135. Ilona Ciunaite and Elena Nezhinsky

Ilona Ciunaite and Elena Nezhinsky are the founders of Liberation Unleashed, an international network of people dedicated to guiding people to awakening from the illusion of separation. Both Ilona and Elena have seen through the illusory nature of the apparent separate self, which is nothing more than a mental construct—a concept that when thoroughly questioned clearly reveals that there is nothing behind the word ‘me’ at all.

Ilona CiunaiteIlona was born in Lithuania and now lives in the UK. She has a degree in psychology, but has never worked in the field; instead she works as a tattoo artist, running her own studio together with her husband. She is a simple and ordinary human with a mind set to focus on freedom for herself an those who find her. Her blog, “Marked, Eternal“, is collection of articles and conversations that demonstrate how easy it is to see that there is no self when one is ready and willing to look. She has always been interested in the ‘mind’ as such and enjoyed studying the subject from different angles. Observing her own mind led to a deep understanding of how the mind works, how to overcome confusion and free it from feedback loops. She has been a seeker like many others, but had never attended a retreat or satsang until after awakening.

Her work is inspired by Pamela Wilson’s methods and is a fusion of various methods she has picked up over years of inquiring into the mystery of mind. Her main focus and work is helping people end their seeking by inviting them to question their fundamental assumptions and look at their own direct experience. She does not give answers, but only questions. In this way a seeker may see what is going on for themselves, and free their minds from conditioned patterns, to explore whatever comes next. She has been guiding people at no charge through email and at TheGate forum for over a year, with great success, allowing seekers to clearly and deeply see for themselves that there is no separate entity, no ‘me’.

Elena NezhinskyElena Nezhinsky met her close friend and a senior teacher of the Gurdjieff Way in 1998, and since then began a serious investigation of the mind and feelings, and searching for the truth of being. The sudden death of her teacher brought her to a Vipassana meditation practice of mind purification, which she did diligently for 7 years in frequent silent retreats. After leaving Vipassana she found Adyashanti, and spent a week in retreat with him, which made her ponder that there are other ways to awakening. In 2010 Elena woke up to the reality of “no self” with the help of Direct Pointing. Since then she has been helping others to awaken and see the truth of anatta – no self with the same method.

Elena lives in New York City with her grown-up son Daniel and her dog Zenji. Her blog “Complete Humanity” is a collection of her work with people and personal writings. She is very transparent in sharing her journey of awakening and on-going integration.

Ilona and Elena met in London, which started the wave of guiding people through the gateless gate. Utilising the skills of other members of the LU group, they published a book called Gateless Gatecrashers, which is a great resource for those who are still seeking to end the spiritual search.

Liberation Unleashed is a rapidly expanding, international project that brings seekers together with those who have awakened and are dedicated to guiding or simply share experiences in a community that is based on honesty and love. There is no greater joy than bringing joy to other hearts and celebrating the gift of freedom.

Interview Recorded 8/18/2012

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

158 thoughts on “135. Ilona Ciunaite and Elena Nezhinsky

  1. the unfathomable simplicity…
    “…We sink down into the fertile dark, into the loam and soil of our embodiment, into dark waters, to be adorned by the coming forth of World Soul as a nurturing spiritual presence, a feminized Angel raising our vision beyond ordinary mind into the vast horizons of soul possibility. Uncounted worlds seek to communicate the wisdom of their own transformations made accessible through the collective awakening of world after world. Our collective is not simply one world, one earth,but a multitude of worlds, of heavenly domains and earthly incarnations in a vast network of cosmic proportion still hidden from isolated human vision, but soon to be known, in World Soul awakening.
    The spiritual calling is to embrace not simply this world or planet, not simply our local heliocosm, “our” planets, sun, moons, astral bodies, but to awaken to a living cosmos, to a vast reality of multidimensional being, to the sacredness of life in all forms and in all worlds, stars, galaxies….”
    – Lee Irwin

  2. Vamadeva…

    Speaking of ‘demons’…
    ‘Demon’ (derived from Daemon)…
    A divinity or supernatural being of a nature between gods and humans.
    An inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force: Socrates claimed to have lived his life according to the dictates of his daimon.

  3. Jill ~ about Gargi’s response to Yajnavalkya, the only limitation of this discussion is that they cannot seal it with a warm hug 🙂 Otherwise, and as the story goes – they’ve lived happily ever after 🙂


    Snow ~ aside from trying for self-deffence what did you really mean, when wrote ‘Vamana’ (Vishnu’s incarnation as a dwarf or rhyming with the name of Ramana?) For I had a sudden flash that we might be laughing at the different joke 🙂

    Vizzyweb ~ thanks for pointing out to the limitations of the language. Shall we go back to the original meaning of all greek-derived words? That will inevitably take us to the mother of all tongues – Sanskrit.

