Nausicaä & Teto

 

In Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind, Nausicaaä meets a vicious fox-squirrel. It jumps on her shoulder and bites into her finger. She remains calm and says “there is nothing to fear”. The fox-squirrel calms down and eventually becomes her friend. She says “you were just a little scared, weren’t you”. (About 12:25 into the movie.)

This is similar to befriending scared parts of ourselves. They can seem vicious, reactive, and fearsome. Our tendency may be to recoil and pull back – or to struggle with them in another way. And that tends to reinforce the reactivity dynamic and the cycle repeats.

If we instead – as Nausicaä – relate to these parts of us with some understanding, kindness, and curiosity, we may shift out of the old cycle. These parts of us may feel more understood and safe, allowing them to relax a bit. We may get to know them a little better. We may even befriend them. And the whole dynamic changes.

The main key is our orientation. Our understanding that fear is behind both the scary parts of us and how we have habitually reacted to them, and when it was initially formed it came from an intention to protect us. Despite surface appearances, it comes from a kind intention. This understanding allows us to meet it with some kindness, curiosity, and patience.

Another key is to notice and allow. Notice what’s here – what’s surfacing and how I react to it. Allow it as it is. And, depending on my experience and practice, explore the different components of what’s happening and see how they work together.

This topic is also a reminder of something else: How I relate to nature and other beings reflect how I relate to myself. As I find more kindness towards myself and the different parts of me, it tends to shift how I relate to nature as a whole and other beings in general.

P.S. Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind is an early Hayao Miyazaki movie. While the animation is a little rough and the music at times terrible, the story is powerful.

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From pushing to allowing

 
I notice a (familiar) frustration with my body’s lack of energy. I want to do more but am unable to. Along with this is a sense of pushing. Wanting to push through. Push so I can get things done. Push life so my health improves. I notice this and know it comes from beliefs, identifications, and something that’s not felt and seen. So I take a step back. Notice what’s here. Open to it. Allow it. Take time with it. And notice a curiosity about what’s behind it. I notice fear. I open to this fear. Allow it. Notice where in my body I feel it and the sensations connected with it. Notice it happens in infinite space. I also notice any fear of this fear, or feeling or opening to this fear, and include that in what I open to and allow. Whatever is here is included in what’s allowed and welcomed. I notice a curiosity about this fear. It seems to be a fear of not being enough. Of being judged. Of not being able to take care of what needs to be taken care of. It’s a survival fear. In the moment, this is enough. Connecting with, allowing, and befriending this more primal survival fear is enough. Something profound shifts. There is a sense of returning home, returning to what’s more real. It’s a relief. The initial frustration and pushing makes sense in a different way and identification with it softens and falls away. I know I can keep exploring, and probably will at some point. I continue noticing any associated sensations, images, and labels. I can explore my first memories of feeling this frustration or pushing, and – more to the point – this primal survival fear. I see it’s innocent. It’s very understandable and human. This primal fear is essential to most or nearly all living beings. It’s what has kept us alive for all these generations going back to very early organisms. It’s what has kept me alive. It’s a friend and it’s a big relief to actually and finally get to know it and befriend it. Running away from it is innocent too and very natural. And it creates stress, pushing, a fighting with what’s here, and make me overlook the innocence in it and the primal fear behind it, and I miss out of seeing all this and making friends and peace with it.

The sweetness of being with what’s here

 

This morning, a strong sadness came up. I don’t know exactly where it is from or what it is about (although I do remember it from childhood mixed with a longing), and I don’t really need to know. 

My initial impulse was to wish it wasn’t there. It was uncomfortable. It brought up uncomfortable thoughts.

And then there was a kind of surrender into it. It’s here so I may as well be with it. There isn’t really much else to do. And I know from experience that initially uncomfortable experiences reveal something else if I can meet it and relate to it more intentionally. 

Notice the sadness-sensations in the body. Notice the mental images and words. Notice the (very human) reactions to it. Notice it’s all already allowed. (It’s already allowed by space, mind, life.) 

Rest attention with the sensations in the body. Notice the space around it, and it all happening within and as space. Notice it’s already allowed. Rest with it, as it is. 

I know from earlier experiences that this is the way through it, and a part of me wanted through it.

At the same time, another part just wanted to be with it. Feel it. Allow it. This is a part of me, of life. It’s visiting. It’s life meeting life.

Yet another part knows that this – the sadness and being with it – works on me. There is a deepening. Something happens and is processed, and although I don’t know exactly what it is or what’s happening, it’s welcome and feels deeply right. 

Now, a few hours later, there is a spaciousness and sweetness mixing in with the sadness. A warm fullness. Earthiness. Receptivity. A deeply felt sense of the resilience, fragility, and immense beauty of all life. 

I often don’t write about this. It’s wordless so finding the right words are difficult. At the same time, I know it’s valuable to share so I’ll do it even if it falls a bit short. 

Three guidelines in how I relate to issues with a charge

 
When I work with issues with a charge, whether it’s for myself or a client, I notice I often use three overarching guidelines. And when I talk about issues with a charge, I mean any issues with a charge, whether it’s an identification, a belief, a compulsion, or something else. Here are the three guidelines or reminders.

Allowing. The context is allowing. Reality already allows what’s here so it makes sense for us to do the same. And resting with, feeling, and seeing what we have avoided is an important part of healing.

Intention to clear. When I have an intention to clear an issue, it helps me be more diligent, honest, and more thorough.

Reduce charge. In a pragmatic everyday sense, I am happy if the charge of an issue is reduced. It helps us relate to it differently, with more intention, clarity, and kindness.

During a session, I tend to adjust whether I emphasize the allowing or the clearing. If I am working on an issue that the person (I or a client) has avoided, it’s good to emphasize allowing and resting with it, especially initially and when we hit new aspects of it. If I notice the issue is relatively easy to rest with, and it doesn’t seem to move much, it can be helpful to emphasize the clearing as a guide to be more thorough and complete. Read More

Welcome, God

 

Earlier today, I noticed some slight discomfort, sadness, and impulse for it to change.

