All the talk about awakening, enlightenment, self-improvement, whatever. Maybe ask yourself this question instead. “What would I have to feel if I stopped seeking?” The great thing about the question is that the answer doesn’t come from the mind. If you stop for one moment, whatever you are trying to avoid feeling is right there. And allowing it to be as it is, without all the words and pictures on it, also allows it to shift and release. So then what is there to seek after that, if the entire movement of seeking was only to avoid THAT? Keep the search simple. Instead of entertaining what life would be like if you reached some place in the future, find how what you are avoiding now.
- Scott Kiloby
Pain is the first proper step to real compassion; it can be a foundation for understanding all those who struggle with their existence. Experiencing real pain ourselves, our moral superiority comes to an end; we stop urging others to get with the program, to get their act together or to sharpen up, and start to look for the particular form of debilitation, visible or invisible that every person struggles to overcome. We suddenly find instead, our understanding and compassion engaged as to why others may find it hard to fully participate.
- David White, from the essay Pain
It’s a reminder for me of how humbling – in a good way – the chronic fatigue has been for me.
I see it’s not always possible to pull ourselves up by the bootstrap, as I was used to in my twenties. I found a deeper and more honest understanding for myself and others, and the difficulties we experience.
It’s a reminder that “I” am not really in control. If life doesn’t play along, what I wish or plan for doesn’t happen.
It’s a reminder that we are all dependent on each other. I am not only dependent on the whole universe in its extent and history, the history of this living planet and humanity, the global and local ecological and social systems, but also the very simple everyday kindness of those around me.
It’s a reminder that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to – very clearly and in a conventional sense – depend on others. It may even be a gift – to me and others.
It’s a reminder that we are all in this together. We all experience (what a thought would label) difficulties and challenges. We may all feel it’s too much, at times. We may all be brought to our knees, one or more times in our life.
I found how liberating it is to be a full human being rather than trying to live up to an image or the expectations of myself and others.
I found how liberating it is to be naked to myself and others.
I noticed who in my life was OK with this, and who were not. It naturally sorted my friends into those who stayed or came into my life, and those who left.
It helped me see that I don’t own anyone or anything. I don’t own my health, my energy, my clear mind, my engagement, my ability to follow through on what I plan. I don’t own people in my life. I don’t own my hopes and expectations for my life. I don’t own this mind or body. I don’t own this life. I don’t even own my fears. They all live their own lives.
Pain is a total projection, and it prevents us from noticing that it’s all love.
- Byron Katie, paraphrased from a webcast
I see this for myself, and these days especially when I use the living inquiries.
When words, images and sensations combine into the appearance of pain, it’s experienced as painful, whether it’s emotional or physical pain.
Examining each of these separately, I see there is no threat in the words, in the images, or in the sensations. (And if there appear to be, I can – for instance – look for underlying images and ask if there is a threat there.) The stickiness of the idea or experience of “pain” is reduced or falls away.
There may still be words, images and sensations, and more of an allowing of these, and a noticing that they are already allowed. The sticky conglomerate of words, images and sensations called “pain” is not there anymore, or it’s faded and in the background.
I get to see that “pain” is a projection, and that what’s here is love.
The saddest thing of all is sadness when it is unfelt, neglected, unmet, rejected. Sorrow, without a home, is truly sorrowful to behold.
We get angry at ourselves for feeling anger. We fear fear, its intensity, its immediacy, its imagined power to overwhelm.
It’s confusing to attempt to not feel confusion when confusion is burning in us. The most frustrating thing of all is trying to make frustration disappear immediately, desiring the absence of desire.
Our greatest pain is our resistance to pain, the refusal of the living fact of pain; our unwillingness to stare life in the face, unblinking.
Only a thought would say, “this thought shouldn’t be here”. Only an imagined mind would want to be “free from mind”.
Taste raw life directly without judgement, or judgement of judgement of judgement…
Our experience is always reflective. But the Heart is forever open.
