I found the space - it's anything but empty

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
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strali
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I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by strali » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:15 pm

Hello everyone!

I had an experience a few days ago that I have been looking for for a year and a half now since I first read one of Eckhart's books. I finally found the place inside me where the stillness is that Eckhart speaks of! It was more beautiful than I could have known. I was so happy about it that I told some of my friends but they are not familiar with this kind of thing so they just gave me some blank stares and worried looks haha. I wanted to share this with some people who might know where I'm coming from so I thought I'd post it here :D I apologize I think it will be long, so many things to say!!!

I was meditating on something Adyashanti says frequently - that to ask yourself the question "What am I?" is the best thing to do to get yourself quickly and efficiently to the edge of the abyss. I was doing that the other day as I had many times before but I was running into the same problem. I understood that when I asked myself this question I was supposed to not be able to find anything. But I always found something - a sense of self, a feeling that told me that this is who I was. I never seemed to be able to get past this to the 'nothing' that was supposed to be beneath it.

This time though something clicked - for some reason I realized that it wasn't actually there. It occurred to me that this sense of self, although it feels very real, is actually just as illusive and transient then any other thought that passes through my head! I realized that the feeling of being myself wasn't always there, in fact sometimes I completely forget about it when I am focused on something else, playing the piano or watching the clouds for example. I realized that sometimes it was there in different degrees and it was there more in certain situations, like any other reoccurring thoughts I had. I found that it was just a feeling that came and went and that it wasn't a necessary part of myself that makes me what I am. I could just let it go..

You'd think it would be liberating, but this was actually very confusing for me. I was thinking, "Okay, that's not me... but then what the hell am I?!" After I gave up that sense of self there was just nothing there anymore, nothing stable to hold onto. I actually had no idea what I was and no clue what to do about it. I felt this intense confusion, frustration, desperation almost. I was frantically searching through my mind and coming up with nothing but random thoughts and I was like, "that sense of self I thought was controlling all these crazy thoughts is actually just one of them itself! oh my god, is this what I am?? just this mass of random thoughts and frantic feelings swirling around in this body with no rhyme or reason to them??! ahhhh!"

It was a seriously uncomfortable state to be in. I felt a strong urge to just stop and try again later when I was thinking more clearly, but I remembered that Adyashanti had said that when you get to the state where you realize you can't really find yourself, just stay there. So I decided I would just stay there for a while no matter how much it upset me and see what happened. The minute I decided this I felt something different underneath the random thoughts. It was this complete and utter kind of peace.. so hard to describe. The first thing I noticed about it was just how still it was. Just pristine, clear, beautiful, an so deeply quiet. It contained a powerful feeling of being immensely full. For a while I just sat with it in a kind of beautiful disbelief, there were no words in my mind trying to describe this feeling, I was just experiencing it. It was like nothing I have ever felt before, so deeply absolute.

I couldn't believe that this was actually inside me. I felt that it had been here all along and I'd just had no idea before this somehow. I heard Eckhart's words in my mind 'stillness within' and it dawned on me that this stillness that I was feeling was the same still silence that he had been talking about all along!! All this time it was right there and I just hadn't made the tiny amount of effort it took to see it for myself!! I felt quite ridiculous and it became so funny to me that I had managed to miss this all along.

I began to realize that this stillness wasn't just inside me but also outside of me, surrounding everything I could see. Thinking about it, I found that it wasn't just surrounding everything I saw but also everything outside my house and everything on earth, everything that existed, even things that didn't really exist like the thoughts I was having right then. It surrounded everything, cradling everything, penetrating everything, leaving nothing out. It always had and it would forever. It connected everything and made everything okay. Tears were streaming down my face nonstop as I understood that everything was alright, it always had been alright, there was nothing to worry about, everything was fine and amazing. I felt such beautiful relief, imagine, living your entire life with the underlying belief that something is wrong, and then realizing you had been a fool since the day you were born! nothing is really wrong at all!! such a beautiful feeling of relief. I am doing a bad job at describing this, but it was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.

I have felt the oneness of things before, but never this powerful and it had always broken down when I began to think about the tragedies of the world, atrocities people committed against one another. Whenever I thought about the fact that I was the torturers and rapists of the world committing acts that created such intense suffering and injustice, I just couldn't reconcile that, just couldn't accept that I was everything, and the feeling of oneness would always fade. This time it was different - I realized that this beautiful full silence surrounded every feeling of suffering that anybody had ever endured. The knowledge that the silence had always been there and always would be there somehow seemed to redeem any injustice that could ever occur. It had enough space to hold the worst thing that could ever happen. I'm realizing this sounds crazy when I try to describe it but I hope you will have a feeling about what I'm talking about.To say that this stillness justifies the atrocities of the world is definitely an oversimplification.. but it's the closest I can come to describing what it felt like. The knowledge that there is so much suffering in the world has been a source of intense fear and despair for me for a long time, and though I still feel a powerful desire to make a change in what's happening I feel a sense of peace about it now. It feels like I have been carrying something very heavy and I didn't even realize it until now that it's gone.

