Body awareness

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Zizitop
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Body awareness

Post by Zizitop » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:46 pm

Hello,
I just red one of the books of Ramana Maharshi and noticed that one of the differences between ET and Ramana is that Ramana points out that the true self lies in the onderling substratum of stilness seperate from the body (and suggests giving that all of your attention), whereas Tolle points out in the Power of Now that the body (and its aliveness and life energy) is who you truly are.

I'd like to hear your opinions on this difference or different emphasis between the two teachers. And what this might mean in terms of where to put your attention in everyday lifes spiritual practice.

Thanks

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Re: Body awareness

Post by end » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:20 pm

Zizitop wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:46 pm
Tolle points out in the Power of Now that the body (and its aliveness and life energy) is who you truly are.
I am not an expert in this, but I think that this is not true. Ekhart Tolle just points us to use the body like a portal to awareness.
Last edited by end on Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Body awareness

Post by Webwanderer » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:06 am

I agree with you end. That kind of raises a red flag for me too. Maybe Zizitop can provide page number and exact quote he's referring to.

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Re: Body awareness

Post by kiki » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:14 am

I don’t recall ET saying or writing that. He has used the sense of aliveness and the inner body as ‘portals’ to presence, to direct attention away from the mind and its noisiness.
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Re: Body awareness

Post by Zizitop » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:58 am

I hope the translations will do for the quoting. 'Until now almost no one has understood these fragments or hidden meaning of certain myths, and the believe that 'you are not the body' is still universal, which leads to denyal of the body and attempts to escape to it' (Pon, p 105); 'Do not fight against the body, because then you fight your own reality. You are the body' (Pon, p 106); 'The inner body is your connexion to the Unmanifested and is in the deepest sense the Unmanifested: the Source from which consciousness arises like light arises from the sun' (Pon, p 110).

I guess I'm a little bit confused here. I think I must or can understand the inner body as a portal to presence. On the other hand it subjectively feels like a discrepancy to use something that essentially you are not (the body as RM describes it) to become present or conscious, rather then just focusing or giving all of your attention in this moment to the direct or immediate experience of the underlying and conscious field of stilness itself.

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Re: Body awareness

Post by end » Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:07 pm

Zizitop wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:58 am
You are the body' (Pon, p 106);
Correct, but I guess it is used in some context because what comes next is
The body that you can see and touch is only a thin
illusory veil. Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into
Life Unmanifested. Through the inner body, you are inseparably connected to this
unmanifested One Life - birthless, deathless, eternally present. Through the inner
body, you are forever one with God.
Like I said, I am not an expert.
I guess I'm a little bit confused here. I think I must or can understand the inner body as a portal to presence. On the other hand it subjectively feels like a discrepancy to use something that essentially you are not (the body as RM describes it) to become present or conscious, rather then just focusing or giving all of your attention in this moment to the direct or immediate experience of the underlying and conscious field of stilness itself.
Two ways, one result. Just use the one which resonates with you.

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Re: Body awareness

Post by kiki » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:43 pm

Well, let me just ask this: What is the result of getting confused about what ET is saying, or for that matter, what anyone else has to say? What is the important thing here, how someone views this matter or actually being present? Minds seeks answers, that's its nature; ego wants to be right, that's its nature. What you are is prior to thought, prior to personal identity. Dis-cover true nature and abide there and such matters will be seen as nothing more than distractions.
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Re: Body awareness

Post by Webwanderer » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:08 pm

Zizitop wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:58 am
I hope the translations will do for the quoting. 'Until now almost no one has understood these fragments or hidden meaning of certain myths, and the believe that 'you are not the body' is still universal, which leads to denyal of the body and attempts to escape to it' (Pon, p 105); 'Do not fight against the body, because then you fight your own reality. You are the body' (Pon, p 106); 'The inner body is your connexion to the Unmanifested and is in the deepest sense the Unmanifested: the Source from which consciousness arises like light arises from the sun' (Pon, p 110).
I find no such quotes in my copy of PoN on the pages you cite. I'm reading from a 2004 English printing. You mention translation so maybe there is a difference in the versions we are reading. It's also possible that there is a translation issue if you are reading in another language than English.

That said, I think it important to understand what is meant by reality. What exactly is reality? "Do not fight the body, because then you fight your own reality." I have posted before on the subject of reality. Like one's self identity, it is not what you 'think' it is. In my view, reality is experience. We can believe ourselves to be men and women, doctors and lawyers, and all the identifiers one may amass during our human lifetimes.

