Note: the blue italics indicate the teacher, in black others participants.

Dialogues with Jeff Wises (1999)

How well did this process work for your past workshop participants? Have many people reached the state that they wanted to realize, or does it take a long time of practicing to do that?

Contacting the Original Belief in oneself is a beginning. What happens after this event is very different for everyone. As to my observations, some continue this work on themselves more seriously, some less and others postpone. It all depends on how deep the priority for awakening is. I’m much into letting everyone take his/her responsibilities; many of those who did the training with me I haven’t seen anymore since. Some have recontacted me after some years, some continue work with me on a more private and friendship basis.

Something that has interested me since I first read about it: deep trance identification. It is a hypnotic process where one is regressed back before the formation of identity. Then the instructions are to awaken as someone else. The more you know about the other person, the more completely you can “become them.” If it is done to the max, the person does not realize that they are someone else. I was wondering if pre-sensory perception could be realized through identifying with someone who already lives it. What do you think about it?

In deep trance identification you temporarily identify with someone else. I don’t think that you really regress back before you formed your identity. Your identity mechanisms are just temporarily suspended: you are dissociated from your own identity, but it’s still there. When you do this with someone who has gone beyond identity, most probably you will be able to take-on his way of functioning. But if you still have your identity, you won’t be able to recognize the nothingness which is the center of someone who’s personal evolution has come to an end. Pre-sensory perception cannot be modeled – you may re-discover it within yourself only.

Concerning the different ways so-called liberated people talk about the subject: if there is no-one holding any beliefs about anything how could they have different ideas about anything?

We cannot know if someone else lives realization, we can only know for ourselves. As there is no more holding any beliefs, all the different ideas about anything become possible. Every person who lives it and tries to put into words what cannot be formulated lives in a unique way a different aspect of the same thing (I’ve called this “the Essential Value”). It may sound like a belief for someone who reads or hears it, but it is not a belief of the one who speaks. Maybe you try to find out what these different persons, who claim to live the ultimate reality, have in common.

Does your internal experience have submodalities that you could describe? What is it like?

Liberation does not on the level where one experiences life. It does not have any submodalities. It is not an experience or a special inner state. As I’m into NLP, I’ve called it pre-sensory perception. It’s “beyond”; and the origin of vakog and submodalities. On the level of vakog-experience, the “non-event” of liberation doesn’t change anything. You are not what you experience. My overall “background perception” could be called void or nothingness (this should be taken literally) or pre-sensory perception. That’s where everybody is centered (although most people define themselves by what they experience), and then only (as a natural extension) there is the experience of submodalities and all the other stuff like strategies, values, beliefs and so on.

Instead of trying to go somewhere else inside myself when I feel some discomfort arise, I have been working looking at where inside of me did it came from. It’s kind of like thinking in reverse. It’s not that it is an effort to do, it’s a non-effort. But the difficulty is in being honest with myself with what I am feeling.

Yes, being sincere to oneself is most important. One may tell others what one likes, one should never lie to oneself. But this is not at all easy and it has to be trained again and again. The temptation of lying to oneself is always there. The more you are honest to yourself, the more you suffer from not being liberated. And the more you get into contact with this kind of suffering, the bigger the chance to wake up.

It is important to have a healthy identity to be able to let go of the identity, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a healthy identity.

It seems to me that your identity has come to a certain point of maturity. That’s the criteria, not healthy.

NLP is results oriented. With this inner work, results/achievements are not what I’m looking for. I can still produce results in my external environment while in my inner world I’m not focused on achieving?

When identity goes bankrupt, there’s nothing to achieve anymore. The ultimate “result” of a human life is liberation. Then you’re free. And depending on circumstances, you may use NLP or not to produce results in external environment. There is no reason not to use NLP.

I have been talking with my girlfriend about this and she wonders if a relationship can survive the uncovering of the original belief. Is that your experience?

