New and fresh

God does not repeat itself, as a sufi said. As usual, we can explore this in two ways, first in immediate experience and then within the world of stories.

In immedicacy, I first find that experience just is. There are sensations, sounds, sights, smell, taste, a world of images creating boundaries, interpretations, a sense of past, future, and present and so on. It is independent of any ideas of freshness or newness.

Then, I find that when I use images of past, future, and present, and I compare those with each other, I compare images of the present with images of a past and future. Depending on what stories I use, I may tell myself these images of a present are the same as those of the past or future (and likely get a little bored), or that they are different and new (and likely make myself a little more interested).

These stories of difference can be informed by science. I may tell myself that all matter is in flux, even if it appears solid and steady to my senses. And also that the evolution of the universe provides uninterrupted novelty. At the micro- and macro-levels, existence is inherently and inevitably creative, and always appears new, fresh, and different.

Read More

Always a beginner

I am always a beginner, whether I like it or not. Sometimes I notice, and there is receptivity. Other times, I don’t and am locked into identification with a story and identity.

Here and now is always fresh, new, different. Existence never repeats itself.

And there is always don’t know.

What I am familiar with is always finite within the infinite. I have limited experience. My insights are limited. The stories I am familiar with are limited. (There are always other stories out there that are more functional than the ones I am familiar with.)

Any story is a question, even if I take it as a statement. An innocent question to help my human self function in the world.

What I am – and anything is – cannot be touched by any story. A story can, at most, invite what I am to notice itself.

Read More

Staying with the questions

It is simple: staying with the questions allows the process to continue to unfold… as it wants to unfold, not as my thoughts say it should unfold (which it never does anyway).

If I focus on finding an answer, attention tends to go to the inside of a thought in two ways. First, there is an expectation of an answer coming up in the (hopefully immediate) future, which comes from a thought about the future. Then, my thoughts will try to help and tell me what the answer should be like, or even exactly what it is.

In both cases, attention goes to the inside of a thought, which (a) brings attention away from what is alive in immediate awareness, (b) tends to cut off the exploration process, and (d) tends to feel a little stale, off, and even too predictable and boring.

It also brings up a sense of a separate self. Either, there is an I here not knowing the answer and Others who do, which brings up a sense of inferiority. Or it can bring up a sense of an I here knowing the answer, and Others possibly not knowing it, including myself in the future, which in turn fuels both arrogance and fear.

If attention stays with the question and the exploration process (either structured through Choiceless Awareness, The Work, the Big Mind process or something similar, or more free and open), it allows for receptivity, and for the process to unfold in a fresh and surprising way. It is always fresh and surprising, but at least now, I can notice it.

It is fresh, because God (life, the universe) does not repeat itself. Even a thought with the (apparently) same content as a previous thought, is a new thought. And it is always surprising as well, since expectations comes from thoughts, thoughts are about the past (even when they appear to be about the present or future), and what is alive is always different from these expectations.

And this helps me see that what is alive in immediate awareness, including any insight, is only temporary, only here now. It also helps me see that thoughts, at best, only reflects what is (was) alive in immediate awareness, and can serve as a pointer for noticing what is alive here now.

It is tempting to go to a thought for an answer. It is quick. Easy. Works to some extent. Yet, it also feels a little stale. There is a slight discomfort associated with it. It feels a little off, slightly dishonest.

Even just noticing this helps. It helps me stay somewhat sincere, somewhat more precise about what is here now.

Attention goes to a memory, gets wrapped up in it, and there is a sense of I and Other, of a smaller space, of something being a little off. And this too, is just what is happening here now along with everything else.

As soon as it is noticed, there is a release of identification with it. The boundaries fade and become more transparent, a sense of space comes in.

Read More