Invitation to let go of anchor points

 

During the nights now, there is a sense of all drifting. Of all being in flow. It pulls any sense of having a sense of solid ground to stand on with it, which makes it difficult to hold onto a sense of a separate “I” – a center located in space and anchored on particular sensations.

It may be because I still have a very low grade flu.

In any case, it is an invitation to notice that ground – or those anchor points – for a sense of a separate I. To explore the dynamics around it, and notice what happens when it – the image of a doer/observer and the sensations it is anchored on – is noticed as content of experience just like any other content of experience.

I also notice the slight fear that comes up , and how comfortable that sense of a center seems. It is familiar. Has been around for a long time. (With some vacations.) And there are stories saying that something terrible will happen if identification is released out of it, if I find myself as the mystery all content of experience is the play of.

I don’t notice it much during the day since attention then has many places to go. But during the night, the flow of content goes into the foreground, pulling – almost – anchors, ground and “I” out to sea with it.

When I resist, it is uncomfortable. When I find curiosity and allow it as it is, it is quite different.

And when attention goes to the murmurs of fear, allowing it as it is with kindness, the sense of the flow and pull as “other” softens and falls away.

(more…)

Sensations as anchor

 

I was reminded of this a couple of times in recent days, waking up with a sensation in the body that I didn’t have a ready story about, and then trying out different stories to see how they would fit. Is it a mood? An emotion? A body symptom?

This is a good example of how thoughts combine with sensations to create a gestalt, a new whole that seems very real and substantial in itself, until we see how it is made up of just a sensation and a thought.

In this case, I could tell myself it is a mood, and how it must have come from a dream or maybe something going on in my life. I could probably have found something in my life that fitted the mood, almost whatever the mood might be, and then go into and fuel those stories, which in turn would fuel the mood. (Nothing wrong in that, we do it all the time.)

I could tell myself it was an emotion, find something in my life that would be a likely trigger for the emotion, and go into stories about that in a similar way.

Or I could tell myself it was just a body symptom, from whatever germs are living the high life in my body this week, or maybe something I ate a little too close to bed time the night before. And if I did that, I would most likely just leave it alone, without going into many stories about it apart from many a reminder to myself of not eating too late in the evening.

I could also, as I did, notice what was going on. A set of unusual sensations in the body, a set of stories being tried out to see which one fits, and then seeing those stories as just innocent questions. Is it a mood? An emotion? A body symptom? Is there anything I need to do about it, whatever it may be? No, it seems quite innocent whatever it is.

“Ego” here now

 

The word ego can refer to a sense of separate I, or the psychological ego, the operating system for our human self.

When I explore ego – in the first meaning – through the six sense fields, I find that it is just a thought arising here now, taken as true.

Attention gets absorbed in the inside of the thought, there is an identification with it, it is anchored on certain sensations which lends it an appearance of substance and reality – and also a location in space, it becomes a fixed view and identity, and with the sense of the thought being right and true, its reversals become wrong and false, so there is a sense of I and an Other.

“Ego” then is as ephemeral and insubstantial as a thought, since that is all it is. But taking a thought as true has very real effects for our human self in the world, as we can explore through for instance The Work.

This is of course a simplified version of it. When we explore, we can always find new layers of complexity and richness of this – quite beautiful – process.

In terms of the layers of thoughts, I find a layer of space, mapping the five sense fields on a sense of space and extent. And I find an identification with a thought, any thought, which is then mapped on sensations appearing in particular locations in space, guided by an image thought of this body which maps sensations, and this creates a sense of a separate I, of center and periphery.

Sensations as anchors for subject and object

 

Sensations serve as anchors for a sense of subject and object.

For instance, if I bring attention to sensations in my belly, these become an anchor for a sense of object, and sensations in my head area (upper/back of mouth cavity, neck, sensations on the skin of the head) become an anchor for a sense of subject.

If I see this, and bring attention to the sensations serving as anchor for a sense of subject, there is a shift. Now, some of the same sensations still serve as an anchor for a sense of subject, but they are displaced in space to an area just outside of the head.