There are some friends of mine who have “worked” with me for quite some years, and their spouses are not at all concerned by existential matters. In this respect, whatever the outer circumstances are doesn’t matter at all. The intimacy of a relationship can never be as intimate as the uncovering of reality. The thing is that most relationships are based on the fundamental error that the other should “fill in” for what one has to do on one’s own. The one who is longing for liberation has to understand that liberation is a personal issue – relationship or not. So, whatever the situation is, if you are in a relationship with someone or not, makes no difference.

Does evolution happens in stages? I don’t mean successive steps, more like certain things have to be dealt with before other things.

That’s usually part of the path, but I don’t think there are steps that can be generalized for everyone. Liberation is more a digital process rather than an analogue one. Usually, a real seeker is pushed from time to time into what we could call “reality”. The thing is to stabilize this so that realization becomes permanent.

Maybe I can’t establish myself into nothingness until some issues are cleared up.

To clear certain things up in oneself can be useful. But it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to know for oneself which are those things to be cleared up. Note that for stabilizing you have to go for complete personal bankrupt.

I would like to come back to what happened to me in the fountain (see text: To step into the other ones mocassins ); at that moment a few things were more than obvious:
1. This is how things always are and always were.
2. I couldn’t have done this on my own, I needed an extra push.
3. Most of all: NOTHING MATTERS

Yes, that’s it! It definitely shows that you’ve had a deep insight.

If I did not experience that for myself I would think that is a bunch of crap. Anyway, the funny thing is that as a kind of after note I noticed a feeling that kind of said oh wait, you missed this. But that feeling was in the background and dissolved as soon as it arose. I wonder now if perhaps I skipped over some “stages”

No, you didn’t miss anything. And I bet it was a thought rather than a feeling. Mind is so cunning, but it’s ALWAYS “just a thought”. So, never believe these feeling-thoughts. They will never disappear, though. The trick is not to believe them, not to maintain them. Let go of them as soon as possible when they pop up.

How does one get rid of all these beliefs? They are so convincing that it seems to almost take some grace to recognize some of them when I do see them.

Right. It needs skill and awareness to recognize one’s beliefs. Once recognized, one can let go of it. It has to be done each time when a belief comes up. It cannot be done once forever. And one has to become habituated to the void that emerges when there’s absence of belief. A very strange “state of being” in the beginning. Beliefs also are: interpretations, opinions etc. You may re-read the passages on beliefs exposed in my book, especially the last chapter. Also, you may start right now to state what you perceive. Just state: I see the words I am reading, I hear what I hear, I feel what I feel. No interpreting at all, just statements. That’s part of no-belief-perception. Learn to remain with statements whenever that’s possible. In fact, there’s never anything else in direct perception. Beliefs corrupt the perception of the “now”, they are always future or past orientated. Once you know how to recognize a belief, you can simply throw it away. Like garbage. When you do this quite often you’ll become skilled. The gap between the cat’s mouth and the cat’s tail is the no-belief-void.

The fewer beliefs one had, the deeper one could go into oneself. Is that accurate?

Not really. To me, there is no deeper. It’s a digital phenomenon. Either there is a belief or there isn’t. Beliefs never cease to pop up. The thing is to recognize them instantly when they pop up and to kill them the very moment.

I am worried that I might lose my composure if I let all of my negative emotions arise. Any suggestions?

The overall attitude here is to not suppress AND AT THE SAME TIME not to express unpleasant feelings when they arise. When there’s something or someone which/who evokes these feelings in you, then it’s your job to accept the suffering of it (makes you feel the suffering of your original belief separation). Trying not to put the blame on circumstances or others who “push the button”. Very difficult but indispensable.

Sometimes, I felt a lot of emotional pain, but it wasn’t that bad because the pain didn’t hurt. It was just a feeling. What do I do when that happens again?

