how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
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Fiona_W
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how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by Fiona_W » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:35 pm

I have a specific quandary. I sent it in as a question for ET, but I doubt he'll have time to get around to it. I have started writing my autobiography, something I have felt an inner drive to do for several years now. As far as I can tell, I want to do this not from an egoic opinion that my life history is all that important, but because I have (now in my 60s) gained what I feel is some wisdom—wisdom I would like to share with other people. I hope it does not sound too much like I'm tooting my own horn, in using the word "wisdom." For a long time I have been getting feedback from other people that the stories I have to tell are both entertaining and helpful.

In order to write this book, I have to access, then be compassionately with, my past experiences. Since my experiences are in the form of memories, and memories are no more than thought forms, this means I need to devote many hours focused on thoughts. And yet since discovering the work of ET, since reading other spiritual teachers, since starting a spiritual practice of my own, I am very aware of the need to stay in touch with Being, with Consciousness. I am new to ET's specific teachings, but not new to what he is saying, for I've been aware of the ultimate dimension, of the importance of Nonduality, for quite some time.

So here's my question: is there a way to remain present, while simultaneously spending a lot of time and energy focused on thought forms? ET often says that it is not bad to think, it only becomes a problem when we identify ourselves with those thoughts. So is it simply, or—not so simply, in practice—a matter of my maintaining a balance between the part of me that is in touch with my memories, and engaged in writing down those memories, and the part of me that is Awareness?

Do any of you have advice about how to maintain that balance? Or any other reflections on how to go about dwelling with thoughts, as I must do in order to write, without losing oneself in them, without becoming unconscious? Do you find yourself needing to strike a similar balance, in your own work in the world of Form?

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by Sighclone » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:48 am

Welcome Fiona -

You will enjoy a relatively new book by John Prendergast titled "In Touch." JP is a counseling psychologist and spiritual teacher. He touches on this and other useful perspectives.

If you are worrying about "not being Present enough" to write your book, and worrying about your experiences as being invalid because you were not "Present enough," when you had the original experience, you can worry forever and write nothing. Do recall that you are not a spiritual teacher, that your memoirs and experiences will be read for other reasons, and that the vast majority of your readership will be on some other path, or no path, spiritually.

Write down the five major lessons one might take away from your book. Are these invalid because either the writer or the reader is not sufficiently evolved spiritually? Probably not. Probably they stand up to most tests, and are certainly validated from your experience. So just write the book from wherever you are now. Fully explore your memories, there is nothing "wrong" with any of them. After the book is written in draft, you can revise it from "wherever you are spiritually." Then publish. You can always write a second edition, or another book.

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 remain present while being with my memories?

Post by Dcdc » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:31 pm

Fiona_W wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:35 pm
I have a specific quandary. I sent it in as a question for ET, but I doubt he'll have time to get around to it. I have started writing my autobiography, something I have felt an inner drive to do for several years now. As far as I can tell, I want to do this not from an egoic opinion that my life history is all that important, but because I have (now in my 60s) gained what I feel is some wisdom—wisdom I would like to share with other people. I hope it does not sound too much like I'm tooting my own horn, in using the word "wisdom." For a long time I have been getting feedback from other people that the stories I have to tell are both entertaining and helpful.

In order to write this book, I have to access, then be compassionately with, my past experiences. Since my experiences are in the form of memories, and memories are no more than thought forms, this means I need to devote many hours focused on thoughts. And yet since discovering the work of ET, since reading other spiritual teachers, since starting a spiritual practice of my own, I am very aware of the need to stay in touch with Being, with Consciousness. I am new to ET's specific teachings, but not new to what he is saying, for I've been aware of the ultimate dimension, of the importance of Nonduality, for quite some time.

So here's my question: is there a way to remain present, while simultaneously spending a lot of time and energy focused on thought forms? ET often says that it is not bad to think, it only becomes a problem when we identify ourselves with those thoughts. So is it simply, or—not so simply, in practice—a matter of my maintaining a balance between the part of me that is in touch with my memories, and engaged in writing down those memories, and the part of me that is Awareness?