For the past few days I haven't been able to get that feeling of stillness back as strongly, but I expect I will as I continue developing my mindfulness, especially now that I know it's there! I've been drifting in and out of being the "I" and being "me", sometimes I realize that my ego is still very strong. So I know I still have a long ways to go, but I will never see the world the same way no matter what happens and I am so grateful for that.

But still I wonder.. I don't know how I could have suddenly "known" these things. Why did I suddenly "know" that there was a powerful stillness inside me, and it encompassed everything, and made everything one, and made everything okay? I have often wondered how awakened people know that they know this, given their emphasis on 'nothing can be known for certain'. All I know is that I felt beyond any possible doubt that this stillness surrounded everything and would forever. But I'm wondering now, is it not possible I could have manufactured this in my own mind like all my other thoughts? Especially since I have been so set on awakening for the past year and a half. It certainly feels true but how do we know that this is anything to go by.
My friends reactions when I told them about this realization that I had that everything was okay went something like "sure it is dear... *pitying smile*". It makes me wonder if I could be engaging in delusions of wishful thinking.


In any case, I really do feel like I know everything I experienced was the truth beyond a shadow of a doubt, my world has become precious and alive so I am going to run with that for a while :D

Thankyou very much for reading!

runstrails
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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by runstrails » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:07 pm

my world has become precious and alive so I am going to run with that for a while
Congratulations! Thanks for sharing.

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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by kiki » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:25 am

I was frantically searching through my mind and coming up with nothing but random thoughts and I was like, "that sense of self I thought was controlling all these crazy thoughts is actually just one of them itself! oh my god, is this what I am?? just this mass of random thoughts and frantic feelings swirling around in this body with no rhyme or reason to them??! ahhhh!"
Wonderful! This is what self-enquiry should produce.
It was a seriously uncomfortable state to be in. I felt a strong urge to just stop and try again later when I was thinking more clearly, but I remembered that Adyashanti had said that when you get to the state where you realize you can't really find yourself, just stay there.


Glad you remembered that.
So I decided I would just stay there for a while no matter how much it upset me and see what happened. The minute I decided this I felt something different underneath the random thoughts. It was this complete and utter kind of peace.. so hard to describe. The first thing I noticed about it was just how still it was. Just pristine, clear, beautiful, an so deeply quiet.


What I've discovered is that it keeps getting more still, more quiet, more peaceful. It's baffling, but it does.

It contained a powerful feeling of being immensely full.


Yes - it's like the stillness and silence is pregnant with every possibility. And of course it is.
For a while I just sat with it in a kind of beautiful disbelief, there were no words in my mind trying to describe this feeling, I was just experiencing it. It was like nothing I have ever felt before, so deeply absolute.
Terrific.
I couldn't believe that this was actually inside me. I felt that it had been here all along and I'd just had no idea before this somehow.
It's been there all along - why? Because IT"S YOU!
I heard Eckhart's words in my mind 'stillness within' and it dawned on me that this stillness that I was feeling was the same still silence that he had been talking about all along!! All this time it was right there and I just hadn't made the tiny amount of effort it took to see it for myself!! I felt quite ridiculous and it became so funny to me that I had managed to miss this all along.
And that's the big cosmic joke.
I began to realize that this stillness wasn't just inside me but also outside of me, surrounding everything I could see.
That's right. It's even there when emotions, thoughts, and sensations are present.
Thinking about it, I found that it wasn't just surrounding everything I saw but also everything outside my house and everything on earth, everything that existed, even things that didn't really exist like the thoughts I was having right then. It surrounded everything, cradling everything, penetrating everything, leaving nothing out. It always had and it would forever. It connected everything and made everything okay. Tears were streaming down my face nonstop as I understood that everything was alright, it always had been alright, there was nothing to worry about, everything was fine and amazing. I felt such beautiful relief, imagine, living your entire life with the underlying belief that something is wrong, and then realizing you had been a fool since the day you were born! nothing is really wrong at all!! such a beautiful feeling of relief. I am doing a bad job at describing this, but it was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.
Actually, you are doing a wonderful job of describing it.