Just let it happen when it happens again. This may happen whenever there is a particular awareness/alertness. “The pain didn’t hurt” sounds good. The pain of not being one is a very special one and not comparable with known pains. It cannot be re-presented, thus it cannot be put into words; also it’s not possible to retrieve it or to anchor it, as it’s always (in the) present. Being able to “feel” it needs a very special kind of awareness. The more you “accumulate” this very awareness the more you prepare the events which eventually will make “not-you” able to live oneness permanently. One of the conditions to live it permanently is to have this special kind of (non-judging) awareness permanently.

Taking full responsibility for one’s unhappiness has to be the highest form of maturity in humans.

Right. Very difficult. Humiliating. Supposed to bring up authentic humbleness.

When it comes to experiencing pain, am I correct in saying that all pain we experience is pain stemming from the original belief. Even a mild annoyance could be traced back to pain of separation?

Yes, unless it’s 100% physical. All that we call “personal psychology” is a myth based on beliefs. Our beliefs create our and the other’s psychological existence. And as long as there are beliefs, judgments etc. There are conflicts which produce pain. Let’s take “mild annoyance”. What happens? There is a judgment on the situation, the situation is (unconsciously) compared to another one which is not annoying (conflict). And then there is a small pain. The pain is not due to the situation, it is due to the creation of a preference in ourselves. Every preference creates separation (unless it’s on a purely functional level) as it separates you from the direct perception of the situation AS IT IS. Without judging, preferring, without beliefs, the overall perception is: every situation (or context) is as it is. Whatever the situation (context) is.

Could you explain what you meant a little more when you last wrote: “the more you “accumulate” this very awareness the more you prepare for the events which eventually will make “not-you” able to live oneness permanently.” Does that mean I am organizing future events right now?

No, it cannot be done with a future outcome in mind. Every time this special awareness arises in yourself, you’re completely present. When you’re completely present, then future/past does not exist anymore. The more often you are completely absorbed by this presence, the more you create a certain substance in yourself which one day, with a bit of luck (some call it grace) might create “special events” that – again with a bit of chance – might make it that – again with a bit of chance – you might permanently live this. We should do everything we can to get there, but not all is in our control.

The kind of awareness we’ve been talking about suddenly disappeared. I am not upset by this, it is curious that it comes and goes. Is this the Luck Factor that you mention every so often?

Yes, partly luck and partly it’s part of the normal process of “correct” evolution (the shift from identity to gap). If the gap would be there all the time, would you still be able to «function» normally in every-day-life? Probably not. That’s why it’s good that it comes and goes. No need to hurry. This allows you to become, by and by, familiar with «functioning out of the gap». Then it’s no longer your identity that is the center of your actions, but the gap which gives birth at every moment to what you think or do.

Does anything upset you?

Yes, of course. Can you laugh about it when someone else is upset? If yes, why not do it when it’s you? If no, give it a try.

Do you ever want something and not get it and wish things went differently?

All the time. Fortunately I’ve learned not to believe anymore (in) the bla bla bla gibberish comments of my internal dialogue.

Since what I am wanting is beyond normal brain operations, most anything I do within that framework won’t be able to touch it?

We have to start within that framework to go beyond it.

You wrote: «My overall background ‘perception’ is void or nothingness». Then I would think that my overall background is my beliefs. Is that correct?

Yes, the habitual overall background is what I call «the original belief». It means that one believes in beliefs and that we believe that our perceptions are reality.

I know that I ask a lot of questions. Knowing about «it», does that help?

«Right» thinking is helpful. Working with an adequate model and with someone who claims to «know» is the best help. Note that what I propose is a model. Do not believe in the existence of the «original belief», rather do as if it existed. Doing as if is very helpful in getting rid of beliefs. Doing as if (instead of believing that) money exists. Doing as if I exist. Doing as if my mother exists. Doing as if what I perceive is reality. And so on.

I noticed that I had a much better understanding about certain things.

