Embodying awareness

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Embodying awareness

Postby bobdylanfan » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:20 pm

Hey guys I've recently been feeling quite spacey and disconnected from resting as awareness, although I feel that ease and lucidity, it often feels like my body wasn't here or I wasn't embodying awareness. From reading in touch by john predengast which was recommended by sighclone ( thanks again sighclone) I've seen that I need to really ground myself, using belly breathing techniques and getting in touch with the hara, aswell as the root chakra. In my experience over the last few days I actually feel a lot more balanced and grounded whereas through my old teaching it never mentioned grounding, breathing or physical techniques it was always about resting as awareness. Similarly I've found that using techniques from this book regarding core beliefs to be super helpful aswell, to understand why and where a belief came from and then to challenge it using the intelligence of your heart rather than your mind.

What's you experience of using physical and psychological aswell as spiritual techniques to live a well rounded, comfortable, loving life?

Thanks xx
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby bobdylanfan » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:52 pm

Or if anyone has books or links that go in detail of intergrating and grounding this awareness into everyday life.
Thanks I feel like I'm going nuts
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby rachMiel » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:11 am

You might enjoy Standing as Awareness from Greg Goode:

https://www.amazon.com/Standing-as-Awareness-Direct-Path/dp/0956309151

He's a respected (neo-)Advaita teacher and a clear writer. :-)
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." — Wallace Stevens
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:05 pm

Hi BDF,

I'm glad you've been having progress through your grounding exercises. I heard a teacher say recently that every spiritual group has it's own strengths and limitations. A lack of focus on grounding seems quite common in some modern western spiritual groups. Allowing awareness to descend into the body and mind and clear out the obstructions there is important and can be quite challenging. It's been my primary focus in my own spiritual practice for the past couple of years. It's been quite painful and disorienting and confusing. At times it felt like I would never move through the pain and into a more stable clarity. However, I have been finding over the past few months that I have shifted into a much clearer and more stable state which is easily the most content I've ever felt - a feeling that continues to deepen.

So, hang in there! Keep up the integrating work and slowly but surely the darker gunk in your psyche and body will be cleansed in your awareness. In my experience it's a slow and gradual process. What you're describing sounds normal and healthy to me. The grounding is so important in keeping the awakening healthy. Some people are rigidly fixed on ideas of disembodied awareness. As if the witness consciousness is the only important aspect of living a human life. I've met some people recently who seem quite into the witness and they seem a little detached and confused to me. That's a common phase on the path, and can be moved through quite simply onto more integrated stages but for some it can become a real problem. My teacher told a story recently about a monk he knew who was trapped in the witness and deluded himself into thinking he was a fully enlightened Buddha. One day a woman came to this monk in tears following the death of her sister. The monk's response was to look at her emotionlessly and say "everything dies". My teacher starred in disbelief at his heartless comment and felt the woman was justified in calling him a "f*&king a$%hole!". So I'm glad you're doing lots of grounding work and are talking about living a well rounded loving life because I think that's much more important than being some detached spiritual monster!

I'm wondering what advise I could give from my own experiences in this area. The grounding work you're talking about sounds great! Getting in touch with the body really helps me to integrate the disordered energy within me. Breathing is certainly a good point of focus and the lower abdomen and the feet. I rub my feet in the shower especially the soles which helps a surprising amount for something so simple. This might sound a bit weird, but a devotional practice dedicated to your breath, abdomen and feet may work wonders! Spending some time to open your heart to the great work your breath, abdomen and feet do to help integrate awareness into this physical experience. They are working around the clock and like all employees they appreciate support and gratitude from their boss! That would have the added bonus of opening the heart which is healing in itself and helps move purer energy into the areas you're having trouble with which can then be integrated by your lungs, gut and feet.

Taking lots of showers can be very helpful as well. When I was going through a difficult period I would take 2 or 3 showers a day with very warm water and used strong lavender shower gel (made from actual lavender flowers not just smelling like it) which really soothed things. Walks in nature are well known for helping to ground energy - I find woods to be especially helpful. Taking off your shoes and socks and walking on grass and bringing your attention into the feet works very well. Taking up a practice of qi gong or tai chi or yoga would help a lot too.

