Awakening

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Re: Awakening

Postby PlutoISaplanet » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:45 pm

Thanks, Andy. I've always liked reading your posts because you're insightful. I just read the other day that fear and anxiety are also part of the Ego. How did I not know this? Yet I didn't. My fear and anxiety keep me separate from others, and I'm just now realizing how much shame I carry around about this.

My husband and two young children are in NY and PA right now without me because I allowed my fear of traveling and feeling ill from the anxiety overwhelm me. I am sitting here for 11 days, alone, doing the deepest work on myself that I can. I've never been one to journal, and now I am writing out everything that I fear and challenging it using Byron Katie's work. I'm meditating, gardening and resting also.

So when I have strong feelings which lead me to cry, then one is still staying in the moment while allowing that feeling to be present, yes? I know that in PON, Tolle answers a question about this by basically saying to feel the feeling but don't indulge it. I'm trying not to indulge it, yet I find myself periodically crying throughout the day as thoughts arise, then writing them down.
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Re: Awakening

Postby PlutoISaplanet » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:56 pm

In several months of reading and posting, I've never heard anyone mention that being in the now felt false. Nor has it ever felt that way to me. It's gotta be your ego, which must have some little semi-conscious story like "Pluto, the person who is always nervous" as part of the script.

One more thing that I didn't add to my post regarding the above comment. Here's an example. I went to a nursery this morning to get some plants. I was feeling shaky and nauseous from the anxiety. Driving there I used self-talk to keep going, even though part of me wanted to turn around. Once there, I felt I could panic at any moment. There was an urgency to leave immediately. Strong waves of fear swept through my body. I concentrated on picking out the plants I needed, observing my surroundings, and trying to witness the voice. I felt unreal as I chatted pleasantly with the cashier. Once in my car again, I felt like collapsing, as if I had just escaped terrible danger.

I'm aware of the thoughts, and I'm especially aware of the strong physical sensations. Knowing that this fear isn't me, just part of me right now helps. However, I have to say, (and here's more story!) it's a sh***y way to live. It's all created by me, and I don't know how to shut it off. It's pretty hard to stay detached and simply notice your feelings when overwhelming fear is telling you to run for your life, and even going to the grocery store starts to feel like a challenge.

I know that ET had the same condition, and his ceased abruptly. I experienced this greatly for a year, then had a year free from it, and now it's back. I do want to note in case people write back - I will not take meds. I am extremely sensitive - I've tried them and they've made me quite ill. So I'm on my own in that regard. I do use some homepathic remedies, which I just started.
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Re: Awakening

Postby Onceler » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:42 am

PlutoISaplanet,

I was going to recommend Byron Katie, then saw in an earlier post that you are using her methods. I have found peace through using her method of inquiry and use it with clients. I have noted that effects can be immediate, or the inquiry can seep in like water (or both, of course). I have had success using inquirey meditatively; meaning I pause and go inward into presence or awareness when aswering questions. This can take you deeply into insight and into pain. Then when you are there, one can use Tolle's portals of inner body awareness, or other methods of observing and meditation.

Hang in there. It sounds as if you have a great opportunity right now to push yourself or just to be, where ever spirit leads you.
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Awakening

Postby NoordZee » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:48 am

PlutoISaplanet wrote:
NoordZee, I was having that very same thought this morning. How do I know if I'm just pushing my fears away and pretending like everything's okay? I've been going through a period of upheaval in the last few months - my old ways are falling away, and I don't know what the new ways look like. It's triggered a return of my daily anxiety, along with strong physical symptoms. I feel a split when I'm around people - I'm "normal" on the outside, but shaking and fearful on the inside. If I'm in the present moment, THAT feels false.
I don't want to hijack this thread, but any insight that anyone has would be welcomed. It's as if I don't know how to "be" anymore, and I'm isolating myself because of it.

I know what you are saying here, PlutoISaplanet. It is like going to church and adhere to the rituals without your heart being in it. It would make me almost feel guilty. I agree with Sighclone that being in the Present means just that: no false egos, just peace and silence. It ain't easy. I have also just discovered Byron Katie through this forum. She is quite a lady. Her four questions represent a very powerful tool for many people. Going back to the subject, it must be a very thin dividing line between really being Present and just thinking being Present. The latter denotes that your thoughts may still deny you to become aware of your real Self.
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Re: Awakening

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:06 am

Hi Pluto, these anxiety and panic attacts that plague you are the result of a lifetime of conditioning and reinforcement. What fuels them, beyond some possible origional event (whether remembered or not), is continued resistance to them. Somewhere within you is an energy that is both bottled up and constantly refueled. The solution to your delema is not in denying or avioding the fear and anxienty, but rather your recognition of it as a ligitamate experience.

