affective gateways to the now

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joe
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affective gateways to the now

Post by joe » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:32 pm

What kind of gateways do you all use to become present? I find that there has to be some kind of exercise in place. I can't just tell myself to remember to be present, or the whole day goes by and I am lost in thought. One needs a kind of trigger for becoming present. Tolle talks about silence, inner body awareness and saying "yes" to whatever's happening in the moment. None of those has worked that great for me. So far, I have figured that reading something every day, doing meditation and from time to time watching a videocast or listening to a recording of a spiritual teacher helps keep me on track.

Now I'm thinking the best approach is to simply watch my thoughts at all times. To train myself to be aware of them when they come up, watch how they take shape and move, and notice how they dissolve or transform into new thoughts. The idea being, of course, to keep one foot out of the mindstream at all times- to maintain a detachment.

But how do I keep myself on it? And how do I square this effort with the notion that being present isn't supposed to require effort?

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by karmarider » Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:19 pm

Excellent points, Joe.

Watching thoughts works well, at least for this mind-body. It can lead to effortless awareness.

Releasing also works well. Start with letting go hard of emotions. Which shows us it's easy and natural to let go. In fact it's unnatural to hold on. Then perhaps let go of resistance.Let go of the emotions around desires, emotions around relationships. Let go of anxiety, addictions, fear, reactivity, stuck patterns. I like letting go because it is immediately helpful and soothing.

The effort-thing is a bit of a paradox. At some point, we realize it's all about letting go. Being in awareness is letting go of the clinging to thought and belief. Acceptance is the letting go of resistance. Surrender is the letting go of the concept of me. Being in the Now is letting go of the superstitious notion of time. Non-attachment is the letting go the drama of the ego. When we see it's all about letting go, it's no-effort.

In the meantime, feel free to ignore people like me who say it's no-effort. Effort can be necessary to see that it is not.

And some of the other stuff can help. Inner body awareness, bring attention to breath when you're disturbed, listening to others' words, not following, not denying. Letting go of beliefs. Meditating, if you want.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by Webwanderer » Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:53 am

Rest in the experience of the moment. Recognize that while the experience changes from one moment to the next, the awareness of the experience is constant. Realize that you are the awareness that perceives whatever experiential content that happens to populate the moment at hand. Once it is clear the distinction between moment to moment variable experience, and the natural state of basic awareness, return to this clear basic perspective at every opportunity, even if it's for only a brief moment.

Set triggers in your day if you wish, as a reminder, such as every time someone mentions your name, or the weather, or politics, or when the phone rings, or anything else that is useful as a reminder. When these triggers occur, rest fully (bodily, mentally, emotionally) in the content of the moment as awareness of the content. Never judge or condemn yourself, or the present content for imagined failures or misgivings. Simply return to the basic state for a brief moment of clear being, fully engaged with the experience as it is, until the next opportunity arises to do so again.

Familiarity with your true identity as awareness will become more natural because it is natural. There is nothing to develope or create, only an already present reality to recognize. It's who/what you are right now in this moment, already fully formed from before your body was born. There only needs to be a simple shift in perspective to return to your natural state of being - awareness - through which life flows. There is no effort to awareness, although a gentle effort at disaplined rememberance will help make the truth evident.

WW

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by arel » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:26 am

I've developed a habit tied to my breath. On exhale, I'm aware of my inner body. On inhale, I'm aware of awareness that I am. I assume people hesitate to talk about this "silly" practices..

Awareness is what is constant in my experience. My sense of my body is also a constant. Though I'm not always consciously conscious of it. Noticing the unchanging is not the nature of my consciousness/attention. It is there to notice change, fluctuations. Loud noise, flash of light, strong emotions, etc. So what's constant and fluctuating and therefore easy to notice? For me it's my breath. Going in and out. Just like my awareness with that practice.

Regarding release. I might express it in another way. I'm assuming we all see that whatever we are aware of is not the awareness. So awareness is a nothing, a no thing. Can you notice emotions in your body? I know I can. Can you feel nothing? I kind of can. Feeling the no thing, underlying all other feeling. That's how awareness feels, like nothing (that sounds lifeless, but it only sounds so, try it). When you do that, that could be called a release I think.

