For the seeker who cannot trust his immediate experience

Thought will always want to understand and intellectualize everything, this is what thoughts are about: analysing, interpreting, and putting everything into categories or into order, and most of all, conceptualizing the actual experience.

And it’s not problematic in and of itself. But for this investigation we have to stick to the pure experience, before any thought interpretation.

Why? Because the whole illusion (or more precisely delusion) is mainly created by thoughts. The self is just a concept. It’s not a real thing. It’s just a fantasy. It’s a mirage in the desert. For a new born baby, there is no concept of self. For the new born there is only pure experiencing. And just later, when language is introduced, the concept of a self emerges, out of the thin air. It’s just a fabrication, but with time this fabrication is taken as reality. And what is the problem with that? It’s suffering. Only a self could suffer.

So for the infant there is only pure experiencing. Sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation. She is in direct contact with experience. But as cognition develops she starts to conceptualize her experience. Putting everything into categories, labelling the experience, etc. And of itself it’s not problematic. But this conceptualization is overlaying the experience, and it gets thicker and thicker. And at some point she hardly can access her direct experience, since she can only see the conceptual overlay. Like seeing everything through a pink tinted glass. At some point pinkness gets so natural (used to), that she even stops knowing/seeing that everything is just coloured pink, but not actually, inherently pink. And at that point this conceptual overlay is believed to be THE TRUTH. Pink becomes the ultimate truth. The pinkness distorts our perception of what is really going on.

Whatever thoughts ‘say’, is the truth/reality from that on. This is how humans live their lives. We hardly can connect with our immediate experience since we believe that the overlaying thought concepts are all there is. And of course concepts are very useful when solving a problem, building a bridge or a house. But concepts/thoughts are just tools. But for humans the tool itself is overthrown what is really happening and creating all sorts of problems. This tool cannot be turned off. It’s like having a hammer as tool. The hammer is very useful for hitting the nail into the wall, but it’s not so useful for making dinner. But for humans, thoughts (the hammer) cannot be switched off, and we hammer everything with thoughts.

Thoughts, as a tool, has its place and value when a problem needs to be solved, but when the task is done, we should be able to put the tool (thoughts) down and just rest in the natural peace of experience. But thoughts are constantly on in forms of self-referencing narrating talks. Which is the basis of human delusion and suffering.

But the aim is not to stop these overlays from appearing, but rather to see them for what they really are. The overlay in and of itself is not problematic, as long as we see that it’s just an overlay.

This is why we have to stick to our immediate experience while doing this investigation. Not to devaluate thoughts and concepts, but rather to see what is really going on ‘behind the scenes’. When investigating the nature of reality and the self we cannot use the same tool which is creating the illusion itself in the first place.

So, from now on, please try to put aside all doubting thoughts, and just trust the process. Trust your immediate direct experience. Trust that this process will yield result. If you stay with the actual experience and just keep looking and looking, you will be able to distinguish what is really happening and what is just a fabrication. At the end, many of your intellectual answers will be answered by your direct experience.

It’s the process of repeatedly looking and seeing what actually is and what just a thought fabrication that can brings about the realization.

So, can you trust this process?
Can you commit looking at your actual experience rather than what thoughts has to say about it?

How do I ignore thoughts?

Q: Is the rule of this inquiry to ignore thoughts?

A: No, it’s not about rules. Thoughts are not disregarded by rules.

Q: OK, because rules are just more thoughts, right?

A: Rules are based on beliefs. But we do not exclude thoughts based on beliefs. Rather we are investigating the validity of thoughts, if what thoughts are saying are actually in line with experience.

Q: But in order to see Truth, I must disregard thoughts or disidentify with them.

A: Can you see that there is still a belief that there is someone here who must disregard thoughts or disidentify with them?

So what is it? What is it that is currently identified with thoughts?
What is it that is standing apart from thought and has the ability to disregard them?
What do thoughts happen to?
Is there someone outside of thoughts, being identified with them?
Where is the mysterious, unknown, outside entity?

Q: I don’t see anything. But we spend our whole lives trying to make sense or understand ourselves and the world around us.