Consider an experiment. Adventure into some activity that would normally trigger this reservoir of fearful energy. Not something too overwhelming, but something simple at first that's easy to back out of if need be. The idea is not to avoid or defeat your fears, but to allow them presence in your chosen activity. Do not engage them mentally, either by justification or judgment or analysis. Their origin is no longer so important, their presence is. Rather explore what it may be like to surrender honestly to an experience of conducting your business while anxienty is freely present. It's of primary importance in this experiment that you do not fuel the energy by spinning rational concepts and mind stories ad nauseum. Allow their presence with interest, nothing more.

A bit of willingness to risk some unpleasantness is in order in this adventure, but do look at it as a genuine opportunity to bleed off some pent up energy. With a little practice and a lot of patience you may find yourself able to walk around, not so much free from anxiety, but free with it. We cannot always choose the content of our present experience, as that is dictated by our history and events beyond our control. We can however, acknowledge the ligitamate existance of whatever content the present moment holds. It we willingly accept our feelings as they arise, we can also choose to see them as just another type of content within the infinite being that we are. Recognize that what you feel is not what you are. It is just some of the infinite possibilities that constitute the adventure of life.
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Re: Awakening

Postby NoordZee » Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:33 am

Webwanderer wrote:Hi Pluto, these anxiety and panic attacts that plague you are the result of a lifetime of conditioning and reinforcement. What fuels them, beyond some possible origional event (whether remembered or not), is continued resistance to them.

Consider an experiment. Adventure into some activity that would normally trigger this reservoir of fearful energy. Not something too overwhelming, but something simple at first that's easy to back out of if need be. The idea is not to avoid or defeat your fears, but to allow them presence in your chosen activity. Do not engage them mentally, either by justification or judgment or analysis. Their origin is no longer so important, their presence is. Rather explore what it may be like to surrender honestly to an experience of conducting your business while anxienty is freely present. It's of primary importance in this experiment that you do not fuel the energy by spinning rational concepts and mind stories ad nauseum. Allow their presence with interest, nothing more.


Thank you for your insightful responses, Webwanderer. I fully understand that anxiety and panic attacks are the result of a lifetime of conditioning and reinforcement. Although your response is directed at PlutoISaplanet, it has relevance for me as well. In my case, I probably am suffering from a degree of PTSD and anxiety as a result of events that I experienced as a small child during WW2. I am retired now, but I still suffer from a degree of anxiety regarding what the future may bring as a result of what I have experienced in the past. There are increasingly some days that I succeed in pulling myself back into the Present. However, it still does not take much to pull me back down again. All I need is some association that gets triggered when watching TV for instance.

Spiritual teachers, without seemingly an exception, say that being in the Present is the only way to become aware of who you really are and of your connection to a greater universal intelligence that many call God. This is why I said in an earlier posting that I still am not sure at what point I succeed in finding myself in the Present. I can anticipate the answers to that remark. I believe that I have been in the Present when staring in awe at nature's beauty and in the process of doing that forgetting the time. Unfortunately, we cannot all be in nature all the time and I find it much more difficult to convince myself that I am in the Present, say at home, even for a few minutes. Maybe, I am too hard on myself.
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Re: Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:06 am

In his final Oprah webcast, Eckhart introduced a new little twist on "a moment of silence." He said to "direct your attention to your awareness itself." That's an interesting way to dwell in the Now...close your eyes and give it a try.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: Awakening

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:35 pm

NoordZee wrote:Spiritual teachers, without seemingly an exception, say that being in the Present is the only way to become aware of who you really are and of your connection to a greater universal intelligence that many call God. This is why I said in an earlier posting that I still am not sure at what point I succeed in finding myself in the Present. I can anticipate the answers to that remark. I believe that I have been in the Present when staring in awe at nature's beauty and in the process of doing that forgetting the time. Unfortunately, we cannot all be in nature all the time and I find it much more difficult to convince myself that I am in the Present, say at home, even for a few minutes. Maybe, I am too hard on myself.


