonderful memories placing myself back there with my old friends. When ever I feel that sadness creeping in I go to another fun memory until the pain passes.
    The mind is mechanical. You don’t convince it to do something with a formula or final equation for proper living. You train your mind like a dog. Repeating what I suggest you do so many times until your subconscious mind takes over. You begin to be happy or content for no reason.
    Thanks, Blueflame

  25. Amit Sodha

    Hi Kaushik,

    This takes me back a few years when we had that discussion on my blog and you hit the nail on the head when you said “So I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a valid technique but doesn’t go anywhere.”

    That was exactly my point then and still is now.

    I’m not saying this to tell you “I’m right, you’re wrong.” that is totally subjective, but I’m saying because I came to the very same conclusion around 5 years ago. It is a wonderful ‘technique’ but ultimately doesn’t go anywhere can can’t possibly go anywhere.

    While here, in this body, in this life, you have to adopt the illusions in order to play the game, and that is all it is, it’s a game, nothing more. We are here to play, nothing less. It’s why my friends and I constantly send each other jokes. We have deep discussions, we explore these things, but ultimately, we continue to play in this world of illusion. What is illusion? it’s a form of entertainment, the world is the ultimate stage and we are the performers.

    Namaste, and may you continue to play.

    A

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, it’s true. But I also see that the evolution of becoming more conscious follows a pardigm of idea-experience-feeling. I learn an idea, for example the idea that who I think I am is a delusion. It’s a worthwhile idea, but it’s only a hypothesis until I see it for myself in myself.

      And so even though I see that the delusion of self doesn’t go anywhere I don’t really know in what way it has contributed to my consciousness and I don’t really know how it can help or not help someone else.

      What you say about illusion is also completely true. It is a game, but when we do not know it’s a game, we suffer. When we remember who we really are and that the purpose of human life is create and experience and there is no other purpose except to be and experience what we choose to.

  26. daramantus

    Kaushik, you are so fanatic about neo advaita that I have found millions of contradictions in your posts, I mean. You are so wrong…

    1. Kaushik Post author

      I’m not interested in neo advaita, even if I knew what that refers to. This site is a journal of my evolving experience, so contradictions are very possible. But you have to be specific about the contradictions.

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