And then welcome, God. To the discomfort, sadness, and impulse for it to change. And as a reminder to myself that it’s all Spirit. It’s happening within and as awakeness. It’s the play of life. It’s life experiencing life.

It’s also a reminder of how spiritual practices are made. Something happens spontaneously, as welcome, God did. We find it helpful to ourselves. And sometimes, it’s passed on to others. To be more useful, it’s often made into a structure or a kind of prescription. And sometimes, it’s helpful to someone else, and sometimes not.

Either way, it’s something that initially happens spontaneously. Is found to be helpful. There is an impulse to pass it on to someone else. (Often as a kindness.) It is made into something slightly more structured. And it is then helpful or not, depending on the person and the situation they are in.

This particular one is helpful if we have seen (as a glimpse) or continue to see (when we look) all as Spirit. But we sometimes need a reminder that some manifestations of Spirit – such as discomfort or an impulse for something to change – also are Spirit. So we can then try welcome, God as a reminder, and see what happens.

Note: We can say welcome, God to anything. Situations. People. Emotions. Thoughts. Whatever it may be that we initially don’t recognize as Spirit. Whatever we don’t automatically recognize as Spirit due to old habits of calling some thing bad, undesirable, or just not the divine.

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Meet it more intentionally

 

A few days ago, I had a sense of dread and fear in my belly.

I recognized that feeling from going to elementary school. I sometimes had it walking to school in the mornings.

Back then, I didn’t know what to do about it. Nobody had shown me.

And now, somebody has shown me and I can relate to it more intentionally. I can meet with presence, kindness, allowing, patience. I can give it what it really needs and wants. I can meet it as it wishes to be met. And that makes all the difference.

It’s such a simple shift, and it changes the situation from feeling victimized by that dread to befriending it.

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Allowing vs healing

 

For me, allowing and healing go hand in hand.

What’s here is already allowed. This experience, as it is, is already allowed – by life, mind, space, awareness. There is an allowing of what’s here inherent in existence and what we are. Our conscious view may or may not be aligned with this allowing, and this alignment may change from situation to situation, and that’s allowed as well.

When we don’t notice this allowing, and instead are caught in beliefs saying what’s here is wrong, bad, and shouldn’t be, we struggle with what is. And that’s suffering. It can be very helpful to notice and then align more consciously with this allowing. It’s a relief. It is, in a very real sense, a coming home. We are coming home to a central characteristic of what we already are, which is this inherent allowing.

One of the innumerable things that are allowed is a wish for something to be different. If we don’t notice the allowing, then wishing for something to be different can become compulsive and add another layer to the suffering. If we do notice the allowing, then the movement for change can become much lighter, more of a natural movement than a compulsion. In either case, the wish for something to be different is very natural, very human, and sometimes even kind and healthy. It can be a kindness to our human self and perhaps to others as well.

This topic sometimes comes up in an inquiry context. The allowing invites a natural healing, and it also allows us to work towards this healing. Say I feel unloved. I can notice it’s all already allowed. The sensations, images, and words making up the sense of being unloved is already allowed. And just resting in that noticing is very healing. I rest with each of the components of “unloved” while noticing the boundless space it’s happening within and as, the presence it’s happening within and as, and the inherent allowing of it all.

And I can also explore it more thoroughly and intentionally through inquiry. I can ask simple questions about each component of “unloved” to see what’s really there. I can look at the early situations in my life where that identify was initially created. I can do some mining on the body contraction supporting the sense of being unloved and see what additional stories are connected with it. All of this too invites in healing.

When I notice and align more consciously with the inherent allowing, I get to notice and align with what I am. When I invite in healing, I do something very natural and kind for my human self.

Note: The topic of this post became more clear to me as I wrote. If I was to rewrite it, which I probably will in another post, it would probably be more clear, simple, and direct. That’s one of the benefits of writing. If it starts out fuzzy, it does tend to become a bit more clear as I write.

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Treat our experience as we would like to be treated

 

How would I like to be met when I am distressed? With kindness, patience, and presence. Listened to. Given full permission to be exactly as I am in the moment.

And that’s how the distressed parts of me want to be treated by me as well.

If they are treated with avoidance, disrespect, and wanting it to change, it only reinforces the struggle and suffering.

If they are met with kindness, patience, presence, then they tend to relax and soften.

These distressed parts of my experience are just like me. They want to be treated as I would like to be treated when I am in distress.

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How I escape meeting what’s here

 

When I experience discomfort, and especially if it’s strong, here are some ways I sometimes avoid meeting it:

Connecting with friends and family.

Talking about what’s happening with someone.

Internet. Videos. News. Reading.

Nature. Walking. Photography.

Inquiry. Vortex Healing. Other forms of healing modalities that I hope will reduce the suffering.

If it’s especially strong: Readings, I Ching. (To feel I know about the future.)

And longer term:

Relationships. Education. Work. Stable situation.

There is nothing wrong with any of these. Many of them are very helpful and just part of a human life. But they can be used in a compulsive way to avoid being with what’s here, to avoid feeling the uncomfortable sensations. A good way to do it is to (a) notice what’s happening. (Uncomfortable feelings/thoughts + wish to avoid.) (b) Take time to rest with and feel the uncomfortable sensations. (For a while, for instance until how I relate to it shifts and then a little longer.) And (c) then do any of these other things if the wish is still there.

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Let it be true

 

Let it be true.

That’s been my main pointer lately.

When I notice even slightly uncomfortable thoughts or sensations, and I remember, I remind myself let it be true.

There is a great relief in this. So much energy goes into resisting or disproving uncomfortable thoughts or sensations, and often it’s not even conscious. This pointer is an invitation to do the opposite. Let it be true, and rest in it being true for a few moments.

