Friday, 12 August 2011


Are you sitting comfortably?  Then let’s begin.

Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman, and one day an urge overtook both of them and they fell rapaciously on each other, in a lustful frenzy; completely consumed by the irresistable compulsion to screw each others' brains out.  

Because they were caught up in the physical possession that had consumed them, they forgot that neither of them had taken precautions against pregnancy.

Which meant that nature took its course and one of the man's seed made its epic journey to impregnate the ripe and ready egg. As the sperm wriggled its way up through the inner chambers of the female, guided by a hormonal signal, it impregnated the ovum, fusion took place, and so began the process of the formation of a human being. 
The cells divided and divided and divided according to the DNA within the male sperm and the female egg, and those cells slowly differentiated into aspects of a human body - some became tissue cells, some muscle cells, some nerve cells, etc., etc., - until after about 3 months had passed, all the organs and limbs were formed, and continued to mature and develop in order to fulfil their function.

Now, many things happened during the 40 weeks or so following that mad, lustful episode, but the greatest of these was the day that the female's body secreted another hormone that triggered certain muscles to contract and squeeze, and expel the now fully-formed human baby out of the warm and safe environment that had nurtured it so successfully.

And a child was born.   

And was celebrated.  

And caused great joy.   

And massive exhaustion: Its parents were perplexed and confused by this squalling, gurgling ball of humanity.  They fed and tended the infant, and it grew and matured.  They tickled it, and it laughed.  They forgot to feed it, and it cried.  They shouted at it when it wouldn't sleep, and it screamed. 

But mostly they loved it.  And, as they had been taught by their parents, they urged it to crawl, and then to stand, and walk, and to copy the sounds they made. 

Then one day, the mother was holding the toddler and looking into a mirror and she pointed at the image of the child and said 'That's you'.  She pointed to the child's chest and said 'you', and pointed back again at the face in the mirror and said 'you'.  And the child looked and saw a face; separate from that next to it, and suddenly realised that it was a person separate from everything around it.  

The mother and the father continued to raise the child, and told it that it was 'their' child, and that it had a name and that whenever it did something it chose to do that.  So, when the child was given spinach to eat and didn't like the taste, father told it that it was being fussy and was naughty.  And when the infant was unable to fall asleep when its parents laid it in its bed, the mother scolded it for staying awake on purpose. 

Over time, the natural processes and reactions of the human being were assumed to be caused and controlled by that little person.  And it felt a feeling of pride when it seemed that it was able to do something right, and a sense of shame when it felt that it had done something wrong.  But the most significant thing that happened was that now there was a belief that this little person had, which was; that it was causing itself to happen; was controlling its actions and preferences and aversions and thoughts and feelings.

And so a second birth took place; the birth of the belief of self.

The person grew into adulthood, striving to be a better self, by working ON itself. It tried hard at school, worked diligently at work, was kind to friends, family and old people, and never kicked the dog.  

It earned money, bought a house, found a partner, and in its turn had some children, and tried to be a good parent and a good partner and a good child... but....

One day, standing outside smoking a guilty fag, it wondered 'how did I get here?  In this life? This wasn't what I planned'.  

It started looking for a reason why.  Looking for meaning to its existence, and came across someone who told it to meditate, to still the mind; find peace and enlightenment.  Because that was the ultimate meaning for a human being - to become enlightened, liberated. 

It tried the hardest it ever had; realised that love and money and work didn't bring happiness, but felt that this ultimate goal would.

So it meditated and practiced mindfulness and found that sometimes the thoughts quietened and there was a feeling of peace, and sometimes even bliss.  But then maybe the phone would ring and feelings of irritation would emerge, and it was right back to being a frustrated seeker.  The search became more and more desperate as it read more books, and watched endless DVD's and podcasts,and attended satsangs about this elusive goal of enlightenment.... and still couldn't get it.