It is important to keep two things in one’s heart:
1. Real understanding always leads to more humility;
2. It helps you to endure the suffering of separation, of not being liberated; it gives you the strength to face, to feel, to be that suffering.
The greatest challenge in life is… to be nothing. A most horrible vision from the point of view of identity. When I use the word ‘nothingness’, it’s not an intellectual concept. To be able to live it, we have to learn to not repress it. And at the same time we are to continue our family and business lives in a conscientious way.

In your book you talk about the faculty of anticipation. Could you give me an example of what you mean?

When there are no beliefs, there are no belief-filters. The incoming perceptions are then treated by the essential value only (and not by pre-conceived ideas). The faculty of anticipation means to be able to treat all information in a way that corresponds to the evolution and expression of your essential value. The faculty of anticipation is more like «knowing» what (not) to do at a given moment, and not «knowing» how things will evolve.

When I experience non-I, where was “I” before that? Meaning, if what is being described as «I» is coming back into my body, where was this “I” before that?

It’s the same as if you asked me: “Hey W., last night at 10.05 p.m. I thought of a crocodile for 5 seconds. Where was the crocodile before and where is it since?” “I” is an invention of the mind.

So that means that what I call “I” is only there because I think it is there. But you still have thoughts. Who is the operating spirit behind all thoughts and actions?

The words that can indicate it are «nothingness» or «void» and produce the thoughts that arise and the actions that are accomplished. The void has «produced» your essential value, the highest value in the hierarchy of all your values. The essential value filters your thoughts and determines your actions. All expressions of the essential value are accompanied by a (child-like) joy of playing. My essential value writes what I write.

‘No “I”’ is something that hasn’t any meaning for me.

Right, it hasn’t. Life simply IS (neither meaningless nor meaningful when the «I» has disappeared).

Ultimately, I don’t know what I am. I don’t see how anyone could ever truly know what they are. No answer fits. There is no-thing that I could say that I am.

Right. A «no-person».

Do you lose yourself in the movie? Can you still go into a trance?

Deep trance is nothing but a specific way of processing inner states and internal processes. Pre-sensory perception is not a state. It’s always present, completely independent of whatsoever inner state or outer circumstances. Even in deep trance this special kind of awareness (that arises when the separating «I» is no more) is present.

Does anything make you sad?

Like every human being I do experience the inner states that humans beings can live, also sadness. Whatever inner state is there, the first thing that happens is that I accept it. I know that it (like all) is temporary when I experience it; and when it’s an unpleasant one, I do not suffer from it being unpleasant. When the «I» is no more, the center of one’s life is not the (ever changing) inner states, but that which never changes: nothingness.

Is it also possible to say that this «void» is actually something?

No. You’re trying to make something out of nothing. It’s really «NOTHINGNESS». It is something that thought cannot grasp. Thought cannot know it. Neither thought nor anything else can know it. So to thought, as to anything else, this unthinkable no-thing is really nothing. Thought, mind, vakog etc. cannot represent nothingness. All these functions are meant to act in what I call the functional part of life.

All of your actions are not of your own volition? It (it being nothing) acts on its own behalf and your behavior is a result of that. All actions that happen through you are a surprise. At the same time, there is no-one to be surprised by them. So are you on autopilot all the time? Like being in the «flow» permanently?

Yes, surprise, astonishment are good words to describe this. There is a filtering by the essential value, and I have the obligation (which I could refuse) to act according to it. Being in the «flow»? Yes, there’s something like an invisible thread that seems to be flowing through time. It does not mean that events are predictable.

About the pain of the original belief, you said that it is part of the process to become the pain.

Yes, it is necessary to learn how not to avoid feeling it when it comes up. Usually these are the difficult situations in life. The ones that make you feel miserable. What is so bad in feeling miserable when you’ve learned how not to suffer anymore from it?

I didn’t understand this very much. Do you mean that one has to realize that we are in fact equal to the pain?

No, that would be a bit too much.

We realize that we can «take it».

Yes.

