“The mind is inherently stubborn about change, and seems to snap back to its original position like an elastic band.
But there is catch: when we truly comprehend in our guts the finality and truth that THIS is IT, right now, no matter how our life is, then we grasp what Werner Erhard was always screaming about:
that no magic pill or workshop or experience of any sort is ever going to come along and finally “fix” you or me or make us permanently happy, and in that very moment of giving up the search for transformation, a transformation paradoxically does in fact occur.
One recognises that one was never broken in the first place, and suddenly all the energy previously devoted to seeking a way out of or through the problem of the unfulfilled self is freed up to power one’s mission and vision, which is a gesture of giving and contribution rather than one of searching, waiting, and hoping.
And that is a good thing, if a bit sobering, because it means we are asked to step up to the plate in life with what and who we already are. We have been given our piece in the game, and it only remains to play wholeheartedly.”
This post continues the conversation that I started in the previous post where a ‘sister’ reached out to me for help, for advice, for my point of view as she was and may still be suffering.
Let’s set the ground for this conversation
Look into the matter deeply and you might just find that we human beings do not have access to the truth. If you are scientifically minded then study what has been taken for knowledge and ‘truth’ and you might just find that ‘truth’ is always provisional and ‘truths’ have come and gone. Once ‘truth’ was that the heavens revolved around the Earth and women were held to be inferior to men – some men, tribes and religions still cling to the belief that women are inferior to men and are the property/playthings of men. I remember standing up to my parents so that my sister could go to University and create her own life rather than have a forced marriage thrust upon her.
How best to illustrate, provide your for a feeling for what I am pointing at? Allow me to share a sufi tale with you. A sufi master is said to have told the following story:
‘Finding I could speak the language of ants, I approached one and enquired, “What is God like? Does he resemble the ant?” He answered, “God? No, indeed – we have only a single sting but God, he has two!”‘
Which is not to say that all viewpoints, all the places we choose to stand are equal in value. If you are driving in the UK it makes huge difference as to whether you drive on the left (the UK viewpoint) or the left (USA/Continental Europe). The same applies to Life: some vantage points are simply more useful for tilting the table towards the ‘workability’ of life. So the point of view that I share is not the truth. I make no such claim yet I do assert that living from the vantage point that I am sharing can increase the ‘workability’ of your life. Now that we are clear on this lets move on to the conversation itself.
All kinds of unhelpful/disempowering feelings & thoughts can show up in our lives
Sister I notice that all kinds of thoughts and feelings are showing up in your life: feeling lost; feeling the loss of physical intimacy; feeling lost and alone; feeling the burden of uncertainty/insecurity; feeling unwanted; feeling you don’t belong; longing for the one; thinking and believing there is something wrong with you…….
It might occur to you that you are all alone, that this is only showing up in your life. You are not alone. Many, many of us have experienced these thoughts, these feelings at some point in our lives. How many thousands are thinking/feeling this way right now? Allow me to share a story with you.
“One day a mother turned up to the abode of a holy man clutching the body of her dead baby. She was in so much pain and she pleaded, again and again, with the holy man to bring her baby back to life. The holy man listened patiently and then told the mother that indeed he could help her. And in order for him to help her he needed her to go back to her village and bring back a glass of water – but only from a household which had never experienced death.
The mother went back to her village and started knocking on doors. Each household was more than willing to give her a glass of water. Yet the water was of no use as every household had lost someone – grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, friend……
After knocking on all the doors and finding no household, no person, left untouched by loss of someone dear the mother returned to the holy man. This time she was lighter because she had gotten that loss, sorrow and death touch us all – an intrinsic part of human life.”
How about living from this stand: whole-complete-perfect?
So ‘sister’ you are no less than anyone else on this planet. Suffering is not a sign that there is something wrong with you, that you are defective. Loss, pain, sorrow, suffering come as intrinsic to human existence on this planet of ours. You are whole-complete-perfect just as you are and just as you are not. How about standing in that space? The space of “I declare myself to be whole-complete-perfect just as I am and am not!”
You (and I) are neither our thoughts nor our feelings
Sister, being a woman, it is quite possible that you may find the following a struggle. And I say there is value in listening to what I am about to say. I say that you and I are neither our thoughts nor our feelings! That’s right I get that thoughts and feelings are present and I say that you are not these thoughts nor these feelings. Do you disagree? Does this upset you? Bear with me and let’s explore.
Do you choose the thoughts that pop up into your mind? Just sit and meditate even for five minutes, keep a blank mind, think no thoughts. What happened? Did a stream of thoughts simply show up? Did you choose to think these thoughts? If you are honest you know that you did not choose these thoughts, they simply pop up in your house of being without your bidding. Look deeper and you will find that some of these thoughts hook you and others don’t – they show up, they disappear.
