Intellectual understanding...but not experiencing The Now

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yougarksooo
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Post by yougarksooo » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:27 pm

Again, how do you stare at the thoughts?
Imagine watching a mousehole because any minute the mouse could come out. You aren't thinking. You are staring. You know that if you turn your attention away, you might miss it. That is what I mean by staring. It took practice for me. But this goes to the very nature of unconsciousness, which occurs when we aren't looking. The thoughts take over when we aren't staring at the mind like you would a mousehole.

Also, consider this: What is it that allows you to stop in the middle of a thought and realize that you have been thinking about so-and-so. It's awareness isn't it? You became aware that you were thinking. What happened then? Didn't the thought stop, at least for a while? Staring at thoughts or awareness just means allowing that to come in on a regular basis, moment by moment. The thing that is aware of thoughts is the thing you try to welcome into your thought patterns as regularly as possible. Gradually, you go from being consumed by these thoughts patterns (like tunnel vision) to feeling a sense of open awareness inside, as if every light inside has been turned on high. That is my experience.

And more specifically, how do you stare at a feeling when it is very consuming and unbearable?
I realise that by trying perpetually to avoid doing both is merely maintaining the thoughts and emotions, but just can't seem to manage it, or am not sure exactly how to observe horrible feelings/repetitive thoughts without becoming them.
I had to realize that there was something in me that wanted the pain. Deep down I didn't want to let go of the pain because, in doing that, I was letting go of the "me." The ego does not care whether the story of "self" is wonderful or painful. Can you accept that you are avoiding? Can you absolutely accept that you are intentionally avoiding? Avoidance is a very deliberate act when you get right down to it. It's a stubborn refusal to accept this moment as it is. Sit in silence, as much as possible, turn off all distractions, and take your attention right into where the pain is inside. Feel it, without any thought attached. Don't even label it as "fear" or "pain" just be very curious about the feeling itself. Once you can feel it, keep your attention there. Then, after you are done, every time your mind comes back in to attach a story to that pain, watch it like you would a mousehole.


This is coming out of denial and avoidance altogether. Facing pain directly instead of hiding within the story of it.
"When people ask me who they are or who God is, I smile inside and whisper to the light: there you go again . . . pretending."

Adya

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JD
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Re: Intellectual understanding...but not experie

Post by JD » Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:58 pm

julia_whirly wrote: Thanks, I found this 'potentially' helpful, as I can again see the logic in this, but have difficulty seeing how i can 'observe' thoughts that give me immense amounts of fear, as soon as i 'observe' them, i get sucked into them, and become them/identify with them, which energizes the emotion....and so on.
Any ideas on how not to get sucked into the thoughts whilst observing them?
Hi, Julia. :)

There's lots of good advice in this thread and yougarksooo's suggestion that you, "Don't even label it as "fear" or "pain" is a very good place to start.

These are emotionally charged terms for what's really no more than a trapped pocket of energy vibrating at a certain frequency.

But does it matter what you call it? Surely, fear is fear, whatever name you choose to call it by?

Well, not quite.

In fact, 99% of fear is a MASSIVE confidence trick.

I know this because, like ET, my own pain-body was mostly composed of debilitating fear.

And what I was afraid of was the thoughts themselves, which seemed to me to be veritable demons with an incredible power to inflict pain and fear.

It took a while to realize that I myself was giving them that power by collapsing into a state of gibbering terror whenever they put in an appearance. :D

In reality, even the most powerful of these thought-complexes proved to be no more than an empty phantasm when I was able to observe it dispassionately while remaining calm and focused.

This was equally true whether the complex was centred around a wholly irrational fear or based on the anticipation of some future event or circumstance that might really have occurred in my life.

Every experience of de-energizing these complexes by calm observation proved the truth of President Roosevelt's wise remark that: "we have nothing to fear but fear itself".

And fear is nothing more than energy vibrating at a certain frequency. All the rest is fantasy added by the mind.

How then, to observe these complexes without adding the fantasy and getting sucked into a stream of negative thoughts?

