From seeing to visceral

For some years, inquiry was the center of my focus and something I did daily, whether it was The Work of Byron Katie, the Kiloby (Living) Inquiries, the Big Mind process, or just old-fashioned Buddhist sense field exploration inquiry. (This was mostly from around 2000 to 2018.)

I’ll still do more formal inquiry when I am drawn to it, but my focus these days is more on direct noticing and energy healing.

And I also notice a shift. For instance, when I did The Work on a topic in the past, it was sometimes a seeing of what was more true for me a certain topic, and my visceral experience hadn’t quite caught up. These days, I more often notice the visceral experience.

I imagine it may be more of my system catching up to the seeing, and it happens and deepens over time.

For instance, I saw the “I know everyone loves me, I just don’t expect them to realize it” quote from Byron Katie this morning, and I notice it resonates viscerally with me. Not with all of me since there are still psychological parts that don’t realize it, but more of me get it viscerally. The overall experience is of getting it more viscerally. When I first saw that quote many years ago, I remember seeing the truth of it but not getting it so viscerally.

And, of course, there is always further to go. There is a lot I haven’t examined yet, and there are many parts of me that have not caught up with the seeing.

The many things to be grateful for that makes what’s annoying possible

I sometimes allow myself to be bothered by noise, and I sometimes get annoyed by life for other reasons. In these situations, I notice what’s happening and may later work on whatever painful beliefs, emotional issues, and energetic contractions are behind it.

And in the moment, I sometimes use some emergency measures, and the more these are grounded in reality, the better.

One of these is to remind me of all the things I am genuinely grateful for that allow the annoying situation to even exist.

I am at the cabin, and the neighbor is making construction noise. This bothers me since it “ruins” the peace and silence here. There are a lot of conditions that make this possible, and many I am genuinely grateful for. I have ears to hear the sounds. I have time and opportunity to be at the cabin. I have access to this cabin. The cabin is still in good enough condition for me to be here. I have food here. I am a human being. I live in a country that allows for this situation with nature and a cabin. I have parents who were able to buy this cabin several years ago. There are other people in the world, including my neighbor. My neighbor is improving his cabin, he is not letting it fall apart. If I need help, my neighbor is here. Right now, this noise is the most annoying and troublesome thing in my life. And so on.

There are innumerable very real and tangible things I am genuinely grateful for that make this annoying situation possible.

So what about more serious situations?

This question can still be helpful, along with some related ones.

I have CFS, which I sometimes see as limiting and troublesome. What things make this possible that I am genuinely grateful for? I am alive. I have this body. My mind is clear enough to sometimes be bothered by it.

If I sit with it longer, I can likely find more answers.

I can also find more if I ground it in my current situation, and ask a related question: What I can still do, here and now, in spite of the CFS?

Right now, I am bothered by the CFS because I can’t do as much as I would want. (Maintenance, explorations.) I can still write here. I can still enjoy the weather, nature, and the view of the lake. I can still enjoy the food. I can still enjoy the candle. I can still talk with family and friends. And so on. There are many things I am genuinely grateful for that I can do and experience.

It’s good to have a few different questions for these situations and see what comes up when I ask myself each of them. This is not really about “positive thinking”. It’s about finding what’s real and ground myself in reality and a bigger picture.

Yes, there is something to the troublesome thoughts. And at the same time, there are many things I am genuinely grateful for.

This is an example of light and dark in the same sky.

Own inquiry on the victim

These are my notes on exploring how my mind creates its experience of the victim, using the Living Inquiries which is inspired by traditional Buddhist inquiry. I wrote it as I went along, in order to capture it more accurately.

EXPLORING HOW MY MIND CREATES ITS EXPERIENCE OF THE VICTIM

Where do you find the victim?

I see an image of myself sitting here, and I also notice some sensations.

Look at the image. Is that the victim?

Yes, it feels like it.

Feel those sensations.

Where do you feel it?

A tightness in my belly, chest, throat. In the front, the outer layer of my body.

Feel the sensations. Allow them to be as they are. Notice the space they happen within.

Yes. [some time] I notice they feel familiar.