    You’re right I should have said – Rakshasa instead, for even in old Russian ‘demon’ stands for any ‘spirit’. Shall we file a suit against all translators of Ramayana for misusing of the english words?

    What I’m trying to say is – don’t loose the essence of what being conveyed in linguistic particularities.

    ”Ravana was self-realized demon, meaning the being of dark forces, rakshasa.”

  4. What I’m missing many times i contemporary spiritual circles is a deficit of alchemical imagination (not “fantasy”)…kind of dismissing/retreating/dissociating (outwardly/inwardly) from the gross/subtle substantiality of Reality

    As if a floating point of light in an expanse of aware, living light, the self-less awareness exists. Here, all awareness connects. All awareness intersects. All knowledge exists within the brilliant, clear, creamy light
    of awareness.
    – Robert Waggoner, “Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self ”

    For Nutrition implies an Augmentation in length, breadth & Depth which extends itself through all the Dimensions of a Body, & seeing this can be afforded & administered to the Philosophical Infant by Earth only, it can in no wise be improper to call the Earth by the name of his NURSE. But this admirable Juice of Earth has a quality different from other kinds of Milk…
    – Michael Maier, “The Flying Atalanta or Philosophical Emblems of the Secrets of Nature”

    Water is also connected with the Milk of Immortality from Persephone’s Breasts, for in the Mysteries She is a Goddess of joyous rebirth as well as grievous dissolution. For example, on the Bacchic/Orphic gold tablets…

    I have flown out of the Circle of Heavy Grief
    and stepped swift-footed on the Circle of Joy.
    I have made straight for the Breast of the Mistress, the Queen of the Underworld.
    And now I come a suppliant to Holy Persephoneia,
    that of Her Grace She send me to the Seats of the Hallowed.
    Happy and Blessed One, thou shalt be God instead of mortal.
    A Kid I have fallen into Milk.
    (tr. after Guthrie with emendations by Zuntz, West & Kingsley)

    This alludes to Thrice-Born Dionysos (the “Kid”), who is the horned son of Persephone, according to the Orphics. Therefore the Bacchic initiate emulates the rebirth of Dionysos by sucking the Milk of Immortality from Persephone’s breasts. An abundance of milk is a standard symbol in the Bacchic Mysteries, and milk is often involved in immortalization rites. Further, many enlightened individuals are described as consuming only milk.
    The Water of Life is found near Persephone’s Tree. Pherecydes (6th. cent. BCE), a mentor of Pythagoras, told how Khthoniê (She Beneath the Earth – one of Persephone’s names) stretches upward as a self-supporting Winged Oak (Hupopteros Drus), with Her Roots in the Underworld, Her trunk climbing through the middle elements, Her crown in Heaven. At the base of the Tree, between Her Roots, is the Outflow (Ekroê), the Springs of Ambrosia (Krênai Ambrosiai), for the Waters of the Underworld flow out from Her Roots…
    – John Opsopaus, ” The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements: Water”

    Shakti who is in Herself pure blissful Consciousness (Cidrupini) is also the Mother of Nature and is Nature itself born of the creative play of Her thought.
    Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)

  5. It comes to mind the stated “disgust” that Franklin Merrell-Wolf felt towards the Tantric view..when I read that passage something “clicked”: since Merrell-Wolff has been/is a pivotal figure of the Western nondual movement…subtle ascetic disgust, that is something I’ve felt many times in nondual circles…so many people depressed..and then awakening (but subtly keeping that disgust in the back of their minds, so to speak)

    “…the distinction which it draws between the initiate whose Shakti is awake (Prabuddha) and the Pashu the unillumined or “animal,” and, as the Gnostics called him, “material” man. The Natural, which is the manifestation of the Mother of Nature, and the Spiritual or the Mother as She is in and by Herself are one, but the initiate alone truly recognizes this unity. He knows himself in all his natural functions as the one Consciousness whether in enjoyment (Bhukti), or Liberation (Mukti). It is an essential principle of Tantrik Sadhana that man in general must rise through and by means of Nature, and not by an ascetic rejection of Her…”

  6. On man’s trash, another man’s treasure.

    Applies to many things, no doubt.

    Including high drama.

