Intellectual understanding...but not experiencing The Now

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kiki
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Post by kiki » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:01 pm

However, when I walk into the forest every morning for a 40-minute walk, I succeed in paying attention to the Wallabies, various kinds of birds such as the Lyrebird, and the beauty of nature itself. During these 40 minutes, I am virtually at piece. Presumably, I am then in the Now or close to it.
So, an effective portal for you are these walks - great! Notice that on these walks there is no need to label what is seen, there is just an open awareness taking it all in, a total acceptance of what's happening. That's all presence is - open awareness taking in everything, total acceptance.

That open awareness can take in thoughts and emotions in total acceptance, too; there is no need to label them, just as there was no need to label things on your walks. Just paying attention to anything, thoughts and emotions as well, will work as a portal. But don't do this as a means to "get rid" of thought. That creates a future goal that will then create struggle. In any moment where there are thoughts, that's part of "what is", so accept them too because they are part of the now experience. It's the resistence to thought, the desire to get rid of them, or to cling to them that will keep them in place. So when thoughts are there watch them too - that gives them the space to have their existence and then fade away on their own. You/ego will never get rid of thought because you/ego are thought. Thought dressed up as ego cannot get rid of itself. Thought dissolves spontaneously in the total acceptance of them in the light of awareness/You.
Last edited by kiki on Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by eseward » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:47 pm

kiki wrote:It's the resistence to thought, the desire to get rid of them, or to cling to them that will keep them in place. So when thoughts are there watch them too - that gives them the space to have their existence and then fade away on their own.
Exactly. Very nice. :)

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Re: Intellectual Understanding...

Post by JD » Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:55 pm

NoordZee wrote:Once a negative thought 'hits' me, it is almost impossible for me to get rid of this thought.
As kiki said:
kiki wrote:It's the resistance to thoughts, the desire to get rid of them, or to cling to them that will keep them in place. So when thoughts are there watch them too - that gives them the space to have their existence and then fade away on their own.
I would go even further and suggest that rather than just passively watching "negative" thoughts, you positively welcome them! :D

It may sound like mad advice, but it's actually a tried and tested technique that recurs in the esoteric teachings of many traditions.

The great Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi, has this poem, for example, in which he compares the mind to a guest-house and advises the owner to cordially welcome whoever may turn up:
Rumi - Guest House

A human being is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I made the last passage bold because it echoes what I said the other day in another post here (if I can be forgive for quoting myself :D ):
And remember that these fearful thoughts 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.

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.
For a Buddhist perspective on the same matter, the autobiography of the eleventh century Tibetan mystic, Milarepa deals with the problem in even more concrete terms.
While Milarepa dwelt in the Eagle Tower caves of Red Rock Jewel Valley, he went out one day to gather firewood. Eventually he returned to his cave, and found it invaded by five horrific demons with eyes as large as saucers.

Shocked, Milarepa politely introduced himself and asked them to leave. At this, the demons became menacing, surrounding him while growling, grimacing, and laughing maliciously. Milarepa was alarmed and attempted the most powerful of exorcism recitations, to no avail. The demons became even more threatening.

Next, the yogin tried with great compassion to pacify them with Buddhist teachings, but they still remained, more vivid and horrible than before.

Finally Milarepa realized that his approach was mistaken, and that he needed the most direct means possible. Supplicating his teacher Marpa, he acknowledged that the demons, and all phenomena for that matter, were of his own mind, which is of the nature of luminosity and emptiness.

The demons were his own projections, and seeing them naively as external demons served as an obstacle to his practice. At the same time, their malicious nature was actually radiant and transparent, no different from awakening itself.

If he could respond to them appropriately, he could reap great spiritual benefit.

Milarepa then applied his guru's instructions and sang one of his famous dohas, or songs of realization. In it he proclaimed his lineage of wakefulness and the mastery of his own mind...

Having proclaimed the fearlessness which he had discovered in his practice, Milarepa followed the training given him by his guru. He invited the demons to stay with him and to receive his hospitality.
Milarepa declares: "Ye ghosts and demons, enemies of the Dharma, I welcome you today! It is my pleasure to receive you! I pray you, stay; do not hasten to leave...".

He invites the demons to bring their friends along as well!