In this way, the sensations previously serving as an anchor for a sense of subject now become an anchor for a sense of object, and some of them still serve as a (slightly different) anchor for a sense of subject. Now, the subject appears more above or around the head rather than inside of the head, but still anchored in sensations.

And if I see this, there is a chance that there is a release of identification with sensations altogether. I see all sensations as happening within space and awakeness, and none of them are an “I” anymore.

I see the sensations that served as a sense of object, and the ones that served as a sense of subject, and identification is released out of all of it.

Anchors and moods

 

I keep exploring how sensations provide an anchor for a sense of a separate I, and also how sets of sensations are used to create feelings and moods.

This morning, I noticed how sensations on the side of my face were used as an anchor for a sense of a separate self, because they were roughly in the right area of space (head area) and were prominent since I had been sleeping with that side on the pillow. As these sensations gradually faded, the anchor shifted to the more usual ones in the upper throat area, at the back of the upper palate, and even in the back of the nasal cavity. By amplifying (having the intention of strengthening) the sense of a separate I, I also noticed how muscles in these areas contracted, increasing the sensations, which then provide a better anchor, one that is more easily noticed and lends more of a sense of substance and solidity to the sense of a separate I.

It may seem a weird thing to explore, but I find it fascinating and it only takes a few seconds, or minutes at most, to take a look at.

I then explored moods and feelings in the same way, first looking at a mood from a dream I woke up from and finding the sensations it is anchored in. Then, amplifying the mood and noticing how the muscles in those areas tense up to make the sensations stronger. And then creating a series of other moods to explore the sensations used as anchors for these. I noticed how each mood draws on a particular set of sensations, sometimes from quite different areas of the body. And how these sensations are either brought out or strengthened by muscles tensing up in those areas, this time on the cue of thoughts inviting in certain moods.

With moods, these sensations serve as an anchor in space and lends a sense of substance to the mood, and they also provide the quality of the mood. Certain blissful moods are created from sensations in the roof of the nasal cavity when air pass by. Other, more dense moods, are created from contractions in the throat and belly areas.

And that is actually what happens with the anchors for a sense of a separate I too. These too provide a quality to it, a certain quality of density and sense of substance.

Stories added to sensations

 

I notice an unusual sensation in the stomach, and I see how different stories can be added to it.

One is of it as a sense of dread or uneasiness about my life or the world, which then creates that mood and atmosphere. Another is of having eaten an unusual combination of foods which made my stomach unsettled.

If I don’t pay attention, the first story surfaces, and other stories may be added to it to support the sense of uneasiness about my life or the world. And there is no lack of secondary stories which may support it and justify it.

If I pay a little more attention to what is going on, I see that it is far more likely that the sensation is coming from an unusual combination of foods. It is physical, and expected considering what I have been eating.

And if I look even closer, I see that either of these are simply a sensation + a story, a sensation with a story added to it.

Not seeing it, the sensation + story conglomerate seems very real… there is really an upset stomach there, or an uneasiness about the world. The sensations give a sense of substance to the story. Seeing it more clearly, the conglomerate falls into its components… simply sensations and a story, living their separate and distinct lives.

Looking at how the sense of substance is created, I see that it goes both ways: the story adds a sense of substance and reality to the sensations (holding them in place, solidifying them) and the sensations gives a sense of substance and reality to the stories (lending their own quality of substance to the stories).

Tension allowing for, and amplifying, beliefs

 

I find it very interesting how tension allows for, and amplifies, beliefs.

A sensation combined with a thought, allows for a belief.. a story taken as true… in several different ways.