Forget about people saying there is no effort. See it in your own experience. For me, it takes my mind effort to get itself out of the way to reveal awareness.

Another thing to mention. If you can lose weight, do it. One of the best things you can do for all this. Even Maharashi said it somewhere to which Ananda, a member on here, linked to. Look it up.
What I say is only my viewpoint.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by Ananda » Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:08 am

Go to the source of 'I' who is trying to become more present. You'll find that the source of 'I' is awareness, the witnessing presence behind the three states of consciousness (wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep). This witnessing presence, which is the Self, is the now. So to recognise the Self is Self awareness, which is being present.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by Sighclone » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:52 pm

Jac O'Keeffe talks about the "observer" stage. It is only a stage, but it's useful for a while, and also if you start to regress. (Eckhart talks at length about teachers regressing here: http://www.inner-growth.info/power_of_n ... parker.htm.)

A gentle, loving observer can deconstruct an entire ego! :)

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: affective gateways to the now

Post by Invictus » Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:10 am

Hello joe :)

My effective gateway to the Now is meditation. It helps a lot, just 10 minutes a day is fine. I think that to easily connect with the Now, the "Acceptance and Surrender" passage of Practicing PoN is really awesome.
joe wrote: Now I'm thinking the best approach is to simply watch my thoughts at all times.
In my experience this approach was quite bad. It lead me to act compulsively and obsessively. By trying to monitor my thoughts all the time, I also created a lot of emotional turmoil.

Love,
Daniel

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by enigma » Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:19 am

Invictus wrote:Hello joe :)

My effective gateway to the Now is meditation. It helps a lot, just 10 minutes a day is fine. I think that to easily connect with the Now, the "Acceptance and Surrender" passage of Practicing PoN is really awesome.
joe wrote: Now I'm thinking the best approach is to simply watch my thoughts at all times.
In my experience this approach was quite bad. It lead me to act compulsively and obsessively. By trying to monitor my thoughts all the time, I also created a lot of emotional turmoil.

Love,
Daniel
I would modify Joe's approach to say 'being the observer at all times', with the understanding that the observer is not a doer, controller, judger, policeman. The observer is a witness to what is happening and is not thinking about what is happening or doing anything about what is happening. This is essentially the awareness of what is happening, and it is already happening, so no effort is required. What it really amounts to is what I sometimes call 'paying attention' which is all you can 'do' as the Awareness that you are.

joe
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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by joe » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:53 pm

Good advice from you all. I'm curious as to what would cause the inner turmoil when watching mental chatter. Also, I'm not concerned about being judgmental about the mental activity. I'm aware that it's just about paying attention. I'm thinking of it as watching the form, the rise and fall of the mental stream, as opposed to getting caught up with the content, which is what can trip you up or make you judgmental or upset. But its a skill to develop: the ability to continually remember to watch your thoughts, have the will to do so, and to stay with them and observe. No one can convince me that this process is not a challenge, though people write about it as though it is the simplest thing. Simple only in theory.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by Sighclone » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:56 am

I think it varies very widely from person to person, having read many stories here and in conversations elsewhere.

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: affective gateways to the now

Post by enigma » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:23 pm

joe wrote:Good advice from you all. I'm curious as to what would cause the inner turmoil when watching mental chatter. Also, I'm not concerned about being judgmental about the mental activity. I'm aware that it's just about paying attention. I'm thinking of it as watching the form, the rise and fall of the mental stream, as opposed to getting caught up with the content, which is what can trip you up or make you judgmental or upset. But its a skill to develop: the ability to continually remember to watch your thoughts, have the will to do so, and to stay with them and observe. No one can convince me that this process is not a challenge, though people write about it as though it is the simplest thing. Simple only in theory.
Some do, I spose, but I've been saying it's impossible, which is not to say it doesn't happen, only that it is not done as it is imagined to be. If you're aware that it's just about paying attention, how is this a skill that is developed? Paying attention is effortless and not something that needs to be learned. Where is the effort coming from that prevents the effortlessness from happening effortlessly? Is it coming from you? If so, is the answer to expend more effort rather than less? Is the child disciplining itself while continuing to misbehave? Does that sound even the slightest bit insane?