Do any of you have advice about how to maintain that balance? Or any other reflections on how to go about dwelling with thoughts, as I must do in order to write, without losing oneself in them, without becoming unconscious? Do you find yourself needing to strike a similar balance, in your own work in the world of Form?
In my opinion, it is absolutely possible to be present on your thoughts/memories. As Mynguir Rinpoche said in one of his books, you can be present on your thoughts/memories if you, for example, put them to "play" as they are a movie on a television, for example. The practice withdraw us to our mind a lot, but this doesn't mean that pass some time in there will be necessarily some not-present-time, hehehehe.

For me, the differences between to be present on your thoughts/memories and to not be are two: (i) you are not identify to them - as you already said; (ii) you are aware of them at the hole time in an atmosphere of consciousness, and not being just "taken" by them as they are a river and you are a poor animal that is carrying by without choice.

I think you can do this more mindful if you, for example, close your eyes and remember what you want to. If you realize that you are starting to "lose it", just bring your self to something that is occuring in the present moment, as your breathing or your inner body, and start over when you are ready again.

Good lucky, and write this book. Although language is form, and you are writing about yourself, this doesn't mean you can't write things that can help/amuse other people. :- )

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by Webwanderer » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:23 pm

Fiona_W wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:35 pm
So here's my question: is there a way to remain present, while simultaneously spending a lot of time and energy focused on thought forms? ET often says that it is not bad to think, it only becomes a problem when we identify ourselves with those thoughts. So is it simply, or—not so simply, in practice—a matter of my maintaining a balance between the part of me that is in touch with my memories, and engaged in writing down those memories, and the part of me that is Awareness?

Do any of you have advice about how to maintain that balance? Or any other reflections on how to go about dwelling with thoughts, as I must do in order to write, without losing oneself in them, without becoming unconscious? Do you find yourself needing to strike a similar balance, in your own work in the world of Form?
Sometimes life is really weird. I just wrote this in another thread, but it seems to directly address your interests. So here it is in its entirety. I would add, Fiona, that a clear familiarity with the observer perspective will make access and egress when needed to accomplish goals much easier. So know what it's like to be clearly present and aware without the presence of thought. Return as often as possible, but don't be concerned about stepping back into thoughts and memories for a designed purpose. Simply remember where home is.

Apologies to those having to read it twice.

I see the Observer role as a bit more dynamic than static as specifically an uninvolved witness. My take is that life is about experience, and that experience requires a quality of interaction with the apparent conditions in which the Observing consciousness finds itself. Certainly at this human level of observation.

As an Observer in this human context, the nature of observation may be honed to a preferred point of view. Of course there is a natural development that takes place throughout our early environment, albeit largely unguided, as the ego is a result of the varied conditioning we are all subject to creating the filters and biases we adopt early on.

Why would Consciousness have an interest in allowing (or even choosing) such ego creating filters? Again it's about exploring experience. Nothing in the illusion of human life is permanent. Experience however, is not illusion. Experience is a quality of reality - even if it's only the experience of the illusion. The feelings and insights gained are real and lasting.

When one reaches the point of introspection in life, as members of this board and most seekers of consciousness understanding have, perspective may change from perspective by happenstance to something more specifically chosen. That choice matters greatly in the quality of experience that subsequently unfolds.

So, for one seeking a more advanced understanding of life, understanding the Observer becomes highly significant. Recognizing that the Observer in not created (at least not in the human context) is a primary starting point to greater clarity and understanding of all else in life. I would suggest however, that there are important qualities to consider once recognition of the observer has occurred.

Consider the following qualities in honing the the nature of observation. (I would also suggest that they are likely present as a natural course of observation but often unrecognized.) The point of this is to enrich the experience that is fundamental to the evolution of Consciousness and Being.

Curiosity/interest + Indifference + Appreciation.

As stated earlier (and often), life is much to do about experience as experience is the nourishment of Consciousness growth. So, to get the most out of experience, even though it may be born of the foibles of ego, a basic curiosity and interest from an observer perspective is fundamental. Then there is the quality of indifference. Perceiving through indifference, while yet curious and interested, allows a degree of engagement with experience while yet not becoming entrapped in it. It's simply a ride on the roller coaster - terrifying/challenging, enjoyable and interesting all at the same time.

