Staying with the questions

 

It is simple: staying with the questions allows the process to continue to unfold… as it wants to unfold, not as my thoughts say it should unfold (which it never does anyway).

If I focus on finding an answer, attention tends to go to the inside of a thought in two ways. First, there is an expectation of an answer coming up in the (hopefully immediate) future, which comes from a thought about the future. Then, my thoughts will try to help and tell me what the answer should be like, or even exactly what it is.

In both cases, attention goes to the inside of a thought, which (a) brings attention away from what is alive in immediate awareness, (b) tends to cut off the exploration process, and (d) tends to feel a little stale, off, and even too predictable and boring.

It also brings up a sense of a separate self. Either, there is an I here not knowing the answer and Others who do, which brings up a sense of inferiority. Or it can bring up a sense of an I here knowing the answer, and Others possibly not knowing it, including myself in the future, which in turn fuels both arrogance and fear.

If attention stays with the question and the exploration process (either structured through Choiceless Awareness, The Work, the Big Mind process or something similar, or more free and open), it allows for receptivity, and for the process to unfold in a fresh and surprising way. It is always fresh and surprising, but at least now, I can notice it.

It is fresh, because God (life, the universe) does not repeat itself. Even a thought with the (apparently) same content as a previous thought, is a new thought. And it is always surprising as well, since expectations comes from thoughts, thoughts are about the past (even when they appear to be about the present or future), and what is alive is always different from these expectations.

And this helps me see that what is alive in immediate awareness, including any insight, is only temporary, only here now. It also helps me see that thoughts, at best, only reflects what is (was) alive in immediate awareness, and can serve as a pointer for noticing what is alive here now.

It is tempting to go to a thought for an answer. It is quick. Easy. Works to some extent. Yet, it also feels a little stale. There is a slight discomfort associated with it. It feels a little off, slightly dishonest.

Even just noticing this helps. It helps me stay somewhat sincere, somewhat more precise about what is here now.

Attention goes to a memory, gets wrapped up in it, and there is a sense of I and Other, of a smaller space, of something being a little off. And this too, is just what is happening here now along with everything else.

As soon as it is noticed, there is a release of identification with it. The boundaries fade and become more transparent, a sense of space comes in.

Initial draft:

It is simple: staying with the questions allows new answers to continue to come up. It allows the process of exploration to continue to unfold, in new and surprising ways.

If I go to a thought (memories, habitual answers) to come up with an answer, (a) I get comfy there and don’t go into new territory, (b) it comes from a thought and not what is alive in immediate experience, and (c) it quickly gets pretty boring. At the very least, something feels off. Fake. Slightly dishonest.

If I stay with the question, keeping it alive, exploring it through sincere inquiry and what is alive in immediate awareness, it is fresh, and whatever insights come up are fresh and surprising. The process is allowed to unfold and life its own life. It takes me where it wants to take me, not where my thoughts want to take me (which is always something reflecting a past and something known).

It makes it clear that whatever insight comes up is only temporary, limited and provisional. And that whenever any alive insight is reflected in thoughts and words, those can at best reflect an insight, they are not the insight itself. (For instance, when I go to a memory of an insight, it is only a reflection of and pointer to something else.)

Yet, as obvious as this is, intellectually and even experientially, it is often very tempting to go to a thought for an answer. It is quick. It is known. It is familiar. It works to some extent. It may even come from a memory of what was a very real, juicy, vivid and alive insight.

And even just noticing this helps. It helps stay somewhat sincere. Somewhat precise about what going on.

Attention goes to a memory, gets wrapped up in it, takes it for real, and there is a gentle noticing of it, and of how it feels a little off, just a little uncomfortable, a little too confined, too neatly packaged and presented.

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