The Now is boring

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Spectrum
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The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:41 pm

Hi.

I am re-reading The Power of Now. (I've read both it and A New Earth a couple of times.) I feel frustrated about something. Tolle tells us that the key to happiness is to release concern about the past and future and focus my attention on the now. My problem with this is that... the Now is boring!

Tolle's advice is great in those moments where I feel intensely unhappy. Then Tolle's words help me to disengage from the unhappy thoughts and return to a neutral state of "OK, life is not so bad". But I would like to be happy, not just neutral.

When I deliberately focus my attention on the Now, what I find is a feeling of semi-relaxed boredom. I can appreciate what Tolle says about how "there are no problems in the Now". I get how that is sort of true. But there also doesn't seem to be anything of particular value in the Now. I do not find the "joy of Being" that Tolle talks about. This makes it difficult for me to believe that the Now is the gateway to all things good.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there some flaw in my thinking?

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by tod » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:43 am

Look how you position yourself in some location in time via going into thought - ie the mind realm. Look carefully and see that ‘you’ cannot ever be in time - a realm that is always passing.

The thought realm is in drama when there is an unquiet, unstill, mind. Coming out of that realm can seem quite boring if the mind is addicted to the drama. However if the mind is calm, quiet, still, it can be seen that even the notion of boredom is a rippling in the mind - the positioning of a self in some (albeit relatively quiet) location.

Best wishes,

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by karmarider » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:44 am

Yes, it's boring. I am ever grateful to Tolle for getting me started. Tolle is good at pointing to a new possibility, and good at describing the ego, and great at pointing out the power of acceptance, and good at getting people started.

But the practice of presence and being in the Now and so on, did nothing for me. It felt boring and lifeless. It was just another mental state. The people who talk blissfully about presence--well, maybe that is their true experience, or maybe they are deluding themselves. But I am very grateful that I was able to admit to myself that those practices do not work for me, and that left me open to possibilities which were more effective for me.

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:00 am

But there also doesn't seem to be anything of particular value in the Now.


Of course, the obvious value of now is that it is where life exists. Can life exist anywhere or anytime other than now? Of course not. In other words, the deeper realization is that You are the now. What could be more valuable than that?
I do not find the "joy of Being" that Tolle talks about. This makes it difficult for me to believe that the Now is the gateway to all things good.
Try not to get hung up on words like joy or bliss because they tend to interfere with the unobstructed flow of experience via mind interpretation. Mind looks forward to certain experiences and tries to avoid others, and it labels everything. Those labels just add layers of thought, distorting the current experience that is unfolding. But all experiences are temporary and fleeting. Ego can latch onto them and make an interpretation of them as "good" or "bad", and that is just more duality to become lost in.

The "joy of Being" is something transcendent to experience. In other words, it's the deep realization that despite what happens nothing can touch what you actually are because You are that Being-ess itself. Nothing needs to be added on to that to become whole because wholeness is also your very nature, and that wholeness is never in jeopardy. So, meet whatever arises through the fullness of now without looking for anything other than what is, and without being led astray by what the mind thinks about it.
"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: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:37 am

kiki wrote:The "joy of Being" is something transcendent to experience. In other words, it's the deep realization that despite what happens nothing can touch what you actually are because You are that Being-ess itself. Nothing needs to be added on to that to become whole because wholeness is also your very nature, and that wholeness is never in jeopardy. So, meet whatever arises through the fullness of now without looking for anything other than what is, and without being led astray by what the mind thinks about it.
So are you saying that if I can be in the now now, then some day in the future, I may gain this insight and then be able to enjoy some other now?

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:59 pm

So are you saying that if I can be in the now now, then some day in the future, I may gain this insight and then be able to enjoy some other now?
Examine this idea of a future and see what it does. Doesn't it create expectation or hope, or trigger anxiety and fear? Regardless of what it triggers all of it is a mind created state that doesn't actually exist other than as an idea in the head. A set of imaginary conditions is built up that must be met or avoided in order to be happy, fulfilled, or joyful. But what is being missed is that now is all there ever is; there is no other now. Now is not time bound, squeezed between some past event and future happening. Future and past are imaginary only, and to hope or expect a more "enjoyable" now at some "future" time is keep yourself trapped in duality because you've created a set of conditions that must be met to find wholeness.

Relax deeply into presence, letting go of any ideas about anything and duality vaporizes. Then let happen whatever happens, and insight will blossom on its own. Insight cannot be forced, only allowed to come of its own accord, so don't look for it to come. It's an organic kind of thing that just happens.
"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: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:46 pm

kiki wrote:
So are you saying that if I can be in the now now, then some day in the future, I may gain this insight and then be able to enjoy some other now?
Examine this idea of a future and see what it does. Doesn't it create expectation or hope, or trigger anxiety and fear? Regardless of what it triggers all of it is a mind created state that doesn't actually exist other than as an idea in the head. A set of imaginary conditions is built up that must be met or avoided in order to be happy, fulfilled, or joyful. But what is being missed is that now is all there ever is; there is no other now. Now is not time bound, squeezed between some past event and future happening. Future and past are imaginary only, and to hope or expect a more "enjoyable" now at some "future" time is keep yourself trapped in duality because you've created a set of conditions that must be met to find wholeness.