A:  Please look at what you are saying and notice the beliefs and assumptions there.

There is a belief in separate selves, selves that are separate from the whole / life / existence, and each fragmented and isolated selves are living their lives in a world, which these assumed selves (like bubbles) are separate from.

But in reality, there is only existence, whatever is happening right now.
There are no parts, no fragments.
Existence is not like a jigsaw puzzle with millions of billions of pieces.
There are no pieces at all, there is only existence / life / what IS, which is whole.

Q: But in order to see this, I have to ignore thoughts, haven’t I?

A: It’s not simply about ignoring thoughts, but rather to SEE thoughts for what they are. Just fantasies, just figments of imagination, without any roots in reality.

Just notice what is ‘underneath’ all thoughts.
Thoughts add an overlaying narrative of names, labels, interpretations, explanations over the simplicity of what is.
Instead of endlessly reaching for ideas, concepts and explanations, just let it all go, and see.
Just see what is here now silently, without words.
Just notice what is left when you stop thinking about it.

In order to ignore thoughts, there has to be someone outside of thoughts, who has volition and the ability to ignore them.

So ‘ignoring thoughts’ are about dualism and separation and a belief in an agency with free will.

Thoughts are always out of step with reality, and they obstructs the clear seeing of how things actually are.
Reality is very simple.

Once you can see this, you will stop endlessly frustrating yourself by trying to figure out how things are.
Just look, what is it that is separate from what is, and trying to figure out how things are?
Is there a self or me here, who is separate and isolated from what is, from reality, and thus is in need to understand reality?

Truth or reality is not an idea or a belief.
It cannot be grasped by thoughts.
It does not need to be understood by the intellect.
Actually, it is impossible to understand through thoughts.
It is inconceivable, ungraspable.
And yet, it can be directly seen.

Seeing is wordless, and immediate.
The taste of chocolate is immediately and silently (wordlessly) known, since it is not conceptual.
As soon as the label ‘taste of chocolate’ is added, the immediacy of experience is veiled by conceptualization.
Any form of description is an abstraction, which is added after the immediate experience.

Q: OK, I get it. But how do I wake up from this conceptualization? And how do I stay awake?

A: Do you believe that there is an I that can wake up or be awake?
What is it that could be awake?
What is it that awakening could happen TO?
Is there someone separate form life, waiting to wake up to reality?
Is there someone who needs to let go of conceptualization?
Or letting go happens on its own effortlessly, when the futility of trying to grasp what is with thoughts is recognized?

Thoughts are never the real deal.

All words are symbols


All words are symbols.
All symbols are conceptual.
They are not reality.


Reality is what actually is, regardless of the absence or the presence of any symbol or word.

Reality is what still exists after we stopped thinking about it.

Like the word ‘apple’ is just a symbolic representation of something that is real.
But is the word ‘apple’ the real thing itself?

So there is the real deal, the real thing that can be experience by seeing it, touching it, tasting it and smelling it. And we can label this experiencable thing as ‘apple’, ‘fruit’ or ‘food’.

But even if we use different labels, those labels point to the same thing.
In this case, all the three words points to the same experience of colors, shapes, smells, tastes, textures, what we collectively call as an apple.

If I am eating an apple, but I stop thinking about it, the apple (the experience which the word points too) won’t disappear.
The actual thing  (experience) remains even in the absence of labels.

Similarly, we can investigate if the words of ‘Vivien’, ‘body’, ‘consciousness’, ‘me’, ‘entity’ are pointing to a same thing, or not.

We can also look into if these words are actually pointing to something real, something experiencable, or there is no actual experience, actual reality behind those words (or some of these words).

Like the word ‘economy’ doesn’t point to anything real.
It’s purely just a concept, which can ever be defined by other concepts, but it never becomes an experience.
So it’s just a man-made idea, just an artificial concept, and not a reality.
The word ‘economy’ doesn’t point to anything real, just to other ideas, just to more thoughts.

We have words for things that can be experienced through the five senses.
Like the thought label ‘apple’ that is a name for an actual object or thing.