NoordZee, consider another posibility of nature. In one sense nature is the living environment of a forest or coast or some such thing in what we term the natural world. But there is a greater sense of nature that exists in all environments, and that is our own true nature. As I sit here banging away on my keyboard life's genuine nature is every bit as available as when I walk in the woods or sit perched on a cliff. Granted, in the world of mankind distractions abound, but there are spaces between the distractions that offer peace and clarity not so different from the harmony of a beautiful landscape.

Spiritual teachers, without seemingly an exception, say that being in the Present is the only way to become aware of who you really are and of your connection to a greater universal intelligence that many call God. This is why I said in an earlier posting that I still am not sure at what point I succeed in finding myself in the Present.


While being in nature offers a wonderful portal to joyful presence, it is not exclusive. Nature, as beautiful and compelling as it is, may still be percieved as "out there." The same shift in perspective, and clarity of presence, that is available in nature is likewise available in any moment where recognition of thought free being occurs. The key is ones sense of perspective. Is it a me in harmony with the beautiy of the environment, or is there unfettered cognizance of the content of the moment irrespective of what that content might be? In an earlier post I offered this:

It's not entirely looking that is leading seekers down the path of endless searching. It's more where it is they look. Most seekers of truth and enlightenment (myself included for a couple of decades) look outside, because even though there has been a constant mantra to look inside, it's difficult to get a sense of what that means. The mind naturally wants to look for conceptual ideas of enlightenment simply because that is its nature. And as one is identified with mind as ego it searches for concepts of being rather than open experience. Even when an experience of a higher nature is had the mind seeks meaning to attach to it. The mind's idea of looking inside is to look inside its own thinking. In reality that is still looking outside for answers.

If one is going to look inside, it must be clear that looking inside refers to inside this moment. It's not the workshop we're going to attend next week, or the book we ordered or even tomorrow mornings meditation. It's in this moment that one must look to find truth.

All the spiritual books in the world cannot do what one direct look into this moment can do to awaken one to their true nature. Books and retreats have value only to the degree that they point and inspire the seeker lost in the story of life, to look in this very moment - without thought, without judgment, without restriction. Once this recognition of one's essential nature is clearly seen it becomes a sanctuary in all of life's storms. It is the essential perspective from which the events and challenges that come our way may be seen unencumbered by painbody influance.


Attempts to convince yourself that you are present are futile at the outset. That is simply a mind based identity trying to make sense of a reality it can never know. Knowing presence is an experience beyond the mind's capabililies. In truth all experience is beyond the mind's capabilities. Mind may catagorize and interpret (and judge), but it cannot experience; that is a domain reserved for awareness alone. Our identity with belief structures and thought is in essence the same awareness that is our fundamental nature outside of it.

The path to awakening is to recognize the nature of being and from where it is we look upon the world. Do we look out upon the world through eyes of a mind and filtered by conceptual belief stuctures of personal identity? Are we indeed separate persons made exclusively of minds and bodies? Or do we look in upon our world, our experience, with open acceptance and thought free presence? If we are going to know our true nature, it will be known through direct experience and not by concept and analysis. So let go of the ego/mind's need to be sure that you are succeeding, rather just rest in the thought free clarity of a living moment - where ever that might be. It is in stillness the murky waters of confusion clear and the greater depth of being is known.

WW
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Re: Awakening

Postby HermitLoon » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:27 pm

Yes WW! :) from the experience of a thought-free (unconscious) mind Awareness can arise.
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Re: Awakening

Postby NoordZee » Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:54 am

Thank you Webwanderer for your thoughtful and wonderful reply. I readily admit that I am beset by pain bodies, which have been with me throughout my life. I understand what you mean by saying that, in one sense, nature as described by me, is still something outside. As soon as I try to convince myself that I am in a Present moment, that convincing was necessary because my mind tries to conceptualize what being in the Present is. In other words, some thought process comes into play when I try that convincing. I think that I understand that correctly from your description. Correct me, if you consider that I got this wrong.

I naturally have to internalize what you have written. I probably still have a mental block that prevents me from fully understanding the "how" of our discussions. Once I make my break through, I have you guys (and girls) :) to thank for this.
I shall have to make a greater effort to read other postings, some of which are quite brilliant. I think that we have a very helpful community here.