To see through the ego’s game of inadequacy. To realize that we can take the pain. To realize that inadequacy is not my true nature. Maybe a fear that keeps the ego in place is to believe that one couldn’t handle the pain.

Right.

There are brief moments when I think that I am touching the surface of the original belief. I see that all my activity was to keep blinkers on so that I didn’t touch the pain of original belief. It doesn’t feel very nice and I can notice some fear in the background as well. In a very ironic way, there is also a relaxed feel.It takes attention to stay with this feeling.

Yes, very good insight. This particular kind of attention is a very important feature. Whenever it’s there, try to stay with it. It’s one of the no-mind tools that I once mentioned. Gurdjieff called it self-remembering.

I don’t know if I could function in the world at the same time that I went deeper into this pain.

Although it’s unbelievable and even sometimes seems miraculous, one can function in a world without belief. The new perception is that there is no longer the feeling of certainty that one will still be able to function the next moment. Even more: you have to continue to stay in the functional environment to be able to live this. The idea to take a year off and to let go all of it is an erroneous idea. The tension to oblige oneself to reconcile with what seems to be unreconcilable is quite helpful in this process.

It’s true that sometimes I get an urge to leave everything and do this work on myself until it is done.

That would not be helpful.

And if I wasn’t able to know who I was, how would things get done?

You will never get an answer to that question unless you’re in the very situation. Impossible to be sure beforehand if you’ll be able to get things done. Be prepared to take this risk. From my experience I can tell you that most of the things that I have to do are done, but I do not know how I manage until I do it. The breakdown of my identity was a process which lasted for three years. I remember one day I was at home, and I planned to take the car to go somewhere. Then suddenly I thought: how to manage to drive my car? No way to know beforehand. Also a slight fear that I might have completely forgotten how to drive a car. So I went down and got into my car, but I did not know if I was still capable to drive until I started it and found out that it’s still possible. Then I learned by and by how to stay with this not-knowing. That’s why I could never say something like: I know that I can get my things done. No. I do not know if I’ll get my things done. But by and by one becomes accustomed to this not-knowing-insecurity. And most of the things are done. I do not have the impression anymore that it’s me who does it, but empirically most of the things are done as if «me» would still be there.

In a way I feel that everything that is my life is false.

You’re in contact with your original belief. It’s very difficult and sometimes unbearable to see oneself “objectively.”

I used the «let the moment figure itself out» strategy today at work. It was simply waiting. Waiting. Almost with no intent. And while I’m waiting, everything goes on anyway. It was kind of light and I never got “stressed out.”

Sounds great. It’s new every time, so you’re right, there’s no strategy. There’s openness, readiness, a vacancy that is open to the next moment. That’s all. Waiting without intent, as you said. And even if there were stress or heaviness, just don’t care. It’s not important anyway. As you are not the internal states your machine produces, you can take the next step now: whatever inner state is present, it doesn’t matter. Focus more and more on what is (present) without interpreting, independently of pleasant or unpleasant internal states. To call a state pleasant or unpleasant is already a judgment.

I am still not clear on the essential value. You told me that planning a vocation wasn’t the most intelligent thing to do. Rather, let it emerge. Can you give me an example? Are you saying there is a purpose to life on the personal level?

Right, there is an intrinsic personal purpose to each individual life. But the way capitalistic society structures human life, it’s very difficult these days to be in contact with what could be called one’s vocation. Ideally, the parents or teachers are supposed to help the young people to find their way for the expression of their noblest values. But “self interest” and the run after “false securities”, especially money and power and glory, have made it during the last 150 years that this “knowledge” has fallen into the abyss of forgetfulness. So, nearly everyone has to fight for him/herself to find his/her destiny by him/herself. This cannot be done with fixing an objective. It needs great sincerity towards oneself and the “knowhow” to uncover it inside.

There is no need to become enlightened to live your vocation.

You’re right, it’s not an ideal to mold into; it’s a kind of insight of who one is. It is the most subtle and most pleasant feeling to feel one’s vocation. This feeling is not contextualized, but it is like an invisible inner guide. When in contact with it, by and by, you will make the right decisions so that your talents will unfold more and more in actual life.