What’s your earliest memory of having that feeling?

I have many glimpses from childhood, only a few clear ones. I think I must have felt it early in life, when my parents accused me of doing something I hadn’t, or when I didn’t get what I wanted, or felt treated unfairly.

Can you remember one instance?

I am in the living room, playing with lego (or toy cars). My mother is in the kitchen and drops something that breaks. She screams it’s my fault, even if I am just playing on my own in another room. I am maybe three years old.

Look at that image. Is that the victim?

Yes, it feels that way.

Feel those sensations. Notice where they are in the body. Allow them to be as they are. Notice the space they happen within.

I feel a soft contraction in the throat and solar plexus, and the other sensations are there too although a little less. [taking time with this]

It feels very familiar, from childhood. There is a sadness there.

I have the thought: I am unloved.

Keep feeling the sensation. Allowing. Noticing. Notice the space.

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Own inquiry: Attacking a Green Party politician with straw man arguments, sexism, and racism

I regularly do inquiry, often more spontaneously in daily life. And I sometimes do more structured and in-depth inquiry on paper, although it’s been a while since I published any here. So here is one from today.

THE BACKGROUND

I notice a part of me gets upset when I see people engaging in personal attacks on Green Party members in Norway. It’s of course more than OK to disagree about policies and priorities, that’s how it’s supposed to be in a democracy. But it’s not OK to systematically use straw man arguments (pretending they have views and policies often diametrically opposed to reality) and personal attacks (often mixed in with sexism and racism). I see these straw man arguments and personal attacks from some reporters, media outlets, and individuals in Norway. It seems that the Green Party politicians are considered “fair game” for these types of attacks.

Most recently, this came up for me when I read an interview with someone who had posted hateful, sexist, and racists comments on social media about a prominent Green Party politician in Oslo, and justified it by saying that this politician wants to ruin the lives of people like him. (I am not sure what he referred to, but he seemed to be misinformed about the actual policies.)

The person he attacked is a young woman originally from an Asian country, so I assume he sees her as an easy target and it allows him to mix his straw man arguments with ageism, sexism, and racism.

JUDGE YOUR NEIGHBOR WORKSHEET

Think of a stressful situation with someone—for example, an argument. As you meditate on that specific
time and place and begin to feel what that felt like, fill in the blanks below. Use short, simple sentences.

  1. In this situation, who angers, confuses, hurts, saddens, or disappoints you, and why?
    I am angry with this guy because he uses straw man arguments and personal attacks to express himself.
  2. In this situation, how do you want him/her to change? What do you want him/her to do?
    I want him to see that he is wrong. I want him to get informed and address the policies and not the person.
  3. In this situation, what advice would you offer him/her? “He/she should/shouldn’t…”
    This guy shouldn’t be so aggressive and caught up in his emotions. He should step back, take a breath, see what he is doing, and admit what’s really going on for him.
  4. In order for you to be happy in this situation, what do you need him/her to think, say, feel, or do?
    I need him to apologize, say what’s really going on for him, and be more reasonable in the future.
  5. What do you think of him/her in this situation? Make a list. (It’s okay to be petty and judgmental.)
    He is aggressive. Immature. Unreasonable. Someone who destroys democracy.
  6. What is it about this person and situation you don’t ever want to experience again?
    I don’t ever want to see him be unreasonable again.

INQUIRY: HE IS AGRESSIVE, IMMATURE, UNREASONABLE

Statement: He is aggressive, immature, unreasonable, and destroys democracy.

Is it true? Yes.

Can you know for certain it’s true? No. I cannot know for certain.

What happens, how do you react, when you have that belief?

I feel angry and upset. I notice I want him to shut up. I feel I don’t belong to this society and world. I tell myself the world is full of stupid people. I think of all the other stupid people who use straw man arguments, personal attacks. I think of stupid people driving their car when they could use other modes of transportation, that use noisy machines to maintain an idiotic lawn when they could plant wildflowers. I think of idiots who don’t think about future generations and have a narrow and small mindset. I think of people who have little or no empathy with non-human beings. I get scared because these people act in ways that harm all of us. I notice a knot in my stomach. I get restless. My muscles tense up. I move in a more tense and jerky way. I want to eat comfort food. I want to distract myself. I want to get out of my own skin. I feel sad for the world. I feel scared about what will happen to the world. I feel sad for nonhuman animals impacted by what humans do. I want to call him all the types of things he calls other people. I want him to taste his own medicine.