And we have words that give a name or label to something that cannot be experienced through the five senses.
These ‘things’ can only be thought of, but never experienced, since they do not actually exist. They just imagined.
Like the thoughts of Santa, weather, or economy.

That is the difference between experience and fiction.

So what about the word ‘I’ then?
What is ‘I’ a name for?

Private Sessions

I offer two types of one-on-one private sessions: inquiry into the self, and inquiry into emotions (which sometimes overlap).

Inquiry into the self

This inquiry is for you if…

  • You have an intellectual understanding of there being no separate self, but you don’t know how to see it for yourself as a first-hand experience
  • You are longing for awakening and want to realize what it means that “you are not who you think you are”
  • You have already had glimpses, but you feel that something is holding you back from the experiential recognition of what you know to be true
  • You often find yourself thinking about the past and imagining the future, instead of noticing the ever changing present moment experience as it is
  • You would like to discover what beliefs you hold that create the feeling of being separate from life
  • You can see that you are not the body-mind, yet you don’t know who or what you are
  • You feel you are stuck in the witness position
  • You have had experiences of there being no real inherent me/ego, but this recognition has been gradually fading, and now it is mainly just a memory
  • You are tired of being a long-time seeker, and for once and for all you want to stop seeking by finding what you have been searching for
  • You have had the realization of the absence of a separate self, yet the sense of separation still persists
  • You feel ripe and ready to finally put aside all books and videos, and do an inquiry of your own experience, so you can finally live the recognition of there being no inherent separate me/self
  • You have gathered a plethora of expectations how awaking should be like, and you suspect that your expectations might be in the way of seeing things clearly in this moment as they actually are

If you would like to have several sessions at certain intervals, then I can give you exercises and pointers — based on our conversation — to investigate on your own between sessions.

If you would like to have a taste of the inquiry into the self, please read the home page.

Inquiry into emotions

This inquiry is for you if…

  • You have already recognized that there is no real inherent me/self, and yet you don’t feel free because of certain patterns and emotions repeatedly coming up and blocking you from being at ease
  • You would like to release deep rooted beliefs you hold about yourself — like “I am not good enough” or “I am not lovable”
  • You would like to discover what beliefs you hold that create suffering in your life
  • You are on the path of awakening, but you have some addictions — like cigarette, food, spending too much time on social media — that you would like to finally let go of
  • You would like to decondition and unlearn old patterns of feeling that don’t serve you anymore
  • You feel ready to face your fears and see them in a different light
  • You would like to live freely from regrets of the past, or feelings of guilt and shame
  • You would like to perceive your emotions differently, without the need to run away from them
  • You are already on the path of awakening, yet you often worry about the future and you don’t know how to stop worrying and live in peace
  • You are seeking freedom from the incessant stream of stressful thoughts
  • You have realized that no matter what you do, you are always dissatisfied in one way or another
  • You often feel resistance or aversion to certain things or people in your life
  • In spite of all your efforts on being on the right path, you don’t know how to forgive yourself or other people

Please make sure to read the Disclaimer before booking a session.

If you would like to have a session with me, you can get in touch with my by filling out the contact form.

Getting rid of the ego… is it possible?

214.1

Many seekers believe if they could successfully get rid of the ego then they would achieve ‘liberation’ or ‘enlightenment’. But what is the ego?

Some ‘spiritual teachers’ talk about the ego, others avoid using this word for various reasons. But even those who mention it, they also frequently emphasise that the ego is just a mental construct, nothing real – and yet, it is so often misunderstood…

When we hear or read something, there is an unconscious tendency to ignore everything that does not fit into our worldview or belief system, and spot all words or comments that can be moulded into our framework by projecting our beliefs onto those words. As a result, we perceive these teachings coinciding with our convictions.

214Seekers often say things like this: “My ego wanted to convince me that I should do this. …. I’m slowly shedding my ego but it’s holding on for its dear life… But I know it won’t win, the chains are already broken.”

