I was with a teacher for about 5 years who taught a group of us various methods, which were designed to help us to see ourselves more clearly and he also taught us some methods to help break up the habits of consciousness that we were caught in. They did lead to different experiences and insights. I hung onto some of them desperately so as to be free of me and open to something beyond me. But, after awhile it seemed to be a false freedom. I could see this by my limited and stiff responses to the people around me. I wonder if presence requires a remembering. How do you come back to Presence? How do you remain in Presence without it being a doing?
Sometimes, the quest for enlightenment is nothing more than an attempt on the part of the ego to escape aspects of itself that it judges and condemns.
With you, this seems to be the case. In your question, you state that you desperately want to be free of yourself. This implies judgment and rejection of certain aspects of your self. As long as the judgment is there, you cannot awaken. You cannot be free of yourself. It is impossible. You are who you are. It is only when you own and accept every aspect of yourself that you open the door to that deepest dimension of you which exists only in the present moment. This dimension of you is the Truth of you. It is your Being. It is the I AM of you. It is the awakened One. It is the Christ within you. It is completely without judgment and so it cannot arise if you still live with judgment in your life. God is without judgment. You must release judgment if you are to re-enter the world of God.
Make a list of everything about yourself that you want to change. Which aspects of yourself do you want to be free of. You will then have a list of all the things about yourself you must learn to love and accept unconditionally.
The only way you can do this is by owning and acknowledging that these things are a part of you. It does not mean that they are the truth of you, but they are a part of you, and need to be acknowledged.
To the extent that your spiritual practices and methodologies have in the past been motivated by a desire to escape or deny aspects of yourself, those practices and methodologies will fail to deliver you.
Ultimately, all practices will fail to deliver you into freedom. This is because it is the ego that is practicing in order to escape itself, and it will never succeed in this endeavor.
One of the great dangers on the spiritual path is that the ego becomes spiritualized. The ego loves to think of itself as spiritually evolved. It is just another way that it manages to feel important and in control. Indeed, it is usually the ego that sets you off on the spiritual path in the first place. Enlightenment is seen as the ultimate escape or the ultimate achievement
The ego will have you visiting every spiritual teacher or guru. It will have you reading every spiritual book and practicing every spiritual method or technique. But it will insist that you do not stop long enough to actually encounter the truth, and wake yourself up. The truth is found only in the present moment. When you are fully present, your ego disappears. All the spiritual goals and concepts disappear. The judgments disappear.
The ego is suddenly rendered irrelevant. It realizes that it is not the one who will become enlightened. It realizes that if you become more fully present, you will gain liberation from its limited world. It fears being annihilated or abandoned. And so it will put the brakes on. It will seek to escape. It will resort to its bag of tricks to keep you out of the present moment. It will attempt to seduce you and deceive you. And mostly, it is successful.
The solution is remarkably simple.
First deepen into Presence by choosing to be present. It requires a gentle remembering. Just bring yourself present with that which is present. I speak of this in detail in my books.
Secondly, learn to own and accept all those aspects of yourself which previously you have been denying, repressing or judging. This too is a gentle process, which becomes possible only after you have begun to experience the present moment at a deeper level.
As I have said in one of my books,
"Your gift to God is honesty. God's gift to you is Truth."
As far as I am concerned, that is a fair exchange. It is only when you own and accept and confess who you have become, that you discover the truth of who you really are.