Finding Peace at Last...

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Balancesheet
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Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Balancesheet » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:24 am

Hello everyone! I am so thankful to find a forum like this. The Buddhist teachings that Eckhart presents in such simplicity have really changed my life, or my perceived life. I do have a couple of questions though that I might bring up on other threads....

Since practicing the power of Now and being conscious without thought, I have noticed that when I wake up in the mornings, I have a sudden influx of thoughts that often leave me very anxious/nervous about the future and past. It accumulated today so intensely that I threw up due to the stress of my future. I am in college and about to graduate and I'm trying to find a job. I am definitely not to the point yet of being fully conscious, but I am gaining ground. Today was a little bit of a setback, although a setback to my sense of self. Any thoughts on how to overcome my intense anxiety? :?

--Balancesheet

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Sighclone » Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:20 am

Welcome Balancesheet! Eckhart is quite clear on the value of spiritual practices at the beginning stages as are most nondual guides. My current favorite source for these is Gary Weber's "Happiness Beyond Thought." He has some meditative and yogic activities which can be an anchor. His goal was to end the stream of thoughts. That happened eventually, but not because of that goal.

Fear about the blast of thoughts has two related aspects. First, the sheer volume and command they have. That's because you have lived as a thought engine in an academic community for a long long time. Family of origin scripts probably helped also, and so has society in general. So, as a defense strategy, a 'stream of consciousness' identity emerged early on. And that identity (set of familiar habits and behaviors which is so old you don't recognize or remember accreting them) reminds you that you need a career. (Script: "People in our family don't just have jobs.") Second, you have presented your ego (false self created by unconscious identification with the mind - PON, p. 22) with a huge threat: it's about to be exposed. Hence the big fear created. But, ironically, there is a deeper fear which has always been there - the very deep fear of separation from Source which the ego's dominance has created! So the background fear which is about to be relieved is being replaced by this new fear as your old sense of self is threatened. Adyshanti calls it a demolition project, and it is not pretty.

Re-read the wondrous, comforting first 36 pages of PON. They are always a great joy to me.

Namaste, 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

Balancesheet
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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Balancesheet » Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:03 pm

Thanks for that. I will have to meditate on that for a while. Describing this as a demolition project is a nifty way of looking at it. Thanks for your words of wisdom!

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by kiki » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:21 pm

Any thoughts on how to overcome my intense anxiety? :?
The source of anxiety is always the same, the personalized viewpoint of the "me" entity. Look for that "me" and determine whether it's real or only imagined.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Balancesheet » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:52 pm

It is imagined, but how do you transcend this imaginatory, self-made, mind-made entity that presents itself as "I"?

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by kiki » Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:17 am

It is imagined, but how do you transcend this imaginatory, self-made, mind-made entity that presents itself as "I"?
It's vital that you see this and not just take this to be true. If it is only accepted as true then it just becomes another story to get lost in. When it's seen to be true through direct realization ego attachment dissolves, and with that its stories are deprived of the power to control your life. That realization can arise when you actually investigate the seeming reality of ego.

Once you see the ego for the illusion it is there can be a resting in/as the underlying awareness instead of letting attention be diverted to story lines of ego. Why believe anything it says if it's only an illusion? Instead, return again and again to awareness, the sense of beingness, that sense of life that radiates out of you, the spaciousness that everything else arises within, and let the stories come and go without investing any energy of belief in them. Recognize, relax, and let go, continually dropping back into the natural state of awareness.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Balancesheet » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:22 am

kiki wrote:That realization can arise when you actually investigate the seeming reality of ego.
How exactly does one do this? That is, investigate the seeming reality of ego?

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by kiki » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:33 am

How exactly does one do this? That is, investigate the seeming reality of ego?
We assume we are a real entity that is separate and distinct from everything else; it seems obvious because "there I am wherever I go". And the supporting proof of that entity is the story it keeps telling itself over and over in the mind in all its variations. But in reality that "me" only exists because of the stories being repeated - those stories are only tightly held beliefs that are identified with. What gets overlooked is this assumed reality of the story teller - the "me". So look for it.

Sit down, close your eyes, and ask yourself, "Who am I?". Honestly look for this "me", the one who keeps telling the "story of me"; try to pin it down and actually find it. See for yourself what happens when you try this ...

Have you found anything specific yet, something real and actual that is always present? Logically, it's obvious that "you" must always be present, right? So have you found the "me"?

If you have inquired in this way all you will find are memories of events and thoughts associated with those events, ideas about "me", sensations in the body, emotions and those stories associated with those emotions - all of this is in continual flux, always changing. But the "me" always seems to be just out of reach, somehow, doesn't it? This situation of never actually finding a "me" can lead to a feeling of frustration as you continually look for it "out there" in some mental image, in some thought form, as some "object", because every time you think you've may have found it, it will slip away again.

This is a very good point, this feeling of frustration, because it can lead to your looking in a different direction. So far attention has been in the direction of "things" - the ideas and thoughts, the sensations and emotions - as some kind of "object". So stop a moment and consider: what else is there that is always present? Take careful notice of what is always here, because whatever that is it must be "you" (remember, "you" must always be here - that's an obvious but critical point). Is there something else perhaps, something that isn't an object of attention, something that can't be grasped mentally because it has no defining qualities that make it "stand out"? Find out if there is by simply letting go of all efforts of finding a "thing" and notice what is always present (I'll give you a hint: it is silent and still, and does nothing to make it stand out).