In order to find peace in the present moment, my thoughts must be silenced I imagine. There has to be a deliberate attempt on my part to stop my thought. One way, again I imagine, to do this is to simply focus my attention on everything around me, including the act of typing this message. You probably would say: "Just watch your thoughts". This is another difficult concept for me. I must admit that I am beginning to discern in others that they are identified with their minds as they are seen to be judging and labelling other human beings.

I take it that by your saying unfettered cognizance of the present moment irrespective of what the contents of that moment might be, you mean that I am aware of what is happening around me without judgment or analysis. In other words, I just accept the moment for what it is. Difficult for many people I consider but nevertheless understandable.
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Re: Awakening

Postby Webwanderer » Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:32 pm

NoordZee wrote:In order to find peace in the present moment, my thoughts must be silenced I imagine. There has to be a deliberate attempt on my part to stop my thought. One way, again I imagine, to do this is to simply focus my attention on everything around me, including the act of typing this message. You probably would say: "Just watch your thoughts". This is another difficult concept for me.


Many a wise being encourage the watching of thoughts. Personally I never found this particularly helpful, at least at first. Once a degree of recognition awakened, watching thought was easier. Somehow watching thought, while engaged in an egoic relationship with them, caused me more frustration than enhanced awareness. I'm not saying it's not effective, too many awakened ones have reported success in this practice, but it's not the only "path to presence" one might take. Tolle's portals offer many approaches to the awakened state. You may want to try out different options if you are struggling with your present approach.

The approach that works well for me is to get a sense of the moment. After a little repetition it now offers me an instant shift in perspective from out of thought and time and into clear present being.

Take a moment for an experietial adventure. Look directly "into" this moment and get a sense of all that it offers. Do this as if it is the first time these unique circumstances have ever come together in quite this configuration. (It is, each moment is always new and unique.) Look, listen, and feel simultaneously (add smell and taste once an integrated sense of the first three are realized). Integrate these one at a time until all come together with a simple switch in perspective. Do no analysis and apply no thought; you are seeking experience in being over understanding of process. Once you recognize the "timeless nature" of this present state take a couple of deep breaths and rest here for awhile. Allow a sense of spaciousness and familiarity to deepen.

If someone hands you a new drink and says "check this out" would you not move to a state of curious inquiry before you began an analysis. It is this clear state of "before analysis" that is the doorway (portal) to awakened presence.

Take a day or a few hours and walk (or sit) in presence with nature. Actually anywhere will do but make it an outing of some sort where everything is easily recognized as new. Shift into your sensory exploration of the movement of life. This adventure should be seen as conditions "within awareness" rather than an external experience. Open a flow of gratitude for the simple pleasures that come with direct contact with life as it happens. Breath deeply and rest in the experience without anticipation or expectation. Life is a "now" existance.

The whole point is to live life through direct experience over reflective thought. Thought has its place, but it is not equipped to lead.

WW
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Re: Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:44 am

Any living conscious human being can experience the present in a heartbeat, I believe. Just dwell in the very immediate now. I mean absolutely right NOW. Not one ten-miillionth of a second ago, but right absolutely now. Just try it - eyes open or closed. Just sit and be right now. You can go there anytime. Yup, a thought will come lurking in. But you can go right back to now, too. Because you are the boss of NOW. (Actually, to quote Eckhart: "You are the present moment.")

Have a nice NOW,

Namaste, Andy
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Re: Awakening

Postby NoordZee » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:28 am

Hi Webwanderer and Sighclone,
Thank you once again for your input and patience. I certainly can do what you suggest Sighclone. Certainly for a few seconds or so. Maybe, I should train myself so that the periods of being in the Now get longer. You are right: thoughts do come lurking in. I must admit though that I seem to be able to return to that very brief silent moment after briefly having experienced that thought. I do this so quickly that the thought probably cannot come to full fruition. It is like I sense the subject (if you can call this like that) of a thought but the contents are not being entertained. It is difficult going, as I have a life time of habitual surrender to the thought process. I am sure that you know what I mean.