Relax deeply into presence, letting go of any ideas about anything and duality vaporizes. Then let happen whatever happens, and insight will blossom on its own. Insight cannot be forced, only allowed to come of its own accord, so don't look for it to come. It's an organic kind of thing that just happens.
I appreciate your attempt to explain it, but your words are still nonsense to me. I will drop this line of questioning for now. Thanks anyway.

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by arel » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:37 pm

I would say, yes, you are doing something wrong. What this whole thing is about, is about answering the question of "who/what am I"? Being in the now is the means to that end, the way I put it.

Saying you are bored when you focus on the now, is like saying, "I'm a man", or "I'm cold", or "I like a watermelon". It's kind of irrelevant.

Becoming present, is a an extremely effective way to get a sense of what you are.

If you ask yourself a question "what am I?", what is your answer to it? Can you genuinely say "I am this present moment"? "Yes I am this body and way beyond"? If you can't genuinely say something to that effect, then I say you need to keep looking - which is becoming present and asking the question "Who/what am I"?
What I say is only my viewpoint.

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:41 pm

Spectrum wrote:
kiki wrote:
So are you saying that if I can be in the now now, then some day in the future, I may gain this insight and then be able to enjoy some other now?
Examine this idea of a future and see what it does. Doesn't it create expectation or hope, or trigger anxiety and fear? Regardless of what it triggers all of it is a mind created state that doesn't actually exist other than as an idea in the head. A set of imaginary conditions is built up that must be met or avoided in order to be happy, fulfilled, or joyful. But what is being missed is that now is all there ever is; there is no other now. Now is not time bound, squeezed between some past event and future happening. Future and past are imaginary only, and to hope or expect a more "enjoyable" now at some "future" time is keep yourself trapped in duality because you've created a set of conditions that must be met to find wholeness.

Relax deeply into presence, letting go of any ideas about anything and duality vaporizes. Then let happen whatever happens, and insight will blossom on its own. Insight cannot be forced, only allowed to come of its own accord, so don't look for it to come. It's an organic kind of thing that just happens.
I appreciate your attempt to explain it, but your words are still nonsense to me. I will drop this line of questioning for now. Thanks anyway.
Focus more on the last paragraph.

To be awake doesn't mean you will be in a constant state of bliss or joy. It means you are open to experiencing everything that happens regardless of what that is without resistance, knowing and feeling that beneath what is experienced there remains a palpable sense of peace, stillness, and silence; those are the "anchors" of being. It is those that keep you from sliding back into unconsciousness and re-identifying with mind/ego. Peace, stillness, and silence are the fertile ground from which insight arises of its own accord.
"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: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:44 pm

Nice post, arel.
"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: The Now is boring

Post by Webwanderer » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:46 pm

arel wrote:If you ask yourself a question "what am I?", what is your answer to it? Can you genuinely say "I am this present moment"? "Yes I am this body and way beyond"? If you can't genuinely say something to that effect, then I say you need to keep looking - which is becoming present and asking the question "Who/what am I"?
And then consider: Who/what is asking the question. Rest awhile in the wordless awareness of what considers. You are that.

WW

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:56 pm

I am re-reading The Power of Now. Tolle talks a lot about "honouring" the Now.

I feel repulsed when I read that. I don't like the idea that I should "honour" the Now. I resist it. It makes me think: "What has the Now ever done for me?"

The idea of "honouring" something is not palatable to me. It feels like submission to me, and I fear that. It's a kind of pride.

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:09 pm

Spectrum wrote:I am re-reading The Power of Now. Tolle talks a lot about "honouring" the Now.

I feel repulsed when I read that. I don't like the idea that I should "honour" the Now. I resist it. It makes me think: "What has the Now ever done for me?"

The idea of "honouring" something is not palatable to me. It feels like submission to me, and I fear that. It's a kind of pride.
Honor it in the sense that it is what it is. In other words, accept the now because it is, after all, how life is expressing itself in this moment. Resistance to what is is the cause of suffering.

Your "repulsion" and resistance comes from the personalized viewpoint of what you believe to be a separate entity, the "me" that sets itself apart from everything else. Is that "me" a real entity or only an imagined one? Investigate this closely and see if you can find the "me" that is repulsed.

It is the "me" that has likes and dislikes, that becomes attached or repulsed, that feels bored, but that me is imaginary only - without the mind it cannot exist. You must see this for yourself so that identification with it can begin to dissolve. Right now you are so identified with that "me" that you take it to be an actual entity, and it is this identification that is the root of your suffering. See if you can discern how this "me" gets created and sustained via mental activity, and then take note of what "sees" the dynamics behind it.

That which notices how ego/me is created is different than ego/me. Ego/me is built on thought structure only and is a kind of "thing" that is subject to change, but that which notices/sees/knows is not a "thing". That doesn't change; it is ever present, it is silent, it is still, it is accepting of what is, it is at peace, and it is impersonal. In other words, "that" which you are is naturally open and free, and spontaneously allows to happen whatever happens - You are THAT, that impersonal awareness that sees everything, and is naturally and spontaneously accepting of everything as it arises.