What about your feelings? Do you choose them? Do you choose to feel sad, miserable, joyful? If you look deeply you will find that feelings show up in your house of being uninvited just like your thoughts. And you will find that some feelings show up more often than others. You are also likely that some feelings hook you more than others – they stay longer, you connect with them more deeply. And all feelings fade away whether you want them to or not.
Do you still find what I say difficult to accept? Imagine that you are throwing a party and a you get a village load of people turning up at this party – some invited and some ‘gatecrashers’. Does your Self expand to include these people? Do you ever say to yourself I am all – me, the people that I have invited and the ‘gatecrashers’? No, you do not. What is more once you noticed the ‘gatecrashers’ you would ask them to leave and if they did not you would call the police so as to eject these unwelcome ‘gatecrashers’, right?
How are the thoughts and feelings that show up in your house of being any different to the ‘gatecrashers’? And why do you collapse them with yourself and call them your feelings, your thoughts? I say that you do that because you have been born into a culture that says and teaches you that the thoughts and feelings that show up for you are yours – they constitute an integral part of yourself. And that is why you latch onto them and confuse them with yourself. Yet you are not the thoughts and feelings that show up and then disappear!
Do you want access to freedom?
If you want access to freedom then I invite you to live from this sand: “I am the context and not the content. I am the house of being not the furniture that turns up, stays around, wears it, is thrown out. I am the chooser not the chosen (content) nor the ‘gatecrashers’ (thoughts/feelings/moods) that show up in my house of being uninvited . I choose and declare myself to be the possibilities that I project and the stand/s that I take in life!”
You might be wondering how that gives you freedom. Allow me to illustrate with a personal example. Last week I was in considerable pain – some days I spent curled up in bed, some nights I did not sleep at all. Then Friday morning arrived and it was the first morning that I felt OK. Months ago I had agreed to meet a ‘friend that I had not yet met face to face’ and his guests for an informal chat in London. That informal gathering was due to start at 4pm. What to do? Do I take a chance and drive into London – an hour drive? Or do I play it safe and rest given that I have already let my friend know that I am ill and might not make it? The day showed up as being miserable: dark clouds and heavy rain.
What thoughts and feelings showed up? Thoughts: don’t go, stay at home, it is safer (more accidents on the roads in this kind of weather), it is the right thing to do as I need to rest, and if I do go and am unwell then my wife/family will criticise me. Feelings: confused, worried, scared – about doing the wrong things, making my health situation worse.
What did I do? I chose to be my stand: to honour my word as myself. I got into the car at 14:45 and headed into London in the pouring rain. Half and hour later the noticeboard showed speed restriction and a blocked lane, long delays – an accident had indeed occurred on the motorway. This was a great excuse to turn the car around and head back home. Those thoughts did pop up in my mind: look you have done your best, you have kept your word, no disgrace in heading home. What did I do? I chose to play full-out to honour my word. I diverted onto minor roads and found myself a different route into London. I arrived 15 minutes late and yet I did turn up and I am proud of myself: I choose not to allow the uninvited thoughts and feelings to deflect me from my stand in life.
You, I , we can choose to relate to ourselves as the possibilities that we invent live from/live into and the stand/s that we take in life. You, I, we can get and live from the stand that we are not the thoughts and the feelings that pop up, stay a while, disappear, reappear in our minds/bodies/lives.
Living from this context we can let go of “I am feel insecure or helpless” and replace it with “How interesting I notice insecurity and helplessness are present, I wonder how they ended up in my house of being.” And living from this context you can let the thoughts and feelings that show up, simply be, whilst you continue to be ruthless in living from/into the possibilities that you have invented and the stands you have taken.
I guarantee that if you live from the context that I have outlined above your experience of living will be transformed. You will relate to yourself as a powerful human being. If you do that then you can drop the need to take more courses to fix yourself. How/why? Because you are already whole-complete-perfect and as such there really is nothing to fix and no course will fix it!
Ultimately it comes down to choice. Whether you choose to live from the context of whole-complete-perfect, living from/into the possibilities that you invent and the stands you take. Are you up for that ‘sister’?
In April, I throughly enjoyed each and every day. In April I was carefree, lighthearted, relaxed and totally in the present. And so I was present to the sunshine, the warmth, the grass and the plants blossoming into flower. Every day was a joy.
Then yesterday I started thinking about stuff and ended up in the land of fear, uncertainty, doubt, concern and worry. The day was equally beautiful and yet I did not experience the beauty.
Today, I was in a much better mood and really appreciated my day. I sat in my garden and enjoyed the sunshine. I walked around, looked at and marvelled at the flowers: blue, purple, white, yellow, orange, red…..Then in the afternoon I got some news that I did not welcome into my life. And almost immediately I fell out of love with this day even though the sunshine was still there and the flowers were just as beautiful.
In the midst of all this I got present to a truth that was presented at Landmark Education: the future you are living into gives you your being in the present. And I got present to the Zen saying that ‘everything is mind’!