Most importantly I'd say go easy on yourself. Take the time to relax and appreciate yourself. You are going through a process of change and it can be a challenging one. I found the best thing for feeling supported was to start a practice called guru yoga. The way I use it doesn't actually involve a physical person as a guru. Rather, a guru within our own spiritual heart. If you feel comfortable to do so you could see if you could connect to the guru within your heart and allow that loving grace to sooth and guide you through the more difficult aspects of the cleansing. It may not work for everything, but it certainly does for me, it's the most precious part of the path for me right now. Feeling held by a loving inner essence seems very cleansing simply by feeling it.

I hope you find one or two of those tips useful. It sounds like the practices you are doing already are really working for you so keep that up for as long as it feels right for you. It's nice to hear someone talking about this side of the path :) I was getting bored of talking to these witness types! :P

Love
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby rachMiel » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:18 pm

Ultimately there is no witness, no subject, no object, no external world, internal world, no world at all.

There is just _____________ (awareness, the ground, brahman, the Tao, God, whatever works for you).

You can't capture _____________ . It's not an object you can get/own. But you can relax into the natural flow of being ... and _____________ reveals itself.
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." — Wallace Stevens
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:12 am

That's an interesting position rach. I can see a usefulness in guiding the mind into the non-existence of things. I use a similar technique sometimes. I also feel balance is important. As Nisargadatta famously said:

Wisdom is knowing I am nothing. Love is knowing I am everything. Between these two, my life flows.

What you are saying seems to me to be pointing toward the wisdom aspect of this statement. While telling yourself you are nothing, do you also tell yourself you are everything? Fully both, simultaneously?

Jack
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby rachMiel » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:37 pm

Hi Jack. :-) Good to hear from you.

Honestly the notion of a nothing/everything duality doesn't appeal to me. Nor does telling myself things. The closest I come is to remind myself to let go of all conceptual structures and just ... be. I used to think getting lost in thought or another activity, so that you are unconscious of anything but that thought/activity, was a bad thing, a lapse in awareness. Now I think pretty much the opposite ... those are the times that self/ego recedes and Self/awareness thrives.

What do you think?
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." — Wallace Stevens
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:58 pm

Good to hear from you too Rach.

It sounds like you're dedicated to your teaching. I think finding a teaching which feels right for us at our current state is the best way to go. Is this a neo-advaita teaching?

For the record I'll say a bit about my personal experience with neo-advaita and how I feel about it now. I briefly spoke to a man in London, UK who is a teacher in that scene. I went to one of his meetings and had a positive time there. He was very attentive and kind. I didn't go back though. I felt that scene had a lot of people proclaiming a high level of insight, but didn't see much evidence of it being lived. Some of them seemed very angry and defensive of their beliefs. It didn't feel right to me.

I spoke to a friend of mine about it recently, he was more involved with that scene than me. He said he found his time there useful for a while and then felt the need to move on. I think a teaching which quite firmly sticks to the position 'this is it' has a valid place for some of us as we develop.

My personal belief is that the development of a human is multi-dimensional. A 'this is it' teaching works with certain levels to achieve a certain result. As with anything in life, an excess can be more harmful than helpful. Some people become rigid and dogmatic with a teaching that is so focused in one area. It can also be misappropriated by the ego and used for spiritual bypassing ('there is nothing to do, so I won't put any effort into anything', 'all there is is this, so I'll just do whatever I want and screw anyone else!').

Personally I like teachings that are multidimensional. Teachings that work to expand, integrate and include any and all levels of our being. This includes the human level of our individuality, our relationships to others and our role in the world. It also includes the divine level of awareness beyond our humanity and integrating this into our humanity to create a balanced and spacious experience of the fully human, fully divine human being. A more one dimensional teaching may miss out some of these vital facets of our development leaving some areas stunted e.g. the human level may become dispassionate about others or stop caring for it's own wellbeing or even abuse and mistreat others in the name of some spiritual ideal it values highly.