Whenever a thought is even slightly uncomfortable, it’s because we have thoughts about it saying it’s bad or undesirable and there is resistance to it. And the same goes for sensations. Whenever sensations seem even slightly uncomfortable, it’s because it’s because a thought says it means something, and that meaning is bad or undesirable, so there is resistance to it.

It’s helpful to take time resting in it being true. Notice what happens. Is there a sense of relief? Anything else?

After a while, we can explore it further in gentle inquiry. What images are there? Words? What (other) sensations? Look at the images and words. Feel the sensations. Perhaps ask a few simple questions to clarify what’s already and really there.

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Give it a warm bath

 

Whenever I feel discomfort, emotional or physical pain, a craving or whatever it may be, I can give it a warm bath.

A friend (SL) shared this one with me. When I first heard it, it sounded a bit simplistic and even silly for about half a second until I gave it a second thought and tried it out for myself.

Here is what I discover when I do it. Giving it a warm bath…..

  • Allows it to be as it is. There is a built-in allowing.
  • There is kindness towards it. A built in kindness.
  • It’s somatic. It invites feeling the sensations.
  • It’s visceral and it’s simple. We all know how it feels to take a warm bath, so we know how to give it to the experience. We don’t need to understand or know anything more.

As usual, this is not to make it “go away”. It’s more so it’s easier for me to feel it, and look at the images and words associated with it. It’s also so I can reverse my old habit of wanting to push away any unpleasant or uncomfortable experience, and instead meet it, and notice it’s already allowed and already noticed.

Quote: Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge

 

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.

– attributed to CG Jung on the internet

This may or may not be an actual quote from Jung. My guess is that it isn’t a quote by him since it doesn’t quite sound like something he would say. It sounds too judgmental!

I would rather say that familiarity is what dissolved judgment. When I understand and am familiar with another person’s history and situation, it’s difficult to judge. For instance, after working with several people with trauma and addictions, judgment doesn’t really come up. It just seems very understandable why they are struggling the way they do. And the same for me, with the ways I struggle. And the same for other people I know. We are all in the same boat here.

At another level, I would say that feeling is difficult, that’s why we judge. When I want to escape an uncomfortable feeling, one of the ways I do that is by judging myself, others, and life. And when I notice, meet, and feel that feeling, and open to it, the need to escape it tends to soften and dissolve, as does the impulse to judge.

Why is it difficult to feel certain feelings? It’s not due to the feeling itself. That’s just a sensation. It’s because of the images and words the mind associated with these feelings, and the mind taking these are scary and real. That’s what makes a sensation or feeling scary, and something we want to avoid at almost any cost. And one of the ways we avoid feeling is by going into thought, and sometimes into judgment of ourselves, others, or the world.

Welcome with the intention of having it go away

 

There is a common phase where we (a) recognize it doesn’t work to try to make something (a painful experience or part of us) go away, (b) shift our strategy to welcome it, find love for it, meet in in inquiry, and (c) do it with the intention of having it go away.

We basically say welcome, now go away.

No wonder it doesn’t work. We still want it to go away. And what we are trying to get rid of knows. It says I know what you are up do. It’s not going to work. 

It knows what we are trying to do. It’s not fooled. And the reason it knows is that it’s me. Whatever is here, is who and what I am.

So what’s the solution? It’s to include the wish for it to go away. To include it in the welcoming, the resting, the inquiry.

It’s to welcome the desire to have it go away. To see it’s already here. It’s already allowed.

It’s here to protect me. It comes from a deep concern for me. It comes from kindness. It comes from love. This recognition makes it easier for me to return the favor. To meet it with kindness. Meet it with love.

Rest with it. Notice. Allow. Rest with it in kind presence.

Inquire into it. What’s the belief behind it? What to do I find when I examine it? (The Work.) Can I find the perceived threat in the apparently threatening experience? (Living Inquiries.)

This help shift us into the next phase. A phase where we more genuinely welcome what’s here. Find love for it. Rest with it. Inquire into it, to see what’s really there.

It’s a phase where we recognize more genuinely that what’s here is OK. It really doesn’t have to go away.

First, there is a more conventional phase where we battle what’s here, where we try to make whatever seems uncomfortable go away. Then, we sneakily try to make it go away by welcoming it, allowing it, resting with it. And then, we see that it really doesn’t have to go away. We find peace with it, as it is. We more genuinely welcome it. Rest with it. Inquire into it to see what’s already here.

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What if it would never change?

 

What if it would never change?

I was reminded of this question yesterday, when I noticed the impulse in me for some of my symptoms to go away. (Especially the weird energetic feeling in/around forehead, poor executive functions, etc..)

What if it would never change? Then what?

How would it be to find peace with it? Learn to live with it? Function with it? Rest with it? Even find love for it?

It’s a shift from the victim perspective and struggling against it to finding peace with it and working with it.

It also highlights the victim dynamic. The question makes it more visible. Can I see how the victim dynamic is here to protect (the imagined) me? That it comes from love? How is it to see, and feel, that it’s a form of protection, and comes from deep caring and love? How is it to rest with that too, and find love for it?

It also reminds me that what’s here now is all there is. Anything else is just a thought, perhaps connected with a feeling in the body. It highlights any tendency to invest an imagined future with hopes or fears, and I can do the same with this. I can notice. Rest with it. Find love for it. See it’s there in an attempt to protect me, and comes from deep caring and love.

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What would I have to feel?

 

What would I have to feel if I didn’t (do this addictive/compulsive thing)?

What would I have to feel if I didn’t….. reach for the phone, listened to a podcast, called a friend….. right now?

And then feel it. Drop into the feeling. Notice any associated images and words, while still feeling it.

I have run away from these uncomfortable feelings most of my life. Why not do the opposite? Why not feel them? Why not welcome them?