  • It creates a sense of a center in space, located somewhere in this physical body.
  • This sense of center allows for a split of space, into I here and Other out there. I is now somewhere in/around this physical body, and Other is the rest of the world of form.
  • This split also allows for the appearance of “right” here (in what is now me) and “wrong” out there (in what is now life, the world, others)
    • And in addition to right/wrong, it allows for any polarity to be split, with one pole here and the other out there… male/female, good/bad, desirable/undesirable, and so on.
    • It also allows for the appearance of I as a thing, and no-thing (void) as Other, and even awareness as Other (something that is somehow possessed by this human self)
  • The sensation also gives a sense of base for action in the world (including resistance to experiences), which in turn supports a sense of an I here and Other there, and the appearance of a doer placed upon the doing

If an appropriate sensation is not available, the appropriate muscles tense up to make it available.

And if the sensation/story complex needs to be amplified, it can be done by tensing up further to amplify the sensation, and also by amplifying the story through additional supporting stories.

(Also, a sensation, when amplified by tension, creates a sense of density in space… a sense of something solid and substantial, which provides a more solid companion for the story, which in turn allows the story itself to appear as more solid, real and substantial.)

As I have mentioned before, it seems almost comical when seen… which is also why the whole appearance of a belief (and the content of the belief, such as a separate self) tends to fall apart when clearly seen in this way.

Exploring how sensatins and thoughts combine through labeling practice

 

How can we explore how sensations and thoughts combine? Or put another way, how sensations serve as anchors for beliefs?

Maybe the simplest and most effective, and the way I got into it, is through a labeling practice.

When sounds arise, notice and label them “sound”. Stay with this for a while. And then do the same with sights, smell/taste, sensations, and thoughts.

This helps us differentiate each of them, and also see how sensations are combined with thoughts to create the appearance of emotions, moods, and even a sense of a separate self.

When each component is recognized, and they are differentiated from each other in this way, the appearance of an emotion, mood, or even a sense of a separate self, tends to fall away… it falls into its components.

(more…)

Mutuality of (physical) tension and beliefs

 

I am exploring an interesting mutuality of tension and beliefs…

Through The Work, I see how beliefs create tension… both mental and physical. Any belief brings a sense of something to protect (an apparent truth or identity), which in turn brings tension.

And through labeling practice, I see how sensations combine with stories to create the appearance of emotions, moods, and even a sense of separate self. If an appropriate sensation is not available for a particular story, the body tenses up to make it available. And if the sensation needs to be amplified, the body tenses up more right there, which in turn allows for an amplification of the story.

The sensation/story complex allows for a sense of a center in space (located somewhere in the body), which in turn allows for a split of space, with an I here and Other out there. All of which is essential for the existence of the belief.

So beliefs create tension… by creating a sense of something (a truth or an identity) to protect, which naturally brings tension.

And tension allows for the belief… by creating (and amplifying) sensations which the story can combine with. When sensation and story combine, it creates an appearance of a separate self, emotions and moods, all of which are essential for the appearance, and maintenance, of the belief.

Beliefs amplify tension, and tension amplify beliefs.

(more…)

Sensations as anchor (revisited)

 

This continues to come up on its own (especially right after I wake up in the morning), and also to be an exploration I consciously engage in…

  • When I look for a sense of separate I, I find that it is anchored on specific sensations, usually in the upper throat area, but also sometimes in the belly area (with a sense of a “deeper” yet still separate self). There is a sensation, and then a story about how this is an anchor or platform for, and defines, a sense of a separate self. It makes it appear more real.
  • When I explore emotions, I see that they are really sensations + a story (sadness, anger, frustration, etc.)
  • When I explore moods, I find them to be sensations + a story (often a memory or images the future)
  • Exploring each of these, I see that all of them really define and create a sense of a separate self. In each case, very specific sensations in different areas of the body serve as anchors for a story, making it appear more real and substantial, and defines a separate self in a particular location in space (here, in this human self).
  • When attention is brought directly to sensations as anchor for emotions, moods or a sense of a separate self, what appeared as emotion, mood or a sense of separate self falls into its components… a story placed on sensations.
  • When attention is brought to a sense of a separate self, the sense falls apart, but may then materialize again… using a different sensation as an anchor, or even going back to the initial sensation when attention softens or goes somewhere else.

