Can of coke

 

When I was five or six years old, I was in London on vacation with my parents. At the end of a long day of walking in parks, in museums, and along streets, I was completely exhausted. The one thing I was looking forward to was having a can of coke. (We didn’t have cans of coke in Norway at the time.) We went to a street vendor, he only had bottles, and I had a complete meltdown.

I did an inquiry session on this, and a lot came up. Deep despair. Grief. Sadness. Hopelessness. Anger. Frustration. A feeling of not being seen. (They didn’t take into account how exhausted I was.) Even a deep survival fear from being completely exhausted, not feeling seen, and not getting the one thing I felt I needed and had looked forward to.

There was also a wish to punish them for making me so exhausted and not seeing how exhausted I was. This comes from a mix of hurt and anger, and it’s really a wish for communication. For them to understand and take it seriously.

I see how this deep disappointment and all the other emotions and identities have come up in situations in my life since, especially around relationships.

Disappointment

 

Sometimes I look forward to something and it doesn’t happen.

I feel disappointed. Sometimes, I even feel heartbroken.

I know and sense it’s old and not really about the current situation, and it feels a bit childish to get so disappointed. That may be a reason I haven’t thoroughly looked at this yet. The embarrassment and the thought “it’s childish” serve as gatekeepers for entering and exploring the wound behind it.

I recently had this disappointment triggered again.

The situation triggering disappointment, what does it say about me? What do I tell myself about me in that situation? 

I am missing out.

I am unloved. I am uncared for.

I am alone.

These thoughts are familiar to me and came easily. I want to see what more is here.

Others have more fun than me. They are enjoying life more than me. They are getting something I am missing out of.

My life is not worth living. It’s hopeless. It will be like this forever. I am unloved by God. I am unloved by life.

This second set of thoughts are also familiar to me, but I hadn’t seen that they were behind this disappointment and the emotions and states that came with it.

What’s my earliest memory of feeling so disappointed? 

I am 6-8 years old and in London on vacation with my parents. I am exhausted from a long day walking around in parks and galleries, and I want and am looking forward to my favorite thing which is coca cola in a can. (We didn’t have coke cans in Norway.) The street vendor doesn’t have it, and I am grief-stricken and angry. My parents buy me a souvenir knife (a small folding knife with ivory on it and a picture of a beef eater). I throw it hard at the ground.

If I bring myself back to that situation, what does it say about me?

Life is over. My life has no meaning. I am unloved. I am uncared for. Life is against me.

Seeing these thoughts, I also see that it makes sense I felt the way I did. The sadness, grief, hopelessness, frustration, and anger didn’t make sense in the context of the current triggering situation, but they do in the context of this early situation where I was worn out and had looked forward to one thing that I didn’t get.

These thoughts spun around in my mind, and although I was not consciously aware of them I certainly experienced their effects in terms of emotions, moods, and states. As I identified these thoughts and wrote them down, I got to see what created these feelings and states, and I got to see that it all makes sense and that it has to do with early experiences in my life. I got to see the innocence of it all. And there is some relaxing of these dynamics just from identifying the thoughts and seeing the innocence of it.

(more…)

The command for it to be different 

 

I have experienced the primal fear again off and on for the last several weeks. The sensations themselves are fine, it’s the stories associated with them that make it seem uncomfortable and sometimes overwhelming. And since it sometimes feels overwhelming, there is also a want here for it to change and for the discomfort – and the primal fear – to go away.

Here are the notes from a brief inquiry on this want for it to be different, or go away.

Where do you feel the primal fear? In the face, chest, and some in throat and belly.

Feel those sensations. Rest with them. Are any images or words coming up? Yes, an image of me with something dark in me (the dread and fear), and next to it me clear (lighter, without that experience).

Look at that image. Rest with it. Notice the space around it, and between the image and you. Is that image a want or command for it to be different? (Q1) Yes, I feel it in my face, throat, and chest.

Feel those sensations. Rest with the physical sensations. (I did some amplify/release here too.) The words “I want it to be different” come up.

Look at those words. Q1? Yes, belly, face, forehead, throat.

Rest with those sensations. (I am saying these words a few times to the sensations until I feel it: You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me.) (I am then resting with the sensations for quite a while.)

Are those sensations a want or command for it (the fear) to be different? No. They are here but I experience them quite differently, and as physical sensations.

The want for the fear to go away is a big part of the discomfort and suffering around this. That’s why it can be very helpful to explore it in inquiry, to befriend it, to see how the mind creates its experience of this want through sensations, mental images, and words, and to rest with the sensations for quite a while after most or all of the images and words have been sifted through.