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

Included in this is the discomfort itself, and also the impulse to do something about it, fix it, run away. Any reaction to what’s here, and any reaction to this reaction, is included.

All is included. Whatever is here is included.

Why it doesn’t have to go away

 

I have written a couple of other posts on this topic, but find I am drawn to writing something again.

Why doesn’t this experience have to go away?

It’s me. It’s who and what I am, here and now. (And here and now is all there is. Any thoughts of past, future, or present happens here and now.) Why would I want to push parts of me away? Why would I want the pain of rejecting parts of me?

It’s here to protect me. When I look, I find that anger, sadness, discomfort, joy….. it’s all here to protect me. It’s all here to protect this human self, and the (literally) imagined self. I notice that here and now, and I also see that these impulses are put in me through evolution, and is what has made the survival of all my ancestors possible.

It’s from love. It’s here to protect me, so it’s from love.

It is love. It’s a form of love. (See the two previous points.)

It’s awareness. When I look, I find it’s all awareness. Any experience is awareness. It’s all – all of what a thought may call a me, experiencer, emotion, sensation -part of a seamless field of awareness. (And when I look for awareness, that’s unfindable.)

It’s already allowed. This experience is already allowed…. by life, mind, existence. It doesn’t work to try to change that.

Anything else is painful. Trying to push it away is painful. It’s suffering. It’s struggle. It’s futile.

It’s a relief. It’s a relief to notice that what’s here is already allowed. It’s already welcome. It’s already love. It’s already who and what I am. The experience itself softens. There is a sense of coming home. There is a quiet, soft, deep sense of satisfaction.

P.S. One way to explore if an experience really has to go away, is is to ask oneself: Is it true this experience has to go away? 

It doesn’t have to go away

 

This is a very basic living realization, and one that is – in many ways – a turning point. (One of many turning points, or new chapters, in our experience of life.)

It doesn’t have to go away.

We are trained to think that we need to try to escape certain experiences or make them go away….. through distractions, going into thought, eating, finding pleasure, and more.

And yet, is that true? Most of us have tried this for a lifetime, and although it may seem to work for a while, it doesn’t really work. If I am honest with myself, I have to admit it doesn’t really work.

What if I tried something else? What if I tried the reverse? What if I felt the sensations, and found curiosity about the words, images, and sensations that seem connected into an unpleasant experience.

What I find here is that it doesn’t have to go away. When I hold it in presence, find love for it, feel the sensations, and inquire into the images and words, I see that it’s all OK. It can really be there. It’s already here so why not?

Also, I see that whatever is my experience here and now, is who and what I am. If I try to push it away, I am pushing parts of myself away. I am rejecting parts of who and what I am. Why not instead see what happens if I hold it in presence, meet in in love, feel the sensations, and inquiry into the words and images?

One of the things that happens if I do this, is that there is a softening or release of identification with the unpleasant experience. It happens, and I don’t have to act from reactiveness. I can find a more sane way of relating to it. I can find a more sane way of living my life.

Another is that I realize how much of the suffering (all of it?) was created through trying to escape from it, or make it go away. The suffering came from the struggle. And it was experienced as suffering, in a very basic sense, because I was struggling with myself, with who and what I am in the moment.

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I love you

 

Another simple exploration is I love you.

I can bring any part of me to mind, and say I love you, and especially those parts previously or habitually unloved.

Here is a couple of variations:

You are welcome here. I love you.

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

And….

What would satisfy you forever?

What are you really?

Often, being met with love is what these parts really want. Some of them have been rejected, dismissed, and seen as wrong or bad, for a long time. As they are finally met with love, something in them may soften and relax.

When I feel unloved, it’s because a part of me feels unloved, so I can turn around and meet it with love. And this turning around is in two ways. First, by turning towards this part of me. And then by turning from rejecting or ignoring it, to finding love for it. This also helps me see that it is a part of me. It’s not the final word about who I am as a human being, and it’s not who I am as a whole.

By welcoming it, I may notice it’s already allowed (by life, awareness), and there is a more intentional alignment with this allowing. By thanking it for protecting me, I may find that it’s there to protect me, or an image of me, a literally imagined me. Asking what would satisfy it forever, allows me to find that in myself, for this part of me. And asking what it really is may help me see what it’s made up of, which a thought may call awareness, or presence, or even love.

Allowing, including impulses

 

A common suggestion is to see how it is to allow what’s here, this experience as it is.

And also to notice it’s already allowed and align more consciously with that allowing.

As with so much else, the general pointer is simple, and the refinements endless.

For instance, I can shift into allowing this field of experience – these sensations, words, images – as it is. I can notice it’s already allowed, by life, mind, awareness. That is quite simple. (Although not always easy.)

Within this content may be impulses to act. Relating to these requires more discrimination and experience.

Some of these impulses may be a quiet guidance. And I can follow that if it seems appropriate, and kind.

Others of these may be reactive, they may come from identifications, beliefs and wounds. I can meet these with love and curiosity, without acting on them.

It may be like this during intentional sessions, and it’s often not like this in everyday life. And that’s OK. This is an exploration. How is it to do this in sessions? And how is it when I instead act on reactivity? Or do not act on guidance? What are the consequences?

Over time, with this practice and noticing, there may be a shift. What I do in intentional sessions may seep out into daily life. It becomes a new habit. A new groove. And the wish for that to happen is also something to allow, and perhaps meet with love and curiosity.   Read More

Why welcome it

 

Why welcome what’s here? Why welcome any experience? Any words, images, sensations, sounds? Why welcome the experience of emotional and physical pain (when it’s already here)? Why rest with and allow our experience here and now, as it is?

I see a few reasons:

(a) Closer alignment with reality, with what’s already happening. It’s already allowed by life, mind and awareness.

(b) Pragmatic. It gives less discomfort, and can open for a new enjoyment.

