How do I avoid the subtle traps?

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Nebula
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How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Nebula » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:17 am

Hello
I have come across a few problems. I call them subtle traps, because they are so elusive. When I try and apply a pointer, I often find that i am going down the wrong path.
When attempting to follow a pointer or technique, there is often a "wrong" way and a "right" way.
For example, Eckhart suggests that one must feel their feelings fully, accept, and not react. (e.g. in a conflict)
This is something I find difficult, and what i'm really grappling with is this: How do I do this, without repressing the feelings.
I shall try and give a scenario, to make this clearer.
For example, you are in an argument. Someone is being angry/unpleasant to you. You feel angry/hurt and defensive. You try and allow these feelings and accept them. BUT in reality, you just repress these feelings (or you end up reacting and e.g. shouting back)
How do you do what is advised?
If you repress the feeling, it will manifest as another problem, so ideally you would want to transmute the energy into something else.

Another subtle trap:
My previous thread regarding watching the thinker discusses how it is easy (for me at least) to fall in to the trap of becoming self-conscious (in a bad way)

Another subtle trap: (Discussed in the Paradox thread)
Wanting to understand and become enlightened is actually another trap, as this 'wanting' is the problem. Eckhart Tolle describes the chief of police looking for an arsonist, when the arsonist is the chief of police - ie you're looking for the problem, the problem is that you are looking for the problem :?

These are all rather confusing and brain-bending! I think that there is something universal that perhaps may be applied to these examples, so that I don't have to keep refining my techniques for each pointer. But i'm not sure, maybe someone knows what i mean?!
Thanks :)
"If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence"

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Ives » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:30 am

Nebula wrote:For example, you are in an argument. Someone is being angry/unpleasant to you. You feel angry/hurt and defensive. You try and allow these feelings and accept them. BUT in reality, you just repress these feelings (or you end up reacting and e.g. shouting back)
Great example.

Observe, observe, observe. There is a fine line between allowing and repressing.

Can you find it?

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by kiki » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:40 am

You are discovering the futility of looking for answers in the mind - that's a huge step, so congratulations.
For example, you are in an argument. Someone is being angry/unpleasant to you. You feel angry/hurt and defensive. You try and allow these feelings and accept them. BUT in reality, you just repress these feelings (or you end up reacting and e.g. shouting back)
How do you do what is advised?
Investigate to find out "who" this is that's feeling angry/hurt and defensive. Rather than just understanding the concept of ego feeling hurt you must go deeper and look for the ego - can you actually locate it? Is it real? Once you realize/see that it isn't real you won't be continually dragged into its preferred way of being treated by others - you will open up a space between what you really are and the illusory ego entity, and that is the beginning of the dissolution of identification with it. Then expressing anger can be done consciously without it disturbing the underlying sense of Being. If you only remain intellectually aware that this is problematic because of ego you will continue to repress your feelings.
Another subtle trap: (Discussed in the Paradox thread)
Wanting to understand and become enlightened is actually another trap, as this 'wanting' is the problem. Eckhart Tolle describes the chief of police looking for an arsonist, when the arsonist is the chief of police - ie you're looking for the problem, the problem is that you are looking for the problem :?
Yes, that can be a very subtle and seductive trap. Who "wants" anything? Ego of course. And what is the Mount Everest of all wants? Enlightenment. What a wonderful way to keep itself in the control booth. Again, look for this ego and determine the truth of its existence. When you discover that it isn't real what remains? What you actually are - consciousness. You have to actually see/realize what this consciousness is beyond the idea that the word conveys. Ramana Maharshi describes this technique of self inquiry this way: Using a thorn to remove a thorn, and then throwing both of them into the fire. The thorn being used is the mind, and the thorn being removed is the ego.
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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by D'ray » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:57 pm

kiki wrote: Investigate to find out "who" this is that's feeling angry/hurt and defensive. Rather than just understanding the concept of ego feeling hurt you must go deeper and look for the ego - can you actually locate it? Is it real? Once you realize/see that it isn't real you won't be continually dragged into its preferred way of being treated by others - you will open up a space between what you really are and the illusory ego entity, and that is the beginning of the dissolution of identification with it. Then expressing anger can be done consciously without it disturbing the underlying sense of Being. If you only remain intellectually aware that this is problematic because of ego you will continue to repress your feelings.

Awesome post. Locating the ego is more like knowing it, being aware of it, not searching it by the mind.
There's no "I" to become enlightened. The "I" can have spiritual experiences.

