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Thought Watching and Freedom Through Inquiry

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:33 am
by Jbrooke
I have been reading Adyashanti's 'The End of Your World' and it is really intriguing so far. I was reading chapter 4 and approached the sectioned entitled, 'Freedom Through Inquiry" where he discusses spiritual bypassing and how easily deceptive it is. When I read this, I felt the leaden impact of fear permeate my entire body. I thought to myself, "I have FINALLY begun grasping the nature of observing my obsessive and nonstop thoughts and it appears that the progress I felt I was making with that is all a joke now?! I was under the impression that watching and observing our repetive thoughts involved letting them go and not analyzing each one of them. Just accepting that they have been manufactured by our conditioning and letting them happen, observe them, and accept them for what they are.

But when I read Adyashanti's viewpoint on this it seems that this thought watching I have been doing is not enough. That i have been deceiving myself or falling into a trap. He suggests that we engage in self inquiry with these thoughts. Explore them completely, pull these weeds out dorm their core via writing or meditation or any avenue that works for us. I have a couple questions about this:

Isn't indulging these thoughts with inquiry defying the purpose of simply observing those thoughts, accepting them and letting them dissolve themselves?

If I were to self inquire all these thoughts, I wouldn't even know where to being or end since I have seemingly hundreds of them barging through my door almost incessantly. Would I address each and every obsessive thought and self inquire for hours and hours ( or whatever length of time that is required) to ultimately resolve each and every one of them? and if so, would I never achieve true awakening if I didn't resolve all of these thoughts or understand them at their very core?

Is Adyashanti dismissing the process of thought watching/observing?

I feel so confused right now...

Re: Thought Watching and Freedom Through Inquiry

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:50 am
by kiki
Is Adyashanti dismissing the process of thought watching/observing?
Absolutely not. His method of really getting to the root of each thought is what he did. That doesn't mean it's a necessary thing for everyone else to do as well. As you say, there is no end to them. What's vital is for that shift to occur from being identified with thought to the knowing observer of thought. So continue as you are and see where it takes you. I have no doubt that that will lead you to where you want to be.

In short, spiritual bypassing is using spiritual practices to avoid facing our so-called problems. In enquiry we come to see directly how those problems are created and maintained by facing them when they arise. When you see them for what they are they can be released and you can relax back into the witnessing awareness.

Re: Thought Watching and Freedom Through Inquiry

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:07 am
by Jbrooke
Thank you, kiki- that helped clarify some of my questions.

The fear I experienced when I read that section on spiritual bypassing was triggered by the ego's immediate and unrefuted response which basically exclaimed, "You are going about this the wrong way! Everything you have been doing in this process has been part of a self deceptive trap. To avoid this trap and 'get it right' you have to get down to business and start some heavy homework exercises and commit to them every single time you have an ego driven thought! There will be no rest for you! And if you don't work your ass off and get to the root of each ego driven thought that comes up you will suffer for the rest of your life!!! So you can continue to be lazy and simply observe those thoughts or you can do the 'right' thing and investigate and resolve them all!". This is, in essence what my ego was telling me upon reading that piece of the chapter in the book. And I realize that THIS is where the self inquiry that he was speaking of needs to come to play for me;)

Perhaps it's more of a "choose your battle" sort of thing in terms of full resolution of thoughts and which ones to invest that energy in investigating thoroughly. An instinctual choice. Not a black and white situation ("if you don't use self inquiry with ALL obsessive thoughts and don't resolve them completely you will never truly awaken!"). And my immediate response to almost everything is such. Black and white. Right or wrong. THIS is where the self inquiry should be applied! I can see that now!

Ahhh, the questions never cease...

Re: Thought Watching and Freedom Through Inquiry

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:54 pm
by Webwanderer
I agree completely with kiki here. I would however, look a bit further. Trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right to you, it likely isn't. It's one thing to recognize a muddy hole so that we may avoid it. It's another to go digging around in it so deeply that it covers us. The fact is that it's difficult if not impossible to place your attention on two things at the same time. And whatever it is you place your attention on gets the life energy that such focus directs.

So as kiki pointed out, the purpose of observation of thought is to gain clarity that you are not what you think you are, not the thoughts you think. In seeing this clearly you may become aware of your true being as knower, and recognizing this distinction is the critical factor in awakening.

The additional step that I would suggest is to apply, as knower, a conscious choice as to how you want to perceive whatever thoughts and experiences that may arise. Focus of attention is also the focus of life energy, and that life energy goes to enhancing and expanding whatever it is you focus upon. No wonder your instincts are telling you that digging around in painful experiences is not the best use of your time and energy. Recognize that your instincts, through your emotional responses, are valuable guides to greater clarity and alignment with your true nature.

Nothing in life stays the same, it's a more a matter of what direction you wish to go. If something feels right pursue it. If it feels like pain, look for a preferable way to engage that feels even a bit better. Emotions are your Inherent guide to a great life.