And finally the quality of appreciation. Appreciation is our human form of unconditional love. With a deep underlying indifference to events (born of the knowledge that events and circumstances are the temporary illusions for the purpose of exploring experience), along with a genuine curiosity and interest in such experience, appreciation adds a quality/sense of approval - free of any requirements in behavior or outcome.

I invite you to explore these qualities within the context of the Observer. The richness of experience, for this observer, is far preferable to basic, disconnected observation. Life experience is a whole lot more fun perceiving through this perspective. Full disclosure: I wish I could say I live here. I don't. But I frequently visit in my clearer moments and it frees me from the ego's entrapment. Frequent visits to observer perspective creates familiarity which creates easier access to this life enhancing perspective.

Enjoy,
WW

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by turiya » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:03 am

Fiona_W wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:35 pm
Do any of you have advice about how to maintain that balance? Or any other reflections on how to go about dwelling with thoughts, as I must do in order to write, without losing oneself in them, without becoming unconscious?
This "technique" might be helpful:

Before you bring attention to the thoughts you must focus on in order to write your book, focus on Stillness (or become aware of Awareness... or rest in the Source.... or however you want to put it... :wink: ).

Then focus on your thoughts.

After you've focused on your thoughts for awhile, take a break and return to Stillness.

Then return to your thoughts again for awhile.

Then go back to Stillness... etc. etc.

(This is what helps me maintain clarity, alertness, and creativity, anyway. :D)

Here's an Eckhart video about this "process":

https://www.eckharttollenow.com/s/tqw80s

Good luck to you.
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by kiki » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:57 pm

Nice post, turiya. That is what I do when I write, and especially when responding to posts on waking up. I go to source consciousness/stillness for a while and then begin to compose. Then if something doesn't quite mesh with my intended outcome or feel right then I get quiet again until I am ready to rewrite/edit until what is written comes as close as possible to what I want to convey. It's as if consciousness knocks off the edgy "bits" and smooths things out, much like a rock polisher smooths down a rough stone. If successful, when I read what I've written it will lead me back to stillness, and the reader will then resonate with those words/ideas as well. In my opinion, well-written text can help lead others to that same stillness.
"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: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by runstrails » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:50 am

Thanks for describing your method, Kiki. I can really feel the stillness in your words when I read your posts.

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by turiya » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:45 pm

kiki wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:57 pm
Nice post, turiya.


Thanks, kiki :D
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by Fiona_W » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:55 am

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful replies. I'm getting the sense, as both kiki and turiya in particular describe, in different ways, that the best approach is a going back and forth between touching base with Stillness, flowing forth in the world of memories and words, then touching base again with the Conscious dimension, and so on. It's a process that I've started experimenting with, but it will take me a while to get it working smoothly. So much of my previous writing was done while entirely out of touch with Stillness, it's a whole new way of working!

And yet already, thanks to all of your sensitive words, I feel much more at peace with my book. I don't feel afraid, now, that I have to give up the tranquility and joy I feel as a result of the much more focused practice of Stillness that I've acquired through contact with Tolle's teachings, in order to spend time with my memories. Yes of course, most of my life was experienced in a much less Conscious state than I now have access to, but both the "sane" times and the "insane" times can be evoked in words that I hope will be helpful as well as entertaining to my readers.

Anyway, perhaps I'll report back later on when I've got more practice with this technique...

Sighclone, I bought that book In Touch, by John Prendergast, and have been enjoying it a great deal: thanks for the recommendation!

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Re: how do I remain present while being with my memories?

Post by Sighclone » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:35 am

Fiona -
Thanks for joining, for sure. The nondual community can always use good writers. I worry in a small way that you will judge your past harshly from your new perspective. "Oh, if I were only so wise as I am now," gets old pretty fast. Joan Collins' autobiography "Past Imperfect," still reads pretty well, and I doubt she knew anything about ET, Advaita, etc.

Stay "in touch."

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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