Note: With a client, I would typically start with an image or words, perhaps the words they used such as I want this fear to go away, I want my experience to be different. When I ask the inquiry question about images or words, the client will see if there are any bodily reactions to the questions. When the client then rests with sensations, just wait and see if images or words surface on their own and then look at them. Asking the inquiry question about a sensation is sometimes too direct, and it can be difficult for the client to find what gave them a “yes”, so it’s often gentler and easier to just rest with the sensations, see if any images or words surface on their own, and then look at them.

Own inquiry: Ice cream compulsion

 

Inquiry on ice cream compulsion. I had a small amount of dairy last night, and now have cravings for ice cream. (Which I haven’t really had for months.) I am making the notes very brief here.

Picture of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream + their local store at The River in Rancho Mirage. Is that picture a want to get ice cream? (Q1) Yes.

I feel craving/sensation in my belly and chest area. Rest with those sensations.

I notice a fear of letting the velcro around this craving go. It’s a different sensation in the solar plexus. Rest with that sensation. It subsides.

Where is the craving for ice cream now? In my chest and throat. Rest with those sensations.

I notice an impulse to act on them, or do something in reaction to them. Feel that impulse. Rest with it.

I hear the words “I want to get ice cream”. Listen to the words. Do those words tell you to get ice cream? Yes, I see a picture of the Ben & Jerry’s store.

Look at the picture. Q1? Yes, sensations in my belly, chest, some in the face. (A bit more spacious than initially.)

I hear the words “I need ice cream!”. Listen to the sound of those words. Q1? Yes, sensations in belly, chest, throat.

Rest with the sensations. Half attention on the sensations, half on the (boundless) space they happen within.

And so on. Isolating out one component of the craving at a time. Resting with what comes up. Asking simple questions to help the mind see what’s there, and see what more is connected to it.

Own inquiry: Unloved

 

Abbreviated notes on own UI inquiry on “I am unloved” / the one who is unloved.

“I am unloved”. Yes.

Sensations in chest, throat, face, belly,

Picture of me sitting here, looking unloved. Yes.

Belly contraction. Dissipated.

“I am unloved”. Yes.

Chest, throat, face, belly.

Picture of me as an infant, abandoned, unloved, floating in space. Yes.

Face, forehead, belly, chest. Dissipates.

“I am unloved”. Yes.

Throat, face, chest, belly.

Picture of me in elementary school, feeling unloved. Yes.

Throat, as if crying.

(more…)

Own inquiry: I am doomed

 

This is an inquiry into a recurrent feeling (thought, identity, velcro, belief) for me. For a few years now, I have had a sense of doom. It’s a distinct feeling combined with some images and words. It mostly seems preverbal, and it seems to come from very early in life.

It seems connected to images I have of how it was before incarnation. I was told, or knew, I was about to incarnate again, and was told if I wanted to. I said yes, even if a part of me really didn’t want to. I felt hurt, angry, unloved, uncared for, betrayed. Doomed. (When this gets triggered in me, I also feel fatigued, knocked out, my brain fog intensifies. It usually gets triggered when I say yes to something I really want to say no to, or the other way around. When I am inauthentic with myself and others.)

Feel the sensation. Take your time. Notice where it is. How it feels. See how it is to be curious about it. Notice they are sensations. The sensations are in my face, throat, chest, some in the stomach. On the skin mostly. [Some minutes goes by.] 

What does it mean? I am doomed.

Look at those words, “I am doomed”. Notice the shapes. Colors. The space around the words. The space between you and the words. Push the words further away. Bring them in closer. Are those words you the one who is doomed? Yes, it feels like it. It’s the same feeling.

Feel that feeling. Take your time. Remember to breathe.  I see an image of a dark color and texture, it’s in front of me but also everywhere. It seems quite familiar.

Look at that image. Look at the color. Texture. Notice the space around it. The space between you and the picture. What does it mean? It means I am doomed. Life is doom. When I incarnated it was doom.

Look at those words. Is there a threat in the words? Yes, there is a reaction in my stomach.

Feel that reaction. Feel the sensations. Notice the space around them.  Are those sensations the one who is doomed? Yes, I see a picture of me sitting here looking doomed.

Look at that picture. Is it you the one who is doomed? Yes, feels like it. I feel it in my face.

Feel those sensations. Are they the one who is doomed? No.

 Rest with what’s here. Notice. Allow. Where is the one who is doomed? Do you find him in sensations? Images? Words? Sensations in face and front of upper body. Image of my face, and faintly the rest of my body.

Look at the image. Look at the colors. Lines. Texture. Is it the one who is doomed? No.