For that reason I like Adyashanti's teaching in The Way Of Liberation. It contains the 'this is it' teaching and values it. However, it also includes other teachings for other levels which is values just as highly. I feel that is more likely to produce a more balanced human being as a result.

That said, I really respect the view that people should follow their own hearts and dive fully into a teaching or life direction that feels right to them.

Do you have any thoughts on my thoughts Rach?
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby rachMiel » Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:07 pm

It sounds like you're dedicated to your teaching. I think finding a teaching which feels right for us at our current state is the best way to go. Is this a neo-advaita teaching?

I'd say it's what came out of growing up Catholic, then studying the teachings of Krishnamurti, Buddhism, and Advaita, and my own internal Overseer (innate wisdom). Eventually my personal feeling for being coincided with the essence of all of these sources (except perhaps Catholicism). And that's when I knew I was home.

For the record I'll say a bit about my personal experience with neo-advaita and how I feel about it now. I briefly spoke to a man in London, UK who is a teacher in that scene. I went to one of his meetings and had a positive time there. He was very attentive and kind. I didn't go back though. I felt that scene had a lot of people proclaiming a high level of insight, but didn't see much evidence of it being lived. Some of them seemed very angry and defensive of their beliefs. It didn't feel right to me.

I spoke to a friend of mine about it recently, he was more involved with that scene than me. He said he found his time there useful for a while and then felt the need to move on. I think a teaching which quite firmly sticks to the position 'this is it' has a valid place for some of us as we develop.

Every religious tradition can (and does!) breed zealots, fanatics, literalists. I have spent a great deal of energy guarding against these traps. That's why I investigated so many traditions and worked hard at finding their essences ... not their ornamentation.

My personal belief is that the development of a human is multi-dimensional. A 'this is it' teaching works with certain levels to achieve a certain result. As with anything in life, an excess can be more harmful than helpful. Some people become rigid and dogmatic with a teaching that is so focused in one area. It can also be misappropriated by the ego and used for spiritual bypassing ('there is nothing to do, so I won't put any effort into anything', 'all there is is this, so I'll just do whatever I want and screw anyone else!').

Personally I like teachings that are multidimensional. Teachings that work to expand, integrate and include any and all levels of our being. This includes the human level of our individuality, our relationships to others and our role in the world. It also includes the divine level of awareness beyond our humanity and integrating this into our humanity to create a balanced and spacious experience of the fully human, fully divine human being. A more one dimensional teaching may miss out some of these vital facets of our development leaving some areas stunted e.g. the human level may become dispassionate about others or stop caring for it's own wellbeing or even abuse and mistreat others in the name of some spiritual ideal it values highly.

Valid points these are. And I agree that a hard-line, dogmatic Advaitan, Buddhist, Krishnamurtian, Catholic, etc. approach can result in lopsided, stunted growth. But again, this is true for any worldview, any system of belief/understanding/morals/ethics, etc.

Personally, I love (I think that's the right word) the utter simplicity and expanse of "I am __________" .

For that reason I like Adyashanti's teaching in The Way Of Liberation. It contains the 'this is it' teaching and values it. However, it also includes other teachings for other levels which is values just as highly. I feel that is more likely to produce a more balanced human being as a result.

Several people have recommended Adyashanti. I listened to a couple of his videos/recordings ... didn't do much for me. And at this point I'm not looking for additional teachers.

That said, I really respect the view that people should follow their own hearts and dive fully into a teaching or life direction that feels right to them.

It doesn't feel like diving ... it feels more like letting go.
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." — Wallace Stevens
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:43 am

Ah I saw you mention neo-advaita above and put that together with the teaching words about 'this' and assumed you were following a neo-advaita teacher. Are you a student of any teacher or tradition at the moment?

When you say 'and that's when I knew I was home' what exactly do you mean? I've heard that kind of statement be used many times before and people seem to use it to point to very different things so hopefully I'll understand better if I hear what it means to you.

I agree about traditions and fundamentalists. Some movements seem more prone to it than others though (e.g. I suspect you would find more fundamentalists within ISIS than Sufi groups).