In these types of statements the ego is assumed to be real, as if the ego was a tangible entity, accompanied by another unexamined assumption that there is a ‘me’ somewhere sealed behind the skin, over which the ego can have full power. The ‘real me’ or ‘my higher self’ is under the tyranny of the ego that needs to be liberated. The war is on…

But when I want to conquer, get rid of, change, manipulate or transform something, then the result could be quite the opposite that was hoped to be achieved in the first place. The mere resistance strengthens what was intended to get rid of, because nothing can be resisted without believing in it first. So, the ‘thing’ is being believed into ‘reality’, and now there is a war against it. But war against what?

The battle is only between mirages.

There has never been a self or a ‘me’ that could get rid of the ego.
Similarly, there has never been an ego either that could fight for its life or have a power over anything.

Ego = me = I = self
There is no difference between them, and none of them is real.
You do not have to get rid of the ego.
Who would get rid of it? The ego?
A thought cannot get rid of anything.

When it is seen that the whole story about the ego and its clinging to ‘its life’, are just simple appearing thoughts nothing more, then the seeking can end. There is no difference between the thoughts of “I’m thirsty, therefore I drink a cup of tea” or “I’m slowly shedding my ego, but it’s holding for its life”.

A thought is real only as an appearing thought, as a phenomenon, but never its content, what the thought is about.

Awakening cannot be achieved.
Awakening is not about doing something.
Awakening is un-believing.
Awakening is stopping believing in something that is not real.
It is about stopping doing. It is doing nothing.
It is non-resistance.

Memory is not ‘me’

Visual illusion - Akiyoshi Kitaoka

Visual illusion – Akiyoshi Kitaoka

We were taught since early childhood that there is a solid, separate entity, a ‘me’ in the body, looking out to the world through the eyes. But this is just an assumption that has never been questioned before.

When the curiosity arises to look closer and challenge this strongly held belief, it turns out to our surprise that the ‘me’ is nowhere to be found. It is simply not there. Similar to visual illusions, where it seems that there is an animation in the picture, but it is just a trick of the mind.

However, reading these lines and believing that there is no self, is not sufficient to see through this illusion. In this case, just another belief would be placed on top of the idea of the self. The belief of the mirage of the ‘me’ needs to be seen experientially, and not covered up with another layer of beliefs.

The ‘I’ seemingly lives in memories and beliefs. But in the present moment, where is this ‘I’? Not in a memory, not in a future image, but here and now? Is it in the body? Exactly where?

A memory is nothing else than simultaneously arising mental images, thoughts and bodily sensations, which are firmly welded together and appear as a coherent and real depiction about the assumed past. But this mental construct of a seeming past experience arises in the present moment. There are no little shelves in the mind holding small segments of the past as memories. All memory is constructed again and again in the here and now every time ‘we’ think about it.

The image of me playing in the garden as a five-year old is not ‘me’. Although, the thought label of ‘this is me, playing in the garden’ is fused with the picture of the five-year old body and the bodily sensations of the associated emotions. But thoughts, mental pictures and emotions arise in this body, here and now. The emotions and the remembrance of warmth of the sun on the skin are felt now.

There is nothing outside of the present moment. The I-thought that emerges as part of the memory is nothing more than a thought.

There is no ‘me’ looking out of the eyes, who is separate from the rest of the world. The idea of separation is created by thought. Only thoughts separate.

Between two thoughts there is no ‘me’.
The sense of me emerges when an I-thought label is put on the felt sensations in the body. But the sense of self is NOT the self.

When a memory is dismantled into its components – thoughts, images, emotions, bodily sensations and beliefs – and each piece is examined closely looking for the existence of ‘me’, the glue that hold the memory together creating the sense of self, releases and dissolves. What is left is just the pure experience of thoughts, images, sensations and emotions, without a ‘me’ who could own the experience. There is no individual person.

This is what ‘we’ are seeking.
This is peace.

I cannot make you feel happy… it’s impossible…

137Can I make you feel happy or sad? Do I have the power to have an effect on your mood or feelings?

Assume that I am on the verge of telling you that I want to end our relationship, but I am not brave enough to bring the topic up because I am afraid of hurting your feelings. But do I really have the power to hurt anybody’s feelings?