Not once, though ... not once .. did it stop to consider that it was a lie.  That the idea it had - that it was a self, was just that... an idea.  That this idea was itself just a thought, a story.  Just like the story it told its children about the tooth fairy.
It never stopped to question why it put a £1 coin under a child's pillow in the middle of the night, and how this was creating the lie of the existence of a tooth fairy.  

How could it ever see that the whole of the society and culture that it lived in colluded in supporting the lie that there was a central character that lived a life.

It never stopped to consider how the belief had originated, because it didn't even know that it was a belief - it thought it was the truth.

BUT, life was being a kind Dame and one day it happened on someone who knew what was real and who loved to speak about it, and a conversation took place whereby this hapless human had the simple and obvious truth pointed out.

It went something like this:
"You don't need to see through a self.  Or find your self.  Or transcend your self.  Or dissolve your self.

Because: There is no self.   

There never was.

So you can't see through it, because it doesn't exist now, and it never has.  It was only ever an idea.

A thought that was produced by a brain that was given an instruction from other people that was constantly reinforced until it was a pervading belief.

But it was never true.  

It isn't now.

And it realised what liberation is - realising that there is no such thing as self.  Just seeing that whenever there is the thought of 'I', it is exactly and only that; a thought.

And it couldn't believe how simple it was.  How laughably obvious and easy.  That all there had ever been, and is, and would be, is life - alive and constantly changing with no need of being directed or controlled.

It saw, with absolute clarity, that all there is; is emptiness at the centre of where it thought it was.

Emptiness that is alive and free to be exactly as it is.

It thanked the person who had pointed out the fiction, and carried on being lived as it always had been, loving the aliveness and revelling in the fiction.

And it lived happily ever after.

Until it didn't!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Racist Bitch!

Quite an emphatic title to this blog post, isn't it? Now, I've got your attention, I'll explain where that came from: Someone posted this in one of the groups to which I am a member on Facebook:

"Unfortunately, niggers' dicks are bigger than their brains. they never choose to not reproduce because they know their kids will grow up starving so *we* have to prevent them from doing this."

And my reaction and revulsion to that was, and is, extremely strong.  So strong that it makes me want to throw up.  

I responded to it.  And then started wondering why racism engenders such strong feelings in me.

I won't lie and say that I'm not racist.  I am - it's an automatic reaction conditioned by my upbringing, era (the 60's), culture and society I was born into.

In other words, if I encounter a person who's skin is a different shade to mine, or who speaks a different language, or comes from a different culture - there is an automatic labelling that comes up as a result of that conditioning.  And I despise it.

I know that those labels aren't true.  They are just phobic markers instilled in me as a result of my society's fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar.  

Perhaps it's a tribal thing - to fear what you don't know - but I don't think it's a useful reaction anymore to encountering other people who are NOT posing a threat. Who just appear to be different.  And it doesn't just extend to race and culture, it is illustrated by class divisions, sectors of society, age differences, sexuality - in fact, any label that tries to define a person can be used against them to de-humanise them.

But, regardless of the reason for any kind of racism or ageism or snobbery, or homophobia, there was still a very strong feeling in reaction to the post.  I questioned this revulsion in me.  And saw that it is, basically, fear.  

Fear due to the extremism of what the illusion of separation does.  It starts with me/you and extends to us/them, by making assumptions and judgements about people based on outward appearances.

The fear feels sickening.  Fear at what happens when the illusion of separation leads people into violence and, ultimately, murder.  Because that is what it leads to.  It starts with words that point out a difference that is seen as being something that isn't 'me' and extends to action to protect 'me' from the fear that there are 'others'.  And then lots of 'me's get together to agree and support each other's words about other 'me's and 'thems' and on it goes from there.  Then the 'us' and the 'them' start to defend their 'us-ness' and 'them-ness' and organise themselves into groups and organisations and society's and policitcal parties and religions and nations and united nations.

And it seems it's the way of the human species - to divide and protect.