And further…

  • If the system needs to create the appearance of an emotion, mood or sense of separate self (when there is a belief, an attachment to a story), it seems to tense up muscles in certain areas to create a noticeable and more stable sensation there, which the story is then placed on.
  • A sensation + story creates a sense of a separate self, located in a particular region of space, a sense of a center in space (with the appearance of a separate self, placed on this human self, as the center), and a sense of I at this center and Other in the periphery, as the wider world. This serves as a ground for a sense of a split between I and Other, which is needed to engage more fully in the initial belief, and the appearance of emotions, moods and a separate self.

It’s a weird thing, but also very clear when explored… where others see a body I experience space, with some sensations coming up here and there… and stories are placed on appropriate sensations, creating the appearance of emotions, moods and a separate self.

Being on the inside of stories and this human self

 

When I believe a story, taking it as an absolute truth, my world is narrowed in as defined by the story. In a sense, I find myself on the inside of the story. Similarly, any belief creates an identity which defines who I take myself to be. And any belief also creates a sense of a separate self, which needs to be anchored somewhere – usually in this human self. So I also find myself on the inside of this human self. So there is a sense of a separate I, existing on the inside of this human self, inside of a particular identity, and inside of a belief in a particular belief about life.

As soon as I start exploring this, I find myself also outside of all of this. I am outside, looking in. So right there is some distance, some release.

And if there is a thorough and sincere exploration of what is already more true for me than the belief, it falls away… The belief in the story falls away. The identification with the identity it creates falls away. And the sense of a separate I defined by and existing on the inside of the story, identity and this human self falls away.

There is a taste of spaciousness, and even of Big Mind.

Now, I am that which all of this… stories, identities, this human self… arises within, to and as. This awakeness it arises within, to and as. This awake nothingness all things happen within, to and as.

Sensations as anchor

 

I keep coming back to this throughout the day, and especially as I fall asleep in the evening… The exploration of the sense of a separate self placed on sensations, and combined with certain thoughts.

It can sound abstract when I try to put it into words, but it is very alive in immediate experience.

I see how there is a vast of rich landscape of combinations happening… shifting anchor from one sensation to another, and attaching thoughts and stories to each one… richly, fluidly.

It is amazing to see how a whole world is created in this way, or rather a rich and changing interpretation of this world.

Some sensations, typically in the throat and calf areas, are used as anchor for stories that trigger stress and a sense of resistance. Other sensations, especially in the nostril area, are used as anchor for a sense of an atmosphere (often a sweet one.) And there is also more stable background stream of a sense of a separate self, placed on sensations in the center of the upper throat/lower head area.

It even seems that if there isn’t an appropriate sensation ready as a requested anchor, then it is made through muscle contractions. Tension in certain muscles create particular sensations, used as anchor for certain stories or even a sense of a particular atmosphere.

It is strange to observe, but also clear… all happening in an differentiated way, right here, within the wide open space of awake emptiness and form.

Sensations as anchor for beliefs II

 

Before falling asleep last night, I explored further how sensations are used as anchors.

  • I noticed how a sense of searching and looking was associated with slight movements of the eyes (even when they are closed.) Combined with a sense of a separate self, it creates a sense of “I am searching” or “I am looking”. Belief in idea of separate self + searching/looking + slight eye movements = “I am searching.”
  • The same seems to happen with thoughts. Thoughts were associated with slight movements of the throat (as if speaking) and combined with a sense of a separate self it becomes “I am thinking”. Belief in the idea of a separate self + thoughts + sensations in throat area subtly mimicking speaking = “I am thinking.”
  • A sense of a sweet atmosphere was associated with the sensation of air coming in and passing over the roof of the mouth.
  • A sense of a separate self was placed on various sensations in the throat, neck and (inner) mouth area. Whenever I looked at the sensation it was currently placed on, the sense of a separate I was disengaged from that sensation, and automatically placed on another sensation in a slightly different area of space.

In all of these cases, the conglomerates seem very real and substantial when they are not explored. But as soon there is the noticing of them being simply sensations used as anchors for thoughts, searching, a particular atmosphere, or a sense of a separate I, the illusion falls away. It is similar to seeing how a magic trick is performed – the spell goes out of it.