For the past few days I haven't been able to get that feeling of stillness back as strongly, but I expect I will as I continue developing my mindfulness, especially now that I know it's there! I've been drifting in and out of being the "I" and being "me", sometimes I realize that my ego is still very strong. So I know I still have a long ways to go, but I will never see the world the same way no matter what happens and I am so grateful for that.
Just remember - it isn't in the trying that it will come back because it's never gone; it's in the letting go of everything else, of every struggle, of every effort and in simply relaxing into it. So no, you don't have a long way to go.
But still I wonder.. I don't know how I could have suddenly "known" these things. Why did I suddenly "know" that there was a powerful stillness inside me, and it encompassed everything, and made everything one, and made everything okay?


It's "known" because the silence/stillness/peace is the teacher, the revealer of truth - it IS the truth. It/You teaches wordlessly, coming through via insight and direct seeing.
But I'm wondering now, is it not possible I could have manufactured this in my own mind like all my other thoughts?
See how mind/ego doubts? You had a direct experience - rest in/as that, abide there and all doubt will vanish.
Especially since I have been so set on awakening for the past year and a half. It certainly feels true but how do we know that this is anything to go by.
You are in the tiger's mouth now - there is no escaping.

My friends reactions when I told them about this realization that I had that everything was okay went something like "sure it is dear... *pitying smile*".
Not so surprising, is it?
It makes me wonder if I could be engaging in delusions of wishful thinking.
Nope - pure sanity.
In any case, I really do feel like I know everything I experienced was the truth beyond a shadow of a doubt, my world has become precious and alive so I am going to run with that for a while :D
Run a marathon.
Thankyou very much for reading!
It was a pleasure to read - it's my favorite kind of post.
"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: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by Ralph » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:28 am

I, too, enjoyed reading your post but there is definitely more work to do:

"It is not enough to be present. You must also arise in mastery of your mind and ego. Only then will you become established in Presence. Only then will you be eternally free."

- Leonard Jacobson

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smiileyjen101
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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:19 am

Thank you for sharing strali - it was indeed a joy and a pleasure to read, I was reading it in that state so your ups and downs and twists and turns were all tingling with that joy.
Just remember - it isn't in the trying that it will come back because it's never gone; it's in the letting go of everything else, of every struggle, of every effort and in simply relaxing into it. So no, you don't have a long way to go.
This ^ is pure gold Kiki, thank you.

I don't think any of us have been fools since the day we were born, just watch any baby discovering their fingers and toes, giggling at their first burp or blowing bubbles, or indeed watch the antics of birds, animals and nature itself. But the conditioning of our egos over time - through things like the looks from your friends, which I imagine you will also now be viewing from love and awareness rather than from ego/fear.

I am thrilled you have recognised how precious all of life is.

blessings and joy!!
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by Natalie » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:46 am

strali thank you so much for sharing this with us. Oh Gosh, I am so grateful for what you wrote...
"So I decided I would just stay there for a while no matter how much it upset me and see what happened. The minute I decided this I felt something different underneath the random thoughts. It was this complete and utter kind of peace.. so hard to describe. The first thing I noticed about it was just how still it was. Just pristine, clear, beautiful, an so deeply quiet. It contained a powerful feeling of being immensely full. For a while I just sat with it in a kind of beautiful disbelief, there were no words in my mind trying to describe this feeling, I was just experiencing it. It was like nothing I have ever felt before, so deeply absolute."
The value of this forum is beyond words..... where else can we go to find others write our own experiences using their words.

Natalie

strali
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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by strali » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:30 am

Kiki, thankyou so much for your comments! I think they were just what I needed to hear to keep me on track
kiki wrote:
Just remember - it isn't in the trying that it will come back because it's never gone; it's in the letting go of everything else, of every struggle, of every effort and in simply relaxing into it. So no, you don't have a long way to go.
This is such an important piece of wisdom but I seem to forget it pretty consistently. I think this was exactly what I needed to hear.

Thankyou as well for negating my doubt about this experience. It is so funny that even when I find exactly what I'm searching for the mind still remains unsatisfied. There is no pleasing that thing!
Natalie wrote:
The value of this forum is beyond words..... where else can we go to find others write our own experiences using their words.

Natalie
I'm so happy that this resonated with you natalie! It's good to know that you and so many others here shared this kind of experience. I know what you mean, I come across someone on these boards who is having the same problem/question/experience as me all the time, and everyone here has been so helpful.

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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by faith » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:34 pm

This was beautiful to read. I am so happy. I need to read more of these!!! Lovely, so lovely.

Kiki, your comments were just what I needed too.

Thank you for sharing Strali.

Faith

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Re: I found the space - it's anything but empty

Post by Donna » Sun May 15, 2011 5:45 pm

OK...now I know why I was meant to join this forum. It's to read experiences like this one...and I thank you, Strali, for being able to put it into your humble words.
~*~*~*~* I love to live and live to love. *~*~*~*~

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