Does it ever feel forced to you?

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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Golf » Mon May 14, 2012 6:20 pm

Jbrooke wrote:the ego isn't simply going to stop fighting for it's survival simply because I want it to.


Just a hint: Does thinking this feel a bit "artificial" to you? See if you're actually witnessing the ego survival fight, or if you're just trying to construct stories about what you believe the ego will do or not do based on what you've read in the books. That's just more ego and identification with thought.
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Jbrooke » Tue May 15, 2012 4:26 am

Actually, I can feel/sense the ego trying to fight to stay strong. It's as though I am hosting the battle in some way. Like the ego is saying, "Let me in! Let me through! I want to consume you!!!! Leave me the hell alone and let me have my way!" Almost like it's having a temper tantrum. I found today that I was almost amused by it a couple of times.
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby heidi » Tue May 15, 2012 3:16 pm

Once your ego "dies" it's just amazing how easy it is to rest in awareness. It doesn't really die anymore than you do, it's still there in the spaciousness with everything else. It can be brought to use like a tool when needed. Sometimes a little posturing is called for. :D
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Jbrooke » Tue May 15, 2012 6:25 pm

It sounds like you have or are currently experiencing the "death" of the ego. I imagine this was a process (and still is!) I mean, it takes time, right? I admit, at times I get concerned that if it isn't happening for me NOW that it means it never will- that for some reason I am not capable (for whatever reason) to experience this. That's the ego talking I suppose! I do find myself being aware enough at times to tell myself to be patient with the process, though.

Resting in awareness... attainable but doesn't happen over night. True?
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby heidi » Wed May 16, 2012 12:09 am

The more you rest in awareness, the more you are in the timeless spaciousness where there is no birth or death so to speak, the less all of this manifested stuff including the stuff going on in the gray matter matters. :mrgreen:
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby heidi » Wed May 16, 2012 12:12 am

The more you rest in awareness, the more you are in the timeless spaciousness where there is no birth or death so to speak (however also the limitless potential from which everything springs) the less all of this manifested stuff including the stuff going on in the gray matter matters. :mrgreen:
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby GiveUpTheGhost » Wed May 16, 2012 5:47 pm

Jbrooke wrote:It sounds like you have or are currently experiencing the "death" of the ego. I imagine this was a process (and still is!) I mean, it takes time, right? I admit, at times I get concerned that if it isn't happening for me NOW that it means it never will- that for some reason I am not capable (for whatever reason) to experience this. That's the ego talking I suppose! I do find myself being aware enough at times to tell myself to be patient with the process, though.

Resting in awareness... attainable but doesn't happen over night. True?


A lot of things you are giving voice to in the threads you have created are very familiar to me, they must be a normal part of this process, at least I hope they are. Mind deals in certainty, it hates not knowing, I regularly find myself trying to predict how this journey will unfold, when will I 'arrive'? And as you were saying "if I can't do it now, is there any guarantee I ever will be able to?"

At the moment, I seem to be experiencing a pattern where I go somewhat deeply into presence/Being, then I try to recreate that experience with mixed results. Then I reach a point of frustration (and experience tells me that achieving presence is unlikely at this point), my current solution is to just take a break from trying and allow myself to sink into unconsciousness for a while and maybe have a beer. Then I resume meditation sometime later, and it seems to come a little easier. I realise this is not something Eckhart would ever suggest, so I suspect it is a flawed way of coping. I wonder if I need to be constantly vigilant in order to progress? At the moment this seems like a recipe for frustration.
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby karmarider » Wed May 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Jbrooke wrote:...

Not sure if any of this makes any sense at all! But if so, I wonder if any of you experience this? This feeling that so much of it feels forced at times? And I realize that this is NOT what it should feel like- at least not to this extent. Does it ever get easier? More natural? More fluid? Is it a matter of incessant practice?

Any input is very much appreciated.
Best,
Jen


Your observation is entirely correct, and is in fact quite perceptive and honest.

I had the same problem with spiritual practices--practices like awareness and presence and meditation. For example a few years ago after reading PON, I had tried to practice presence. But even after a year of practicing, "presence" felt artificial and lifeless and forced.