- Jeff Foster
That I feed the hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy – these are great virtues. But what if I should discover that the poorest of beggars and most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand in need of all the alms of my own kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then?
— Carl G. Jung
Retreat into infantile prerational uroboric fusion. Indulgence in dissolution and fragmentation; often due to lack of modeling, support, structure or clearly defined developmental framework of ascent that covers all sides of the whole human (survival, somatic, emotional, social, spiritual). Desire to let ones life collapse in the hope of being rescued. Retreat into depression and grief to escape more expansive perception and profound sense of being.
Retreat and evasion through dissociation and denial. Inertial holding back to former modes of perception and being. Effort to pull energy down, back and in through substance addictions, heavy food, sedentary lifestyle and through avoidance of “opening” practices and therapy. Secondary fear chemistry due to negative interpretation of kundalini events resulting in panic, paralysis, stagnation, isolation and avoidance. Even running away from bliss and increased wellbeing with various forms of anaesthetization, self-repression and self-destruction.
5-Fixation on Internal Processes
Overly fascinated, morbidly curious, distracted by and absorbed in kundalini symptoms, psychic phenomena and newfound spiritual powers (siddhas). This compulsive obsession with symptoms and phenomena feeds inflation and interferes with relationships and functional utility. Possible secondary fear or depression over the temporary loss of adaptive functions and left-brain sharpness. Inability to disembed to perceive emotional storms as psychosomatic events of alchemical cycles. Excessive reactivity to conditions both internal and external.
- from Pitfalls on the Path (I added the underlines)
I can find most or all on the full list in myself, and the three above seem especially relevant to me at times in my recent process.
Some statements and topics for inquiry….
Collapse: I need to be saved. I need someone to save me. It’s hopeless. I can’t do it. It’s too much. If I collapse, someone will help me. I need to collapse to get what I need. I don’t have what I need. –> Look for command to collapse. Command to find someone (something) to save me. Look for the one who needs to be saved. Look for the one who is collapsing. (Living inquiry.)
Compulsions: I need to move away from this experience. I need to distract myself. Food is comfort. Internet is comfort. Friends are comfort. Clarity will keep me safe. –> Look for command to move away from experience, to eat for comfort, to go to the internet for comfort, to go to clarity for security. Look for the one who is doing (or needing) these things.
Emotional storm: It means something terrible has happened (will happen). It’s too much. These emotions reflect reality. –> Look for the threat in the thoughts, images, sensations. Look for the command to move away.
And in general:
If I do any of these – go into a pitfall – it means I am doing it wrong. I am not up to it. I won’t get through it. I will fail. I am unable to cooperate with the process. –> Look for command to do it right. Look for the command for perfection. Look for the one who is doing it wrong. Look for the one who is doing it right. Look for the one who is doomed. Look for doom.
When the conglomerate of words, images and sensations is unquestioned, it tends to seem very real. There is a sense of stickiness. There may also be a struggle with emotions and energies so they don’t flow through easily.
When the words, images and sensations are inquired into, and recognized for what they are, there is a sense of stickiness falling away. And this allows for emotions and energies to flow through more easily.
There is nothing wrong. Sadness is not wrong. Fear is not wrong. Confusion is not wrong. Our pain is not wrong. Resisting our pain is what makes everything seem wrong. And yet here is a deeper truth, for those who are open: even our resistance of pain is not wrong. If that’s what’s happening, it cannot be wrong. It is a valid expression of life in the moment. Beyond ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. This love even embraces resistance. This Now is vast, and forgiving.
Yet even ‘resistance’ is just another concept. Another judgement. Another way to make ourselves wrong. “Resistance bad”. “Acceptance good.” That’s what we learn. It’s not that we “resist” our pain. We just never learned how to be with it. How to sit with it. Stay with it. Have a cup of tea with it. See it as a beloved friend, at home in the vastness. Our ignorance is our innocence. We just never learned. Our pain is not wrong. It is an invitation. An ancient teaching. Universal. Free. Life invites us to come closer Falling through imagined layers Into great mystery.
