Anything

 

When I don’t believe in toughs, in abstractions, I can find anything and everything in myself. I am fluid. There is no fixed or limiting identity to measure my experiences or actions against.

It may be that there will at least be a trace of rigidity/fixedness as long as this awareness functions through a body and personality, but it is always possible to further soften this set of ideas called a self-identity. To soften it, help it become more inclusive and porous, until it melts away…

And there are many ways to move in this direction.

Working with projections is one. Anything and everything I see in the outer world – in other people, in landscapes, in dreams, in mythology, in stories, in movies, in the universe – all characteristics and attributes, are also there in the inner world. When I see a characteristic in the outer world, it can be a reminder to look for it in the inner world. It can be unfolded and experienced already, or it may be there only as a potential. Can I find it? Can I see that there is no difference between the outer and inner world?

Allowing thoughts to drop us is another. Allowing the belief in thoughts – in any thought – to fall away. Byron Katie’s inquiry process seems remarkably effective for this. I experience a contraction or suffering, I find the thought behind it, and I inquire into it. Then it releases me.

Awakening to the nature of mind is another – or maybe that which makes all the other ones come to fruition. Here, I find a “ground” distinct from the small self, the body and personality, and all the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors. From this view, I see the inner and outer world as a fluid seamless whole. Nothing is fixed (or need to be), and there are distinctions yet no absolute boundaries. There is a sense of rich intimacy with any and all phenomena that arise in this awareness empty of any characteristics. This awareness experiences more directly, with less or no filters. Thoughts just appear within this awareness, distinct from the direct experiences. There is no need to believe in thoughts. They are just seen as that which they are – just thoughts. Just abstract representations of experiences. Very useful as that, but not anything I need to believe in or take seriously.

And living this, no matter how we come to it, is always a process. There is a continuing and deepening process of insight and integration. And life itself gives us feedback on where we are stuck, where there is still rigidity, where we resist experiences because they do not fit with thoughts we believe in. Suffering or dis-ease is a faithful and loving reminder.

Advice for me

 

I heard a story yesterday about the author of a book I am enjoying very much. The story gave the impression of this author as arrogant, and I noticed a sequence of responses in me…

First, I experienced resistance: the ones telling the story seeemed arrogant, and maybe my currently favorite author is as well. And I hooked into the thought that “they should not be arrogant” which brought up a hardness in me.

Then, it softened as I saw that it was only someone’s story. And even the story itself had many different possible interpretations – all which seemed reasonable.

Finally, it all released as I applied the advice “he/they shouldn’t be arrogant” to myself. I should not be arrogant. That feels much more true. I am the one who is too arrogant, if I think I can know that about anyone else, if I think anyone else should follow my advice, and if I think that I cannot learn from a book even if the author sometimes act in a way that can be perceived as arrogant. Now, it all seemed comical. Applying the advice to myself brought me to myself and a deepened softening.

A Gift for the One it Arises in

 

As I continue to engage in the Byron Katie inquiry process, my experiences of processes such as projections continue to deepen and clarify.

It has become very clear to me that whenever an impulse arises in me, I am the one it is meant for. I am the one meant to fully experience it.

It seems obvious, but there is such a widespread confusion about this today (and probably back to the dawn of humanity). Our culture teaches us the reverse: whenever something arises in me, it is meant for someone else. I either project it onto someone else, or I want to share it as a gift with others.

(As Jen said, there is an implicit idea behind this view which says that God/Existence must be very confused: An impulse is meant for Suzie, and it appears in Per. And I don’t even know Suzie…!)

Through inquiry, I see that whatever arises in me is meant for me. If it arises in the form of an advice (a “should”) then it is for me. If it is a gift of realization, awakening or skill, then it is for me as well – to fully experience and enjoy. I can still make it available for others, but even then I do it for myself – to continue to clarify and deepen it.

A footnote: When I see impulses arising in me as being for someone else, there is suffering. When there is a “should” and I apply it to others, they may or may not conform. When I know the advice is for me, I benefit fully from it. When a gift arises in me and I see it as for others, others may or may not receive and appreciate it the way I wish. When I know the gift is for me, I fully experience and enjoy it. Free from any agenda I would otherwise have on their behalf, this gives others the opportunity to freely enjoy it or not.