Like you, I found this very difficult until I began to concentrate not on any particular thoughts, but instead focused my awareness on the sensations that the thought-complex generated in my physical body.

Every powerful thought-complex generates tangible feelings in the physical body. When it arises, if you move your awareness into your body, you'll become conscious of certain unmistakeable sensations.

It may be that you'll feel palpitations in your chest or stomach.

Or perhaps it will manifest as heat in a particular part of your body.

Observe the sensation calmly and without running a mental commentary on what you're experiencing (which is merely employing the mind to think about the sensation). The idea here is to observe from the perspective of pure awareness - a state which precedes the arising of conditoned thought.

When you can manage this for a while, you'll find that the intensity of the sensations will diminish and with them the compulsion to engage in an orgy of negative fantasizing.

There are two important side-effects of this practise.

Firstly, it will train you in the invaluable skill of concentration (not in the sense of straining to concentrate on anything, but in the sense of accustoming your wayward mind to repeatedly return to a particular sensation).

This skill is of great value when it comes to de-enegizing thought-forms.

Secondly, and even more importantly, the very act of practising this concentration will slow your mind down considerably.

You will create space around your thoughts.

That means it will become much easier to identify the moment when a problematic thought-complex arises and take appropriate action before getting tricked into feeding it with a torrent of negative thoughts.

Sure, it takes practice, but nothing is more important when it comes to ending cruel and wholly unnecessary suffering (unnecessary, because it's ultimately self-inflicted).

There's a knack to it - like riding a bicycle.

Once you've learned it, you don't forget.

At first you can practice deliberately invoking the thought-complex by sitting calmly and thinking of a common trigger (being careful to immediately switch to the observation of your bodily sensations and not to continue with the line of thought).

That way you have time to prepare yourself.

And remember that these thought-complexes are not your enemies.

They're just energy-forms that you yourself created in the past obeying the laws of their own nature.

I once thought them a curse.

Now I know that they can be a great blessing.

They forced me to wake up and find a way beyond suffering to a peace that I never imagined was possible for me.

They also made sure I stayed conscious and didn't get complacent.

Because they return again and again - often when you're least expecting them.

But that, as I said, is ultimately a blessing because as ET says, it's often those who suffer the most pain who dissolve their pain-body the fastest.

Now, the very thought-complexes that used to terrify me on a regular basis have almost no power left at all. I see them coming a mile off and laugh to myself. Then they vanish again, mere shadows of the terrible demons that they once were, or seemed to me. :D

Acquiring this skill is the most worthwhile thing I've ever done.

I believe that you'll feel the same when you begin to experience successs, as I'm sure you will.

Good luck! :)

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Post by eseward » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:02 pm

Excellent post IMO, JD.
JD wrote:And remember that these thought-complexes are not your enemies.

They're just energy-forms that you yourself created in the past obeying the laws of their own nature.

I once thought them a curse.

Now I know that they can be a great blessing.

They forced me to wake up and find a way beyond suffering to a peace that I never imagined was possible for me.

Acquiring this skill is the most worthwhile thing I've ever done.
Absolutely agree.

Vernon Howard tells the story of the shepards who lived in the valley and whose flocks were attacked by wolves each night. The wolves were so vicious that the shepards were terrified of them.

But one shepard lost so many sheep that he knew he had to do something. He felt that he couldn't attack the wolves directly, they were far too strong and brutal for that. So he decided to study them in secret to see if any way to deal with them could be found.

When the wolves came at night, the shepard hid in the barn and watched them. Although the wolves were terrifying, the shepard noticed something strange; as he gained the courage to look at the wolves, they began to appear less threatening. So he watched the wolves, coming a little closer to them each night. As he did so, the wolves themselves began to back off and grow less vicious. Finally he was able to walk right up to the wolves and simply watch them, and when he did so, the wolves themselves turned around and walked away, never to attack the sheep again.