- Jeff Foster
You can come up with a very clear and concise articulation of nonduality, and you can speak of it over and over again, and you can attempt to align your activity to that articulation. But in fact, organically, unless you’ve surrendered to the Will of God, which is movement but in the domain of nonduality, any state of nonduality is not mature.
Surrendering to the will of God as what is, as it is, here and now. The sensations, images, thoughts, identifications, experiences that are here and now. And questioning any fears and beliefs that prevents this surrender.
Also, surrendering to the inner guidance, to the heart. And here too identify and inquire into fears and beliefs preventing following this guidance.
And surrendering to what is, as it is, including any apparent difficulties surrendering and following the inner guidance.
Recognizing that what’s here is love makes it easier.
I am listening to the livestream of Love Your Enemies: Robert Thurman, Sharon Salzberg and Uma Thurman, and it reminds me of how identification is love.
Mind identifies with an image or thought, and it shows up as fear, anger, sadness, and also what a thought may call greed, egotism etc.
It does so to protect the image of a me. And that comes from and is love. It’s worried love.
And I can explore this through inquiry and holding satsang with what’s here.
First, love appears as identification, the effects of identification is resisted because it’s uncomfortable, and that too is love. It’s all worried love. Love not recognizing itself as love.
So when love does recognize itself as love, there is a relaxation. Love meets itself.
Love as identification is recognized as love, and met by love.
The most radical freedom doesn’t come from assuming you are an unhappy person and then trying to become a happy person. It comes from noticing that you can’t find either person here. And that’s when a peace and contentment that is too delicious to describe reveals itself.
- Scott Kiloby
Sometimes, there is a sense of collapse. The first time I remember it I was in London with my parents, was exhausted after a long day, and wanted Coke in a can but they only had bottles (I was about five years old). Along with the collapse is sadness, hopelessness, despair, and a sense of being paralyzed or freezing. Nothing I can do will make a difference. It’s hopeless. Life is unfair. Life has singled me out (to be treated unfairly). It won’t change.
Some things to look at:
Identify the images related to the collapse, sadness, hopelessness, paralyzed, freezing, anger. Some may be concrete, other abstract.
Is there a real, not imagined, threat in each of these images? Is there a command to collapse in those images? A command to be sad, hopeless, frozen, paralyzed, angry?
Then, bring attention to the sensations that goes with the collapse etc. and leave the images to the side. Is there a real, not imagined, threat in these sensations? Is there a command to collapse (etc.) in those sensations?
Then, repeat the same with images and sensations related to a sense of me that this is happening to. Is there a threat there? Is there a real, not imagined, me there? Is there a command there to believe there is a real me?
I have an email in my inbox I want to answer, and notice some resistance.
Since I am just learning how to do the Living Inquiry, I thought I would try it on this situation.
I notice an image of R. who sent me the email. In my mind, I put it in a frame and up on the wall and make it bigger. I notice it is an image. Is there a real and not imagined threat in that image?
My body reacts so there is a “yes” there. I notice a more abstract shape – a dark blog – in my throat and chest area. I put this in a frame and up on the wall. Is there a real and not imagined threat in that image? No.
I return to the image of R. Is there a real and not imagined threat in that image? No.
I bring attention to the sensations in my body that come when I think about the email, and allow the images to be set aside. I notice they are sensations. Is there a real and not imagined threat in those sensations? No.
I find an image of a me that relates to the email and replying to it, and put this image in a frame up on the wall and make it bigger. Is there a real and not imagined threat in that image? Is that image a real and not imagined me? Yes. (Again, the yes points to an underlying belief.)
I notice an more abstract image of a blob in the head and neck area that seems to be a me. I put this image in a frame up on the wall. Is there a real and not imagined me in that image? No.
Is there a real and not imagined me in the (previous) image of me? No.
After doing this, the “stickiness” of this situation is less and I went an answered the email.