I also agree that any world view can be used in excess to create an imbalanced perspective. The point I was making was that some spiritual teachings are more likely to create imbalanced perspectives because they encourage an excessive focus on a limited range of experience, while others are more likely to encourage a balanced perspective because they encourage a focus across a range of valuable perspectives.

I'm glad you're enjoying your teaching focus and feel you are getting a lot out of that. I suspect you feel where I'm coming from when I say that as valuable as a teaching like that is for any of us at a specific time it is still a single teaching focused on a specific part of our development and other teachings may be required in tandem with this at some point to facilitate a more balanced and integrated way of being.

I've heard quite a few people say that about Adyashanti. Each to their own :)
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby Onceler » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:35 pm

bobdylanfan wrote:Or if anyone has books or links that go in detail of intergrating and grounding this awareness into everyday life.
Thanks I feel like I'm going nuts


I found Andy's recommendation of 'In Touch' by John Prendergrast quite useful. I go back to it often. It can take you deeply into the body with full awareness.
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby rachMiel » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:45 pm

EnterZenFromThere wrote:Ah I saw you mention neo-advaita above and put that together with the teaching words about 'this' and assumed you were following a neo-advaita teacher. Are you a student of any teacher or tradition at the moment?

Not a formal student, no. More like a repeat visitor to Buddhism and Advaita.

When you say 'and that's when I knew I was home' what exactly do you mean? I've heard that kind of statement be used many times before and people seem to use it to point to very different things so hopefully I'll understand better if I hear what it means to you.

I honestly can't say *exactly* what I mean. It's a feeling ... of coinciding with what-is.

I also agree that any world view can be used in excess to create an imbalanced perspective. The point I was making was that some spiritual teachings are more likely to create imbalanced perspectives because they encourage an excessive focus on a limited range of experience, while others are more likely to encourage a balanced perspective because they encourage a focus across a range of valuable perspectives.

It sounds like you're equating breadth of experience with balanced perspective?

I'm glad you're enjoying your teaching focus and feel you are getting a lot out of that. I suspect you feel where I'm coming from when I say that as valuable as a teaching like that is for any of us at a specific time it is still a single teaching focused on a specific part of our development and other teachings may be required in tandem with this at some point to facilitate a more balanced and integrated way of being.

"I am __________ " is the essence for me. Everything we experience springs from that essence.
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." — Wallace Stevens
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby bobdylanfan » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:27 pm

Hey guys thanks for your feedback and advice. Enterzenfromthere thankyou as always for your wisdom, I've found another nice grounding techniques that seems to work wonders is huggin a tree for a minute or so everyday. You may get some funny looks but it's worth it. I find that you can sometimes feel it pulsing or breathing.

I've really been reflecting on my time in that particular spiritual community and there's some good and bad points.

The good ones are feeling accepted and included
Feeling part of something that could positively affect and empower a lot of peope
The love and peace is really amplified in those setting (this is what I miss the most)

The bad points are a bit of an us and then attitude
Believing that this way is the only way
Having to swallow and seemingly agree with everything the guru is saying

I get stuck in the dilemma of knowing that I don't agree with all the guru says and not wanting to be part of closed knit group aswell as seeing the benefits of be surrounded by lovely people that have recognised themselves as peace and love. Because I live in a small city with a big community the temptation to go back is always lingering.
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby rachMiel » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:13 pm

Your good/bad points are classic hallmarks of cults.

Not to say the spiritual community was a cult, just that it* had some of the same qualities cults use to keep their members loyal. As do, I think, pretty much all exclusive communities: spiritual or otherwise. It's very easy to slide into an us/them mentality in groups.

* Or perhaps you projected these qualities onto it.
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." — Wallace Stevens
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Re: Embodying awareness

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:14 pm

I can imagine hugging a tree would be a nice grounding experience. I'm a bit self conscious to do that. I prefer just walking with them and feeling them with attention (though a friend and I were walking through a beautiful forest recently and agreed we would both hug a tree and swore a vow of silence about it).

I think 'cult' is a strong word to use with so little information. It sounds like many religious communities which aren't cults. I'm not sure exactly what the criteria are for a 'cult' are I imagine it has a lot to do without selfishness and control.
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