  7. that’s it: the biased “dryness” of many nondual western formulations (echo of an ascetic patriarchy of 2.000 years and then merging with an ascetic lens, when discovering eastern nondualism..?) , instead of the “juiciness” of non biased – not “vinegar face” as ancient Daoists jokingly say – nondualisms… the “juiciness” of being alive, the Bliss so many times dissmissed..the mistrust and permanent suspicion of “enjoyment” (Bhukti), when the ancient description of Reality is Sat/Chit/ANANDA..
    Mukti is Bhukti . Sri Aurobindo

    “the Bliss of the Self” Ramana Maharshi

    I’m saying with a smile on my face and with my heart open…if this is opening a can of worms…well, worms are excellent for composting, oxigenating the earth… ; )

  8. in my words: is holy joy a different path…or a distinct face of Realization that I have felt with many teachers..but strangely absent (in their presence, in their sharings) in many recent “realizers”, many or all of them subscribing to let’s say “neo-advaita” understanding/meta-narrative…..?

  9. I mean, some “realizers” dismissing – even missing – the Bhukti in their Mukti…is that a “different path”…or a “half-baked” person misleading other person with his/her premature stage of relaization…?

  10. HS ~ Nicely put, especially towards the end of your comment. Everyone will uncover the truth within by nothing else other than becoming one with that Truth.

    Even if the term ‘Becoming’ is made obsolete by the term ‘Being’ the two are irrevocably intertwined and do not exist one without the other. Being and Becoming are not complementary values, for that will presuppose incompleteness of one without the other, but rather as degrees of intensity with which One Consciousness can experience Throb of its own Self and know it as such.

    At the same time, I don’t view Uli’s participation here as based on shallowly researched grounds, on a contrary it adds that extra dimension to the flavor of a dialogue which by now had the tendency to become ‘stale’.

    The proximity of Shiva Consciousness to that of the reptilian brain within our scull is an alarming fact if not for being infested with profound possibilities and that’s what Tantra is all about. (And that’s also explains why Tantra would (should) never be popularized ???!!!)

    It is that equation,


    is what unites the Advaita and Tantra beyond the supreficiality perceived as opposing views.

  11. splendid comment, Vamadeva!

    the wisdom of the Americas speak of the advent of Quetzalcoatl (“Winged serpent”) Consciousness in more and more people…

  12. Either I trust that everyone is embracing exactly the perception that they need to be embracing at the moment, or…

    I don’t trust that to be the case and proceed to convince you that another perception is more worthy your embrace.

    How we respond to a differing perception… can be an effective measure of our trust.

  13. The more we rest in the Self – the more we call forth Love…This is the bliss of Being..It’s just a matter of opening to the Vastness that we are and allowing the unfoldment to deepen..Then we rejoice in whatever arises..

    Speaking of Love – Braco is in NYC for the weekend to gaze upon the city…info at braco.net

  14. Dear All,
    New in these forums and haven’t read all of your comments, though enough to see this was a very controversial interview. What struck me about it when I first heard it a couple of months ago was the ordinariness of Ilona and Elena. I was inspired to try the LU process – I thought ‘what have I got to lose?’ the shift was profound. I wouldn’t call myself enlightened or awakened or liberated, though I do feel liberated from some very burdensome identifications and stories. Most importantly the process helped me experience Being and from this has come a deep sense of rest, peace and trust. Before that I was always ‘trying’ – at war within myself, with many conflicting thoughts. Being able to see these as thoughts has helped me sink more deeply into being and embodied experience with acceptance – rather than seeking an ideal state (whether inner or outer). I am profoundly grateful to Ilona and Elena for creating this forum of ‘liberation’ for the people, by the people, without gurus or experts, but simply a bunch of ordinary humans enquiring together. And deepest thanks to Rick for drawing attention to this free and effective process. I see many very happy participants on the others side of the ‘Gateless Gate’ who’ve clearly experienced profound shifts in their lives. It’s not the end, but the beginning of a whole new wonderful journey. And there are a limitless number of paths home – why do we have to compare or diminish one against another? For me, this was the perfect next step at the perfect time. But then, isn’t that always the case? 🙂

  15. P.s. I saw something in the comments about people being ‘tricked’. The only tricks being played are the ones we play on ourselves. And I’m sure the efficacy of the confirmation process in the LU forum is at least partially dependent upon the honesty of the participant – perhaps one of its weak points as a process – but hey, it’s free and available to all with Internet access. I’m sure other experts and coaches out there might charge 100s or 1000s of dollars for the guiding process gifted here by many generous and often wise individuals. I’m very very glad I found it.

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