About negative emotions or thoughts: Most of the time I try to “feel good” as a way to stay centered and focused. The suffering that is the worst for me is to be totally lost, confused and in the dark. Like being in a pitch black snake pit with my leg caught in a bear trap. It is comforting to be able to rest in feeling “okay” while I collect myself and gather resources. What do you think of this?

Maybe it’s a good intermediary tool to keep functional. But basically all feelings are the same and all are hormonal and there is, ultimately, no way to avoid the confusion. This very confusion is necessary to stand up to for the one who longs for coming home. When lived from nothingness, all that remains in life is expressing essential value and organizing functional life. On this level, internal dialogue and thinking are meant to function in life situations.

If there is no overall purpose or meaning to one’s life, what does it matter how one functions? It doesn’t matter if there is no overall purpose. Why not be lazy?

That would be true if there were no essential value. By the way, most spiritual teachings omit to clarify this.

So life happens both in and out of time? So is there such thing as time?

Yes on the functional level, no on the existential level.

***

Do you believe that you will live liberation (before you die)?

I want to believe it. But there is also doubt. There are no guarantees, and complete self-realization seems to be a rare occurrence.

If there is a belief like: “it’s for someone else but not for me,” it might be useful to get rid of it. What would that change for you if you did?

It would greatly energize the process of awakening.

I presume you worked on belief systems. What I suggest is that you regularly work on diminishing the doubt. Work on this with the presupposition that when liberated neither the regular outer life circumstances nor your way of dealing with them will be modified. From what you describe it is possible that several years ago you’ve had a deep insight into “reality.” Let’s presume that it has been an authentic insight, what does this mean to you today?

That it was authentic and that it was real — of this I have no doubt at all. What does it mean to me? That THAT is available to me and possible. I have wondered whether NLP could help me return to it. The fact that it happened to me twice — under very different circumstances — suggests to me that a neurological pathway to it already exists.

Now, here’s something important that needs to be clarified. You say: “I have wondered whether NLP could help me return to it.” I presume that you suppose that there is a way back to it, with or without NLP. And “that a neurological pathway to it already exists.” I tell you what I would tell to a student who follows my teaching: There are no neurological pathways to be created to achieve a breakthrough or liberation. It’s a quantum leap into nothingness, your very nature. It’s beyond bliss and experience. It’s beyond memory. It cannot be re-lived or re-accessed. Breakthroughs are not liberating experiences. They just indicate that there’s something else. In that way they are on the same level as LSD or mescaline. What I suggest is to not think of it at all any more. If it was a real one, you wouldn’t be able to remember it anyway, as nothingness leaves no traces in memory. Do as if you’ve never lived it. There is nothing in it that could be exploited. Taking this as a reference experience is the opposite of helpful.

On a recent trip, I let myself be drawn into old patterns of limiting emotion and behavior came to the surface — insecurities, anxieties. My impression is that your method is to go into these feelings…?

No, I do not use these feelings. They are completely useless. With NLP one can learn to dis-associate from these feelings. This is indispensable to go for the original belief. Fears and anxieties of all kinds are an obstacle: a resistance mechanism to escape the pain of separation. How do you deal with negative emotions in general?

When negative emotions are intense, I just suffer them — I get caught up in internal, largely unconscious dialogues involving intense self-criticism. In social situations, conventional rules of sociality prevent me from really tuning in to what is going on inside me. Fantasies about other people’s perceptions of me occlude my own clear perception of the situation and of my own and others’ behavior. I’m like someone in a boat on a river with strong and unpredictable currents, just trying to steer clear of the more dangerous rocks from moment to moment.

Okay. What I suggest is that you read Ouspensky’s “In search of the miraculous”, and especially the parts on internal and external considering.