If I leave you, you may feel sad, abandoned, angry or unloved. But is it true that I am the cause of your suffering? Can I make you suffer?

If I believe that I can do all of these to you, it means I am believing a story about my omnipotence. In the current version of the story of my life, I am playing god.

I have no power whatsoever on anybody’s feelings. It is literally impossible.

If you think that I am responsible for you feeling unloved and abandoned, it means that you project your own self-image onto me and blame me for your misery.

While the belief in the deficient, unloving self is intact, each person and situation reflect back, in one way or another, some version of this core belief. You cannot see me, you cannot hear me, because you perceive me and the whole world through this lens. No matter whether I treat you lovingly or not, you will see and interpret my actions as unloving.

When I decide to leave you, you find this as a proof of your unlovingness, which in turn, fortifies the core belief of the incomplete, unloving self that is the basis of your identity. Thus, it is projected outward again and again and making others responsible for your own creation.

You cannot see me; you only see your story about me, which is your story about your-self.

Reality is neutral. In the action of leaving you there is no inherent attributes of pain, abandonment or lack of love. Only your story about ‘me leaving you’ hurts you. Your thoughts are hurting you, not me. I cannot do that.

But if I believe that I can hurt you then I create my own suffering by feeling guilty or responsible for your feelings. I do this to myself by projecting the belief of my incomplete self onto you, which will be reflected back to me, and thus the story of the deficient self keeps going.

‘You’ and ‘me’, we are not that special.
‘I have no power to do anything with you.
Only you can hurt yourself by believing your story.
By believing that there is a ‘you’ that could be hurt.

What would you be without your story?
What is left?

Why do we have a need to enhance our self-image?

It is commonplace in our culture that we try to improve our self-image in many different ways. Many people attempt to enhance their self-esteem by positive thinking, different types of therapies, or being nice and follow social norms to fit in, in order to get approval by others.

230The ‘I’ is constantly seeking appreciation in some way or another and feels it has to make an impression on others to make them like ‘me’. It is trying to push an image to imprint into others’ minds, how it wants them to see ‘me’ and think about ‘me’.

We relentlessly try to improve our self-image, because deep down most of us feel we are not OK, we are not complete; something is missing. We push our desired self-image forward to win others over. ‘This is how I want you to see me’. The irony is that this image that depicts how I want you to see me is the exact opposite of how I see myself.

So, who do I want to convince that I am better than I think I am?
You or me? Is there any division between ‘you’ and ‘me’?

Without believing that there are two solid, separate selves, ‘you’ and ‘me’, the ‘I’ could not feel better or worse than ‘you’. Without comparison there is no division.

The ‘I’ wants to improve its self-image because there is a belief in an incomplete, deficient self. This belief can take many forms: ‘unlovable me’, ‘unworthy me’, ‘ugly me’, ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am not successful enough’, ‘something is wrong with me’, ‘I am not strong enough’, and so on. The list is endless.

The illusion of the self is constructed from millions of beliefs, but the belief in the incomplete, deficient self has the strongest and most enchanting effect of all. This core belief is the basis of ‘our’ so called self-esteem and identity. All relationships reflect back this central belief, because the mind cannot help but project all its content ‘out there’. And since the world mirrors back the incomplete self, the reflection seems as a proof for validating its deficiency. As a result, the core belief is fortified and kept in place.

No matter how hard we try to override the belief in the separate, deficient self by positive thinking, or spending hundreds of hours in meditation or in different practises, the suffering is guaranteed.

But the existence of a deficient self is just a belief.

When this core belief is seen for what it is – just an unexamined thought taken seriously – it naturally falls away. But for the ‘I’ this can be frightening, since this belief is the basis of its ‘existence’.

Without believing in the incomplete self, there is no self, there is no ‘I’ to be found.

There is no need to enhance ‘my’ self-image and imprint onto ‘your’ mind to make a desired impression. Self-image and self-esteem become empty words, not referring to anything real.

Beliefs – the building blocks of ‘our’ identities

026There is a freedom in not believing any thoughts. Attachment to beliefs is the origin of suffering. Some people are even ready to die for their beliefs. But why are beliefs so precious for us? What are beliefs anyway?