Feel the sensations. Take your time. Notice the space around. Are they you the one who is doomed? Yes, a little.

 How do you know? Is it a feeling? Images? Words? A dark image with me sitting here in it. The whole world is dark, with me sitting here in it.

Look at that image. Put a frame around it. Notice the space the picture is happening within. Notice the space between you and the picture.Circle your eyes around it a few times one direction then the other direction.  Is this picture the one who is doomed? Yes, a little. I feel it in my chest, throat and face.

Feel the sensations. Are they the one who is doomed? No.

Rest with what’s here. Is it already noticed or not? Is it already allowed or not?  

Look at the image of you before incarnation. Is that you the one who is doomed? 

[And so on, following the trail of crumbs, going back to check if there is still a charge on what came up earlier etc.]

A perfectly clear fuzzy picture

 

I am exploring a layer of fuzzy/generalized anxiety, dread and worry. It’s not so strong, but when it’s on the surface it seems pervasive. It’s often there when I wake up in the morning, and then goes into the background as I get busy with the day.

It can seem very difficult to do self-inquiry on this. Where do I start? It doesn’t seem to be about anything in particular, and I experience it as quite fuzzy and undefined.

And yet, as soon as I start exploring it, something else is revealed. I notice some quite specific sensations in the throat, chest, stomach, and face. And I notice an image. It’s an image with a fuzzy content, that’s an overlay of my whole world – of an imagined sphere around me. The picture itself is perfectly clear, only it’s content – what it is a picture of – is fuzzy. The content is dark, cloudy, with a certain texture.

Just noticing those two things makes a big difference. Feeling the sensations. Noticing where they are. Noticing they are sensations. Noticing the picture. Looking at the picture. Notice it is a picture. Notice it’s a clear picture with a fuzzy content.

And it’s a starting point. As I explore this further, more will likely reveal itself.

When I do inquiry for myself, either as a client or in self-facilitation, I often have more abstract pictures come up – colors and textures, and also body images – pictures of the body part(s) where I am feeling a sensation. These do not come up so often when I facilitate others, which makes me curious. It’s possible that I am more inclined to having images of parts of the body and abstract images with textures. And it’s also possible that everyone does, perhaps without noticing or perhaps they dismiss them as less important than images of situations, people etc. I don’t know (yet).

When I facilitate, whether it’s a client or myself, I often look for the first memory of having felt the sensation or had a particular thought, since this tends to get to early trauma. And I also explore what body images and more abstract images (with textures) may be there. It’s also good to do a lot of resting with sensations, feeling sensations, especially after associated images and words are “peeled off”.

 

I won’t heal

 

A common fear is I won’t heal.

I am broken beyond repair. I am unhealable. It won’t work.

I see that in myself too, and I see how it sometimes stops me from doing inquiry, and especially self-inquiry.

Look at the words “I won’t heal”. Is there a threat in the words? Yes, I notice a reaction in face, throat, chest.

Feel those sensations. It’s shifting into a deeper sensations in the chest, more of a soreness.

Feel that sensation. I see a picture of darkness, in front of me and inside of me.

Look at that picture. Is it a threat? Yes, I feel it in my stomach.

Feel that. (Looking at more pictures, words, sensations until the threat is untriggerable and unfindable.)

And looking for the one who won’t heal:

Look at the words “I won’t heal”. Are those words you, the one who won’t heal? Yes, sensations in the face and throat.

Feel the sensations. I see a picture of my face and throat.

Look at that picture. Is the picture you, the one who won’t heal? Yes, slight sensation in face, and also throat and stomach.

Feel those sensations. I see a picture of something black in my throat.

Look at that picture. (Sensation in throat, stomach. Picture of me sitting here. Sensations in face. Continuing to look until it’s unfindable and untriggerable.)

Inquiry on victim self

 

Own inquiry on victim identity:

Look at the word “victim”. Is that word you, the victim? (Q1) Yes, I feel it in my throat and chest.

Feel those sensations. Take your time.

Are there any images or words? I see a picture of me sitting here.

Look at that picture. Notice the space between you and the picture. Q1? Yes, I feel sadness.

Feel the sadness. Notice where you feel it. Drop into it. Allow it.

What is your first memory of feeling that feeling? I see a picture of me in London with my parents, exhausted at the end of the day. Angry. Sad. Tired. Despairing. (About 5 years old.)

Look at that picture. Q1? Yes. I feel it in my throat, face, chest, stomach.

Feel the sensations. Take your time.

(I am shortening a section here: An image of me sitting here. The word “victim”. Sensations in face. A surge of energy in face, throat area. Sensations in chest. Picture of me telling a friend a victim story. Sensations in face, throat, chest.)