When negative emotions are less intense I notice when I’m getting tense or anxious about something, or angry, I also perceive the physical tensions and it acts like an anchor to simple awareness. I notice the tension, the emotion, the thought, and notice also that I am not that — noticing also that the emotion, the thought, etc. change and move and eventually disappear or turn into something else. But the main focus becomes not the emotion, but the awareness. To be aware and awake, and to stay with that.

Good. I also suggest that you read all that concerns «self-remembering» in the above cited book. It’s important to know that liberation is on another logical level than bliss.

In what sense is it another “logical” level?

Bliss is not liberation. The explosions in the car’s engine are not the car. When you’re liberated, you will not be in this bliss all the time. It pops up from time to time, not caused by anything. The overall perception is nothingness (compared to “somethingness” which is favored by identity).

I just re-read those parts in Ouspensky’s book concerning “internal considering”: it’s helpful to be reminded of this. I should add that this kind of “internal considering” is something I’ve been doing considerably less of than I used to.

The point is not to do it less but to completely stop letting it happen. I suggest that you practice (whenever internal considering comes up) mentally external considering (which is in a way anticipating non-separation) instead of internal considering. Do as if everyone who comes up in your mind is a friendly stranger who does not judge you.

About self-remembering, you said that it is more emotional than mental. How can I tell if I am doing it correctly?

I’d rather say that self-remembering tends to retrieve a very subtle, not really seizable kind of refined emotional awareness.

How do you know when it is there?

To “know” it is hardly possible. It cannot be “known” by mind and it probably needs someone who “knows” to tell you: “You’re ‘into it’ right now.”

And how do you get it back when you forget yourself?

Remembering. A bit the same thing you do when you’ve forgotten where you’ve put your keys.

You asked for my definition of “uptime.” I realize I am not using the term exactly the way it’s defined in NLP. I mean simply the state of being alert and attentive to what is going on. Essentially what Krishnamurti calls “choiceless awareness.”

For how long does this state last (average)?

I sustain it on the average for anywhere between ten minutes and an hour. On rarer occasions, I keep it up for longer. I’ve also had the experience of sustained awareness training — a ten-day retreat with a Vipassana teacher (he called it “bare attention”). I’ve recently found that the “two-way attention” proposed by Douglas Harding greatly deepens this process.

Good. Who or what triggers it?

Almost anything: a sensory impression, a sensation, an emotion. Often negative feelings awaken the need for it, as a kind of restorative.

What makes it disappear?

Without conscious intention (dedication), any distraction, like getting absorbed in a fantasy, makes it disappear.

Do you mean you start forgetting when you start believing in the existence of representations?

What do you mean by “representations”?

It’s the English expression of what in eastern language is called “maya”.

Yes. I start believing that what I imagine is really the case.

Vigilance is part of self-remembering. It takes vigilance to become aware of the moments when the “machine” starts believing in representations (taking maya as real). Then, instantaneously, another mental gesture has to be actioned: rejecting the belief-representation and moving the attention to what is perceptible in the very moment (vakog external). “Stopping the world” in Castaneda’s terms. When you’re in “choiceless awareness” mode, how do you know that it’s choiceless?

Because I’m not picking and choosing, I’m not evaluating what I see (hear, feel, taste), I just notice what’s going on, inside and outside. At times, when the awareness is very still and clear, there is an intuition of there being no observer: everything just is. This kind of awareness is still very elusive: I get excited about it, want to claim it, make something of it, etc., which of course disturbs it.

Yes, of course. It always remains very elusive. There is no way of making it less elusive – this would make it vanish. Enhancing vigilance and self-remembering is the only way to keep alive this elusiveness.

How can I remember more often, more constantly?

One of the best things to do is to wake up twice in the morning: first the regular awakening, and then right away to self-remembering (s.r.) and going to sleep in s.r. Also, it is helpful to recall the major activities of the day in a chronological order before falling asleep. To remember more constantly, you have to check (scan) as often as you can weather you are in s.r. or not. If you are, then try to stay with it and if you’re not, try to get back to it. Also, try to find out (not every time, but once in a while) what exactly has made it that you have forgotten yourself in this particular situation.