Who would you be if you were completely at peace with this thought?

I would read the interview. Register that some people see the world in this way. Feel love for him and for his pain. I see someone who is in pain. Someone unable to be honest about what’s going on with him. Someone unable to examine where this is coming from in him and do something about it. Someone unable to respond with what he disagrees with in a reasonable way. I recognize myself in him. We both have this in us. I find love for it in both of us, and all humans. This is the human condition. The only solution is love, taking care of it in ourselves, and live from the love and clarity that then comes. I sit with my own pain, notice the different ways different parts of me responds to it, and can find love for it.

Turnaround 1: He is NOT aggressive, immature, unreasonable, and destroys democracy.

What’s more true for me is that he is in pain, and this is the only way he knows to deal with it.

He doesn’t destroy democracy. It takes more than his comments on social media to destroy democracy.

TA 2: He is loving, mature, reasonable, and builds democracy.

Yes, I am sure he is loving with some people and in some situations. I am sure he is mature in some areas of life. I am sure he is reasonable in some situations and areas of life.

By allowing himself to be interviewed in this way, he is brave, owns up to what he has done, and he builds democracy.

TA 3: I am aggressive, immature, unreasonable, and destroys democracy.

Yes, when I believe those thoughts about him I get aggressive, immature, unreasonable. That’s clear from my answer to the third question above. In a sense, I destroy democracy. At the moment I believe those thoughts about him, I destroy democracy in my own life.

INQUIRY: HE SHOULD ADMIT WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON FOR HIM

Statement: He should admit what’s really going on for him.

Is it true? Yes.

Can you know for certain it’s true? No. I cannot know for certain.

What happens, how do you react, when you have that belief?

I pretend I know that he doesn’t admit it to himself and possibly those around him. I pretend I know more about him than I do. I feel a strong urge for him to admit it. It becomes a mental obsession for me for a moment or a few minutes and whenever I again have this thought. I want him to do something he apparently isn’t so I feel frustrated, angry, sad, hopeless. I feel powerless since I can’t do anything about it. I want to distract myself. I want to eat comfort food. I want to read or watch something else, or talk with a friend, or go for a walk to distract myself from the discomfort. I want to leave my experience and what’s going on in this body. I feel a victim of him not doing what I think he should do.

I imagine what’s really going on for him: He is in pain, and deals with it by taking it out on this young woman from an Asian country who is now a politician with policies he feels harms him. He may have been going through difficult things in his life, possibly abusive parents, bullied at school, felt inferior, and so on. I imagine that if he admitted to this, he could address his pain more directly and he wouldn’t have to take it out in this way.

Who would you be if you were completely at peace with this thought?

I read the interview. See that he doesn’t seem to address what’s really going on with him. And I know that he may do just that but didn’t want to say anything in the interview, or that he did say something about it and the reporter or editor didn’t include it. It’s equally or more likely that he isn’t ready or able to go there right now. And that’s OK. This happens in its own time, when we are ready for it. Often, we need to suffer with it for a while before we are ready, and we may need to find a safe place to do so. That’s how it is for me, so it may well be that way for him too.

Turnaround 1: He SHOULDN’T admit what’s really going on for him.

Not if he is not ready. He may not even know what’s going on, and he can’t admit to something he is not aware of. Also, something completely different may be going on than what I imagine.

TA 2: He should DENY what’s really going on for him.

Yes. Again, he may not be ready. It may be too much for him to admit and go into right now. He may be dealing with a lot of other things. He may not have the tools or support to do it.

TA 3: I should admit what’s really going on for ME.

Yes. That’s what I really want. That’s what will give me peace.

I am the one who is reacting to my own fear and pain in the way described under question three above. Instead of admitting I am scared by what he says, I go into stories about him, anger, frustrations, shoulds, and more. I focus on him so I don’t have to feel my own fear, the fear triggered by what he says. I am scared for society and the world and myself when I see people saying what he says.