(c) As an experiment. From curiosity. To see what happens. To do something different. (If what we have tried, and learned from parents and culture, gives distress, why not try something different? Why not try the opposite? If battling it doesn’t work, why not try welcoming it?)

(d) Because it’s what happens, it’s where life moves.

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Fear of what will happen if I allow what’s here

 

This seems to be one of my core fears…. The fear of what will happen if I allow what’s here.

It doesn’t quite make sense, since what’s here is already allowed, and any mental gymnastics cannot change it.

And yet, the fear is here. It’s real, as long as it’s taken as real. It’s real to me.

One way to explore this is to try it out. What happens if I recognize that what’s here, this experience as it is, is already allowed? What happens if I sink into this experience, allow it as it is – with discomfort, apparent resistance, and everything else? Does something terrible happen?

Another is to look at my beliefs about it. Something terrible will happen. I won’t function. I’ll be overwhelmed. I’ll be out of control. I won’t know how to function. Life will be out of control. Life needs to be controlled. I can’t trust life. I can’t trust what’s here. 

And yet another is to explore what a thought would call resistance, or fear, or escape, or avoidance. How is each of these created in my own mind? What do I find when I look at the images, words and sensations making these up? Are they as real and solid as they appear? Can the image making up resistance resist? Is the word “fear” afraid? Can the sensations of avoidance avoid anything? Is the image of an I a real I?

 

Fixing, love, allowing, noticing

 

Some ways of relating to what’s here:

Fixing & Healing

I can wish to fix it, heal it.

This can come from a wish to avoid feeling what’s here, which in turn comes from assumptions about what’s here and what it means.

Or from love and noticing what’s here.

Love

I can find love for what’s here.

This is a medicine for a habit of resisting what’s here and see it as bad. Some tools include metta, tonglen, ho’oponopono, and the heart prayer.

I can notice it’s already love.

This is a medicine for not noticing what’s here as love. Any beliefs and reactive emotions are innocent, come from love, and are love. Also, consciousness and it’s content is love.

I can find myself as love, loving presence for what’s here.

A shift into finding myself as love, and the loving presence it’s happening within and as.

Allowing

I can allow what’s here.

A shift into allowing what’s here.

I can notice what’s here is already allowed.

It’s already allowed. It’s effortlessly here. Is it true it’s not already allowed? (Even this resistance?)

This can shift into finding myself as the allowing and what’s allowed.

This third option is what happens when the images, words and sensations making up an appearance of a doer and observer are recognized as images, words and sensations, and identification is released out of it and back into consciousness and all of its content. It’s a shift from relating to what’s here, to being it, being the whole field of consciousness. Or, more precisely, from appearing to be an observer and doer relating to what’s here, to the whole field of consciousness and it’s content noticing itself as just that.

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Dropping into what’s here

 

Life is already showing up as what’s here. So why not drop into what’s here?

Why not notice it’s already allowed?

Why not feel what’s here, including what appears as fear, anger, discomfort, resistance?

Why not look into my assumptions about what it is, and what it means?

Why not align more consciously with life itself, as it is? Already allowing what’s here?

Why not take any answers to these questions to inquiry too?

Surrender to what’s here

 

Here is one form of surrender, which I am (again) exploring more intentionally as part of the Living Inquiries.

Notice what’s here. Bring your attention to the sensations in your body. Notice the area of most tension. Allow the sensations to be here. Notice they are already allowed. Feel the sensations, as if the sensations feel themselves.

Notice the sounds, coming and going. Words coming and going. Images coming and going. Notice the space it’s all happening within.

Notice the sensations, feel them as if it’s for the first time.

This is a surrender out of being caught up in words and images, and into sensations and whatever else is here. It’s a surrender out of identification with words and images, and their identities and viewpoints, and into noticing words as words, images as images, and sensations as sensations.

It is, in a way, the simplest form of surrender. And it can be supported by the Living Inquiries, looking at how words, images and sensations are “glued” together, and how this loosens when each is examined in turn.

Yes to what’s here

 

Whenever a thought says what’s here is undesirable (no good, wrong, bad), it’s an invitation to take a closer look.

Is it true this – this emotion, feeling, these sensations, this image or thought – is not already allowed? Not already allowed by life? By mind, space, reality?

How is it to intentionally align with this? How is it to say to this experience, you are welcome here.

How is it to simply say yes to what’s here. Notice it’s already allowed, and say yes, yes, yes.

What fears come up? What fearful images and thoughts? What am I afraid would happen if I say yes to the experience that’s here? Is it true? Can I be sure it’s true?

 

How is it to meet what I am escaping

 

When I notice a part of me that’s restless, that wants to run from an experience, I sometimes ask myself…..

Which experience am I escaping? What’s darkest and most dense here?

Can I find the part of me wishing to escape this? Can I find it’s innocent love for me?

Can I  meet this part of me with love?

Can I meet what I am escaping with love?

And some related questions:

Is it true it’s not already allowed? (The part of me wishing to escape, and what it wishes to escape.)

Is it true it’s not already loved?

What’s the story behind it? (The part wishing to escape, and what it escapes from.)

Is it true? How is it to hold it with love, and knowing it’s not true?

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Adyashanti: Meeting it with love, compassion, and the light of consciousness

 

It has to be met with love and compassion, and the light of consciousness.

Yes, it’s loving, yes, it’s compassion, but it also has a fiery aspect.

Now, people are very different in this regard.

If you can sit, and really do that for yourself without getting totally lost in it, then wonderful.

Sometimes, people can’t do that. They get janked out, and they are completely lost in it, and they can’t approach it. They need someone there to keep them grounded, keep them present, so the energy doesn’t pull them off completely.

But ideally, it would be really just the turning, the meeting, with that compassionate light, just right on the experience.

We have this wonderful phrase in Zen, like two arrows meeting in mid-air. It’s meeting it with that precision.

