This post needs some cleaning up. It turned out to be a moving target as I wrote it.
There are so many ways to work with the content of our experiences.
Right now, I am exploring the various ways of allowing what is to be and unfold on its own, and even within this quite specific category there is a range of approaches.
(a) Being With
One is to be with whatever is experienced right now. To allow it to be. This includes finding myself as it and allow separations to fall away. Or to be with it without labels.
Some of the specific practices here are…
Mindfulness practice, shifting the center of gravity into/as the witness, allowing whatever is happening to unfold independent of content, and with little interest in the specifics of the content.
Being with whatever is experienced, as promoted by Raphael Cushnir, and one specific form of mindfulness practice.
(b) Curiosity about content
Another is curiosity with content. This can show up in the form of insight practice, which tends to focus on insight into the general processes of the mind. Another is curiosity about this specific and unique process. To be with it and actively follow its shifts and changes into something else – to follow the whole unfolding process with curiosity and see where it goes.
Some of the specific practices are…
Buddhist insight meditation, exploring the various ways the mind works and discern the various general processes.
Process Work, where we actively follow the specific and unique process of unfolding and are interested in the specific content.
Active Imagination, very similar to – and one of the predecessors of – process work.
And yet another is various forms of inqury into content so the attachment to it falls away.
Some of the ways this shows up in a more formalized way is…
Byron Katie’s inquiry process, where we explore the content and what is true for us about it, allowing attachments to fall away through a more clear seeing.
And varius inquiries into who/what am I? Including Douglas Harding’s experiments, exploring the infinite causes to any apparently personal activity, finding the border between I and other, atma vichara, and so on.
What these approaches, and the many others similar to these, have in common is a surrender to content.
This surrendering comes from less resistance to content, less holding onto and pushing away of content.
And less resistance in turn comes from… Shifting the center of gravity to the Witness, the pure seeing of it. Or following the shifts of content with curiosity. Or seeing clearly so attachment to content falls away.
The first is more detached and emphasizes the seeing. The second is more engaged and emphasizes the process. And the third is uses the power of clear seeing to allow attachments to fall away.
Surrender is partial as long as there is an attachment to the idea of “I” as a segment of what is. And it is more complete when there is the clear realization of no “I” anywhere.
To me, it seems that each of these approaches have their strengths. And each of them are also somewhat incomplete (with the possible exception of Byron Katies’ inquiry process, which seems to include all three general approaches).
Again, being with emphasizes shifting the center of gravity to the witness, and this is very useful. We become more familiar with ourselves as pure seeing, and how this allows for a certain detachment from content. The content of our content can come and go as guests.
And exploring content is useful in two ways. First, in familiarizing ourselves with how the general processes of the mind tend to show up. And then also in exploring specific content, which may be very helpful in healing and maturing on our human level.
And inquiry in turn offers something else, a more specific exploration of how it is all put together – the seeing and the seen, the doing with no “I”.