And when this happens, and even when we are honest enough to address this directly, the mind will still come up with the usual spiritual explanations. It's a matter making it "abiding", it's a matter of the ego calming down, it's matter of "resting" in our "true self" or "Self" or "awareness", it's a matter of continued or more frequent or more devoted practice, and myriad other rationalizations.

It feels forced because it is. We make something very simple into something spiritual and abstract, and then we try to get used to it.

John Sherman is particularly clear at explaining this.
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Golf » Thu May 17, 2012 9:16 am

GiveUpTheGhost wrote:
Jbrooke wrote:Resting in awareness... attainable but doesn't happen over night. True?


A lot of things you are giving voice to in the threads you have created are very familiar to me, they must be a normal part of this process, at least I hope they are. Mind deals in certainty, it hates not knowing, I regularly find myself trying to predict how this journey will unfold, when will I 'arrive'? And as you were saying "if I can't do it now, is there any guarantee I ever will be able to?"

At the moment, I seem to be experiencing a pattern where I go somewhat deeply into presence/Being, then I try to recreate that experience with mixed results. Then I reach a point of frustration (and experience tells me that achieving presence is unlikely at this point). I wonder if I need to be constantly vigilant in order to progress? At the moment this seems like a recipe for frustration.


To J: Humans need something like 25 years to reach full physical and mental maturity, I think we can "allow" this process of challenging the way you see everything (reaching "spiritual" maturity shall we say) also to take some time. How much? Entirely dependent on each individual's situation. In my experience it's happening gradually, one flash of insight after another. For example one makes you see you want to change something in life. Then you pursue that and reach an inner obstacle like laziness or stress (maybe "triggered" by an outer obstacle). Then you get another insight and get over the obstacle... until the next one... sometimes you have a few days (heck I've had months!) of crisis building up to a really big insight... and so it goes.
But it doesn't matter how long it takes once you really see that you indeed are "on the way", that there are breakthroughs. This KNOWING that things in life "should be easier" seems a sure guide that prompts you to move on that "narrow way", not resigning yourself to your unconsciousness.

And to both of you maybe one more suggestion: When you're trying to achieve and maintain presence, and it feels like "work", maybe it's because you're trying to look at the mind, but still "from" the mind... Does it make sense?
For example yesterday I looked through a window and saw the grass in the field, it grew really tall now in spring, and wind was making waves on it. At that instant I got caught in presence, the sight took my attention from everything else including my thoughts. But immediately my mind jumped in and started going like, "look how this nature is beautiful, too bad we see such sights only 3 seconds every year, it's so bad we live this way in cities, we should be in nature more....", so you see that was like looking at the grass and wind, but again "from" the mind.
(P.s. the mind does not know we can go look at the grass every day for hours, we never did so because it thought it would be boring :mrgreen: )
But being aware does not include any doing... you just SEE! :o

Maybe it's too hard to intentionally pursue states of awareness. Especially if your brain is chronically in a state of some low grade depression or background anxiety. I tried meditating too but with similar results as you. Then I discovered that committing to meaningful actions works better in that case. I mean there are things in life you want to do on a day to day basis... You do what you do, and you try to be aware of your inner state as your reactions surface (laziness, stress, resistance, hurriedness...). Then you get insights (flashes of awareness where you "see" what causes you to think, feel and behave the way you do), and this can also be a form of "meditation".

my current solution is to just take a break from trying and allow myself to sink into unconsciousness for a while and maybe have a beer. Then I resume meditation sometime later, and it seems to come a little easier. I realise this is not something Eckhart would ever suggest, so I suspect it is a flawed way of coping


Who says he wouldn't? Who says it's flawed? THE MIND.
On many evenings, after a full day of reading, reflecting, working, being aware and stuff, I just kick back, leave the pain body and the mind to tend for themselves, have a beer (even two sometimes!) and go watch a funny movie and have a good time, yesterday I saw Borat for example :D
You can't do it all the time, there are also times to simply drop it all and take a break, it does feel like the right thing to do.
"If you're so smart, how come you're working at a gas station?"
-"It's a service station. We offer service, there is no higher purpose."
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Golf » Thu May 17, 2012 11:57 am

Hey, sorry ( :mrgreen: ) for writing even more but I kind of have some inspiration!