One thing I like about this form of inquiry is that I can (a) notice there is an underlying belief (notice body reaction), (b) identify the underlying belief (an image, often more abstract for me), (c) inquire into that underlying belief, and (d) check it by returning to the initial image. Another is that I get to work with these often a bit blurry and abstract images, which has a very real impact when combined with sensations and the two form an apparently real and solid object.
We all have our part in this great story…yours has been very intense as has been mine. Karen had great intensity early and nothing lately. I watched her go through the same process of the dark night of the soul in a few days that took me years to get through.??? We can seek and find theories and reasons and they are helpful and consoling, and in the end it is the great Mystery of God, of which we are a part.What is important is for you to come to peace and understanding in YOUR story. Asking these questions is the start. They will be answered. The way it was all revealed to me is that I learned to have faith and then knowing that all questions of the heart and soul are immediately responded to in the One Mind. It is only a matter of insight in the realms of time and space for each of us in our human projection to receive the answer. This too is all in divine timing and perfect. In fact you already know the answer but are simply waiting for the moment in the story that you long ago created and is already over in the eternal to come to you in this experience of time and space. We are God floating in God exploring possibilities just for the sake of the experience, like a child playing in a sandbox. Yours is one strand, or thread in this great Story, a small line or sentence within it, yet critical, integral to the Big Story. You had to do it, to play this role or the universe would not be complete…. We all came here to explore separation, fear, doubt, pain and suffering. It was all part of God’s experience as the individuated aspect or Soul that we are…..When God as us is done with exploring this experience it simply ends and a new story begins. Your story is ending…Enjoy the last moments of pain, fear and separation, for when they go they shall never be known again for you in all eternity…. Love, b- from Barry, in an email to me
I am in bed. A monster holds me captured by keeping me paralyzed.
This is a good image of my experience right now. I am back in Oregon, and had the sense I would feel a bit paralyzed and drained of ambition after returning here, and that’s been my experience too. And a part of me does see whatever paralyzes me as a monster. I want to explore this further. What are the beliefs that paralyzes me? How do I relate to these beliefs and feeling paralyzed? What do I find when I take these thoughts to inquiry? What do I find through the Living Inquiries – on the scary monster, being paralyzed, being someone this is happening to? How is it to hold satsang with all of this – the monster, my resistance to it?
Byron Katie: That would not leave room for the possibility that a Higher Force is moving you 28Nov13 | 0
It’s a purely egoic identity that would not leave room for the possibility that a Higher Force is moving you.
- Byron Katie
Said another way, identifications – and not noticing the identification, and that mind is also nonidentified – leaves less or little room for noticing the possibility that a higher force is moving me. And that includes identification, thoughts, choices, and my life in the world.
May this be for the benefit of all beings.
May my life be for the benefit of all beings.
La dette livet gavne alle levende vesner.
It feels good to come back to this.
During my twenties, this was how I lived my life. Then, with health challenges and the dark night of the soul, my orientation for a while shifted (back) to survival. I became quite self-centered and almost self-obsessed.
And now, may this be for the benefit of all beings seems to be the way forward. I sense it will help me come back to integrity. It supports me in noticing and following my inner guidance. It helps me discern what’s right for me in my life, and more clearly see the way forward. It helps me see how I stop myself from living in this way, with my fears and beliefs. And it helps me move away from mentally or verbally complaining. I see that with this orientation, my life becomes less personal and not only, or mainly, about getting what “I” want.
I also see that this orientation is setting myself – the image of me – in service of reality, love, life, the well being of all beings, and the well being of the “beings” – subpersonalities – within me. I wish for my life to be in service of life.
This is also about aligning more closely with reality. My life is already a local expression of life or existence as a whole. Living only or mainly for “me” comes from fears and beliefs, and when there is a more clear seeing there is a natural wish for this life to be in service of life – as it manifests as myself, other people, society and ecosystems.