I am scared by what he says. That’s more honest for me.

I also see that this connects with my own childhood experiences where I felt bullied, so when I see the kind of bullying he and others engage in, it connects me with my own pain. Instead of meeting this pain and finding love for it, I react to my pain by focusing on him as described above. I distract myself from my own pain.

I am doing just what I imagine he is doing.

WHAT I NOTICE FOLLOWING THESE TWO INQUIRIES

I started with the two statements that had the most charge or resonance for me. It’s good to go through most or all of them, so I plan on returning and do more.

After doing these two quick inquiries, I notice something shift in me. I feel a release of the reactivity, and I can honestly see myself in him and find compassion for both of us. I also see that some of my initial descriptions now don’t resonate so much with me. For instance, I only assumed that he engaged in ageism, sexism, and racism. He didn’t say it explicitly, and the article didn’t describe exactly what he had written on social media.

I also see more clearly how this is connected with my own pain from experiencing bullying in childhood. It’s possible that these inquiries will help heal that pain further, we’ll see. And that’s not the main reason I am doing these inquiries. My main reason is to see more clearly what’s going on.

This is the shift I notice now. The reactivity can obviously come back, and if it does, it shows me there is more for me to look at and find here. If the reactivity comes back, it’s a genuine gift.

THE WORK OF BYRON KATIE

The format of this inquiry is from The Work of Byron Katie. If you want to try it, you can find a facilitator on Do The Work Helpline that will guide you through the steps for free.

Own inquiry: I think

I am revisiting this classic topic.

Thoughts appear out of nowhere. They come and go and live their own life. And we are trained to take ownership over them and say to ourselves “I am thinking” and “I thought that”.

One way to explore this is to notice it as it happens. A thought comes out of nowhere. I cannot find any origin. And then there is a thought saying “I thought that” even if it’s not based in reality or my own experience. Basic meditation – allow & notice – is one way to notice this.

We can also explore this in the context of noticing what we are, and through more structured inquiries like the Living Inquiries and The Work.

In the context of what we are

When I find myself as capacity for my world, I also find myself as capacity for the thoughts that are here.

I notice thoughts come and go within what I am, and come and go out of nothing.

This, in itself, releases some or most or all of the identification with the thoughts, at least while I notice what I am.

And this also happens generally over time the more I get used to and familiar with finding myself as capacity for thoughts and my world in general.

The Work on the thought “I think”

Statement: I think.

Q1: Is it true? Yes, sometimes it seems true.

Q2: Can you know for certain it’s true? No, I cannot know for certain.

Q3: What happens when you believe “I think”?

I take my thoughts personally. I feel responsible for them. I tell myself I create them and they reflect who and what I am. I am more cautious about my thoughts. I try to control them and shepherd them in a direction I prefer and think is better. I sometimes get slightly paranoid about my thoughts. I relate to them with some tension. They feel close. I feel I need to protect them if someone threatens them and what they tell me. I more easily get absorbed into them. I tend to take myself as the thoughts. I become the viewpoint of the thoughts. It becomes an identity for me, and one I feel I need to uphold and protect.

Q4: Who would you be without the belief “I think”?

I see thoughts come and go. They live their own life. There is space around them. They happen within and as space. I am more curious about them. I observe them. I take them more as innocent questions. I am less or not identified with them. If someone or something doesn’t agree with them, I observe the two viewpoints and can explore the dynamic between them more openly. I am open to what’s valid in thoughts and how they are not valid. I am open to how they may be useful and when and how they are not.

Turnaround 1: I don’t think.

Well, they come and go on their own. “I” don’t create them or determine what they say.

The idea “I think” is a thought. I don’t know for certain if or how it’s true. Thoughts may not be what I think they are. (They probably are not.)

TA 2: Thoughts “I”.

This is a weird turnaround. If I think, then perhaps it’s also true that thoughts create the “I”? Can I find “I” outside of thoughts? Not really. It seems that a sense of “I” is created by thoughts – saying “I” did this and that, “I” exist, “I” am this human self, and so on. Without it, there is just what’s here without that particular overlay of thought. There is still what thoughts may label this human being doing things in the world and with the experiences that are here.