Sensations in face. What do those sensations mean? I am a victim.

Look at those words, “I am a victim”. Q1? Yes, face.

Feel the sensations. Q1? No.

Look at the picture of you as a kid in London. Q1? (Slightly, face. Feel. Back to picture.) Q1? No.

(Rechecking words, images, until untriggerable and unfindable.)

Experientially, this leaves the victim identity without perceivable charge or stickiness (velcro). It feels more clear. I can still see the words and images, and perhaps feel some of the same sensations, but they don’t seem to make up a “victim” or a self that’s a victim. There is more freedom around this.

In general, it seems that a victim identity and identification happens as soon as there is identification at all. As soon as we take ourselves to be something, that something can be – and will be – the victim of X. Of life, others, ourselves. It’s good to look at.

What stops me from inquiring?

 

It can be very helpful to look at what stops me from inquiring (or anything else that could be a support for me). Writing the list may in itself be helpful, and inquiring into it even more so. Here are two questions I used with a group yesterday:

What stops me from inquiring?

What am I afraid I will find? 

Here is what comes to me:

What stops me from inquiring?

It will be uncomfortable.

It requires energy and effort.

It will require me to change my life.

It will require me to live from a higher standard. (Of truth, love, authenticity.) I’ll have to change my life. I’ll have to make uncomfortable changes.

I’ll have to feel something I have avoided most of my life.

I won’t like what I’ll find.

I won’t be able to deal with what I’ll find. I won’t know what to do with it.

I am not ready. I am not in the right state of mind.

It won’t work. It won’t make anything better.

What am I afraid I will find? 

I may find I am unhealable. I am unfixable. I am broken beyond repair.

I may have to take responsibility for what I have blamed X for. (Blamed other people, life, God, my upbringing, patterns in me, wounds, trauma.)

I may find that what I feared about myself is true.

Some categories:

Discomfort. It will be uncomfortable. It will take effort. I’d rather do something easier or more enjoyable. It’s easier to do something easier. I may find something I don’t want to find.

Unworkable. It won’t work. It won’t make it better. (a) I don’t trust the process. I don’t trust the facilitator. I don’t trust that I’ll know how to work with it. (b) It won’t work for me. I am too messed up. I am broken beyond repair.

Changes. I’ll have to make changes in my life. I’ll have to take responsibility for what I have blamed X for.

Not ready. I am not ready. I am not in the right state of mind. I won’t know how to work with it.

Synchronicity: As I wrote the headline “discomfort” above, Kate Bush sang why did you make me have to feel that?

What do I hope to get out of X?

 

Something else I find helpful, and have used with groups:

List some of your compulsions or addictions. (Top 3, 5, 10.)

For each one, ask what do I hope to get out of it?

Then repeat that question. Go deeper. Continue until there is nothing more there. Don’t stop until you genuinely cannot find anything more.

A few examples for me:

Intimate relationships —> Support, love, sex, companionship. —> Feeling loved. Accepted. OK as I am. Content. Safe. Alive. —> Love. Acceptance. Safety. Contentment. Aliveness.

Internet —> Entertained. Feeling I understand and have an overview. —> Avoid discomfort. Avoid having to feel the discomfort that’s here. —> Contentment. Safety. Love. Acceptance. Adventure.

Understanding —> Safety. Being OK.

Awakening —-> Safety. Being acceptable. Love. Ease. Comfort. Contentment. —> Love. Acceptance. Comfort. Being home.

Money —> Safety. Security. Freedom. Fun. Superiority. —> Safety. Enjoyment. Contentment. Being OK. —> Safety. Contentment. Aliveness. Being OK.

Superiority —> Being OK. Acceptable. Loved. Safe.

Shopping —> Excitement. Joy. Satisfaction. —> Aliveness. Safety. Contentment. Freedom.

Some of these examples are less linear or clean than I hoped for….! That’s OK. It’s partly because I have done this inquiry a few times before, so my mind naturally jumps ahead to the more essential answers.

What does this inquiry do?

It helps me see that behind any craving or addiction is innocence. It’s an innocent and very understandable human need and wish, independent of what external form it has taken in my life.

It helps me see that what I really wish for is something very simple and essential: Love. Acceptance. Feeling OK. Safety. Contentment. Adventure. Aliveness.

It helps me see that there are other ways to find this. I don’t need to be wedded to a particular approach or strategy. There are other ways to find this, some of which I may even be familiar with. (E.g. Finding it in smaller and more immediate ways. And also meditation, yoga, heart-centered practices, nature, animals, being of service etc.)