GiveUpTheGhost wrote:At the moment, I seem to be experiencing a pattern where I go somewhat deeply into presence/Being, then I try to recreate that experience with mixed results.
Then I reach a point of frustration

This is a flash of awareness, noticing the frustration that seems to come from intentionally trying to recreate the experience.
(and experience tells me that achieving presence is unlikely at this point)

This is an insight coming from awareness, made by accessing, in the present moment, your memories of previous such attempts.
my current solution is to just take a break from trying and allow myself to sink into unconsciousness for a while and maybe have a beer. Then I resume meditation sometime later, and it seems to come a little easier.

This is your current best possible solution, coming from consciousness (pat yourself on the back! :)), and experience is confirming that it works better than the last solution.
I realise this is not something Eckhart would ever suggest, so I suspect it is a flawed way of coping. I wonder if I need to be constantly vigilant in order to progress?

This is your mind, barging in and commenting on that insight and experience.
At the moment this seems like a recipe for frustration.

This is a correct insight coming from your awareness, observing what your mind is doing in the previous quote.

Helpful, I hope!
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Jbrooke » Thu May 17, 2012 7:38 pm

my current solution is to just take a break from trying and allow myself to sink into unconsciousness for a while and maybe have a beer.
Then I resume meditation sometime later, and it seems to come a little easier. I realise this is not something Eckhart would ever suggest, so I suspect it is a flawed way of coping



Who says he wouldn't? Who says it's flawed? THE MIND.
On many evenings, after a full day of reading, reflecting, working, being aware and stuff, I just kick back, leave the pain body and the mind to tend for themselves, have a beer (even two sometimes!) and go watch a funny movie and have a good time, yesterday I saw Borat for example :D
You can't do it all the time, there are also times to simply drop it all and take a break, it does feel like the right thing to do.
[/quote]




This is good to hear from other people because since the process of awakening has begun for me- when I am tempted to kick back and relax and drink some wine, watch something funny, etc I have found myself feeling guilty (I know, I know;) and over analyzing my intentions and such. It's as if I don't trust myself enough to know when enough is enough. Fearful that I will be completely consumed by unconsciousness by allowing myself to be unconscious for awhile. Then I get all caught up in, "How long should I permit myself this break from the process?"

Hope this makes sense!
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Golf » Fri May 18, 2012 12:04 pm

You think you're unconscious most of the time and you're trying to get to consciousness because you believe it's some "future" state of peace, bliss, of feeling nice, but I tried to show by dissecting the post above, that we actually seem to move back and forth between consciousness and unconsciousness all the time, insights that feel like "relief" coming from consciousness that shines through, and dysfunctional doubting and criticism coming from unconsciousness we've identified with.

This is good to hear...


Yeah, feels good, is good, no need to think why it does and if it should and on and on ;)
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby DavidB » Tue May 22, 2012 2:37 pm

Often when we start to seek presence, we begin with earnestness to achieve what we perceive as being a worthwhile goal, which it is in some respect. So the seeking motivation to become present, is at first a goal to be achieved. There is nothing wrong with this. Seeking is in our human nature, not to be discarded, nor seen as an obstacle to be overcome, merely acknowledged and accepted for what it is, a useful tool.

When we have been able to move beyond seeking, so to speak, we move beyond the momentum which initially motivated us to become present. The seeking doesn't go away of course, seeking is a part of our human nature, we simply come to understand that the desire to seek is a natural desire to be close to our beloved, to be one.

Seeking though by it's very nature cannot help but be dualistic, as if there is a seeker, then there must be a sought. This creates a paradoxical dilemma in the seeker. Seeking creates things to be sought, a grasping, a longing, while the goal is to find not things, to find peace.

This dilemma will resolve itself though, once we realise we do not need to seek, once we realise that there is no seeker and nothing to be sought.