They should be interested in my gifts.

1. Yes. 2. No.

3. Let down. Feel ignored, hurt, isolated, judgmental of self and others, arrogant and/or inferior. Experience a split and separation.

4. Present. Enjoy what is. Interested in what is, as it is. (No need to interfere through engaging in the idea of “sharing my gifts”.)

5a. They should not be interested in my gifts. (No, what is is. They should not be interested until they are.)

>> 5b. I should be interested in my gifts. (Yes, I am the one they are meant for. They arise in me, so I am the one who is meant to fully experience them.)

Doing it for Myself

 

As I mentioned in a previous posting, it has become very clear to me that everything I do, I do for myself. Always. I can make up a story that I am doing it due to external circumstances, but when I look into it, I see that I am doing it only for myself. This is a liberating realization.

Some examples…

  • Paying taxes
    The story is that I pay it because I “have” to. “They make me do it”. The reality is that I choose to do it, because I don’t want the trouble that comes with not doing it. I do it for myself.

  • Doing someone a favor
    The story is that I do it for them, and there can be a substory that I “have” to do it even if it is inconvenient for me or I don’t want to. The reality is that I do it to either avoid trouble (unpleasantness in the relationship) or because I experience a connection with the person and it gives me joy to do something for her/him. I do it for myself.

  • I give free Breema sessions
    The story could be that I do it for them, that I am selfless and noble. The reality is that I do it because it gives me so much – both during the session and in connecting with people. I do it for myself.

  • I go to an event I don’t want to go to
    The story is that I go because I “have” to go, it is expected of me. The reality is that I go because I either don’t want the possibly unpleasant consequences by not going (disapproval etc) or because I expect to get something out of it. And I have judged this to be more important than the drawbacks of going. Again, I do it for myself.

Of course, for some of these – such as attending an event we don’t really want to attend – the choice may be different when we realize our real intentions. When we inquire into it, we may choose a different action. In other cases, inquiring just clarifies why we do it and dissipates any sense of ambivalence that may be there.

There is an exercise from Nonviolent Communication that can be very helpful here, along with Byron Katie’s inquiry process…

  1. Make a list of your top ten least favorable things to do
  2. Write a sentence for each one of these in the format “I have to … because …” (this is the story you tell yourself).
  3. Write another sentence for each in the format “I choose to … because …” (this is reality).

And from this, there are three typical outcomes…

  1. I see that I really want to do it, and the sense of ambivalence is dissipated. I stop blaming circumstances and see that I do it for myself. My attitude changes.
  2. I see that my reasons for doing it does not hold up, and I stop doing it. My action changes.
  3. I find another way of doing it that is more aligned with what is comfortable for me. The way I do it changes.

Projections

 

There is often a deepening of my experiences, even of that which I thought I had a good grasp on. The words may still be the same, but the experience different.

During the Breema intensive, there was one particular long body-centered meditation during which we listened to a Breema talk. I sat in the back of the room, and noticed how reactions came up for me triggered by the fidgeting of some of those near me. I had judgments come up and associated emotions, and began to fidget myself. My attention became more dispersed and fragmented. I noticed that my central judgment was “they should pay attention”.

When I turned this around to myself, “I should pay attention”, I experienced a (somewhat dramatic) shift from fragmented attention to being here/now, from discomfort to well-being, from dispersion to containment (myself as one whole beyond body/psyche), from a sense of weakness to strength, from confusion to clarity. I was present, here/now as one whole – breathing, with my weight on the ground, listening to the words of the talk.

What came up as very clear to me, is this process…

1. An impulse arises in me.
2. If I apply it outwardly (as judgments or looking for something outside of me), there is a sense of dispersion, fragmentation, weakness, confusion, impatience, and uneasiness.
3. If I apply it inwardly, there is centering, strength, clarity, direction.

The impulse is a gift from the universe, it is exactly the message I need, pointing out the direction I need to go. If I apply it to something outside of myself, I cannot benefit from its gift. If I apply to to myself, I benefit fully from the richness in it.

The advice is always for me. As Byron Katie says, “I am the one I have been waiting for”.