Note: This inquiry is from Adyashanti.

Own inquiry: Exhilaration

 

Looking at or for exhilaration:

Look at the word “exhilaration”. Take your time. Is that exhilaration? Yes, it feels that way.

Feel those sensations. Take your time. Where are they? Chest, jaw, face. I see a picture of the sensations with the word “exhilaration” on top of it.

Look at that image. Is it exhilaration? No, but the sensations still feel like it.

Feel the sensations. Notice the space they are happening within. Rest with the sensations. Do you see any images or words? I see the word “exhilaration”.

Look at the word. Is it exhilaration. Yes, it feels that way. Sensations in the face.

Feel those sensations. Are they exhilaration? No.

Rest with what’s here. Where do you find exhilaration? Sensations in the throat.

Feel the sensations. [A loop here with image of the throat, sensations in the face, picture of lower part of the head, sensations in throat.] The sensations in the throat seem to command me to do something.

What tells you there is a command there? An image of movement from the throat and up and out.

Look at that image, or movie. Is that movie exhilaration? No.

Where do you find exhilaration now? Face, slightly.

Feel the sensations. Are they exhilaration? No.

Rest.

Where do you find exhilaration? Slightly in my belly.

Feel it. Is it exhilaration? No, but there seems to be a command there to do or act.

What tells you there is a command there? An image of a movement out and up.

Look at the image. Does that image command you to do or act? No.

Feel the sensations in the stomach again. Rest with them for a while. Are they exhilaration? No, they are sensations.

Where do you find exhilaration? Slightly in the throat.

Feel that. [A loop looking for a command to push down the exhilaration, sensations in stomach, an image of pushing down.]

Can you find exhilaration anywhere? No.

Rest with what’s here.

I had some green tea about an hour ago, and it often makes me feel something my mind tells me is exhilaration. Now, I can’t find it. The sensations are here, and they feel more or less as they did before this looking, but they don’t seem like exhilaration anymore. They are more just sensations, with some images and words floating around.

Own inquiry: Dread

 

Inquiry on dread:

Where do you feel the dread? In the chest, throat, belly.

Feel the dread. Feel the sensations. Take your time.

What do you see? Any mental images? Words? There is a picture of a gray mass around and in front of that area of my body.

Look at the image. Look at the color, texture, lines. Is the picture a threat? (Any reaction in your body is a “yes”.) Yes, there are sensations in my forehead and face.

Feel those sensations. Take your time. Are the sensations a threat? Yes, there is a sensation in my throat.

Feel that sensation. Do you see anything? I see the word “suffocate”.

Look at the word. The letters, the shapes, the spaces in-between and around. Notice the space between you and the word, and around and behind the word. Is the word a threat? Yes, there is a contraction in my stomach.

Feel the contraction. Notice the space it’s happening within. I see the word “dread”.

Look at the word “dread”. Is it a threat? Yes, there is a sensation in the throat.

Feel that sensation. Is it a threat? No.

(more…)

Inquiry: He shouldn’t have put my clothes in the dryer

 

Situation: Temporarily renting a room in a house, shared with the host. (A retired guy.) I washed my clothes, and he put them in the dryer without asking me, knowing very well that I always air dry my clothes. (He has commented on it several times, apparently unable to comprehend why I don’t use the dryer.)

Statement: He shouldn’t have put my clothes in the dryer.

1. Is it true? Yes.

2. Can you know for sure it’s true? No.

3. What happens, how do you react, when you have that thought?

I feel frustrated, angry, sad. My clothes shrunk so they don’t fit anymore. They stink of chemicals (dryer sheets). I have to wash them again. I feel disrespected. He did it without asking. (more…)

Inquiry on dread

 

Since “the lid was taken off” a few years ago, I have experienced a sense of dread. It’s much milder now than it was previously, but it’s still there, often 24/7.

When I have explored it previously, I have seen the sensations connected with images of something dark and vague out in front of me, and words such as it’s a disaster, and something is terribly wrong. 

What do I find when I explore it now?

Look at the word “dread”. Is it a threat? (Q1) Yes, I feel it in my chest, throat and stomach.

Feel those sensations. Take your time. I see a picture of something dark there and out in front of the body.

Look at the picture, the texture, colors, lines. Q1? Yes, I feel it in my chest, belly, throat, face, jaw.

Feel the sensations. Is it stronger somewhere? Jaw. Feel that. The word “dread” is coming up again.

Look at the word, the letters, lines, spaces between and around. Q1? Yes, I feel it in my face and Jaw.

Feel it. As if it’s feeling itself.