Needless to say, as soon as he makes this offer, the demons vanish.

To continue their existence the demons need Milarepa to feed them with his fear, not extend the hand of friendship.

The full excerpt can be read @:

http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-EPT/simm.htm

together with a very intelligent and useful Jungian-based commentary on the techniques used by Milarepa to come to terms with these "demons" (which were really no more than the creations of his own mind, that is, thoughts).

This great truth is also embodied in many fairytales.

As soon as the object of fear/disgust is faced and accepted it vanishes or transforms into something beautiful ("At the same time, their malicious nature was actually radiant and transparent", as Milarepa wrote).

The frog, when kissed, becomes a handsome prince. The monster when faced becomes an ally and protector.

The pain-body, when welcomed and embraced, becomes a source of great joy and blessing as it liberates massive amounts of trapped life-energy that lead to a powerful and intense experience of being and presence.

Doing this will utterly transform your life. :)

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Post by eseward » Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:07 pm

Beautiful. :)

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Intellectual understanding...but not being in the Now

Post by NoordZee » Fri Apr 27, 2007 6:25 am

Thank you kiki and JD for your very good comments. Thank you eseward for your support.

I had a read of 'Inviting the demon'.
(Milarepa, Tibetan Buddhism)(The Shadowissue), as suggested by JD. That was a wonderful referral. A few things that readily caught my attention were:
According to these insights of the Buddha, any attempt to escape (yes kiki) suffering merely intensifies the experience of anxiety. Likewise,
attempts to cling to suffering and to indulge in anxiety and discontent merely gives our psychological logic another twist.
From the earliest teachings of the Buddha, the practitioner has
been encouraged to go against the stream of conventionality, to look
at everything in experience including that which one would rather
avoid or ignore.
The way which the Buddha discovered was based on
opening to all, including the "shadow," to see fearlessly what is
there, and to integrate lost shadow material as a source of
spiritual richness. A central meditative strategy of Buddhism has
always been quiet sitting, allowing the unclaimed features of the
inner life to arise to awareness. Then, following the specific
instructions of meditation practice, these negativities, sufferings,
and anxieties are recognized and allowed to dissipate on their own.
Yes, it is becoming clearer to me that "fighting" my demons actually attracts them. If these awful thoughts indeed rely on being resisted or being clung to, in order to thrive, let us "fox" them and 'welcome' them in our midst. How exactly to do that escapes me at the moment, but I am working on it. So far, I understand that I should merely watch my thoughts without judgment, but again, this is currently a hard task for me.

Regards to all
Frits
"Veritas vos liberabit"

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Post by yougarksooo » Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:13 pm

I would go even further and suggest that rather than just passively watching "negative" thoughts, you positively welcome them!

It may sound like mad advice, but it's actually a tried and tested technique that recurs in the esoteric teachings of many traditions.
Good stuff JD. And my experience is that a by-product of watching and welcoming thoughts is that thought begins to settle down and the mind stills.
"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 Webwanderer » Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:15 pm

NoordZee wrote:
I understand that I should merely watch my thoughts without judgment, but again, this is currently a hard task for me.
Fritz, your integrity of purpose is refreshing. Such honesty and dedication to clarity will inevitably lead to the unobstructed awareness that is your Essence.

May I suggest a little different take on watching thought. While watching thought is an excellent and effective pointer, a little more elaboration may be helpful. Our days, when identified as a separate self, are cycles of repetitive story telling within the mind. In your case, as it is with most separate-self identifications, these stories often revolve around emotionally charged memories and imaginings. Indeed, the very concept of personal individuality depends on these stories to maintain its coherence.

To the degree one can identify a story in progress, one can release attachment to it and regain the Natural State of life observance. At first it may be helpful to identify such stories in retrospect. Once it’s past, identification with a story lessons, and it is easier to see. (A word of caution though, most present stories are past experiences relived. That is, after all, what makes them a story rather than a living event. The suggestion here is to identify a story as such and not to get drawn into another mind storm to get lost in.)

The difficulty in releasing from these stories while they are being generated comes from the emotional energy that generally accompanies the experience. The emotional intensity makes it feel more personal. Add to that, rationalizing judgments of right and wrong upon yourself or others, and the attachment to the story can be quite strong.