Take a moment for an experietial adventure. Look directly "into" this moment and get a sense of all that it offers. Do this as if it is the first time these unique circumstances have ever come together in quite this configuration. (It is, each moment is always new and unique.) Look, listen, and feel simultaneously (add smell and taste once an integrated sense of the first three are realized). Integrate these one at a time until all come together with a simple switch in perspective. Do no analysis and apply no thought; you are seeking experience in being over understanding of process. Once you recognize the "timeless nature" of this present state take a couple of deep breaths and rest here for awhile. Allow a sense of spaciousness and familiarity to deepen.

To take you up on that experiential adventure, I hear the sound of my heater and the keyboard as I touch the keys typing this. I smell a wiff of smoke, as someone is burning a fire in our valley. Every now and then I hear traffic. The wind is blowing very hard at the moment and it makes a lot of noise in the tops of the trees. I feel the slight pressure of my hands resting in front of the keyboard when typing. I am reading what I type but see also my computer, the screen, loudspeakers, trees in front of me and many other things that I can see simultaneously. My thoughts are rather still at the moment, because I concentrate of what is happening around me with all my senses. Presumably Webwanderer, that is what you mean by an experiential adventure. It seems to work whilst I am writing these words but my thoughts are never far away.

It is again a long time since I returned to the forum a few days ago and have every intention to see this through now. I feel that the information on this website is really helpful to people like me who are struggling to come to terms with the various concepts espoused here. Over the past 6 months, I often caved in and succumbed to these infernal negative thoughts. If you know anything about depression, you will know what I am talking about.
Thank you.
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Re: Awakening

Postby Webwanderer » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:16 pm

NoordZee wrote:My thoughts are rather still at the moment, because I concentrate of what is happening around me with all my senses. Presumably Webwanderer, that is what you mean by an experiential adventure. It seems to work whilst I am writing these words but my thoughts are never far away.


It is indeed what I mean by an experiential adventure. Now realize, that is what life offers in the world of form. To perceive from open awareness rather than through discriptive thought returns you to living directly in the conditions at hand ("the Kindom of Heaven is at Hand", to quote a phrase).

Consider also, that your descriptions of your sensory experience to me is an appropriate use of mind and thought. What gets us drawn back into mind as identity is making those descriptions to one's self. If you find your self, self-describing the content of the moment, know that it is just the ego/mind reastablishing control of perspective. Engage in these experiential adventures often. Do so without effort or interest in mental descriptions. When the mind engages in thoughts, as Sighclone pointed out is likely, let them go without fanfare or frustration. Simply return to an experiencial perspective of now.

There are two primary paths to consistantly direct awareness. One is dedicated, the other is opportunistic. Set aside a dedicated particular time (or two) during the day in which to sit in experiential awareness. Thirty minutes to an hour is good, but whatever works on a consistant basis. Don't be concerned with thought intrusion. When it happens (and it will) return lovingly and with gratitude back to clear awareness. In time you will recognize the unique beauty of these moments. Some recommend meditation, but personally I only close my eyes occasionally, as I find sight enhances the richness of the moment. I also find that thought has an easier time of grabbing attention with eyes closed. Experiment, see what works best for you. In truth, eyes closed or open, both are a type of meditation.

The other path is opportunistic. That means taking opportunities throughout your day to shift back to the Natural State of thought-free aware presence. These can happen anytime there is a little space in activity, even in the middle of a conversation. While listening to another's talk, giving full open attention is not only a portal to presence, but a loving gift to the one speaking. Traveling is an ideal opportunity to sit in presence. In my 30 minute commute to work, I have had some of the most richly rewarding adventures ever. Same road day after day, but each one unique and beautiful simply because I engage the drive experientially rather than waste the opportunity in random thought.

Always be patient, irritation with thought intrusion is just the mind in judgment. Don't waste energy with aggravation, simply return to presence. Again, in time familiarity with the natural state will grow, and return to it becomes easy. It is afterall your true home.

WW
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Re: Awakening

Postby HermitLoon » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:47 pm

Great Stuff!
What evolved - in my experience - was a "shift" in perspective - going from a sense of "human being" experiencing brief moments of more profound awareness - to a perspective of ever present, profound, peaceful awareness interspersed with moments of the human experience - kind of like watching a movie and participating in it while still knowing that it is just a movie - a momentary experience - within the overall awareness of "being" that is "beyond" - perhaps an all-inclusive sense of "self" as "source? - kind of hard to put into words :roll:
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