And so on. There was more here, but the words disappeared for technical (WP) reasons. There were more words, images, and sensations. The outcome of this session is that the “dread” seems much less solid, and I recognize it much more easily as images, words, and sensations (now loosely) associated with each other.

Inquiry: Something is terribly wrong

 

Something is terribly wrong.

Look at the words, “something is terribly wrong”. Do they mean that something is terribly wrong? (Q1). Yes. What tells you that?

Sensations, all over the body. Feel those sensations. Take your time. Do you see any images?

An image of my body, dark texture. Does it mean that something is terribly wrong? (Q1) Yes. What tells you?

Same sensations, all over the body. Especially in stomach.

I see the word “dread” across a picture of my stomach. Look at that word, “dread”, over the picture of your stomach. (Q1)? No.

(more…)

Inquiry: The world is a scary place

 

I notice a sense that the world is a scary place.

How do you know that the world is a scary place? I feel it – in my forehead, throat, chest.

Feel those sensations. Allow them. Take your time. Are the sensations a threat? No. But I have a picture of the world as a scary place. It’s a panoramic picture of darkness over the horizon from one side to the other.

Look at that picture. Even shrink it. Make it bigger. Is that picture a threat? Not the picture, but there is a contraction in my solar plexus.

Feel that contraction. Feel the sensations. Is those sensations a threat? No.

(more…)

Inquiry: Self-consciousness

 

Adya sometimes mentions something I notice in myself: a sense of consciousness turning back and looking at itself.

And that sense of something that’s self-consciousness is, I assume, also made up of words, images and sensations.

It’s something I can study, and see how it’s made up.

Look at the word “self-conscious”. Is that word self-conscious? (No.) Is it self-consciousness? (No.) Is it consciousness turned back on itself? (No. But I see an image, dark, with light making a movement back on itself.)

Look at that image. Is that image self-conscious? (No.) Is it self-consciousness? (No.) Is it consciousness turned back on itself? (Yes, there is a response in my throat.)

Feel that response in your throat. Take your time. Do you see an image? (Yes, of the throat.)

Look at that image of your throat. Is that image self-conscious? (No.) Is it self-consciousness? (No.) Is it consciousness turned back on itself? (No.) Is it you, the one who is self-conscious? (No.)

(more…)

Becoming water

 

Towards the end of a Living Inquiry session this morning, I have the image of becoming water in a creek. I flow as a creek. Nothing is fixed.

It brings up fear and disorientation in me, and I notice how my mind tries to make something me and fixed. My fear is that I won’t know who I am if I can’t find the me that’s fixed. My mind wants to hold onto words and images of myself as fixed.

In reality, we are like water in a creek. Life is water in a creek. Nothing is fixed. We learn, at some point, to try to pretend we are something fixed. And then, some of us try to see through this learning.

Inquiry: Meaning

 

For most of us, meaning seems quite real and solid. It seems to really be there, somewhere.

If I look for meaning, what do I find?

Look at the word “meaning”. Look at each of the letters. Can you find meaning on those letters? (Yes, there is a sensation in the throat and images.)

Look at the images. What do you see? (A glow around the word. A dictionary. Something that looks like a representation of the internet.) Look at them. Are those images meaning? (No.)

Feel the sensation in the throat. Allow them to be there. Are they meaning? (No. They are sensations.)

Rest. Allow everything to be as it is.

Look at the word “meaning” again. Do you find meaning on those letters? (Yes, I feel it in the upper chest.)

Feel those feelings in the upper chest. Do you see any images with them? (Yes, a body image.)

(more…)

Inquiry: Icky yucky feeling

 

For a while now, I have experienced an almost unbearable (or so it seems) unpleasant sensation in my body after going to bed at night. It tends to last until about mid-night, and it’s difficult to explain the experience. It feels more energetic than physical, although it’s certainly there in sensations. It feels icky yucky and a bit stagnant. (I wonder if it has to do with the disgust phase or facet of the dark night, as described in some Buddhist traditions.)

It’s one of those experiences that seem nearly unbearable when I don’t take a closer look at what’s going on. And when I bring attention to the sensations, I see it’s not terribly strong and quite bearable, almost not so unpleasant at all.

It’s something that it’s good to take to inquiry.

Look at the words “icky yucky”. Are they the actual icky yuckiness? (Yes, feels like it.)

Feel that feeling. Notice where it is in the body. Take your time feeling it. Do you see any images? (Yes, of my body feeling this.)

Look at that image. Is that image the icky yuckiness? (No. It’s an image.)

