I am going to make this simple…..
As I get more familiar with allowing experience, as is, as if it will never change (although it always does), and with kindness, I can actively seek out that which is more difficult to allow.
I can bring up the images about the past, future, or present that are most difficult for me, and find familiarity with allowing these images and the emotions triggered by them.
I can notice what in my present experience is most difficult for me to allow, bring attention to it, and shift into allowing it.
And I can notice that even that which is most difficult for me to allow, is already allowed. Even the resistance itself, the fueling of this resistance, any sense of an I and other, and identification with this I, is already allowed as is.
It is worth keeping this in mind, since it is possible – and probably common – to become comfortable with allowing some types of experience (images, emotions, pain) while still being caught up in an habitual resistance to other types of experiences. If that’s the case, I can ask myself what these are for me, and explore what happens if I intentionally shift into allowing them.
There is a lot more to this, some of which is mentioned in the draft below.
An unplanned and slightly rambling and convoluted first draft….
There are simple and easier ways to allow experience. I can do it when there is not too much going on, when the emotions or sensations are not very strong and the mood is neutral or good. I can do it when there are not too many distractions. And I can make it even easier for me by bringing attention to the body sensation aspect of the experience, rather than the full experience of sensations, emotions, images, and thoughts.
As I get familiar with it, I can take it further. I can allow experience when it is more difficult. When the sensations or emotions are stronger. In daily life as it happens. And instead of isolating out the physical sensation, I can allow the whole experience as is. I can also intentionally seek out images, memories, and stories about the future triggering what is most difficult for me to allow.
One step further again, I can look for the experience it is most difficult for me to allow. For instance here and now, what in my experience is most difficult for me to allow? It may be at a low volume or somewhere in the background, but it may still have the quality that is most difficult for me. What happens when I meet it? Allow it? Does fear come up? Can I be with and allow those fears? Does images come up? Can I be with and allow those images? Are the physical reactions? Can I be with and allow those reactions?
All of this is also a form of inquiry. What happens when I allow experience as is? What happens when I resist it? Do I go into beliefs? Do I distract myself? What happens when I bring in the heart, allowing experience with kindness and warmth? What happens when I isolate out the physical sensations of the experience, allowing attention to go there? Is it easier?
What is it most difficult for me to allow? Pain? Fear? Certain images (stories, memories, imagined futures)? The emotions triggered by these images? What do I fear will happen if I allow those experiences? How would it be to allow these? What happens when I allow these? What happens when I resist?
And most importantly, is it true that these experiences are not already allowed? Is it true that any experience, including the resistance itself and the fueling of resistance, is not allowed? What happens when I notice it is already allowed? What happens if all I do is noticing it is already allowed?
Also, what supports me in allowing experience? Is it easier when I eat certain foods and avoid other foods (sugar, artificial additives)? It is easier when I do a practice to stabilize attention, such as a breath practice? Is it easier when I do a body-oriented practice, such as yoga, tai chi, or Breema? Is it easier when I have used my body actively, for instance walking, biking, swimming, or strength training? Is it easier if I bring attention to the body-sensation aspect of the experience, temporarily leaving the rest to itself? Is it easier if I talk with others about this who are interested in the same?
And if none of these are present, and the situation does not seem conducive for allowing experience, can I notice that experience is already allowed, even then? Do I use the lack of any of these as an excuse for not allowing experience? What happens if I notice and allow the fears and beliefs behind that impulse to find an excuse, and I do it with empathy?
It can be very simple.
And there is always more to explore….
For instance, how is the appearance of resistance created? How does it show up in the sense fields? How does it look in sensations? (For me, a tension in the throat/palate area.) What is there as images? (Images of I and what is resisted, in the process of separating.) Where does attention go? When resistance is fueled, how is that appearance created? Is there more tension in the muscles creating the sensation aspect? Are the images more vivid and obvious? When there is a shift out of resistance, how is that appearance created?
Where does resistance come from? Is there a belief behind the resistance? A belief about the emotions? A belief about what triggers these emotions? What happens when I fuel resistance? Do I also fuel these beliefs? What happens when I fuel these beliefs? How do I act? How do I treat others? How do I treat myself?
How does the appearance of an I – a doer/observer – show up in the sense fields? What happens when it is recognized as content of experience, as any other content of experience? What happens when it is identified with? Is there resistance to this identification? What happens when this identification is allowed, as is and with kindness?
And how does all this fit with how I act in the world? When I allow experience as is and with kindness, what happens? Do I act differently? Do I come from more clarity? More heart? Less reactivity? (This is not the purpose or reason for exploring allowing experience, but it is good to notice. It is information.)
Just to add another facet: I can explore how allowing experience influences aspects of myself, and how it interacts with other practices. It allows emotions to be seen and felt, and so invites in healing. It invites in a softening of identification with stories (release out of beliefs, rigid viewpoints). It invites an experience of myself as a seamless body-mind whole. It invites noticing the field of experience as a seamless field, already including what I may see as the outer and inner world. It allows me to act more directly and honestly from what seems most right and kind for me in the situation.
It invites noticing that all experience is already allowed, as is, including resistance and identification. It invites noticing this sense of an I as content of experience, as any other content of experience, and that this is independent of whether there is identification there or not.
And finally, it is best to take it slowly, one facet at a time. There is no hurry, and each one is infinite in its richness. I often stay with one for days or weeks at a time, whenever it comes up for me to explore it.
And if the images and emotions coming up are about a current situation, I of course need to take care of that situation to the best of my ability. The allowing then becomes a support for me to face and take care of the situation, and facing the situation brings me opportunities to allow and be with the experiences I trigger in myself.
– allow experience
— look for what is most difficult to allow, here now
— may be small, low volume, somewhere in the background, but has the quality of that which is most difficult to allow for me
— process, start with that which is easiest + make it easier (e.g. focus on how it feels in the body, where, shape etc.)
— then, get more familiar with, include more difficult experiences + in more situations
— this one, can be very helpful
— is also a form of inquiry, what happens when I resist experience? what happens when I allow it? what happens when I bring heart (compassion, kindness, warmth) in? what is it most difficult for me to allow? what happens when I do allow it?
— also, use practical wisdom/kindness…. (in a conventional sense, it’s often good to not accept situations, circumstances, but work on changing them)
– allowing experience, notice is already happening
Here is the companion post to the one on “exploring that which appears least enlightened”.
Again, I can start with the more easy situations, such as what is already here when not too much is going on, and also what is triggered when I intentionally seek out images and memories triggering what is most difficult for me to allow. And I can then bring it into daily life and situations where these emotions/images come up more strongly.