I think the law of attraction has been misstated. You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are. That’s how the law of attraction works…If you say to the universe, “Gimme, gimme, gimme,” which is what a lot of the work around the law of attraction says because of a misinterpretation, then the universe gives you back what you offered out. You get more “gimme, gimme, gimme.” “Gimme” means you don’t have enough. You have a shortage. The universe just keeps giving you more shortage because of what you’re thinking and saying. If, on the other hand, you say to the universe again and again, “How may I serve? How may I serve? How may I serve?” and you live a life of constancy reflecting that principle, the universe will respond back, “How may I serve you?”
Which reminds me of the English master, Beesley: ” “This is the secret of evolution, plenty – abundance -and this again comes back to human thinking: to the consciousness of an abundance. Each time you allow yourself to think you are hard up, you are going to be more hard up. Each time you think you can’t spare anything to give away, then you will have less next time.
- Wayne Dyer
I don’t know about the LoA dynamics (I cannot know), but he does have a point about coming from a sense of deficiency vs fullness or completeness. And I also see that coming from an orientation of service – to others, myself, life – makes resources available that I otherwise may not be aware of.
I don’t think it is going to be a good idea to do what anyone else says, even a psychic friend. What got you into this is that you stopped listening to Source and lived from fear and your own will.Yes, all that is happening is God’s will. Your part is whether you listen and act from love and oneness with God’s will or from fear and separation. If you truly ask for God’s will to be known and done, the divine will get through to you no matter what if you are willing to feel the fear, doubt, uncertainty and wait until you receive the Knowing from the divine. It is about giving yourself, mind, body, soul to God. Remember Jesus two edicts when asked how to achieve union. Love God with all your heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself/and yourself. If you love God with all your heart and soul there is nothing you want more than to do God’s will. When we realize that every time we act from personal ego/will we cause suffering and dis-ease and ultimately death to ourselves and all life it is pretty easy to turn fully in surrender to God. Consider these things…- Barry, in an email to me
For the first two thirds of my twenties, I had a clear inner guidance and I followed it most of the time. As I followed it, it became more clear to me. And there was a sense of being guided with love and care, and a deep sense of rightness and alignment. Things fell into place in my life.
Then, I went against my guidance and moved to Wisconsin. I did it because of a relationship, and really because of fears and beliefs about it. I was willing to sacrifice following my guidance in order to avoid what I was afraid of (being alone was one of those). This was the beginning of what can be labelled a dark night of the soul, where things felt off track internally and in my life in general.
Now, the invitation is to follow my inner guidance again, and take a closer look at the fears and beliefs I sometimes use to stop myself from doing so.
I see that God’s will is what is, and one way to align with God’s will is to question my thoughts saying what is is not right. Another way to align with God’s will is to question the thoughts I use to stop myself from following my guidance.
In my own experience, I find two ways reality can recognize itself.
First, it can recognize itself through the support of certain states. All as awakeness, love and presence may be in the foreground, while beliefs that would cover up this recognition stay untriggered and in the background. This is a honeymoon phase. It’s reality revealing itself to itself in an early phase, and assisted by certain states and circumstances. It’s a free gift, in many ways. It doesn’t cost much.
Then, there is the invitation for reality to recognize itself independent of specific states and circumstances, unassisted by what was described above. Reality is invited to recognize itself even when the content of experience is quite different from in the honeymoon phase. Can awakeness recognize itself as a wound, as pain, as a contraction, as identification, when these fill experience? Can it recognize itself as that too? Can love recognize itself as contraction, pain, wound, identification, when these fill experience? Can love recognize itself as that too? Can presence recognize itself as a wound, pain, contraction, identification, when these fill experience?
Is it true that what’s here is not awakeness? Is it true that what’s here is not love? Is it true that something went wrong? Is it true that something is lost? Is it true that what’s longed for (love, acceptance, trust, home) is not already here?
This costs us our dearest beliefs and identifications. It costs us everything we saw ourselves and the world as.