Feel the icky yucky feeling again. Go into the middle of it. Take your time. Do you see any images or words? (I see an image of my face in disgust, and making a disgusted sound.)

Look at that image of your face in disgust. Is that image the icky yuckiness? (No.)

Listen to the sound of disgust. Is that the icky yuckiness? (Yes, it feels like it.)

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Inquiry on unloved by life

 

I did an inquiry session today on being unloved by life (Living Inquiries), and I found that one question was especially helpful.

Is that image unloved by life?

Are those words unloved by life?

Is that sensation unloved by life?

I see that although “I” haven’t loved those images, words and sensations, those images, words and sensations are not unloved by life.

Since this session, I have done “flash inquiries” where I ask myself “is this sensation unloved by life?”, “is this image unloved by life?”, “are these words unloved by life?”. I have done it when I notice things come up that there is some uneasiness around.

Note: This was just one of a few different questions asked about the images, words and sensations that surfaced, and it’s important to take time with each.

Inquiry on sleepiness

 

As I woke up this morning, I did self-inquiry on sleepiness.

Look at the word “sleepiness”. Is that word sleepy? (No.) Is it sleepiness? (No.)

Feel the sensations. Do you see any images connected with it? (Yes, a white texture.)

Is that image sleepy? (No.) Is it sleepiness? (No.)

Feel the sensations again. Are there any images on it? (Yes, an image of something dark sinking.)

Look at that movie. Is that movie sleepy? (No.) Is it sleepiness? (No.)

Feel the sensations. Take your time with it. Are those sensations sleepy? (No.) Are they sleepiness? (No.)

And so on. I think I looked at a few more images. I found the question “is that image (or word, sensation) sleepy?” very helpful here.

As usual, the sensations may still be here, but the “velcro” is not there so much. The extra layer of shoulds and struggle, however faint it may be, is lessened or falls away.The sensation are free to be felt as sensations.

Inquiry on Home

 

A brief self-inquiry on home.

Is the word “home” the actual home? (No, but there is a sensation in the chest and throat.)

Feel that sensation. Is it home? (No. I see an image of light.)

Look at that image. Is that image in itself home? (No.)

Where do you find home? (Sensations.)

Feel the sensations. Do you see any images connected with it? (Yes, of that part of my body.)

Look at the image. Is it home? (No.)

Feel the sensations again. Are those sensations home? (No.)

And so on. I notice that the idea of “home” now is (more) free of charge and meaning. It’s a word. If anything, home is here now.  

Boomerang situation: I longed for home as a child, then realized what I had longed for during the initial opening and awakening, and have had a background longing for home at times since then. It’s not very strong, but worth looking at. Longing is another thing I could look for.

Inquiry on separation

 

A quick inquiry on separation:

Look at the word “separation”. Is that the actual separation? (It feels like it, I feel it in my throat and inside of the mouth.)

Go to that sensation, feel it. When you are ready, see if that sensation is the actual sensation. (No, but I see an image of my body sitting here with a boundary around it, separating it from the rest of the world.)

Look at that image. See it as a print on the wall. Is that image what we are looking for, the actual separation? (No, it’s just an image.)

Where can you find separation? (I see another image, of my body from the outside with a distance separating it from the world.)

Look at that image. Is that image the actual separation? (No, but I seem to find separation in the sound of the word “separation”.)

Listen to that sound. Repeat it to yourself a few times. Really listen to it. Is that sound what we are looking for, the actual separation? (No.)

Where can you find separation? (I have an image of me as a kid, after starting school, feeling isolated and separate.)

Look at that image. Is that image separation? (No.)

And so on, on whatever comes up, until there is nothing left to be found.

(more…)

Inquiry: It’s enough to say it once

 

Some recurrent thoughts for me:

It’s enough to say it once. She won’t take me seriously anyway. She underestimates me. She thinks I am not clear on what I want. She second guesses me. It’s hopeless. I can’t convince her of anything else. My best option is to give up. I won’t correct it. I’ll punish her by saying it once, letting her go off in her own stories, and then show her she is wrong. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t mean it. I am a victim (of the situation, of her). She doesn’t trust I can take care of myself. She treats me as a victim. She tries to make me small.

Situation: My mother not taking what I say seriously. Going into her own stories about it. I give up because it seems hopeless. She won’t listen anyway. She won’t realize I am clear on what I want. She underestimates me. She doesn’t trust I can take care of myself. (This has come up with other people too, often women.)

Current situation: I offered Breema to K. (a friend), she second guessed me and thought I wanted to eat first. (While what I said was what I meant.)

Statement: It’s enough (for me) to say it once.