Of course, the wolves are the beliefs in your mind that you have empowered by your belief. :)

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Post by yougarksooo » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:49 pm

Like you, I found this very difficult until I began to concentrate not on any particular thoughts, but instead focused my awareness on the sensations that the thought-complex generated in my physical body.

Every powerful thought-complex generates tangible feelings in the physical body. When it arises, if you move your awareness into your body, you'll become conscious of certain unmistakeable sensations.
Wonderful post, as was Eseward's tale of the wolves. The above is an excellent tool that I have been employing without stating it that way. But so true that each thought-complex generates sensation(s). If you aren't paying attention, you won't notice the sensation. You get stuck on the thought, or label, or story. Isn't that what avoiding feelings really is?

I hope everyone on this site who is struggling at all with being aware of thoughts and emotions the moment they happen gets to read the above post from JD. Very helpful. Thanks for putting words to something I was doing already.
"When people ask me who they are or who God is, I smile inside and whisper to the light: there you go again . . . pretending."

Adya

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Post by Nebula » Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:57 am

Hey, just about to go to work, and have just read the replies....
I want to say thank you so much for these helpful guidances....I really feel hopeful that these techniques may help, and it is unbelievably comforting to get responses such as these, when you talk to people about difficulties such as these, and find so many people don't really understand what you mean.
I shall be putting these into practice, and responding further later....thanks.
"If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence"

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Post by Ives » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:13 am

When talking about handling negative emotions, Pietr Ouspensky [Russian mystic] used to advise people to start with emotions that were not too strong. In order to disidentify or detach one’s real self from negative emotions or the pain body, it is usually impossible at the start of one’s practice to tackle the really big overwhelming feelings. But during times when the pain body is less active, during quieter moments, there are little challenges that can be met.

In a very basic and practical way, this can help in learning the techniques.

I had an example of this and of working with bodily sensations (as JD describes above) the other day. I was waiting to be served in my local stationery store when some young girl cut ahead of me. I was upset, but able to say to myself: “Why let such a little thing upset you?” Having disidentified from the thought process, I placed attention in my body. Right in the pit of my gut was a turbulence, almost as though someone had punched me there. Focusing on that sensation, without judging it, I actually had quite a state of clear presence.
It was there, the pain; it was not pleasant; but it was no longer experienced as suffering.

Once you become accustomed to using such techniques with little emotions, the bigger ones can be approached.

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Post by eseward » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:46 am

Very well said IMO, Ives.

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Post by AndyD » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:07 pm

I agree, Ives' post is consistent with my own experience also.

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Post by yougarksooo » Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:54 pm

Thanks for everyone's contributions. This has been a very helpful thread for me too. Lots of good suggestions and insight.
"When people ask me who they are or who God is, I smile inside and whisper to the light: there you go again . . . pretending."

Adya

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Post by aanwezigheid » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:45 pm

Indeed, very helpful to me too, this threath is of a great value for me and probable also to a lot of other people :) . Thanks again for your personal insights!

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Eckhart Tolle Discussion

Post by NoordZee » Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:01 am

Hello everybody,

I introduced myself yesterday and this is my first posting away from this introduction.

I must say that I am very impressed by this forum and the high standard of posts. Many of your replies are extremely helpful. They are already serving to enhance my understanding of Eckhart Tolle's teachings. I was alerted to Tolle's first book, the Power of Now only a fortnight ago via a kind neighbour. I have just finished reading it and made a lot of notes on my computer. His second book, Practicing the Power of Now is now on my desk, ready to be read and studied.

As stated in my introduction, I have suffered from depression and anxiety just about all my life. Events during WW2 and immediately after that conflict in The Netherlands have made an indelible impression on me and I have paid a heavy price for this. I am now retired and live in the Dandenongs, east of Melbourne, Australia. I have finally decided to do something about this instead of relying on prescription drugs. I had never been treated for depression before and my introduction to these drugs only a couple of months ago, was worse than anything I have experienced before. The side effects were too numerous to mention.

I have read the various posts with great interest. I am with Julia when she says that she has the intellectual understanding of Tolle's teachings but how do you really put all this into practice?

