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  1. Hi Goran, and thankyou again for answering these questions with amazing clarity. Your honest answers have cleared up a lot of misconceptions around the notion of being ‘enlightened’, and I have many more questions that are floating around in thought space, which I will type into something coherent later this week. I’m just checking back in to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about this thread. ‘Free time’ has become somewhat of a luxury these days - in fact, ‘time‘ is one of the themes I would like to explore at some point. Stay tuned for another question or two, if that okay with you?
  2. Hi Goran, Thankyou, I'm glad that a few more people have been reading and have gotten involved in this thread. I have often watched videos online of people describing enlightenment and come away thinking "what on Gods Earth are they talking about?", but you have a knack for clearly describing/conveying the experience. Sorry this might be a bit of a lengthy reply. A few points and comments before I ask another question (excuse me, I'm still getting the knack of these 'quotes'): Is this what buddhist (especially Zen) texts refer to as 'emptiness' - that objects/things lack inherent existence? Namkhai Norbu describes the objects/aspects of the world/you wonderfully as the world being 'ornaments' of your true nature. I like your description 'indentation' too. So really, my hands have no inherent existence beyond this field of experience manifesting as a pink blobs and tingly feeling. There is nothing 'behind' me/the fabric? Wow thats a real mind blender, I have had to read this a few times. This must be what the Heart Sutra means 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form' or 'Samsara is Nirvana'. So I'm basically staring what I'm seeking right in the face. I just dont know/feel it directly? On a sidenote, since I was a kid I've always had this idea that reality is two-dimensional. I cant help but picture an aware flat screen upon which manifestation is occurring, within which the dimensions of length and bredth exist, but not depth - as spatial depth to experience would imply something over 'there'. Objects look as though they are behind one another in 'space' but in reality this is an inference. I see. May I ask whether this shift is sudden or gradual? In Zen, sudden awakening, or 'Kensho' is a hot topic of debate between their 'sudden awakening/gradual cultivation' (and visa versa) schools. I've read your article Awakening: My Story at it seems as though you went into a seeking frenzy prior to your awakening. Looking back, do you think that there was a moment when it flipped? If so, do you think the 'frenzy' was necessary? Also, I don't know how familiar you are with Douglas Harding's work, but he's one of my favourite authors. He describes his 'headless seeing' as a "you either see it or you don't" experience. I believe that this is exactly what you describe in your article A Shift Into Enlightenment as piercing through the veil of conceptualization i.e. non-dual awareness. It seems like this is the moment the theory was transformed into direct experience. Would I be correct in saying that this is the moment you shifted? When you pierced the veil of conceptualization and broke through into reality? That this sudden experience of 'seeing' obliterates your previous notion of self and not-self, and that all that is required to abide in non-dual awareness is to keep trying to invoke this mode of perception until it becomes permenant? Yes this is another thing Douglas Harding described. He describes how the world slips and slides around the aware space. For example, when driving, the road and the telegraph poles whizz towards the still centre and dissapear into the void. That is interesting. Thankyou again! I still have many questions but I will ask them another time.
  3. Thankyou for your patience and honesty Goran, there's plenty of interesting juicy stuff to mull over in your last posts. I'm away from a computer for the weekend. If I am not being too much of a nuisance, may I continue my line of questioning on Monday?
  4. As a follow up question, exactly where do you exist now? As an apparently space/time entity operating from the Universe model, I can state that I exist in my kitchen, that is in my house, that is in England, that is on the Earth, that is in the universe, etc. The bowl of fruit is in front of me. The wall is behind me. The Earth is below me and the sky is above me. Would I be correct in saying that this kind of thinking gets thrown out entirely when the shift occurs? If so, where does this fabric you now identify with exist? ...I suppose that would imply space exists?