The conglomerate, which looked so convincing as a whole, falls into its separate parts. They are recognized as distinct from each other.

Sometimes when I do this, the conglomerate creating the appearance of a separate self falls away. It pops, revealing Big Mind, headlessness, awake emptiness and form clearly absent of any separate self anywhere. Last night (and for the last few days) it remains, just shifting to similar sensations nearby. Both are of course fine – equally interesting to explore in their own way.

Beliefs anchored in sensations

 

Yesterday morning, I woke up and saw how a range of beliefs are anchored in specific sensations.

I have seen for a while how the sense of a separate self, or rather the belief in a separate self, is anchored in particular sensations in the head area (lower center of the head.)

And it is also becoming clearer to me how any belief in similarly anchored in particular sensations.

The most noticeable example for me are the many beliefs that strongly says that an immediate external situation should be different, which – when triggered – are anchored on tension in my calves.

The belief arises, are placed on particular sensations in a particular location of space, that is then used as a base for a sense of a separate self, and the trigger – arising in another location of space – is seen as Other.

It even seems that if the usual sensations are not already present, they are made present through contractions, so there usual place of anchoring the particular beliefs becomes available.

Releasing the charge

It seems almost comical, and that is one of the reason there is a release from this whole process when this is noticed. The process may still occur – with ideas arising, a physical tension, and a placing of the ideas on the location of the sensation of this tension – but there is a release of identification with it.

With the release of identification, it is all revealed as just arising in space, and the sense of I – placed on particular sensations, and Other – placed in another location in space, is also released.

This takes the charge out of what is happening, independent of the strength of the process. And it also takes the charge out of the process itself, weakens it in the moment and weakening the habitual pattern over time.

Perceptual center as anchor for a sense of a separate self

 

I keep noticing how this perceptual center – this physical body and especially this head with its eyes, ears, nose and mouth – is made into a center for a sense of a separate I.

There is a sense of a separate I, as a belief in an idea of a separate self, almost as a weird cardboard cutout in the mind. Then there is a looking for a good place to put this sense of a separate I, a good anchor for it. And then the – very understandable – decision to place it on this body, especially this head, and in particular on sensations in the head area, and even more specifically on sensations of tension, contraction and density in the head area.

It is really quite funny… although it sometimes has quite tragic consequences.

And this process of making a perceptual center into a center for a separate-self sense is of course why the headless experiments can be so effective. They bring our attention directly to the physical center of a sense of I, and reveal that there is nothing there. No thing, allowing all the things of the world, including those sensations previously used as an anchor for a sense of a separate I.

Brilliantly awake emptiness, a spaceless, timeless, crystal clear void, allowing all the forms of the world (as perceived by this body) to arise within and to it, and as nothing other than awake emptiness itself.

Anchor for sense of separate I

 

This comes up daily for me…

I notice how a sense of a separate I is placed on sensations in the center of the lower head and upper neck area, serving almost as an anchor for this sense of separate I.

The experience of the rest of the body is of space, with just a few sensations here and there appearing in space, but these particular sensations appear as more dense, more substantial, as a tension, a contraction. It is almost as if there is a tensing there to allow for a better anchor for the sense of I.

And when this sense of a separate I is anchored there, the sense of (separate) Other is placed at other locations in space… on certain sensations, thoughts, images, people, situations, land/cityscapes and so on.

It is very curious, and almost comical when it is noticed.

There is a contraction in some muscles in the upper neck/lower head area, making this area appear more dense than the rest of the body (which is just space). And these serve as an anchor for a sense of a separate I, allowing other things in the field to appear as Other.

And when this is noticed, and allowed fully, it all softens. The sensations become more transparent and as space. The sense of a separate I is not anchored anywhere in space and is relaxed, or falls away. And with it falls away the sense of a separate Other as well. Now, the field as it is, without any separate I or Other, arises more as it is. As a field without the sense of a center of a separate I (placed on sensations, tensions, somewhere in this physical body.)