All from one silly misconception.  That there is any separation.  That there is a me and a you.  That there is a them and an us.

All violence and killing comes from 'I'm right' and 'You're wrong'.

Needing to control, wanting to assert  authority and dominate - because that notion that there is separation (not differentiation, but separation) fills us with dread and terror.

And me calling out that person on FB following their post, was an assertion by me to show them up to be wrong, to point out their rascism and blanket judgement based on someone's colour.

To me the post demonstrated hate and superiority and ultimately, ignorance.  Literally ignoring people by judging them under a set of criteria.

And yes, I could see that I was judging her too, in the same way that she was judging others, except I had more than appearance to go on, I had her views laid out on the screen.  But I couldn't just ignore what she had said.  I could see the mechanism of how the belief in separation was producing her hatred, superiority and ignorance and led to her posting what she did.  But I couldn't ignore it.  Because it was there, boldly stated and to ignore it felt like being complicit in the belief that she was demonstrating. To ignore it felt like a tacit agreement in her opinions that all black men have big dicks, are stupid, uncaring and expect everyone else to take action to feed their children.

And the revulsion that I felt on reading it, which came from a fear of what happens when people display rascism through their own fear of separation, propelled me to respond and it was a perfect display of how humans feel compelled to assert their opinions and display how 'right' they are.

It demonstrates how humans are wired to protect their views and positions.  Even in the name of defending against racism.

And it was interesting to watch that reaction in me and to see how easy it is to slip into that.

I don't regret responding though.  It won't make any difference to her or me, but it ended up being a useful exercise for me to look at my own pre-conceived notions and conditioning.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Half-Baked - Linda Looked Lucidly

Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 3:32 PM
Subject: Looking

Hi Linda

I'm Elena's friend.

So.  You.  What is it?


Hi Viv—thanks for responding.

After 3-5 days of reading the blogs & looking—feeling like I was looking real HARD to no avail, feeling the solidity of ME—I came to the seeing of ME as a thought form that overlays almost everything in my consciousness.  I am now seeing this ME-thought arise, over & over, sometimes following it for a while, then asking again, “Who?” or “what?”—then feeling a relaxing—there is a feeling of connection to everything, almost emptiness, quieter,  less thick/solid, more here.  Not the big EMPTYNESS I was looking FOR.




The reason that you don't get the big emptiness you were looking for or expecting... is that 'I' has always been a thought.

Nothing actually changes.  It's ALWAYS been a thought.

All that is different is that it is seen AS a thought.

So, when the belief is seen as a belief, what is left?  What is there in place of the assumption?

Which is it?

What is 'Awareness'?

How does noticing happen

Actually the noticing of the I thought feels like I notice & then the question Who comes again…from ME?  I don’t believe that—I have seen that I is a thought—will keep looking

Yeah, keep looking, but don't try to explain and think up concepts. 

Just look at this.  Whatever this is. And see if you can find a 'self/I' anywhere.  Any 'thing' that does whatever is happening.

A cause.

No cause—just thoughts, feelings popping up.  Feels very localized “here” though.

Where do you expect it to feel then?

Over there?

Somewhere else?

Are you expecting some kind of cosmic-merging experience?

Haha—got over the cosmic merging expectation (darn!) in the last few days—just not wanting to be fooling myself—feels like “this” is a point of view (not an opinion about what is viewed)

Yeah, of course it's a point of view.  It's how life lives as you.  Not you living life. 

Feels right—what a relief after the lifetime of striving for self-improvement & control of everything.  For the first few days on these blogs I couldn’t get enough—drawn to read & look, read & look.  That seems to have passed.  Now there is pretty much the same life-stuff w/ more relaxation, more spacious awareness happening.  Now?  Look deeper?  See what unfolds?

So, Linda - what is Self; what is I?

Is there one?