That silence and stillness is the background awareness upon which everything else happens - it is the "canvas" upon which the paints are arranged. Without that background nothing else could appear. It is what gives "light" to all appearances of objects in the world, in the body, and in the mind. It is what everything else depends upon. When you look at a painting you get engrossed in the subject of the painting and rarely notice the canvas beneath the paints, but without that canvas there is no painting. It's the same with "you" - without the awareness (the actuality of what you are) nothing else is possible. That awareness is ever present, but because it is still and silent it gets overlooked in favor of the objects appearing within it. Now it's time for this to be discovered directly by letting awareness reveal its presence to ItSelf.

This is what has been called Self-Realization, this is what the word "awakening" refers to. It's actually quite simple, but it's easily overlooked because mind looks for something other than the simple everyday awareness that is the natural state of being. Because attention has been outwardly directly most of your life that awareness has been ignored. But when attention is allowed to "turn onto itself" by relaxing and letting go of all seeking it will reveal itself to itself. When this is seen clearly everything else that happens is just seen for what it is - passing phenomena within "You"/awareness.

So basic, raw, bare "knowing" arises as a function of awareness - that "knowing" IS awareness. It simply IS, and it is always present, always here right now. Nothing has to be done to get it, and nobody can give it to you or take it away because you already have it - You Are It. Let this be seen directly and clearly for yourself and then rest in/as this "knowingess" - this bright, alive, sense of existence that is always shining. It is intuitively obvious - you already "know" that am-ness that is always pulsating as the very core of you, but because the mind attaches things to the am-ness (I am male, I am a teacher, I am a father, I am angry, I am sad, and so on) it gets trapped into believing "you" are those things - but "you" aren't. You are the awareness in which all things appear.

So when you start to get overwhelmed by things "out there" use a reminder to turn awareness back onto itself. That reminder is the question, "What am I really?", and then rest in what is found to be real and true - awareness.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by HermitLoon » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:37 pm

Thank You Kiki - beautifully written :D -
that's the "whole" of it - the "essence" of what Tolle, N. Maharaj, Jesus, Buddha, etc. have said -
a profound "Pointing" that resonates as the "One Truth", the "One Reality" beyond words...

Peace
Peace

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Glycine » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:26 pm

This is an exquisite step-by-step description of the process - Thank you, Kiki!
kiki wrote:This is what has been called Self-Realization, this is what the word "awakening" refers to. It's actually quite simple, but it's easily overlooked because mind looks for something other than the simple everyday awareness that is the natural state of being.
I'm wondering: Can mind find awareness?

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Webwanderer » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:33 pm

Hi Balancesheet. Welcome.

(I love kiki's post above, but as I already had written this I'll post it anyway. Maybe it adds a bit.)

One's sense of being gets mixed up with a belief in "me". Are memories of past events who/what you are? Look at some closely. They may shape perspective, but are you actually the memories themselves? Are applied labels to roles you play who you are (ie: labels of race, ethnicity, gender, age group, profession, religion, etc. etc. etc.)? Or are these things just concepts adopted as identity by a consciousness that transcends them?

What is pointed to is the potential for a shift in perspective from life lived through labels and identifiers, through thoughts of past and future, through concepts and assumptions about limiting specifics, to a clear sense of being that is free and spacious and unrestricted by attachment to any qualifiers. We are the awareness of the present moment, not the content of ideas about specifics. The "me" sense we feel, is the awareness we are, attached to an identification with the lenses though which we look. But that "me" sense is only an over riding organizing idea that is fundamentally just a role we play in the game of life. It's not truly who/what we are.

Look for yourself. Can you not see the distintion between habitual thought identifyers passing through consciouness, and the clear awareness of being ever present in mental silence - the underlying essence upon which all thoughts arise? Thoughts come and go, change and evolve, but awareness is forever constant. Look and see.

Be aware as awareness.

WW

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by kiki » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:50 pm

I'm wondering: Can mind find awareness?
Mind is a kind of "form" that appears in awareness - a "rippling movement" arising out of silent, still awareness that then dissolves again into awareness. Everything that arises in awareness is some sort of form, including mind, and you cannot separate any of it from awareness because it is only through awareness that those objects can be known. It is through the forms that awareness experiences itself in form. In other words, the entire universe is the mirror in which awareness experiences itself.

One particular form, mind/ego, gets caught up in the world of forms and because it senses incompleteness it seeks wholeness through other forms, and as long as that continues the sense of lack continues. Because it is only one particular form among all other forms it can only sense itself as "incomplete". Do you see? How can one "piece" feel complete when it thinks of itself as separate from everything else?

Now, sometimes one stumbles onto consciously experiencing awareness (the only place where wholeness/completeness is found) and the mind/ego can take the "knowing" aspect that awareness is and objectify it after mind resurfaces. That's when egos get caught up in the "I've got it!" and the subsequent "Now I've lost it," syndrome. This is why so many get frustrated. So it isn't minds that "find" awareness, it is in the absence of mind awareness finds itself.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by Glycine » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:58 pm

I see - thank you Kiki!
I now remember that I read somewhere: "a silent mind is the best mirror for awareness"!

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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by kiki » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:13 pm

You are welcome, Glycine.

edited to add:
I now remember that I read somewhere: "a silent mind is the best mirror for awareness"!
That's right - without the distorting influence of mind everything is reflected in the pristine mirror of awareness.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Finding Peace at Last...

Post by summer » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:06 pm

Simply stunning answers and pointers, everyone,

Especially kiki's,

Silence speaking so clearly :)

What a joy it is to just read these words. Thank you.

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