You have said there can be no anchors for self-remembering. However, it is possible to create anchors for uptime- awareness. Would it be advantageous to do that, as an aid to self-remembering?

It depends. Once you really «know» (non intellectually and non emotionally) the difference between self-remembering and uptime, which also means that you are able to “know” what is s.r., you do not need anymore anchoring uptime. S.r. is on a higher logical level than uptime (it’s got the non separating perception in it and uses energies from the higher emotional center; it needs much more vigilance). Once you know s.r. you can drop the uptime exercise. As s.r. is a non-definable awareness (it can never be entirely grasped) usually one has to have a teacher who “shows” you what s.r. is and what it is not.

I think I do have a sense of it. Some of Douglas Harding’s “experiments” help me to enter it. Do you think that is possible?

As far as I know these exercises (I did some of them in a workshop with D.H. quite some years ago), are helpful but not sufficient to enter s.r. When you do them, do they put you in a special state of awareness? A state that is different from all the “regular” internal states? If yes, then it’s not s.r.

Two things are possible: either D.H.’s experiments are “objectively” not sufficient to enter s.r., or at the time you did them in the workshop with D.H., they just didn’t “click” for you.

I knew already what s.r. was when I did the workshop with him. In my humble opinion, the overall methodology of his teaching is not sufficient for people who long to wake up. This does not mean that it is not helpful and useful to do what he suggests to do. The exercises definitely point to one’s nature: nothingness.

In my own experience, the experiments add nothing to my regular internal states, but they introduce a shift of attention to the source of awareness, and a perception (or intuition?) of the emptiness, the no-thing-ness *here* (pointing at myself). It’s literally a two-way attention, looking out and in at the same time. I find that the question “who?” — who is seeing this, to whom are these thoughts occurring, etc.– helps.

Yes, I remember that it did the same to me.

There is one difference, very subtle: a sense of ease, of no-problem, in the awareness, even when there is tension in the body and in the emotions. Though I find that strong emotional movements tend to interrupt the current state of awareness.

Yes, that’s the more difficult part of s.r. Unpleasant emotions have to be “tamed” the very moment they tend to come up in order not to forget oneself. The more you let them enter your nervous system (i.e. the more you give them a reality, the more you believe in them being real) the deeper forgetfulness becomes and the more it becomes difficult to get back to s.r. The same is true with ecstatic emotions. Doing as if emotions are not important is helpful. S.r. is more important than emotion.

What is lacking in the awareness opened up through Douglas Harding’s experiments?

I can only refer to the workshop I did with him. There are 2 major parts of work on oneself to get oneself done: rejecting the “false” (work on negative emotions and on the original belief even if it’s called differently) and affirming the “real”. As far as I know, the first part is missing in D.H.’s teaching. The other part is quite useful but also incomplete as far as I experienced it. What was missing was the return to the perception that you’ve had before doing his exercise. What I mean is that nothingness alone is not complete. When you do his exercises, then, at the end, get back to “normal” perception and at the same time staying in nothingness.

If D.H.’s methodology is insufficient — and insufficient also for the practice of self-remembering — can you advise me on how to enter s.-r.? Is there a method I can apply? How does it differ from “two-way seeing”?

“Two-way seeing” is fine. If it is differentiated enough that you can stay with it in all kinds of situations, then there is no difference to s.r. S.r. anticipates non-separation in every situation you may encounter.

What do you do to maintain it all day long? Let’s suppose you’re into “two-way-seeing”. How is this different when you’re on your own and when you’re talking to someone? What do you do when a situation emerges that makes you upset? How do you deal with for example the feeling of injustice when it arises?

(To answer these questions, go back to concrete situations and focus on what exactly happened in you.) S.r. includes all possible situations that you may encounter in life.