DON'T resist the RESISTANCE! The resistance is there. Walk into it. Feel it. Become one with it.

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by innerhike » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:23 am

Your original scenario question Nebula was as follows:
For example, you are in an argument. Someone is being angry/unpleasant to you. You feel angry/hurt and defensive. You try and allow these feelings and accept them. BUT in reality, you just repress these feelings (or you end up reacting and e.g. shouting back)
My take on this is quite straightforward.

Just because people can recite what Eckhart or Jesus have said in a book or talk, does not mean that they can live it.

Just because you intellectually understand what is being said does not mean that your ego-personality can live it.

You have to literally be operating in a "higher" level of consciousness in order to live these ideas, to demonstrate this understanding in an experiential way.

How you get to this level is quite simply by staying in the NOW for longer and longer periods of time, thereby reducing the energy that your EGO has in order for it to exist.

You can try to come up with many strategies to work with these subtle traps, as you call them, but none of them will work in the long run or in any comprehensive way until you are stabilized or rooted more in the NOW and less in the EGO.

The more you start your day in a centered way, the more you go back to this centered place over and over throughout the day, the easier it will get for you to live in exactly the way that Eckhart and Jesus are describing.

What method or practice you follow or invent to center yourself, is up to you. As is your level of dedication or commitment.

Eckhart does not speak of any kind of urgency but in Zen traditions they speak of being dedicated to this sort of thing as if your hair were on fire and the NOW were a river of flowing water that you were running towards so you could go save your life.

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by weichen » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:09 am

For example, you are in an argument. Someone is being angry/unpleasant to you. You feel angry/hurt and defensive. You try and allow these feelings and accept them. BUT in reality, you just repress these feelings (or you end up reacting and e.g. shouting back)
How do you do what is advised?
If you repress the feeling, it will manifest as another problem, so ideally you would want to transmute the energy into something else.
According to PON, you have other options: you can change the situation, you can remove yourself from the situation (walk out temporarily, break up permanently). When these approaches do not work, then you can either stay and suffer (due to resisting what can not be changed), or you can surrender.

Usually whatever questions you have, Tolle have answered them somewhere in his books or tapes. Just raise the question inside this forum, and people can point you to where Tolle has addressed the question.

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Ives » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:29 am

Nebula wrote: For example, you are in an argument. Someone is being angry/unpleasant to you. You feel angry/hurt and defensive. You try and allow these feelings and accept them. BUT in reality, you just repress these feelings (or you end up reacting and e.g. shouting back)
How do you do what is advised?
Okay, here’s another suggestion. Something practical you can do in this situation.

Try not expressing negativity.

Allow whatever pain is being triggered to surge up into your consciousness. Allow it fully. One hundred percent. Feel it.
But, just this once, don’t express it.

This does not have to be adopted as a life-long practice (it could be), because that would seem daunting to most people. But it can be tried out now and then.

The results are astounding, especially in the context of Eckhart’s suggestions on dealing with the pain body.

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Nebula » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:11 pm

I was just re-reading the responses to this thread, and they are extremely insightful and helpful. Thankyou.
"If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence"

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Mushinsan » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:20 pm

How do you know there is dark? When its light. Avoidance isnt even possible, how can you escape yourself? See it, be the witness and love it for its function. Then you'll willingly participate. The buddha doesnt find enlightenment to leave humanity but to love it fully. "What you fight you strengthen, what you resist persists."

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Sighclone » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:24 pm

Welcome, Munishan! Drop in to Introductions and tell us a little about yourself - please also briefly review the Rules and Guidelines. We welcome your input.

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

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Betty » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:14 am

Nebula wrote:Hello
I have come across a few problems. I call them subtle traps, because they are so elusive. When I try and apply a pointer, I often find that i am going down the wrong path.

...

These are all rather confusing and brain-bending! I think that there is something universal that perhaps may be applied to these examples, so that I don't have to keep refining my techniques for each pointer. But i'm not sure, maybe someone knows what i mean?!
Thanks :)
I know what you mean. It seems like a lot of "information" or "data" when you add up all the words but he is actually (and consistently) saying the same thing, over and over: You can't get there by thinking. It's not a "problem" you can "figure out". The fact that you think you can figure it out is what keeps you from getting it.