The question is rather what is the difference between paying attention to the thoughts as in observing, and paying attention to the thoughts as in identifying with them? You are always doing one or the other as long as there is somebody there to do. The difference is that observing is effortless and identifying with them is not. The policeman is running only as fast as the thief is running, and in this case they are both your own mind, effortfully and simultaneously running and chasing. This cannot be the solution to effort.

It is a challenge because you go to war with yourself, and so it is a war you can never win, and don't want to win. You will settle a skirmish now and then so that there is the appearance of progress and ownership of that progress, but the purpose of the war is to not to end it, but to perpetuate it indefinitely.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by Marcel Franke » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:02 pm

Now, you are reading these words on your screen.
These words, these sentences, this computer-screen,
this room… they are all here, are they not ?
Can you deny everything that is here right now ?
And all that is here, it is consciously here, not ?
This room, this screen, it is here –noticed-, is it not ?
Everything that is here right now, it is –knowingly- here, not ?
Something, somebody, some-Whatever, is aware of it all.
Isnt that peculiar ?
This Whatever is You.
This room and everything, it is not just here,
it only is here because You are here, right now.
Otherwise nothing would be here.
And this room is included in You,
there is nothing that separates you from this room, or from whatever.
So, it is better to say that there are aware-things,
instead of saying that there are things.
This is not a room you are in.
No, there is an aware-room.
Isnt that wondrous ?
So you are already undeniable present, already, right now.
And being right now and here,
that is the only thing out of which your life consists.
So no training is needed.
All training can stop.
If this is out of which your entire life consists,
towards what do you want to train ?

And all the aware-things may change constantly,
but the “aware-part” is timelessly here, not ?

But if you want to exercise, you could say to yourself regularly:
I am here right now, everything is here knowingly, noticed,
nothing is needed for that.
---ooOoo---

joe
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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by joe » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:00 pm

The effort I'm describing is simply this:

I enjoy being in my mind and I find it comfortable. To stand outside of it doesn't feel natural, though it's the natural state of being. So the effort comes in tearing myself away from mental noise. I want to enter a state where I can allow the thoughts to flow freely while at the same time watching them. Can that be done? If not, I have to fight the distraction with attention. That's the ego working though.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by karmarider » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:58 pm

Yes, you can be the effortless natural noticing.

The mind is a fast habit machine and it enjoys running through its grooves and mental movies. So yes, it can take some effort to get "above" that. The practice I've found useful is observing thought. Watch the comings and goings of thoughts, without interacting, and soon the gaps widen.

I've also found that releasing--letting go-- helps. The thing that makes mental movies so enjoyable is the same thing that makes life so fearful for many of us--and that is stuck patterns and grooves. Releasing can help us release this conditioning, and at the same time, it helps with the pesky problems of the dualistic mind, such as anxiety and worry and addictions and loneliness and so on.

At some point, effort goes away. The practicing of observing thought and the practicing of letting go will both go away as practices. Then, more and more, there is effortless noticing.

The journey from here to here can be eventful. There can be some turmoil as old stuff comes up and is released. There can be a shaking up of external life as assumptions and drivers fall away.

You'll do yourself a big favor if you don't allow the mind to settle on any fixed ideas. The mind loves to form attachment to particular practices and beautiful theories of consciousness and the measurement of advancement and so on. The mind will even tell us this is revelation and knowing and advancement. It's all nonsense.

Don't worry about any sort of big-bang event of Awakening. It's a process not an event. Shift happens. Or not. It's more important to simply get into the effortless flow of awakening.

This of course is just my experience.

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Re: affective gateways to the now

Post by bluephoenixx » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:50 am

karmarider wrote:
Yes, you can be the effortless natural noticing.

The mind is a fast habit machine and it enjoys running through its grooves and mental movies. So yes, it can take some effort to get "above" that. The practice I've found useful is observing thought. Watch the comings and goings of thoughts, without interacting, and soon the gaps widen.
Hello karmarider. I'm a beginner here and your last post really spoke to me. I was wondering if you had any pointers on observing your thoughts. Whenever I try to observe my thoughts I seem to get caught up in them instead - old habits, etc. Maybe I am focusing too much on the accomplishment.

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