TA 3: You think.

If I think I think, then I think you think as well. I see you as I see me. I see your thoughts as personal to you. I see your thoughts as reflecting who and what you are. I take your thoughts about me, or your thoughts either agreeing or disagreeing with mine, personally. I create a tense relationship between your thoughts and mine, and am ready to agree or defend according to what you say or write. My world revolves around my and your thoughts and their relationship and what I feel I have to do about it.

The primary here, in this and most types of inquiry, is the noticing and resting with the noticing, and the secondary is putting it into words.

Living Inquiries

I will also explore this using Living Inquiries, and may write some notes here when I do.

Own inquiry: The witch

Inquiry on a recurrent childhood dream. In the dream, I fall through darkness, look down, and see a witch grinning up at me while stirring a cauldron. I am about to fall into the cauldron.

Look at the image of the witch grinning up at you, stirring the cauldron. Look at the lines, colors, textures.

What happens? I feel sensations in the chest, throat, face. Not very strong.

Feel the sensations. Rest with them.

What do you notice? A contraction in the solar plexus area and also more in the middle of the belly.

Feel those sensations too. Rest with all of them.

What do you notice? I see an image of my mother when I was little. (The age when I had the dreams.) I see how she (sometimes) relates to my father. With contempt.

Is it an image? Several images? Two images, one of her, and one of her relating to him with contempt.

Look at both images, side by side. The lines, colors, textures, background. The space they are within.

What do you notice? I notice that in the image where she relates to my father with contempt, I see her as a witch.

Listen to the words “my mother is a witch”. What happens? I feel sensations all over the body. A heaviness. Pressure. Sadness. Grief. Fear.

Feel the sensations.

Do you notice anything? Yes, I feel trapped. I see a dark image and feel trapped within it.

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Own inquiry: Tired

Since the idea of “tired” and “I am tired” is a common part of CFS, I thought I would explore them.

Look at the word “tired”. See it up in front of you. Look at the letters, shapes, texture. Look at the space around it.

Do you feel anything in the body when you look at the word? Yes, a knot in my stomach, a sensation through my upper body and in my face.

Feel the sensations. Allow them to be there.

Do you see any images? Yes, an image of my body and something dark especially over the upper body and more dark and dense in my belly.

Look at that image. Put it up in front of you, as if it’s on a wall. Look at the shapes, colors, texture.

Is that image tiredness? No, but it’s connected to pressure in my chest, a (smaller) knot in my belly, and sensations through the upper body and face.

Feel those sensations. What happens? I notice they get stronger when I say the word “tired” to myself. I notice sadness.

Feel the sadness. Take time with it. Allow it. Where do you feel it? My upper body feels hollow and the sadness seems to be in the middle of the hollow upper body.

Can you find the sensations creating the sadness? Yes, in my throat, chest and heart area, and a small contraction in the belly.

Feel the sensations. Allow. Rest with it. What do you notice? The sensations are getting stronger. Stronger sense of sadness. It feels good to feel it and allow it. I notice the space it’s all happening within. It feels spacious.

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Own inquiry: Unlovable

Love is gonna be on your side

Just that feeling of love
That’s gonna be on your side

Firefly, Love is gonna be on your side

Life brought me to explore the feeling of being unlovable this morning and I did some simple inquiry into it as I did some other things. As I sat down to do record a more thorough inquiry here, and wrote the title of the page, I noticed the lyrics of the music I had on in the background. (Yes, I love cheesy disco music!)

Living Inquiry

When I feel into the unlovable identity, I see something dark and shriveled up in me (like a dry prune). I look at the image and notice the shape, texture, and color of the shriveled up prune.

I feel it in my chest. A pressure. Sinking in. And also in the solar plexus. My breath is shallow. I feel the sensations.

I notice it feels like I want to just shrivel up and die, and look at those words. I see the words in front of me. Is there a charge on those words? (Do they seem like me, the unlovable one?) Yes, the words seem connected to sensations in my face, chest, and solar plexus. I feel those sensations.

