Finding safety in understanding


Finding safety in understanding is a big one for me.

That’s partly why I write here. It makes me feel I understand something, and it makes me feel safe and OK.

It’s true that some understanding can be helpful, in a practical sense. And yet, it can also be used to avoid feeling something, and look at apparently painful thoughts.

Right now, what would I have to feel if I didn’t write here? If I didn’t go to my understanding? Feel that.

What am I afraid would happen if I didn’t understand X?

I would be lost. Scared. Confused. Aimless. I wouldn’t know how to live my life. I wouldn’t know how to feel better. I would be miserable. Alone. In a dark hole.

Can you find X? Understanding? The one who understands? If you sift through images, words, sensations, can you find X?

The awakening feeling


When there is an opening or awakening, it often comes with a feeling.

That feeling may then become associated with the opening or awakening, or certain realizations and insights that came from that opening or awakening. Even if the feeling is really created by our mind’s reaction to the awakening.

So we may seek that feeling again, try to recreate it, because we think it somehow is connected with the opening or awakening, or the realizations or insights that happened within that opening or awakening. And that doesn’t really work.

Eventually, we may see that feeling as a sensation with certain stories attached to it. And we may see that what we are can recognize itself independent of particular feelings or experiences. After all, what we are is that which already is allowing any feeling or experience. It’s not dependent on any of these to recognize itself.

I went through this. There was a certain feeling associated with the initial opening and awakening, and the realizations and insights that came with it. I chased this feeling for a while. It didn’t work. Life went against it. (It’s too kind to allow it to work.) And there is an invitation for a deepening recognition of what I am independent of feelings or experiences.

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Notes about meditation


It looks like I’ll teach (show, guide) meditation for a group of teenagers, so I thought I would go over the basics again here, as a reminder for myself.

There are three basic forms of meditation: Stable attention, rest, and inquiry.

Stable attention / samatha. Attention can be trained. Untrained, it may easily be scattered and unruly. Trained, it can become stable and pliable, and a stable attention is helpful for almost any activity in our lives – from relationships to sports to learning and working. One way to train it is to bring attention to the breath, for instance the sensations at the nostrils as the breath naturally goes in and out. Attention may wander, and when that’s noticed, bring attention back to the breath. The noticing happens as grace.

Rest / shikantaza. Allow everything to be as it is. Notice it’s already allowed to be as it is. Notice what’s here – the sensations, sights, sounds, smell, taste, words and images. It all comes and goes. It lives it’s own life. Rest and notice what’s here. Even notice any resistance or trying. It’s all happening within and as the field of what’s here. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. Just notice what’s already here.

Inquiry / vipassana. Insights into what the mind is, and how it works. These happen, to some extent, through the two previous ones. And they also happen through guided inquiry or exploration. such as sense field explorations, the Living Inquiries, The Work, the Big Mind process, and also holding satsang with what’s here.

Mutual support. Each of these support the others. A stable attention makes it easier to rest and do inquiry. Familiarity with rest makes it easier to explore a stable attention and inquiry from rest. And inquiry gives insights – and a release of identification with words and images – that supports a stable attention and rest.

Support of life. All these forms of meditation are in support of life. And there are, of course, many things that supports both life and meditation. Physical exercise is one, including forms of yoga (tai chi, chi gong, Breema), endurance and strength. Precepts is another, guidelines for how to live our lives. These give a preview of how it is to live from more clarity, they shows us what’s left (fears and beliefs that prevents us from living from clarity and love), and they support an easier and more stable relationship with others and ourselves. Different forms of therapies can also be very helpful in allowing our human self to align with clarity and love.

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Supported by a state vs not


I notice I am curious about this, partly because it’s not very clear to me yet.

Sometimes, shifts in perception is supported by a state. There may be a state that makes it easier to notice (what a thought may say is) all as one, all absent of any “self”, all as Spirit, all as love, meeting all as love etc.

So there is a shift in state, which invites a shift in perception, which in turn invites a shift in insight, and a shift in noticing.

When the state shifts again, perhaps into something (apparently) very ordinary again, the invitation is to keep noticing and questioning. Is it true it – the noticing, all as Spirit/love etc. – went away? Is it true this is not one, Spirit, love?

This noticing throughout changing states and experiences is in itself (sort of) a state, a state of noticing.

And it is also a shift from something that may appear extraordinary, an extraordinary state, to something very ordinary, noticing what’s already here in (and as) any state, any content of experience.

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Experiences, insights and shifts


Experiences come and go. Joy, sadness, grief, anger, bliss, temporary release of identification, strong identification and contraction, openings, periods of clarity, ease, surfacing shadow material. It all comes and goes.

From this may come insights, and these are a bit more lasting although also transient. I may notice I am what all this happens within and as. I may notice the circle eight pattern of going “up” (clarity, bliss) and “down” (shadow material, wounds). I may notice the effects of identifications and beliefs.

And from this may come a shift – in perspective, noticing, identity, or identification. For instance, there may be a shift into more consistently exploring and noticing that I am what experiences happens within and as. There may be a shift into more consistently meeting what’s here in satsang.

An experience or series of experiences leads to an insight or noticing, and this in turn may lead to a shift in perspective, noticing, identity, or identification.

I see how this is also the case with “spiritual” experiences or openings.

There may be an experience of oneness, all as one. It comes into the foreground of experience, clear, undeniable. As this experience goes away, as any experience does, there may be an insight that all is one even if it’s not experienced directly. Further, there is an invitation to notice this oneness within any experience. Is it true oneness is not here?

There may be an experience of all as awareness, or all as love. Again, it’s strong, in the foreground, undeniable. As it goes away, what’s left may be an insight that all is awareness or all is love, whether it’s noticed or not. And there is an invitation to notice this too within any experience. Is it true this is not awareness? Is it true love is not here? Is it true this is not love?

There may be an experience of selflessness, of no self, and this too may be strong, clear and undeniable. And this experience too shifts and something else is here, leaving an insight of selflessness even if there appears to be a self here. And again, there is also an invitation to see what’s really here independent of any particulars of experience. Is it true there is a self here? Is it true that this, that appears as a self, really is a self?

In this way, the different facets of reality can be an experience (a visitor that comes and goes), which translates to an insight, and with an invitation for it to be noticed within any experience. The first is given, the second may or may not follow from the first, and the third may require some intention, shifts and new habitual grooves.

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