I is the thought of “me” that gets overlaid onto experience: my thoughts, my desires, my feelings, my doings—when really, only thoughts, feelings, doings occur in the flow of life.  No doer, thinker.  “Me” is just a thought.  OK  Last night: insomnia & intense feelings I would label fear (for a good while, 1-2hrs until sleep).  What “I” did was to look at the sensations—heat, contraction, pulsing in body, thoughts of wanting to not feel this, wanting to sleep—ask what was being shown.  I didn’t get any content with the experience as in what belief caused the fear.  There was feeling sensations & thoughts, making up stories to explain, the dropping of stories, over & over.

Is there a you?

What has happened to it?

What is the difference between life lived as a self and life without one?

No me—illusion—it didn’t go anywhere—like bambi’s mother didn’t die, the artist just stopped drawing her—the me thought arises & there is less “drawing” over & over the outline.
Not much difference in life—same thought patterns running, but there doesn’t seem to be as much Velcro—don’t believe them so they can pass by more quickly (sometimes).   Before, there was expectation of less mind chatter-- thought velcroed to the me thought, it seems, like the mystical union expectation—seeming like all expectations & memories are velcroed to the me thought

That's great Linda. You really see this.

Do you have any questions?

Thanks for the time & the pointing.
Has life changed for you?

Haha... that's an interesting question: Has life changed for me?

Yes and no.  (sorry!)

NO: because, life goes on, the shitty, boring, tragic, judgemental, shouty, angry, relaxed, funny stuff.  Shit happens.
YES: because, life goes on.... as above, but the perspective is different, I suppose.  And that's all that is different really.  Life has always been going on, but there was a belief that it was being done to a me,  That there was something at the centre of a life that life was happening to, but now it's just life and that thing that was thought to be there is just a phantom,  it's still there AS a phantom, and it's a pretty amazing phantom (just like all the other phantoms; like that saying "You're unique, just like everyone else"), but it's not central - it never was, it just felt like it.

There are some physical aspects that are different, which may have happened anyway: need much less sleep, have more energy, but I still drink like a fish!

I am less judgemental because things aren't personal, I don't judge people based on my subjective experience.  So I can kind of 'see' people and the mechanism that is at work in them to make them behave the way they do and say the things they do.  So with friends and family, I 'enjoy' them much more.  It doesn't mean that I won't disagree or argue when they are being rascist, whatever, but I don't have to be right and make them see that they are wrong.  In other words there is no-one 'at fault'.  People are the way they are, because that is the way life makes them.  Literally!

Paradoxically, I have much less patience for rudeness and bad manners, I don't like to see people ignoring others and won't play up to it, which has led to me leaving the service industry, because you can't be rude to difficult customers!

I'm generally much happier, even when I'm unhappy... if that makes sense.. and it probably doesn't!

Life is much more 'juicier' even when it's dull and boring.  There's a revelling in the 'dull and boring' too.

I couldn't find the meaning to living before, now I see there is no meaning to life other than life itself.

I don't take life seriously anymore, even when it appears to be very serious.

I'm not looking for anything anymore - and that's a relief.  There is literally, only this, so what more could there possibly be?

There is an underlying 'feeling' (although that's not the right word) of peace and joy (and they're not the right words).

It's amazing to BE alive.  To be, literally, aliveness.

And all these words don't explain it, at all.  Thank fuck.  It's not something that can be pinned down in an explanation.

How do you feel?

Hi Viv—I’m back at home & just reread your email—a lovely expression of “something”.  Or some “no-thing”.

I find there is this flip-flop from something like “open awareness”, being aware of whatever is in front of me, to involvement in the me-story, then a dropping back into recognizing me-as-illusion—over & over.  It’s interesting to watch the arising of the me-thought, see the attaching, then the detaching—but usually it happens too quickly for that—or my awareness isn’t focused there.  Still have the “I want to throttle me mother” stuff come up, but it doesn’t last very long (she’s doing well, BTW, thanks for asking).  Some nights I feel so much energy/love flowing thru body that I don’t fall asleep easily—this isn’t new—easier to watch that process—until I suddenly get up & take Benadryl.   I haven’t noticed needing less sleep.  Life is feeling more spacious, less driven.  Been listening to old Tolle CDs—they come in at a much different level (wrong words)—very drawn to this.