I notice sadness in me. I feel it mostly in sensations in the belly and feel those sensations. I stay with it for a while and feel the sensations as sensations.

I see a picture of darkness connected with the sadness. The picture is of darkness in my belly and it feels like it goes infinitely far. When I ask myself if that picture is the unlovable one, I notice the picture still has a charge (which makes it a “yes”), and that charge is the sensations in my belly. I feel those sensations.

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Own inquiry: The Universe doesn’t love me

These are brief notes from a three+ hour juicy, rich, and powerful inquiry session.

The situation was Monday when I “crashed” (due to CFS) after shoveling snow in the morning, and also was disappointed because a humidifier I had bought didn’t work. As I did the work, I noticed the original situation was from when I was a baby so I included that as a second situation.

I realize these notes will mostly make sense for those who are familiar with The Work of Byron Katie. And inquiry is only juicy and rich if you do it yourself, ideally with an experienced and skilled facilitator. You can do it for free on the The Work Helpline with experienced facilitators.

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Summary of Main Insights / Living Turnarounds

There are a lot of notes here so I’ll summarize some of the main insights and guidelines I am bringing into daily life. These are turnarounds to the initial stressful thoughts that especially hit home and felt juicy to me, and that I am bringing into daily life as reminders and guidelines.

  • If the universe is neutral, I am the one who has to give me what I want – safety, love, support.
  • I am cruel and unloving. Any time I believe stressful thoughts, I am cruel and unloving to myself. I can stop the reactivity and the pain.
  • I need me to allow things to fall into place for me. To not hinder it, as I have done many times in life, because of my own scary thoughts about it.
  • The universe gives me what I want. I notice that often, it does eventually. And it gives me what I want deeper down, which is to be shown reality so I can align with it more consciously.
  • The universe shouldn’t love me – more than it already does. It’s already giving me a lot. Family, friends, partners, shelter, food, travels, the opportunity to explore myself and life, living in a wealthy country, delicious food, nourishing cups of herbal and spice teas, and much more.
  • The Universe shouldn’t give me what I feel I need. Because I don’t need it. It shows me I don’t need it. And it invites me to explore my beliefs about needing it, and – if it still seems like something I would like – any beliefs that may stop me from having it in my life.

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Projecting sensations into space

I had a low-grade sense of sinking heaviness for a couple of days and decided to explore it in a Living Inquiry session yesterday. 

I started with resting with the sensation of slowly sinking heaviness filling my experience and going indefinitely far out in space in all directions.

Then, I rested with the sensations in my body that created this experience. It was a slightly vibrating sensation on my skin in the face, head, and upper body. After resting with this for a while, I brought attention to the image(s) of something sinking, and of something spread out infinitely out into space in all directions. 

As I have noticed before, when a feeling feels like its outside of the body, it’s created by a combination of bodily sensations and one or more images placing the sensations outside of the body. 

And as with any experience with a charge, it can only hold itself together and seem real as long as it’s uninvestigated. As soon as it is investigated, and we have taken time to rest with each of the components, the illusion falls apart.

In this case, the sensations are still here (although less) but they are recognized as sensations in particular places in the body, and the associated images are recognized as images. The magic trick cannot anymore be experienced as I initially experienced it.  

I also explored some of the associations with this slowly sinking all-encompassing heaviness, what triggered it a couple of days earlier, and some of the underlying issues (back to childhood). I won’t go into details here since I mainly wanted to share how sensations can be projected into space, and seem to fill our whole experience even if they are actually quite localized. 

Since I noticed some identification as someone sitting here (mostly with the head area), I took some time to rest with the sensations making up this experience, and also the images making it up. That allowed this identification to similarly fall apart as a convincing magic trick. 

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.

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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.

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A chard in the heart

In a podcast interview, Jeannie Zandi talks about her dark night of the soul and how it involved a lasting experience of a “chard” in her heart. That’s the same for me. It comes and goes, but is here more often than not these days. I suspect it’s fear and it does seem preverbal and related to a primal life and death issue.

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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.

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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. Read 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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.)