  5. Thank you for giving such a detailed account of your awakening, and the subsequent changes in experience – mind boggling but very interesting. Your reply dovetails quite nicely into the next question I would like to ask – what is it like to live and exist as this fabric? I was reading your account and it struck me actually how radical this shift would be. To literally turn ones world on its head. One minute your'e something, and the next minute you’re nothing/everything. It reminded me of the title of Paul Hedderman's book “the escape to everywhere”. So, if I have this correct your localised sense of 'I' expanded to encompass the totality of experience? Sort of like a global awareness with no center? Please help me try to understand this. Let’s say that I'm looking at my hands outstretched in front of me. I am aware that they appear as clear images in my central field of vision, but as I move them out an around to my sides they enter peripheral vision, becoming blurry until eventually they disappear (behind me). Now let’s say that I suddenly shifted into the enlightened mode of perception – how would this experience differ? Or another example, lets say that I have nothing to do and I'm aimlessly looking at a bowl of fruit on my kitchen table, when the shift occurs. Would the sense of 'I' literally expand to become the bowl of fruit, the kitchen table, and the surrounding kitchen and kitchenware, simply knowing itself? Would I exist as a piece of fruit? Also, how does this shift affect your functioning in ‘the world’? From your description it sounds as if it would be rather disorientating - perhaps even frightening to suddenly vanish as a space/time entity. For example, where do my hands (in the above thought experiment) go when they leave the field of vision? Do the orientations of up/down, inside/outside, front/back, in front of/behind no longer make sense? Is three-dimensionality now a ridiculous concept, similar to how you believe you are seeing three dimensions when engrossed in a movie, but in truth you’re watching a flat image? When you’re brushing your teeth and you glance up, do you no longer identify with the man in the mirror who is staring back? Finally, is there some kind of special knowledge of ‘the Truth’ that is gained when this shift happens? I’ve always wondered when ‘awakened’ people speak of topics such as emptiness, infinity, eternity, the void, and so on, whether they’re speaking from an intellectual understanding, or some kind of transcendent wisdom that's gained in the moment of awakening. I hope this makes sense, in trying to make sense of the perceptual shift you described I think I tripped a few of cognitive fuses. Many thanks.
  6. Hi I’m Andrew a.k.a. ‘Ranger’, a forum lurker turned noob poster. I have started this thread to ask the author Göran Backlund a.k.a. ‘anaj’ some questions. Göran has written a wonderful little ebook titled Refuting the External World and has a website uncoveringlife.com which contains some thought provoking material. I can tell that a lot of effort has gone into both creations, and I thoroughly recommend purchasing his ebook. It is very short and inexpensive, but it encourages the reader to think about their experience in an entirely different manner to the general consensus mode that the majority of us operate from, i.e. the ‘I’m here, experiencing a world out there’ model. In summary, the book is a conversation between ‘Walt’ and his Philosopher friend (I assume to be Göran himself). Using step-by-step logic, Göran reveals to a befuddled Walt, that there is no world ‘out there’, also leading the reader to the realisation that essentially the world is actually a manifestation within a field of pure subjectivity - images on a screen. Similarly, this is also the premise of many of the world’s contemplative traditions such as Zen, and Advaita. Today, this understanding is mostly referred to as ‘non-duality’ – that there are not two things in experience. This is actually quite a shocking revelation, that the experience of the computer screen upon which you read these words, and the wall ‘behind’ it cannot be separated from subjective experience (awareness), thereby they are essentially one …You are the screen …You are the wall. Spooky stuff. This realisation, and the subsequent shift into the mode of perception whereby subject-object are no longer divided has historically been referred to as enlightenment or awakening. In Zen it has been called ‘recognising your true nature’. Göran has defined enlightenment here, and claims that this has happened to him. To my knowledge, I have never entered into a dialogue with an enlightened being, so the goal of this thread is not only to gain clarity on some of the topics presented in his book, but to ask some questions about what it is like experientially to be enlightened. Maybe it will be helpful for someone else too. Obviously, language is a bit tricky here, “there is no one to be enlightened” and all that jazz, but you get my drift. That said, I believe that until this understanding is one’s own experience, one should reserve a healthy amount of open minded scepticism. So, with the introduction out of the way, I would like to proceed to ask Göran a few questions. Here is my first, under the heading of: The Experience of Enlightenment I have read that the experience of enlightenment is self-evident and undeniable. The author Douglas Harding called it “the rediscovery of the obvious”. I have read that if you have to ask, you haven’t got it. There are many tales in the Zen tradition of practitioners making sudden breakthroughs into reality, whereby they end up laughing at how ignorant they’ve been to spend their whole life overlooking their ‘Buddha-nature’. In contrast, I have also read of people who didn’t realise their own enlightenment, or didn’t understand the context of what was happening to them as enlightenment unfolded. U.G. Krishnamurti comes to mind. I think that part of the attraction toward ‘enlightened beings’ is the certainty and confidence to which they can attest that they have ‘woken up’, and brought to an end ‘the search’. So, how can you – or any other enlightened person for that matter – be sure that your mind isn’t playing tricks on you? That perhaps you’ve convinced yourself of your enlightenment through reading books? Or that you’ve simply entered into an altered state of consciousness? How is it that one knows - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that they’re Enlightened? How obvious is it? What is it that is self-evident? Please speak from personal experience, perhaps referring to ‘pre’ and ‘post’ enlightenment modes of perception. Finally, thank you Göran for taking the time and having the patience to read and answer my questions, I look forward to hearing back. Best, Andrew