– Adyashanti, Kanuga Retreat, session 10

The third form of awakening: Integration

 

Most of what I write about here these days is the third form of awakening, a reorientation of the patterns of our human self so they align more closely and more consciously with reality, with what’s revealed when images and thoughts are examined.

And this can be referred to as integration. It’s an integration of parts of our human self, in a more conscious way, into reality as it’s revealed to us, our true nature, all as Spirit, or all as love. These parts of us were formed as images and thoughts were taken as true, often early in life, and continue to live and function in and through as as if these images and thoughts are true.

During and within, and sometimes before, the two other forms of awakening – an awakening (a) out of what images says is who I am, and an awakening (b) as all there is including these images – life invites in this third form or aspect of awakening. Whatever is not aligned with all as awakeness, all as love, comes to the surface to align more closely and consciously with this.

How can “I” support or more consciously align myself with this process?

Most simply, I can met and welcome whatever surfaces – whether they are emotions triggered by images held as true, or these images and thoughts held as true. I can notice they are awakeness itself, the play of awakeness. They are love. They are devoted to me. They are there to support me. They are there to protect me. They are worried love.

I can inquire into my thoughts about these emotions and images:

It’s overwhelming. It’s too much. Another experience is better / easier. It’s easier / possible to escape this experience.

It’s fear / sadness / anger. It’s an image. It’s a memory about the past. It’s a scenario about the future.

This emotion / image is mine. This emotion / image is separate from me. This emotion / image is other than me.

I can inquire into the images and thoughts behind and associated with these emotions:

I lost out. She abandoned me. I made a mistake. I am unlovable. (etc.!)

I can notice and welcome emotions and images/thoughts as awakeness/love, and also as an energy, a vortex keeping itself in place. I can allow it to spin, unwind itself. You are welcome here. You are allowed here, as you are. This is a safe place for you. (Noticing it’s already allowed, it already has a safe place, independent of how it’s met at a human level, and also my intention to notice this, and consciously welcome and provide a safe place for it.)

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Interview with Bentinho Massaro

 

I listened to this interview with Bentinho Massaro, and especially enjoyed the part from 1:05 on.

He talks, among other things, of the question, what if I can’t escape?

What if it will be this way for the rest of life? How can I then find peace with it? How can I be OK with this?

And at 1:22 he talks about a fearlessness of experience, allowing emotions and experiences their life.

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Rumi: At the very moment you become content in affliction

 

Whatever God gives you, be content. At the very moment you become content in affliction, the door of paradise will open.
– Rumi

I find that too, although I would use a bit more sober wording for myself. This morning, I noticed discomfort in me, in my belly and chest area, a sense of unease, fear. Gently and quietly, I opened to it, met it, welcomed it as a friend, a lover. And it shifted. It was no longer something that the labels discomfort, unease, fear fitted. It was no longer discomfort, unease, fear.

There are many facets or layers to this.

One is to meet it, be with it, welcome it as a friend, stay with it. I can ask myself can I be with this? Is it true it’s not already allowed, already welcomed? Is it true it needs to change?

Another is to notice it shifting, changing, and staying with it, with curiosity, interest.

Another is to listen to it, let it speak to me, perhaps wordlessly, be open to what it has to show me.

Another is to let it speak to me in images and words, let it reveal the fears behind it to me, identify these fears and take them to inquiry.

Another is to explore it all in the sense fields. Where and how does the discomfort, unease, fear show up in sensations? How does it show up in images? Where and how does the me or I relating to it show up in sensations? In images? What’s the “substance” of these sensations, these images? Is it true it’s solid? Is it true it’s lasting? Is it all ephemeral? Consciousness itself?

Another is to notice that in my mind, the unease, discomfort and fear is an image, the I or me is an image, and how this I or me relates to the unease is an image. If there is battle and struggle, that happens among images. If there is peace and welcoming, that happens within the world of images. And all of this happens within and as what is, what “I” am.

And a final facet of this is to notice any impulse to want my experience to change, go away, for it to shift into something “I” desire. Is it true, I need it to change? Is it true, it would be better if it changed? Is it true, another experience is better – for me, others, the world? Is it true, I know what’s best for me? How would it be if it never changed? Could I still find peace with it, welcome it, meet it as a friend, a lover?

A yes to the no to the no

 

When I look, I see there is a yes to the no to the no.

What’s here is already allowed, even the resistance and the struggle.

(a) There may be a no to the world, a thought that what’s here is wrong.

She should love me. My body should be healthier.

(b) There may be a no to this no, a thought that the no is wrong.

I should be over it. I should be more mature, clear, healed.

(c) And when I look, I find that there is a yes to all of this. There is a yes to the struggle, the resistance. It’s already allowed.

What’s here – the no, and the no to the no – is happening within and as awareness and capacity for what’s here.

Any responses to it – any images and thoughts about what’s here, including a me relating to it – happens after the fact, as an afterthought. Any struggle happens among and within images and thoughts.

And these responses are already allowed, happening within and as awareness and capacity for what’s here.

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What if this is the single most important thing for you to do right now

 

In Break Through Pain Shinzen Young wrote, paraphrased:

If you are in so much pain you cannot do anything else than lie in bed, what if that’s what the universe considers the single most important thing you can do right now?

It’s a beautiful question, and I sometimes ask myself the same when I feel flattened and am in bed, or feel overwhelmed by primal fears surfacing. What if this is the single most important thing – for me, others, the world – is for me to feel flattened and lie in bed, or feel overwhelmed by these primal fears? What if what’s here is what the universe considers the single most important thing for me to do and experience right now?