For years I have done spiritual healing .  I offered this approach to a client (face to face) last week—pulling out the root by looking to see if there actually is a separate me, rather than looking at old beliefs w/in me-story—(I sent her the blog sites, but don’t think she used them).  Got kinda bogged down, pulled into the intellectual level—me wanting her to see it.  I can see the advantage of the email approach & working with strangers.  I see how easy it is to think this stuff rather than see it—in fact I couldn’t distinguish the 2 until I could.  Pointers here?

On we go…..juicy, it is.

Love, Linda

Hi Linda

Glad to hear that your mum is doing well.

Re: the face the face thing, I've never tried directly, although I've started with the 'thoughts are just thoughts' thing with my brother. From what I've gathered with others it's very difficult mainly because people get intimidated/awkward/angry.  But you never know, if you're already in a client/healer situation, it might be a more effective set-up, but you'd probably have to assess whether they were open to looking  - some people just want a happier self!

A couple of questoins, Linda, if you don't mind:

1) What was it specifically that sparked the seeing, if there was something?
2) Is this something that you would want to get involved in i.e. pointing to others, either via email or on the Arena?  There is a facebook group, if you're on facebook that offers general support and a 'place' for people who have seen through the illusion to 'commune'.

Hmmm—what sparked the shift?  For a few days before we spoke I felt like I/me was slamming up against a wall over & over—concepts, identity—not sure what shifted to allow the concept of “me is only a thought” to the seeing of that—it just happened along w/ the struggle. And then I was still confused because I expected a MUCH bigger shift.   The most helpful thing you wrote was:
“The reason that you don't get the big emptiness you were looking for or expecting... is that 'I' has always been a thought. Nothing actually changes.  It's ALWAYS been a thought. All that is different is that it is seen AS a thought.”
I’d love to be involved with others who have seen thru & others who are wanting that—and my computer skills are minimal—“62 yr old pencil lover”, how’s that for an identity??.  I’ve never gotten on facebook (might be able to learn a new trick). I like the email format we used—leery of arena.  Where/how to start?  Any way besides facebook?  I can feel the pull to this involvement…If facebook is easiest, I’ll give it a go.  The friend who pointed me to the blogs in the first place mentioned working in tandem—which feels much better that doing it solo at first.

Hey, Linda

Thanks for that.

Firstly - there are several groups on facebook, so if you want to give it a go and register, my facebook name is (unsurprisingly!) viv westbrook, from there I can link you in to others and the groups.  But it's entirely up to you.

Secondly - who was the friend who pointed you to the blogs?

Thirdly - email is a good way to work (as you've seen!) but you need a way to get people to interact with you.  A blog is a good way to do that, if you can get on the blogroll or get a good readership.  That's why facebook is such a good method to use as you can quickly build a list of friends (they don't have to be 'real-life' friends and you can keep it separate from your everyday life if you want/need to).  It also gives you access to lots of different groups of people who are seeking - so you can post and invite people to contact you. A good first step is to join FB and then get added to the Nexus group which people join to both be 'pointed and to do the pointing.

But either way you decide - just go with what feels best for you and take it from there.

Fourthly - would you mind if I posted our conversation either to the Liberators group on Facebook or my blog?  Because as you've seen, making conversations like this accessible to other people can be helpful. But I perfectly understand if you'd rather not.  The important thing is that the seeking is over for you and you see it!

Hi.  Elizabeth Dunn pointed me to the blogs.  Sure, post our conversation.  I’ll find you on facebook when I get there.
Thanks for your help.  I may be checking in again—you never know.
Love, Linda