So, rather than just watching thought, sense the emotional energy that accompanies the stories. That is not to say resist the emotion; it is to say experience it fully, without any mental/analytical interpretation, justification or judgment. Simply rest in a clear, open acceptance and surrender to the feeling of the energy. Adopt a sense of wonderment about it as if it were the first time in your life you ever had an experience quite like this. (It is)

Sense its depth and quality without avoidance or labels. Be open and curious, but not analytical nor definitive. It is just another of the ongoing experiences of life flowing through you. Form and creation ebb and flow, and are constantly changing. Awareness is stable and eternally present. Your inherent position for all life’s experiences is that of observer. Observing through clear, open awareness is Divinity in action.

Now, after all this embellishment, isn't it just simpler to say "watch your thoughts?"

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Post by yougarksooo » Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:58 am

So, rather than just watching thought, sense the emotional energy that accompanies the stories. That is not to say resist the emotion; it is to say experience it fully, without any mental/analytical interpretation, justification or judgment. Simply rest in a clear, open acceptance and surrender to the feeling of the energy. Adopt a sense of wonderment about it as if it were the first time in your life you ever had an experience quite like this. (It is)

Sense its depth and quality without avoidance or labels. Be open and curious, but not analytical nor definitive. It is just another of the ongoing experiences of life flowing through you. Form and creation ebb and flow, and are constantly changing. Awareness is stable and eternally present. Your inherent position for all life’s experiences is that of observer. Observing through clear, open awareness is Divinity in action.
A very helpful report from the awakened state. That is about as good as I've heard anyone describe and point to it (Tolle, etc). It echoes my experience. Anyone can benefit from reading that. Thanks.
"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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To NoordZee..

Post by Annie » Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:59 am

Hello Frits,
Sounds like these persistent negative thoughts you've asked about may have some heavy emotion adding to their impact.

If this is so, then adding emotions of gratitude (or better still reverence) to your practice of stillness will help. I mean, act think and feel as if you already have peace. Thank in advance. This adds much strength.

JDs Rumi quote about the guesthouse - wonderful, and an accurate description of thoughtforms bullying their way into our house and flattening us. Lots of other brilliant help in this thread too.

So, if you wish, utilise this Sufi allegory to help you work out how to best deal with this particular unruly and rude guest.
eg; This bully thoughtform, bigger than a wrestler, is already in your house.
So is he too strong to be welcomed safely yet? Maybe you have to lock the door of his room, go about your other affairs, and leave him to starve? You certainly don't want to fight him. (you get the picture - whenever he begins to shout, say a mantra/prayer/count backwards in threes etc to keep the mind from paying any attention - may be as simple as going for a jog or reading a book). And have an attitude of gratitude.
You may need to bar the door so he cannot break it down - this means self-care of the organism; all the usual basics, such as not allowing yourself to get too hungry angry lonely or tired as any of these weaken your structure.

For me, one of the most powerful things I can do is to listen to one of Eckhart's tapes - his voice very uplifting - and adds appropriate real emotion.
Also, change body posture, facial expression, position, location etc, as soon as you notice the thoughtform. There may well be postures which it feels comfortable in (frowning ? slumped shoulders? head bowed? and so on).

I write this with respect, simply to pass along what has helped me.
It is simply about adding the exoteric to the esoteric for the moment. Someone else here has mentioned beginning with smaller problems for spiritual/psychological transformative work, and I agree with this.

You will get to love this practice for its own sake. This high valuation makes it much stronger.
Self-awareness in the stillness is our birth-right.

Then, when this bully sumo guy is somewhat starved and weaker, you will be able to watch and welcome, and he won't even dare blink.

All the best ,
Annie.

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Post by Webwanderer » Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:01 pm

Very nice post Annie. Excellent advise on posture effecting demeanor.

I like this line a lot...
...have an attitude of gratitude.
:)

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Post by Webwanderer » Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:20 pm

yougarksooo wrote:
That is about as good as I've heard anyone describe and point to it (Tolle, etc).
It's not surprising that you should notice this. It was Tolle who first pointed this awareness out to me, at least the first who did so in such a way where I could recognize it. I just (finally) had the good sense to look for myself.

I encourage all to do the same.

