Marina Bajszár: Thoughts, just because you hear them, does it make them yours?

When I look, I find that words are imagined sounds. They are something I hear. Just like I hear the sound of birds, cars, and the wind, I imagine hearing words. They are all sounds.

I also find that words can be mental images. They are something I see. Just like I see a tree, the sky, and houses, I imagine seeing words. They are all images.

When I notice this – when I notice words as sounds and images – it’s easier to recognize them for what they are. They are imagined sounds. They are imagined images.

And this also helps me notice that they are imagined. They are imagination. This is often a useful imagination. It helps me orient and function in the world. And they are imagination. They are fantasies.

What happens when I notice this? What happens when I notice that thoughts that have a charge for me are sounds, images, and imagination? What happens when I rest in and as that noticing? There is a softening of the charge. There is less identification with their viewpoint. There is a curiosity that comes in. Maybe they are not as true as my mind, in its innocent confusion, took them as?

It can be helpful to use a structured exploration here, especially when it comes to thoughts with a strong charge. I have found the Kiloby Inquiries – a modern version of traditional Buddhist sense field explorations – to be the most effective for this. (Marina and I are both trained in that approach.)

And as usual, there is a lot more to explore here.

Why does my mind assume that some imaged sounds and images are actively created by me? It’s usually because they align with my conscious view. The sounds of cars, birds, and waves are obviously not created by me. Some random thoughts without much charge may also not appear to be created by me. But some familiar thoughts with a charge seem to be created by me. It feels like “I” am actively thinking them. And that feeling and assumption is created by the mind. When I explore it, I find it comes from another thought. It comes from mental sounds and images that tell me “I am actively creating those thoughts”. In reality, they are sounds and images like anything else.

I can also notice this more directly. I can notice thoughts – imagined sounds and images – as they appear. They come out of nothing and dissipate into nothing. (And are even made up of what a thought can label nothing.) They live their own life.

Who is that “I” thinking these thoughts? When I explore it, I find the same. I find a collection of mental images associated with certain physical sensations. I cannot find an “I” or “me” outside of this. It’s all happening within the sense fields. It only takes on the meaning of “I’ and “me” through thoughts telling me that’s how it is.

Even if I generally and “globally” get this, there will still be certain thoughts with a charge, and the charge means there is some identification there. A part of me hold those thoughts as true. So it’s worth exploring and investigating them and see what I find.

Marina Bajszár: What is your “Love Affair” with?

I remember having intense crushes through my teenage years. I never spoke to these crushes. Oh, no! That would have spoiled the fantasy. I didn’t know this at the time though. I always thought the reason was just that I was so painfully shy I couldn’t actually talk to the ones I longed for. Later in my college years I would plot ways to meet a crush… after a year of longing and finding a way to attend a party where he would be, I somehow got him to ask me out on a date. I was excited and scared. We dated for 3 whole weeks and it was quickly realized it wouldn’t last. I had been in a year-long relationship with my longing. He could never measure up to that.

I started to notice longing in my life in other situations too. There was something about the pain of the longing as a kind of sweet suffering that was almost enjoyable. I had different names for it like “future nostalgia”, or “melancholic optimism”, or simply “something’s missing”, and it felt romantic and dramatic and rich. I had a love affair with my longing and if anyone tried to take it away by showing up and being who they actually were, I would be sure to sabotage the relationship so I could go back to my longing. Of course I didn’t know this consciously. I got really clear about this about a year ago when it dawned on me that I am no longer longing, but more present and grateful for relationships exactly as they showed up in my life.

Once in a while I am asked by clients at the center about what personal benefits I’ve gained in my own life in working with The Living Inquiries. Although it’s impossible to measure really, one thing that’s become clear is that it’s not that my ups and downs don’t exist. It’s that it’s just not as important as it used to be. A wide range of emotions are still available to me. I’m human. But the relationship to my emotions has changed. It’s no longer crucial that I feel happy all the time. I’m not measuring my well being as much on my emotional state. If there is any measuring going on, it’s more about whether I’m able to notice and rest with my states that do show up. And the noticing and rest happen for longer periods and more naturally since I’ve found the Living Inquiries.

I must admit there is one state that has changed and has not showed up for a long while: the longing is gone. It’s just not there, and although I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when this shift happened, I can trace it back to a few facilitations a few years ago that I started to become aware of this love affair with my longing and I stayed with it, observed it and noticed it any time it showed up. I didn’t try to change it, I just kept noticing it, resting and inquiring into it. And as I looked at the different layers of thoughts about it, memories and images associated to it as well as the intense sensation that felt so stuck in my body, at some point through the continual looking, the whole thing was less and less compelling or interesting. Today I’m in a relationship where I can honestly say I don’t wish him to be any different than how he is. It’s a very refreshing change to want what is already in front of you.

– Marina Bajszár from What is your “Love Affair” with?

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