From a larger spiritual context however, these are not so much identities, but identifications. They are adopted for the purpose of gaining specific types of experiences in a given lifetime to forward the evolution of our larger consciousness and being.

They are temporary roles that we play in the great adventure of a human lifetime. So in the larger context of life and being, they are no more substantive than an actor playing a role on stage. What is real however, is the experience of the life we live and of the identities we adopt. Experience is forever in its contribution to our spiritual growth. Identifications to help create those experiences are temporary.

Having a physical body then, is a temporary thing. The reality of it is in the experience. So, 'don't fight the body' is a principle to follow so as to avoid creating experiences that create resistance and undermine the free flow of being. Use the body for its intended purpose, while fostering a sense of aware presence.

WW

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Re: Body awareness

Post by end » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:32 pm

Sermon On The Body
What you perceive as a dense physical structure called the body, which is subject to
disease, old age, and death, is not ultimately real - is not you. It is a misperception of
your essential reality that is beyond birth and death, and is due to the limitations of
your mind, which, having lost touch with Being, creates the body as evidence of its
illusory belief in separation and to justify its state of fear. But do not turn away from
the body, for within that symbol of impermanence, limitation, and death that you
perceive as the illusory creation of your mind is concealed the splendor of your
essential and immortal reality. Do not turn your attention elsewhere in your search for
the Truth, for it is nowhere else to be found but within your body.
Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own
reality. You are your body. The body that you can see and touch is only a thin
illusory veil. Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into
Life Unmanifested. Through the inner body, you are inseparably connected to this
unmanifested One Life - birthless, deathless, eternally present. Through the inner
body, you are forever one with God.
It is correct to quote the entire passage.
I have found this in some English copy in Internet. It is the same in my copy of the book but in different language. There is no drama, just a context.

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Re: Body awareness

Post by Zizitop » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:03 am

Already thanks for the feedback. Indeed some contextualization is a good perspective. I guess it points me to not putting too much emphasis on some of the anchors to be used to be present. Being confused of what ET or RM say leads obviously to more confusion.. In the work of RM much focus is being placed on stilness, being still.. I guess part of the confusion (and even unease) is to put too much focus on these spiritual anchors (inner aliveness, stilness, breathing) thereby overdoing my spiritual practice. Trying to stay too long in stilness feels exhausting after a while. Maybe it would be better for me to just using those anchors in the moment spontaneously as nothing more as anchors to sustaine presence or awareness, experiencing it in a more smooth way. I feel thereby also some kind of need that everything what happens (especially fear arising in a given situation) is already allowed to be in this experience, not wanting to put any effort to change this in any way, thereby creating more uneasy and fear than what already is in this moment.

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Re: Body awareness

Post by kiki » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:01 pm

Being confused of what ET or RM say leads obviously to more confusion.


Right. Confusion only exists in the mind. When you are confused you've lost touch with presence, which is always here because what you are is presence itself. Confusion means attention has been directed toward the mind/thinking. Attention is usually moving constantly, from one thing to another.

When various things present themselves to our sensory organs our attention gets drawn to them. When thoughts arise attention gets placed on them and they take us for a ride and usually we end up 'getting lost in thought'. Then the phone rings and our attention gets drawn to the noise, we answer the phone and we engage in dialogue with others and that keeps our attention engaged in thought. As the room darkens in the twilight hours attention gets drawn to that and a light gets turned. Attention gets drawn to the rumbling of our stomach and alerts us that we need to eat or drink something.

What doesn't get noticed is the underlying awareness/consciousness that attention is operating in because it is silent and still. What does get noticed is what moves and makes noise. Without the silent and still background of awareness none of the above would be known. What 'You' are is that background, that which knows something 'out there' has happened; in other words, it notices. Can you see the implication of this? 'You' are already here because the consciousness that knows what's going on is your fundamental nature. Consciousness, therefore, has an all-knowing ability; in other words, it is omniscient. Attention moves about because it is a function of mind, which also is a type of action, but without consciousness nothing the mind does or the sensory organs sense would be known. Only consciousness knows. But another name for this is presence.

In the work of RM much focus is being placed on stilness, being still..


Be careful not to confuse stillness with 'being still'. Being still implies the body remaining motionless, but 'stillness' is just another name for 'You'/presence. One can be physically still, yet have a mind that is racing at high speed with attention fixated on that movement. And one can be vigorously and physically active while simultaneously noticing the stillness and silence of true nature. Being still is helpful when learning to meditate or doing self-inquiry so that ever-present stillness can be realized.