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Post by yougarksooo » Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:28 pm

You/ego will never get rid of thought because you/ego are thought. Thought dressed up as ego cannot get rid of itself. Thought dissolves spontaneously in the total acceptance of them in the light of awareness/You.
Brilliantly stated. Also liked the suggestion about labeling nothing while you are walking. Very helpful. It is so nice to experience the sweet sense of being without the story (labeling, commentary). Both Adyashanti and Tolle describe well the fact that peace is already within us. We already live in our natural state of being---consciousness beyond the story. So there is nothing to arrive at, work towards, get rid of, think about etc. It's a matter of subtracting information, reducing analysis, watching the script of life as it plays out in the mind.

If it isn't watched, the script is taken for life itself instead of what it truly is, which is a commentary on life, or an approximation or conceptualization of life. Reading Kiki's posts reminds me of how subtle the labeling can be when doing something as simple as walking. The mind gets in there and wants to think about what we see instead of remaining simple aware of what we see. Through the awareness of the script and the labels, the sweetness of being (that has always been there, and always will be) shines through automatically. Once this shift into presence occurred, the story of my life was seen for what it is---a story I mistakenly believed to be me. Life was very serious. The future was very scary.


Beingness/awareness deepened naturally once the I became the watcher of all this stuff inside and outside. Makes sense, then, when we call it our natural state. It is already there. The story just gets in the way.
"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

too haht tzay

intellect

Post by too haht tzay » Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:05 am

...
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Post by summer » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:48 am

I have a question for kiki and many others here, who seem to be in touch with presence on a more regular basis than I am.

Does thinking really stop altogether? Do you spend hours and days with no thoughts at all, since there isn't much to think about when we are present in this moment.

I find that my mind still babbles on and on. Maybe it has lessened some. I am not sure. But first thing in the morning, it thinks about what I need to do today. And what I did yesterday, etc, etc, And of course most of these thoughts are about ME, in the past, and ME, in the future.

When we read books by Eckhart, and all of the other great teachers, they are thinking and writing words. When we go to their lectures, they are expressing thoughts too.

So many of the thoughts that my mind thinks daily are so repetitive. I must have heard them all a million times now over the years. And many of them are quite negative. When I go into my body and try to feel what tensions or whatever, may be causing these thoughts, I often find nothing there at all.

So my question is, does the mind eventually quiet down to a regular state of non-thought? Where there are no longer any thoughts about ME?

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Post by kiki » Sun Apr 29, 2007 4:28 am

Does thinking really stop altogether? Do you spend hours and days with no thoughts at all, since there isn't much to think about when we are present in this moment.
Does it stop altogether? Yes. Do I spend hours and days with no thought? No. I'd never get my taxes done if thinking stopped altogether. There are long stretches of time with no thought, but not hours and days at a time. Mostly when thought is present it is very faint, barely perceptible, and then it fades again - more like an almost imperceptible whisper. Thought comes when it comes; it's just that it fades again very quickly and is no longer identified with, no longer taken seriously (except when doing my taxes :wink:)
So many of the thoughts that my mind thinks daily are so repetitive.
Yes, a large percentage are repetitive. Sometimes just for fun I challenge "myself" to discover a new thought and then watch to see what happens. Usually that's enough to silence the mind immediately.
When I go into my body and try to feel what tensions or whatever, may be causing these thoughts, I often find nothing there at all.
It's like they are on autopilot - they'll continue to arise for a while through sheer momentum. Give them no energy to remain in the mind by resisting them. Accept their presence since they are a fact of the present moment, but that doesn't mean there has to be a belief in what they are saying.
So my question is, does the mind eventually quiet down to a regular state of non-thought? Where there are no longer any thoughts about ME?
It has for me to a large extent, and there is no reason it won't for you. The kind of thoughts that were most distressing and troublesome have stopped entirely - those about myself and others, judgmental thoughts about myself and others, thoughts about the future and past which link to regret and fear. Still, there are random things that arise in that faint way described earlier, but then they flow right through and are gone.

The "no thought" state is so familiar, so regular, so natural that sometimes I marvel when thought does arise again. "What the heck is that? Oh, that's right, that's thought!" But by no means do I go hours let alone days without thought. Now it's seen that thought isn't something to get upset with so I think that's a factor in their diminishing appearance.

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