All of those words that look like lots of information are merely an attempt to make it recognizable to as many people as possible, from as many perspectives as possible. Watch your self think. That's all there is to it. Don't worry about analyzing what your self is thinking. Simply watch it think. The instant you try - the instant you step back to look at it, the self that is thinking disappears. And so does the thought. What remains, when the self and thoughts disappear, even if only for a moment, is you. That's all you have to do. The moments will build, despite your self.

I look at it like this: Our purpose is to be conduits through which the formless can interact with form. When we stop thinking, the first time, the conduit pops open a tiny bit. From that point on, the spaciousness either flows, widening the opening on its own by doing what it wants to do which is interact with form, or, we try to control, help or otherwise make it happen by thinking and it constricts.

All progress in the realm of formlessness is accomplished by formlessness, itself. You have to let it do all the work. And it will work. Rest assured that all of your thoughts on the matter are pointless. You can't do this. It will make you say "Look. There you go, thinking again." - as Eckhart says, you will say it sometime after an episode, initially - then sooner after - then during, etc., etc. You don't have to do anything. In fact, anything you try to do, by definition, requires that you do everything you can to block the conduit and stop the interaction. Don't try. It's as simple as that. Let yourself be used, in this way, by the spaciousness and it will "reward" you in ways you can't even imagine.

You are taught, practically from birth, that all progress requires work. But what no one has told you is that both the progress and the work the world was teaching you about are thought forms designed to keep you thinking and keep the spaciousness from interacting with form. And if that's what you're trying to transcend, then you must change your perspective. The conduit pops open and you forget about it. Let it do its thing. Let it use your self. Let it use your self up.

If you think you can figure it out - if you think it is about refining techniques and applying pointers - then that is the thought that it is all about thinking. And it just isn't.

Even so, what if you fail? No problem! If you fail, you will suffer and if you suffer you will remember and if you remember you will pop the conduit back open and the whole process will begin again and with a renewed vigor.

You've popped open the conduit or you wouldn't be here, so - in the immortal words of John Lennon - "Let it be."

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Sighclone » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:59 am

Welcom, Betty!! Wonderful first post!!

I particularly like this phrase:
Our purpose is to be conduits through which the formless can interact with form.
"be" is a passive verb here...right on. A few years ago, seeking big time, I began to look at my body...at all human bodies and absolutely wonder at the perfection of this form for this planet. And then I began to wonder, like Dr. Hawking, "...now why did this all bother to be, anyway?..." Why this remarkable manifested form? Wow...it is just so wonderful.

In a way, that was my first recent holistic departure from ego. I wan't marveling at how great "I" was, just this whole human thing. My little history of waking up is buried elsewhere here and not particularly special. But that was kind of the re-start. (35 years of TM was the original start.) Eckhart is kind of a direct-path (D. Waite) guy...he made enlightenment seem realistic in this lifetime, leading a life in maya, unlike the Buddhists and the Advaitists. Of course, what he didn't mention is all the validation and research he did after his own personal sudden shift. Nor does that omission detract from his message in the slightest.

Striving is fine for most activities in "ordinary life" (samsara), regardless of one's state of consciousness. But the nature of the activity of striving and the results of that 'effort' change as we grow in self-realization. There is less grinding drudgery, for sure. But striving to awaken is an oxymoron.

If you like, tell us a little about yourself in the Introductions section...welcome again.

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

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by kiki » Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:10 pm

Yes, what a great first post Betty. Welcome to the board. It would be nice if you introduced yourself.

kiki
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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by Glycine » Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:46 pm

Well said, Betty.
I'm wondering about this part of your post:
But what no one has told you is that both the progress and the work the world was teaching you about are thought forms designed to keep you thinking and keep the spaciousness from interacting with form.
Why are these thought forms designed to keep us thinking? Who designed them?

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Re: How do I avoid the subtle traps?

Post by pardes » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:23 pm

That is a good question and the moment I posed it to myself, I burst out laughing because,it seemed to me that the trap was in asking the question and expecting that I "should" have an immediate answer and "should" be able to perform it perfectly the first time out of the starting block.

To me, just being able to note the moment when the trigger happens and I recognize it for a trigger, is a good thing. Small steps. Many times just the recognizing of the trigger is enough of a delay to prevent a reaction. Other times it's not, and I REACT. I'm aware that I react but I don't beat myself up about it. Since I'm not a robot, it's a process.

It feels so good to remain in the present and just "be" with it. That's what I call enjoyment and I celebrate the time I'm there rather than bemoan the time I'm not.

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