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A note on letting yourself be in an emotion

 

A note on letting yourself be in an emotion. This may mean wallowing in it, it may not. This may mean feeling it, it may not. What I know about letting myself feel an arising emotion is that it sets me free to be authentic, real and deeply honest with myself. If I try to push it away, act like I feel nothing, pretend everything is alright, that hurts. There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, helpless, unsettled, angry, depressed, joyful, happy, excited, afraid, nasty, petty..there is nothing wrong with a single feeling we exprience. My pain arises when I judge what I am feeling to be wrong or bad or even when I judge feeling happy as good..for what am I comparing a good feeling to but a bad one. Feeling is the fire I walk through in telling my truth. If I ignore it or shove it away it costs me more than it is worth. When I search for WHY I am feeling a feeling..whoa..that is painful too..to find out what on earth is wrong with me so I can fix it..call in the suffering…there is nothing to fix..just something to feel..to experience..to arise and ultimately to drift away. All feeling is temporary..it comes and it goes..there is an ebb and a flow to it and without giving it a bad or good, right or wrong indication..it is just an experience. It is when I tell myself that I should not be feeling a certain way or that I should be feeling another way thats when I get confused and muddled and have the sensation that this..THIS particular feeling right now has been here forever and will be here forever..forgetting that it will move one..this is proven through all of my life..feelings, sensations, states..they come and they go..not one of them last forever..and to hope that they go and never come again or come and stay forever feels like absolute crap..hope is worse than fear..it is the death of experience..hoping takes me out of the feeling of the moment and leaves me open to the idea that what I am feeling should not be happening..and it IS..how could I ever argue with that.

Now this does not mean that I wallow in it..although sometimes I really, really do. It means that I give the feeling, sensation, emotion a space to live and myself the space to experience as it is…in this moment..without a reason..just FEELING. This seems to serve me better than thinking I have to stop anything that is arising in my experience or that anything could ever be wrong in my experiencing. It is somewhat like resting in THIS moment with nowhere to go and making use of the option to feel what comes. In this space there is no running, no hiding, no lieing, no manipulating, although there is nothing wrong with those things..when I allow myself to really feel..it is deep level of honesty and kindness for myself.
– SZ

An inquiry friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I thought I would share it here – as a reminder for myself.

Staying with sensations

 

It’s easy to say open to the emotion, welcome it, be with it. 

And yet, the question is, how can I do it?

Here are some ways I find helpful:

1. Find fears and resistant thoughts that come up when I consider opening to an intense emotion, and inquire into these. Some beliefs may be: It’s too much. I’ll be overwhelmed. This emotions means something terrible has happened/will happen. This emotion reflects reality. The thought behind it is true. 

2. As I open to the emotion, I can ask myself: Is it true, it’s too much? Is it true, it’s overwhelming? Is it true, I cannot do it? Is it true, it’s not already allowed?

3. Find where in the body I experience the emotion, and bring attention to the sensations there. Bringing attention to the sensation side of the emotion feels more manageable, and it’s also inquiry. I notice how it is to bring attention to the sensation side of the emotion. It may show me the distinction between the sensation side of an emotion, and the image/thought side. And the automatic coupling between those two may lessen and fall away over time. As an emotion arises, I may notice it’s a sensation, and some stories about it – it’s fear, it means something terrible will happen – are simply just thoughts, innocent questions about the world, not necessarily true.

4. When I bring attention to the sensations, notice how the sensations/emotions change over time, how new emerge – perhaps with their own stories, and so on. As Brandon Bays points out, this may eventually lead into the void.

5. As attention is distracted, bring it back to the sensations. Also, notice the thought attention is distracted by/into, and perhaps thoughts about distraction itself. Make a note of it and take this thought to inquiry later. The thoughts attention is distracted by may be the same as under #1 above, and the thoughts about distraction itself may be of the self-judgment kind.

6. As in TRE and other explorations, touch can be very helpful here. Someone holding my hand, or putting his/her hands on my shoulder, or the belly, or feet, may be a great support in staying with intense emotions as they surface. It’s a reminder that someone else is here in the world, and of kindness.

7. I can also do ho’oponopono on the situation: On the person or situation the emotion appears to be about, here and now.  On the emotion itself, seen as an enemy and struggled against. On myself, struggling with how to relate to the intense emotion. And perhaps, if I trace the wound/fear/belief back, on an early childhood situation relating to what’s surfacing now.

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Two dynamics: avoiding vs opening

 

When intense emotions and stressful thoughts surface, I can avoid or open to them.

And each one has self-reinforcing dynamics, they each tend to set up a loop.

Why do I avoid opening to the emotion/thoughts? It’s because of a set of beliefs, and they may seem quite deep seated at first.

It will get worse. Something terrible will happen. (If I open to the emotion, inquire into the thought.)

It’s better to avoid. It’s more comfortable to avoid. It’s easier to avoid. It’s possible to avoid.

The thought is true. The stressful thought reflects reality. It’s pointless to inquire into it.

So when I avoid, I do it because of these beliefs, and it means I don’t get a chance to question them. I avoid opening to the emotions, so I don’t get to see what will happen if I do. I avoid questioning the stressful beliefs, so I don’t get to see what’s more true for me.

Of course, we cannot avoid all the time, so we do get glimpses of how it so to do the 180 degree turn and opening to the emotion, and inquire into the stressful thoughts. It happens in ordinary life, perhaps through a conversation with a loving friend. And it may happen through a book, a teacher, or a workshop.

As I open to an intense emotion, it’s a form of inquiry. What happens if I open to it? Allow it? Welcome it? Notice it’s already allowed?

And inquiring into a stressful thought is a double inquiry. It’s an inquiry into the thought, and an inquiry into what happens if I inquire into this thought.

In both of these ways, I get to see that my assumptions may not be entirely accurate. I thought something terrible would happen, I thought it would get worse (which it may, in the very short term), and it didn’t. Something else happened. So I get more curious. I am drawn to trying it again. Next time an intense emotion surfaces, along with stressful thoughts, I may remember. Something in me nudges me to try it again. How is it to open to this emotion, inquire into this thought? And as I do this more regularly, it becomes a new habit. Now, opening to emotions and inquiring into thoughts becomes what’s more attractive, more familiar.