What happens: I feel angry. Go quiet. Want to punish her by staying quiet, and then revealing she was wrong. I harden. Go numb.

TA: It’s not enough (for me) to say it once.

She assumed I didn’t say what I wanted, so she needed me to clear it up for her.

She went into her own stories, and saying it more than once for me could have cleared it up for her.

Saying it more than once means I am taking care of myself. I meant what I said, and I can clarify that I meant what I said.

TA: It’s enough for her to say it once.

As soon as I notice she goes into her own stories, I can interrupt and clarify. It’s kind of me to correct it right away, instead of waiting. (And get resentful.)

I noticed right away what was going on. I didn’t need her to say it more than once.

TA: It’s enough for me to say it once (!)

I won’t have to repeat myself. I can say it differently.

It’s impossible for me to say it twice. I cannot if I tried.

(more…)

Deeply wanted by the universe

 

I have had the thought I wasn’t wanted.

What’s the truth in the turnaround ? I was wanted.

I see that my parents decided to have me. They decided to keep me. They took care of me – fed me, clothed me, sheltered me, was there for me.

And  see that the whole of the universe wanted me, and wants me. If the whole of the universe didn’t want me, I wouldn’t have been born. My birth came from infinite causes, stretching back to the beginning of time and out to the widest reaches of the universe. And if God (life, existence, the universe) is love, then that love includes me and my birth and life.

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Inquiry: It’s chronic fatigue

 

Labels – when taken as true – comes with a particular way of viewing the world, rests on assumptions, and trigger associations. So it can be very helpful to explore even the most basic labels.

One of the labels I have explored for myself is chronic fatigue. Is it true? What happens when I take it as true? Who would I be – right now – without it? What’s the validity in the turnarounds?

– 0 –

It’s chronic fatigue.

Is it true?

Yes.

Can you know for certain it’s true?

No.

What happens when you take it as true?

I feel the weight of the diagnosis.

I imagine a large group of medical doctors with concerned looks agreeing it’s chronic fatigue.

I have an image of it as chronic.

My mind comes up with scary images based on what I have heard or read.

I see images of people being incapacitated for a very long time.

I feel fear, hopelessness.

Who would you be without it?

I feel lighter.

I am with what’s here.

Free of fear.

Peaceful.

Engaged.

Turnarounds

(a) It’s not chronic fatigue.

Chronic fatigue is a label, a thought. What it refers to is something different, not touched by labels and thoughts.

I don’t know if that’s what it is. It’s just a convenient label. Nobody really knows what CFS is.

It’s not chronic, in the sense of permanent or lasting, even now.

(b) It’s temporary fatigue.

Yes. Even now, it’s temporary. Sometimes, I have energy and a more clear mind.

It won’t last. That’s one thing that’s certain.

It’s “fatigue” only when a thought labels it so.

(c) It’s chronic vitality.

I sometimes do a lot, even if I was someone who didn’t have that label.

I experience aliveness and vitality, even when (what a thought calls) tiredness and brain fog is more pronounced.

The sensations that a thought calls tiredness and brain fog are vibrant and full of life.

– 0 –

It’s a wrong choice -> It’s a right choice

 

This is a common set of thoughts for us humans:

I made a wrong choice.

It’s a wrong choice.

It’s possible to make a wrong choice.

What do I find when I explore one of these, keeping a specific situation in mind?

It’s a wrong choice.

TA: I am a wrong choice.

When the idea of “wrong choice” is held as true, there is identification with that view, and “I” become that view.

In that sense, I am – I am identified with the idea of – a wrong choice, that it’s possible, that it happened, that it may happen again, and all the things it means to me.

TA: It’s a right choice.

If it happens, it’s because it seems right to me. It may come from wisdom, love, guidance, or it may come from beliefs and being caught up in fears, and yet it feels like the right choice in the moment.

Life allows it to happen. It’s life itself appearing as that choice and its consequences, so it cannot be so inherently, absolutely “wrong” that it’s not possible.

It gives me feedback. If I act from beliefs and being caught up in fears, the (inner/outer) consequences gives me feedback and invites me to take a closer look at these beliefs.

TA: It’s not a wrong choice.

I cannot find the idea of right or wrong choice outside of my own images of it. People may say it’s a right/wrong choice, my thoughts may say so, and yet I cannot find it outside of my own images and ideas of it. It’s not inherent in the world itself (if we can even talk about that).

It gives me feedback. It’s “right” in that sense.

Innumerable causes – stretching back to the beginning of time and to the widest reaches of the universe – has led to it. Who am I to argue with the whole of existence? (And I notice I don’t want to use that as an excuse for acting from beliefs and unloved fears.)