If the first is the initial initiation, the second is an early graduate level. And that too is, of course, not an “end”.
Nothing happened. Why is that true?
- Byron Katie
When I look for the past, I can only find it in my images of the past. It’s all, literally, imagined. It’s all here in my images right now.
And if I am presented with “evidence” – records, other people’s reports – that too is an image. It’s part of my world of images.
There is no security for those who seek it outside of themselves.
- Byron Katie
And the same goes for love, abundance and any other essential quality.
If you want real control, drop the illusion of control; let life have you. It does anyway. You’re just telling yourself the story of how it doesn’t.
- Byron Katie
I keep seeing this too:
My world is my world of images. And I can struggle with these images – scare myself with them, or I can find understanding and love for them.
How do I find understanding and love for these images? For me, it’s through support from ho’oponopono, The Work, TRE, bringing them into the heart flame – allowing it to burn away anything not like itself, and holding satsang with them, along with whatever else comes to me.
Early success is a terrible teacher. You’re essentially being rewarded for a lack of preparation, so when you find yourself in a situation where you must prepare, you can’t do it. You don’t know how.
- Chris Hadfield in An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, p. 100
I know this one from my own experience – in more than one area of life. The remedy is (a) a more realistic perception: many others are more skilled and experienced than me, and it’s always possible to be more skilled and experienced. (b) Seeing that it’s not personal, it’s life expressing itself. And (c) doing what’s required to continue to do the tasks well and improve my skills and experience.
Go to that pain. Can you feel the feeling in your shoulder? So, that feeling is pain. Can u really know that it s true?
Well, I call it pain.
Yes you do and lets go in again. Can you really know that that feeling what you feel is pain? Can you really know that? Maybe that’s what love feels like. Who knows?
- Byron Katie in dialog with a woman who has pain in her shoulder
I am love, and as long as I seek it from you, I can’t know that.
- Byron Katie
When there is a belief in deficiency and having to get love, acceptance and approval from others, I cannot see it’s already here. It’s here to give to myself.
I also don’t see that I am that love, acceptance and approval, and can give myself to the image of me that may appear deficient.
Everything will stay with you until there is unconditional love.
If you can’t forgive it, it owns you.
- Adyashanti, Silent Retreat, disc 13, track 14
I see that for myself. In my twenties, it seemed easy to (mostly) meet what’s here with love, because I lived in a state of love. Now, it seems more challenging because that state is not here. The invitation now seems to be to notice that what’s here is already love.
Everything will stay until there is unconditional love. And that’s for a simple reason: If there isn’t a deep love for what’s here, it’s because stories are believed and it’s out of alignment with reality. When there is a deep unconditional love, it’s because there is a closer conscious alignment with reality. What’s here is love, it’s recognized as love, and then it’s met with love. Love meets itself. It’s unconditional in the sense that anything can be recognized as love and be met with love. It’s not dependent on what it is, or what it’s labeled as by a thought. And it’s conditional in the sense that what’s met with love is already love. The love is “conditioned” on that love.
Adyashanti: ….but wait for one big, final spiritual experience which will catapult them fully into it 12Nov13 | 0
Many seekers do not take full responsibility for their own liberation, but wait for one big, final spiritual experience which will catapult them fully into it. It is this search for the final liberating experience which gives rise to a rampant form of spiritual consumerism in which seekers go from one teacher to another, shopping for enlightenment as if shopping for sweets in a candy store. This spiritual promiscuity is rapidly turning the search for enlightenment into a cult of experience seekers. And, while many people indeed have powerful experiences, in most cases these do not lead to the profound transformation of the individual, which is the expression of enlightenment.
I see this for myself. I have an image of a big shift in the future, and when there is a waiting for this to happen, I am less with myself here and now. I am less available to take care of what’s here – to hold satsang with it, take thoughts to inquiry, give it over to God etc.
Liberation becomes an image placed in an imaginary future, instead of looking at what’s here that I can help find liberation in practical and concrete ways.