The shift may take time, and yet it’s inevitable that it happens, as long as I am sincere in questioning whatever thoughts I have that may prevent me from opening to the emotion, and questioning the thought.

Opening to experience

 

A brief follow-up to the post on The Journey:

In The Journey, Brandon Bays describes a process of welcoming and staying with whatever painful emotion is here. Welcome it, stay with it. Allow it to transform, as it naturally does (new layers of hurt/wounds emerge). Until it all drops into the void.

It’s what I find happens naturally during meditation, especially if the sessions are regular and a bit on the longer side. What’s stuffed earlier in life surfaces, and there is an experience of intense emotions burning themselves out, leaving a brilliant clarity and awakeness.

It’s also something I can explore in everyday life, for instance asking myself can I be with what I am experiencing now? (Raphael Cushnir.) I can also explore it further: Is it true this is too much? Is it true it’s overwhelming? Is it true avoiding it is easier? 

And I can identify thoughts behind my impulse to fuel or avoid the emotion/stories surfacing, and take these to inquiry. Here are some I find for myself: (a) Opening to the emotion will make it worse. It’s overwhelming. It’s too much. (b) The thought is true. It’s pointless to inquire into it. Inquiring into the thought will make it worse. (c) It’s easier to avoid. It’s more comfortable to avoid. Something terrible will happen if I open to the emotion/inquire into the thought. 

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Book: The Journey

 

I was taking a course with a spiritual teacher when, during a question and answer session, one of the students asked, ‘What do I do if an intense emotion comes up for me – how do I find the peace in that?’

She answered, ‘Just don’t move. Let yourself be completely present to the emotion. Welcome it. If a negative emotion arises, don’t run away from it; don’t run off to the refrigerator to eat some food to cover it up; don’t turn on the television to distract yourself from it; don’t call your friends to disperse its energy by gossiping about it. Just stop and feel it. Just let yourself be present to it. You’ll find if you don’t try to distract yourself from it, or push it away or, worse still, dump it on someone else; if you stay still, if you are really present to it – in the very core of the feeling you will find peace. So when you feel a powerful emotion, just let it be – DON’T MOVE. Welcome it.
– from The Journey by Brandon Bays

I looked at this book yesterday as it is about one of many practical approaches to allow, welcome and be with what’s here.

She describes a process of meeting whatever painful emotions are here, staying with it, allow it to transform (new layers emerge), until it all drops into the void.

It’s what I find happens naturally during meditation, and it’s also something I explore in everyday life through different forms of inquiry.

Skimming through her book, I noticed – or imagine – a few beliefs she may have: If I live a healthy life, I won’t get sick. People will judge me as a failure if use conventional medicine. Illness means something is wrong. Disease is terrible. Older people won’t get it. British people are reserved. (Age/nationality stereotypes.) And even if I don’t recognize these beliefs in an obvious way in myself, it can still be helpful to inquire into these and see what I find.

I also noticed a few beliefs for myself: She thinks her insights are special. It’s an universal insight. It’s too simple (to talk about). It’s too obvious (to make a big deal out of). 

Why is it a good thing it’s presented in this way? Why is it a good thing a very helpful process is presented in this packaging? She may reach a different audience than others presenting similar pointers. Some may share her beliefs (about health etc.), feel a kinship and see her as one of them, and be attracted to explore something they otherwise wouldn’t. For instance, Christians or non-Buddhists may not be exposed/attracted to Buddhist teachers pointing to the same.

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Jeff Foster: Rest in peace

 

If your peace can be disturbed, it is not the kind of peace you truly long for. If it can be disturbed, it is just a second-hand image of peace, and not the real thing.

We say, “I was so peaceful, and then a wave of fear (or anger, or pain, or sadness…) came along and destroyed my peace!”

But is that really true? Can you ‘have’ peace and then ‘lose’ it? Can peace really be destroyed?

Really it’s the other way round, isn’t it? Fear didn’t destroy your peace, you destroyed fear’s peace. You denied fear’s right to peace by not allowing that energy to move freely in you.

Even fear just wants to come to rest, to express itself fully and come to rest, but we’re so busy trying to get rid of it, escape it, or numb ourselves to it – basically we’re trying to ‘do’ something with it, and this ‘doing’ is actually the end of our peace, not a path towards it.

Stop destroying fear’s peace and let it rest, poor thing – it is suffering from an ancient tiredness, having been wandering in the wilderness for billions of years. It just wants somewhere to lay its head.

Will you give fear the rest it longs for? Will you give fear a home? Will you let all of these poor orphan waves in life’s vast ocean – fear, sadness, anger, doubt, confusion – rest in peace, the peace that you are?

Being what you are – that’s a peace that cannot be destroyed.

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Beliefs about surfacing wounds

 

As wounds and emotions surface, sometimes around something that happened a long time ago, the invitation is to stay with it, open to it, allow it to pass through, and perhaps identify and inquire into beliefs.

These beliefs may be (A) the ones creating the (apparent) wound and emotions, such as he treated me unfairly. When I notice these types of beliefs, sometimes ask myself is it true? while I stay with the contraction. I also make a note of whatever beliefs I notice for a later and more thorough inquiry.

The beliefs may also be (B) about what surfaces, and these may cause me to (a) recoil from the experience or the memory, or (b) indulge in and fuel the stories behind it. Here, I can ask myself, can I be with what I am experiencing? Is it true it’s too much? Is it true it’s easier to recoil? And I can also make a note of some of these beliefs for a later and more thorough inquiry.

These stories may be: (i) It’s too much. It’s overwhelming. It’s no use. It can’t resolve. (ii) Opening to this experience will make it worse. Opening to this experience will make it stronger. (iii) Looking at this image/thought will make it worse. What I’ll find is worse than this. (iv) This image/thought is true.  Investigating this thought is meaningless since it’s true. This experience means something terrible happened. This experience means something terrible will happen.

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