When we embrace not knowing who we are, we resolve the momentum of seeking. We embrace peace.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby erpman » Tue May 29, 2012 1:18 pm

And to both of you maybe one more suggestion: When you're trying to achieve and maintain presence, and it feels like "work", maybe it's because you're trying to look at the mind, but still "from" the mind... Does it make sense?
For example yesterday I looked through a window and saw the grass in the field, it grew really tall now in spring, and wind was making waves on it. At that instant I got caught in presence, the sight took my attention from everything else including my thoughts. But immediately my mind jumped in and started going like, "look how this nature is beautiful, too bad we see such sights only 3 seconds every year, it's so bad we live this way in cities, we should be in nature more....", so you see that was like looking at the grass and wind, but again "from" the mind.
(P.s. the mind does not know we can go look at the grass every day for hours, we never did so because it thought it would be boring :mrgreen: )
But being aware does not include any doing... you just SEE! :o


I am struggling with some of the concerns that J has, and in particularly the phenomenon you are describing above. I love to be in nature, and find that it invites presence. Lately however, these kinds of thoughts sneak in and destroy my experience of it. I am present for a short moment, and then the mind comes: "How beautiful and intense. There is the ocean, I´m looking at the waves. Now I´m being present. Eckhart tolle says that nature is a good place to be present. Everything in nature is connected, and I am part of nature..." etc etc.

How to resolve this?

I have two ideas about it: Firstly, I am aware when it happens, and hence, I´m present in a way that allows me to at least see my thoughts as they arise. Secondly, my thoughts are about the moment I´m in, a mental commentary and thought activity, but still concerned with the present moment.

However, both are distractions from pure perceptions, they create a screen in front of the beauty that I so much want to experience in a pre-conceptual way, without making thoughts about it.

So do I just acnowledge the thoughts and then return to perception? I think this often makes it feel forced and not relaxed. I would love some tips on how to remain present in a relaxed way without having to make it into "something" for the mind to philosophize about, and also without "trying not to think".

It´s a bit like the paradox of: "Do not think about a pink elephant" where you inevitably do think about a pink elephant...
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Re: Does it ever feel forced to you?

Postby Golf » Wed May 30, 2012 6:37 pm

I am struggling with some of the concerns that J has, and in particularly the phenomenon you are describing above. I love to be in nature, and find that it invites presence. Lately however, these kinds of thoughts sneak in and destroy my experience of it. I am present for a short moment, and then the mind comes: "How beautiful and intense. There is the ocean, I´m looking at the waves. Now I´m being present. Eckhart tolle says that nature is a good place to be present. Everything in nature is connected, and I am part of nature..." etc etc.

So do I just acnowledge the thoughts and then return to perception? I think this often makes it feel forced and not relaxed. I would love some tips on how to remain present in a relaxed way without having to make it into "something" for the mind to philosophize about, and also without "trying not to think".


Yeah, you see the ocean (really SEE it) but only for a fraction of a second, and then it looks like the mind just automatically wants to go in and start "describing", "labeling" everything. And as soon as it starts, you don't really see the ocean anymore, but your attention gets absorbed in the mental "description", a thought of "it's an ocean". As opposed to the experience of just looking at it.
Like an empty hollow concept of a few "letters", compared to the ever-changing indescribable living thing you saw in that instant (hope you understand what I'm trying to say here)...

But why do the thoughts arise in the first place, and so quickly, even when you're in nature? My current understanding is that there must be some emotion underneath them. How did you feel BEFORE you saw the ocean? Maybe a bit restless, tense, preoccupied, irritated, bored? Something like:

Restlessness in you - see the ocean (mind stops for a sec.) - restlessness makes the mind comment immediately - you notice that - restlessness makes you be restless that the mind is commenting (and off you go in the vicious circle)

It's like you "want" to be free of mind when in nature... want relief, peace... and when it doesn't happen, you feel frustrated and see the emergence of thoughts as an obstacle or a problem.
But what is in you that you want peace from? Forget the ocean for a second, focus inside, what is your experience like? What emotion do you feel? Try to see if the restlessness (or whatever) actually consists of an emotion (in the chest for example), and thoughts about it, that keep feeding each other. Can you separate your experience into these two? Tell me, I'm trying to figure this out too, even as I type! :)
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