Understand that this is not a prescription. And no moment of realization is ever the same for anyone, so don't look to "how it happened" as an event to be expected or grasped. The clues here are in the complete surrender of the intellectual grasping at no self. It's that relaxing of what had been an entirely intellectual pursuit that lead me to begin a very clear and direct examination of experience.
But how to get outside the intellect? How do I "look" if not with the mind? Where are all of the pointers pointing to?
They are pointing you into looking for cracks in the flow of thought. It's there.
Email sent 04/14/2012
I know I've told you about my final "moment of seeing" (there were several glimpses beforehand). Well, I'm not sure I told you about the part where something surrenders, and what is surrendered is the notion that the world has to be a certain way or another. So, let me see whether I can describe what happened again, but include the part about surrender.
I was sitting at my computer after a few weeks of reading just about every thread on Ruthless Truth, and also no-self.com. But it was RT that explained it most clearly and in the end I found that the best directive which can be given is,
You may not see that right now, but looking back, it is obvious that this is the clearest pointer... The question comes, "how do I look?" And just before realization, I just happened to come across a thread which explained it something like this:
All you are doing is checking to see whether the thing exists. That's it. If you were going to check to see whether the thing in front of your face right now was actually there, you'd probably reach out to touch it. The check is really that simple.
Now, do the same to check for a self.
I initially read that and took it in, but what I didn't understand was that I wasn't TAKING IT IN. I wasn't believing in the method, or that it was really that simple, or that it could be done that quickly.
So, I went along on my way and read other threads and books thinking that the answer would be buried in a single sentence somewhere. All this did was lead to frustration because every time I'd go back to RT, there was someone saying, "Just F'ing LOOK!" I mean, they were SCREAMING it. The biggest and most important question that came up was, "Why?" "Why are they so sure, why are they saying it's so simple, and why do they keep repeating... ALL OF THEM... they all say the same exact thing?!!!" And I'd also come across something like this within the threads:
There is no you.
There never has been a You.
There is seeing but no seer.
There is hearing but no hearer.
There are thoughts but no thinker.
I'd stare at that for long stretches, trying to Understand it. I couldn't. But something about it nearly vibrated with a truth I couldn't pinpoint. No matter how many times I read it, though, it seemed to touch something "I" couldn't touch.
Back to Ruthless Truth... Ok, now I was frustrated. I'd been spending nearly every waking moment in looking. I looked at everything, I read everything, I listened to podcasts and watched videos and fell asleep each night to podcasts playing in my ears. Why couldn't "I" get this? In complete frustration, I read yet another RT thread and that's when a thought popped.
What if it was exactly, I mean EXACTLY as plain and simple as they're saying?
So, I tried it. I just looked for the self, checked for it as simply as I would check for the monitor in front of me. That's when it hit.
Why do all of the teachings call it simple? Because it is.
Why do so many say it's beyond the mind? Because the mind actually tries to complicate it.
Why did those at Ruthless Truth say it takes all of 3 seconds? Because that's how long a check takes.
In front of what I thought were "my eyes" there was a monitor. There was a keyboard. I kept checking reality... computer speakers, a mug.. ok... thoughts pop in: "keep it simple. SIMPLE. Just f'ing look." Still looking, I saw dust floating in the air, caught in a stream of sunlight. Right then and there it became obvious. I could see each speck of dust more easily than I could see a self. As a matter of fact, there was no trace of a self "in front" of the dust. There was seeing the dust, but nothing there seeing it, just seeing! Further, there was no filmy gauze, no ghostly thing in the shape of "me", no color, no texture, nothing standing as an intermediary between seer and seen. Then I listened, and checked. No intermediary there either. And if the self wasn't right there, where in the hell could it be?
*cue choir singing*
I continued and checked memory, checked all of "my" history. There had never, ever been a shred of evidence of anything filtering hearing, seeing, touching, tasting. There was nothing controlling or directing any of that. In order to engage the world through the senses, nothing was needed but the body and brain. And the body didn't need a self either. The heart beat, the breath moved in and out, walking happened, reaching for a beverage... everything. It was all automatic, including the uncontrolled thoughts which popped into "my head". Decisions had been made, thinking had happened, preferences seemed to be there... but there was no evidence that a self had done any of it.
The complete absence of a self was seen to be true as far back as memory went. Even when I could come up with times I thought I'd been there directing things... a decision to go to college, or to buy a car, or even a house... the final decision popped into being, and only later did a thought or assumption claiming ownership of it come up.
Worse, the "self" thoughts popped up on their own too. There was no one controlling THOSE either!
The self was a complete farce. And it really did take only 3 seconds to see that.
As for surrender, I'm not sure you can tell, but it came in the moment before the "just looking". It happened when the frustration level got so high that "I" stopped trying to figure it out, and abandoned intellect for just one moment, long enough to follow the simplest directive. Once that surrender of intellect happened, "I" was free to explore looking clearly. In that single moment when the thinking mind was suspended, a crack opened, and the truth was seen.
Of course the sense of self came back. It continues to. But it has no hold. That surrender and check proves the reality every single time. There is simply nothing there.
In essence, it's a stepping back. That's why the question "What or who is seeing?" is often asked. Step back from the assumption that a self is there, and what is the truth of what is plainly missing. It's missing from EVERYWHERE and EVERYWHEN "you" look.
It's missing right now.