So, stillness is just another word for presence as are the words now/silence/true nature/beingness/consciousness/knowingness.
I guess part of the confusion (and even unease) is to put too much focus on these spiritual anchors (inner aliveness, stilness, breathing) thereby overdoing my spiritual practice. Trying to stay too long in stilness feels exhausting after a while.


Confusion is directly related to a mind at work without finding an answer, but 'unease' is slightly different. Unease has a physical component to it that affects the body in different ways and influences one's personal perspective. One's personal perspective is, of course, the perspective of the ego, and egos typically don't want or like to feel uneasy. In fact, they fight against it. "What can I do to get rid of this uneasiness?" asks the ego. They would prefer to never feel uneasy, and tend to seek constant gratification. Ironically, that kind of seeking is futile because constant gratification simply isn't possible and that just leads to more uneasiness.

In short, the exhaustion is the ego's response to trying to arrive at presence and maintain it via an anchor. The anchors ET suggests are a starting point for someone who is still under the impression that they are a separate entity that he labels ego, but they are only a starting point. What ultimately needs to be seen is the insubstantiality of the ego, that it isn't who you truly are. When it is looked for it won't be found. Aside from thoughts about the me/ego no such entity will be found. This is what Ramana's self-inquiry is about. He advises people to ask themselves a question, 'Who am I?' and then looking honestly to see if you can find your true nature.

Properly done, nothing the mind comes up with in response to the question will be the correct answer. Mind can only come up with ideas of 'me', but those are only ideas. Can 'You' be an idea? Of course not. Ideas change over time, but what You are never changes. What sees ideas as they come into the mind, and what remains when all ideas and concepts dissolve? Whatever that is is the answer. Something is present prior to ideas arising, then witnesses them when they do come and remains when they disappear - that is the answer to Ramana's question. That is 'You' = presence/stillness/consciousness/silence/now/beingness/knowingness/spaciousness/unboundedness/omnipresence/omniscience; so many ways of describing it. Can you go anywhere without being present? Can you 'know' anything without consciousness? Of course not. Does it take effort to be present or to know? Of course not, they happen spontaneously. Without effort You are always present and always 'know'.

What gets in the way of realizing this truth is ego/mind. As long as one continues to be fixated on the illusory 'me' that realization will elude you. Undermine the ego identity with self-inquiry. Discover the ways ego operates to keep attention outwardly directed, and then notice what lies beneath ego/mind. As you find and abide in/as that background of silence/stillness the intrusion of ego will dissipate, and identification with it will weaken. At some point it will dawn on you that You actually are that witnessing consciousness that is always present.
Maybe it would be better for me to just using those anchors in the moment spontaneously as nothing more as anchors to sustaine presence or awareness, experiencing it in a more smooth way. I feel thereby also some kind of need that everything what happens (especially fear arising in a given situation) is already allowed to be in this experience, not wanting to put any effort to change this in any way, thereby creating more uneasy and fear than what already is in this moment.
Yes, use the anchors spontaneously. Find what's most effective and use that. As you mature in finding presence you will discover those previously less effective anchors will work as well. When fear arises you will know that mind has engaged again, drawing attention away from the peace and silence of true nature. Don't fight the fear when it arises, just watch it without judgment or an agenda to get rid of it. Give it space to be there and it will expends its energy and dissolve on its own.

Eventually, things will just 'click' and you will find how simple all of this really is, and you will understand clearly what all those other teachers are talking about.
"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: Body awareness

Post by Zizitop » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:23 pm

Hello Kiki, thank you, this has been very helpfull to me. To give you some feedback and on where I am and what anchors work best for me, I would say focusing and controlling the breath, taking deep conscious breaths with pauses between them. During certain periods of my youth I was confronted with an emotionally abusive father (critisizing, being agressive,..). It led to emotional trauma, up to this point being confronted with severe fear and anger and other emotions and painfull toughts and memories, in what you can call neutral or at best challenging situations (during the day mostly an office environment where people are chattering most of the time). It feels best for me of I'm able to internally not longer resist the emotions (fear, rage, sadness..) and allowing them flow freely inside the body, also allowing some facial expressions to be as they are in congruence to what I'm feeling inside, and at the same time breathing consciously, giving the body a real physical signal that at this moment I'm safe now. This deeper conscious breathing allows my body also to not get stiffened or paralyzed completely by fear or get drawn into a bundle of dissociative thoughts. I am aware of the fact that this practice takes some effort or at least more effort then just observing the ego traps, but at the same time I paradoxically am able to experience to what it means or get a glimpse of the experience of being present at this moment, without presence power getting washed away completely through sever fear and painfull memories occuring in a quite neutral situation like the office environment..

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