Assume that you have just arrived home after a day of work. Your mind is full of the story of the happenings of the day, how your boss treated you unfairly and how bad the traffic was on the way home. The only thing you want is to lie down on the couch and tell ‘your’ story to your husband. You want him to listen to you and comfort you. As you start outpouring the intricate details of the happenings of your day, your husband suddenly interrupts you and instead of standing on your side he defends your boss. Immediately, you feel angry and frustrated due to the thought that has just popped-up ‘in your head’, ‘my husband never listens to me’. This single thought triggers a loop of other ‘disturbing’ thoughts; a very familiar and conditioned story that you thought thousand times before. ‘He doesn’t care about me, because if he cared about me he would have listened to me and stood by my side instead of making me wrong.’

‘He never listens to me’ or ‘He doesn’t care about me’ are just conditioned beliefs. Beliefs are nothing more than unexamined thoughts which are believed to be true, to be the accurate description of what IS.

Beliefs are very important for the ‘I’, because beliefs are the building blocks of ‘me’.

The ‘I’ never sees what is, because it always tries to interpret what IS according to what it learned previously, what this or that means to ‘me’. Everything is filtered through a huge web of beliefs before the interpretations and assumptions about what IS arise.

When we are talking and I believe the thought that ‘you never listen to me’, then I stop listening to you. I stop hearing what you are saying, because the thought in my head overrides what you are saying. I cannot hear you, I cannot see you, I can only hear my thoughts I believe about you, and see the constructed image in my head of you. So the belief that ‘you never listen to me’ overrides what is presently here, in the now.

When you say something that contradicts my belief systems, the ‘I’ hears them as a criticism not as a help, because it feels threatened. In defence of my beliefs – which are the building blocks of ‘my’ identity – the mind wants to gather ‘proofs’ to support its existing belief systems, and not to take part in uncovering or destroying them.

And when you interrupt and override me is not just simply a conditioned habit, but a defence. You try to defend your point of view what you believe is ‘your’ self. You are not simply interrupting me; you are literally fighting for your life in that moment, fighting for ‘your’ identity.

Observing, examining and questioning beliefs cut through the attachment to them.

The separate self is ‘made of’ beliefs.
Without believing the content of beliefs, there is no inherent self with volition to be found.

Who are you protecting when you protect your friend?

161Imagine that you are in a garden party held by one of your friends. As you are walking along by a group of people, you cannot help but overhear their conversation as they are making fun of somebody else who is not there. You walk on, but suddenly you realise that the person they are talking about is your best friend, Pete. Thoughts come up: ‘Wait a minute. They are making fun of Pete. They shouldn’t talk like this. Pete is a very good guy. I have to do something. I have to protect him.’ The body becomes tense, and you feel frustrated. You turn around, hasten your steps back to them to pick up a fight to protect your best friend.

What do you think who are you protecting? Are you really protecting Pete or just protecting the concept of Pete in ‘your head’?

During the ten-year friendship, an intricately detailed mental concept of Pete has been built up in your brain. This concept is compounded of a mental image of his body, his name Pete, the sound of his voice, his habitual reactions to certain circumstances, his likes and dislikes, the stories he frequently tells, and all the good and bad memories of times you spent together.

But this mental image is not him. This construct ‘lives’ only in your mind. Actually, there is a huge web of conditioned neuronal networks in the brain that creates and re-creates this image of Pete every time you have a thought of him.

This mental image of Pete serves a seemingly quite important job; to be a building block of ‘you’. This concept of Pete is a small segment of ‘your self’. The illusion of ‘I’ lives in almost every concept and all beliefs. The ‘I’ is assembled from these small fragments. When a part of it is seen through, then the identification with that part is no longer total. A segment of ‘you’ is dissolved.

So, who do ‘you’ protect when protecting ‘your’ friend?

‘You’ are protecting ‘your-self.
The separate self that does not exist other than an idea.
You protect an illusion of you being an independent autonomous entity.
You protect an idea of who you think you are.