Any kind of negativity or resistance, or clinging and attachment is a function of mind only, and are the hallmarks of the egoic entity. Attachment to and identification with the egoic entity will become undermined once you try to locate it as something real. So, take some time and see if you can find the "me".
"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: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:04 pm

Thanks for the advice.

I did a meditation last night where I focused on this subject. This time I was good at paying attention to my thoughts and being aware of what I was thinking.

I could not really see how the observing was different from thinking. It seems to me that observing my thoughts is just another kind of thoughts. Thoughts thinking about other thoughts. The subject matter is different, but the thoughts seem to be of the same kind.

I did notice one difference, though: I can "get lost" in thinking, while I cannot "get lost" in observing. Thoughts automatically lead to other thoughts, and when I lose awareness my mind will continue to race with thoughts. Conversely, observation does not automatically lead to more observation. It requires constant effort. When I relinquish effort, I do not "get lost" in more observing; rather, I drift away from observing and onto other thoughts.

This doesn't prove anything, though. The "observing" could just be a subset of thoughts that can potentially drift away into another kind of thoughts.

I don't know.

I was pretty good at maintaining focus this time, though.

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:09 pm

I could not really see how the observing was different from thinking. It seems to me that observing my thoughts is just another kind of thoughts. Thoughts thinking about other thoughts. The subject matter is different, but the thoughts seem to be of the same kind.
Just notice the train of thoughts as they come and go - isn't there awareness present that sees/notices them, that knows they are there? Of course there is, otherwise you wouldn't know thoughts are coming and going. That awareness is simply present and alert to what is. It's true that mind can come in and comment on those thoughts, labeling them, or becoming critical of them in some way, but the noticing of it all happens all by itself. And that noticing/awareness/ is totally silent and still, yet it is awake and alert.

You see, attention is drawn to what moves and makes noise because mind is conditioned to look for change. Mind is nothing but a kind of movement, a kind of noise machine. Awareness, however, goes unnoticed because it doesn't move or make noise. It's only when attention begins to turn 180 degrees toward its source that awareness begins to be noticed. That's what observation practice leads to, a turn around of attention.
I did notice one difference, though: I can "get lost" in thinking, while I cannot "get lost" in observing.


Bingo! Great insight. You can't get lost in observing because "You" are that which observes; you are not the content of mind, but are that which notices and is aware of content. You can think of thoughts as objects, like trees for example. Lots of trees make up a forest, and it's easy to get lost in a forest. "You", however, are simply the space that the trees are appearing in. That "space" is alert and awake, and it is everywhere; that space has no edges, no boundaries. That being the case, how can you become "lost?"
Thoughts automatically lead to other thoughts,


Very good! Thoughts just come of their own accord. Memory comes into play with its stored associations, so that has some influence on what arises, but it happens all by itself.
and when I lose awareness my mind will continue to race with thoughts.


That's right. This is a very good thing you are realizing because it is based on direct experience. Direct experience is of vital importance, and trumps just accepting what someone else says. One must find out for themselves just what is happening and not simply take onboard the ideas of others. I just want to make one small correction that is vital, however. It's not that you lose awareness, it's just that attention is more fixated on the thoughts so awareness is no longer noticed. Awareness is always present.
Conversely, observation does not automatically lead to more observation. It requires constant effort.
When you are new to this kind of observation "practice" it seems like it takes effort because you aren't used to it, but later it is so natural and simple that it happens automatically. Why does it happen automatically? Because it is YOU, it is your very nature, and YOU are always present and aware (when I say "you" I mean your true nature, not the imaginary "me" that is created out of thought).

Right now your mind is so conditioned into believing itself to be "you" that it's easy to get lost again in thought. So root out the source of this conditioning by looking for the "me". See if you can find it. Where is this me that you believe yourself to be? This is important for you to do so that you can see directly that that me cannot be found. And because I say it cannot be found you mustn't just take my word for it, you must see this for yourself. So take some time and look for it. Try to pin it down by actually seeking it out. Discover the nature of the "me" through careful observation. This will lead to some important insights that will help you understand for yourself what awakening is all about.
When I relinquish effort, I do not "get lost" in more observing; rather, I drift away from observing and onto other thoughts.
It is common for someone to slip back into becoming lost in thought when doing this sort of observation practice. Actually, it's "par for the course", it's just the way it works . But also remember, you are new to this, and conditioning is deep seated so it may take some time to overcome this tendency. The more you practice observing thought the more you will realize that "something" is present that is alert and awake that sees thoughts come and go, and you begin to relax and rest more and more in/as that and become less disturbed by or absorbed in thoughts.
This doesn't prove anything, though. The "observing" could just be a subset of thoughts that can potentially drift away into another kind of thoughts.

I don't know.
So keep observing and prove to yourself whether it is a subset of thought or not. You are your own best teacher; others can only point to what they have found, but it's up to you to actually find out for yourself.
I was pretty good at maintaining focus this time, though.
Very good.
"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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