I live at the edge of Dandenongs National Park. I walk every morning for 45 minutes in the forest and try to focus on the sound of birds, traffic in the distance as well on what I see. In addition, I try to focus on the silence between the sounds as suggested by Tolle. This activity, together with my current understanding of The Power of Now and further attempts to observe my often very destructive thoughts, has already led to my feeling quite a bit better than even a few weeks ago. I nevertheless have a long way to go before I probably can reach that esoteric place called Being. May be, I should say become aware of Being! Meanwile, I continue to read this forum and hope to contribute in the near future in a more meaningful way.

My main challenge is to somehow achieve that blissful state of silence where your thoughts are stopped entirely. This state eludes me for now

:cry:

Regards to all forum members
Frits
"Veritas vos liberabit"

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Re: Eckhart Tolle Discussion

Post by eseward » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:49 am

NoordZee wrote:My main challenge is to somehow achieve that blissful state of silence where your thoughts are stopped entirely.
Frits, IMO please do not make the state of no thoughts into a goal. The mind that produces all those thoughts has been called the monkey mind because its nature is to chatter about in a crazy kind of way. Trying to control the mind generally backfires, as in the example where the teacher tells the student not to think about monkeys; suddenly the head is full of images of monkeys.

Far better IMO to simply observe that chattering monkey and remind yourself that the monkey is not you, and that those thoughts and feelings are not you; they are foreign entities that pass through you if you stop identifying with them (believing that they are you). This way the monkey can chatter all it wants but you become progressively less disturbed by it. Eventually a quiet mind does occur, as a result of your disidentifying with the thoughts, but even a noisy one can't disturb your peace and contentment.

"Heaven is in the space between 2 thoughts." Vernon Howard

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Post by Webwanderer » Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:57 pm

Noordzee wrote:
My main challenge is to somehow achieve that blissful state of silence where your thoughts are stopped entirely. This state eludes me for now
I would recommend against seeking that “blissful state”. Bliss is more of a byproduct of being clear of the concepts and assumptions that form a separate sense of ego. A more accurate term would be “Natural State” as any number of things can role through it that gives one pause to call it bliss. Seeking bliss is seeking a “concept” of happiness. The Natural State of presence awareness, without judgment or attachment to a particular experience within that state, frees one from the additional concept of doing it wrong when that bliss is not present.

Use the activity of the mind to expose conceptual thinking. Feel the sense of what is being pointed to by Tolle and other non-dual teachings. Rest in the wordless understanding of what the pointers are pointing to, that is the understanding of clear open timeless presence, whatever it holds.

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Post by kiki » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:03 pm

I wish to echo eseward's reply. Trying to eliminate thought makes thought into an enemy, and when that happens you will lose the battle. Be watchful, knowing that thought is not what you are; this allows thought to enter and exit while "You"/awareness watches. PON leads to the nondual state, and in this there is no enemy in opposition to you because the you that has been identified with drops away.

I also suggest listening to Stillness Speaks - do this without any attempt to understand it. Just listen to the words and rest when the pauses between his phrases occur. When you notice thought stream attempting to understand it simply return to listening. At some point you will notice that there are no thoughts arising, just awareness taking everything in.

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Post by yougarksooo » Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:23 pm

I echo what Kiki and Eseward have said. I would also add that thoughts and emotions can be quite entertaining when you don't identify with them. I smile and laugh all the time when i act on a false sense of self or when others do. Self can be such a strong force when it rises up in defense or attack, and yet at the same time it is a phantom. If that isn't entertaining, I don't know what is.

I don't see this as being in a state of total formlessness (although some may). I see life now as a dance (as I've heard someone describe it) between formlessness and forms. The forms can be quite interesting and beautiful. It is my experience though that as part of the shift in consciousness, the mind quiets down a whole lot.

Remember: This moment is the only point of access to being. Watch any thought or emotion that says otherwise. :)
"When people ask me who they are or who God is, I smile inside and whisper to the light: there you go again . . . pretending."

Adya

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