Shoulds and should-nots – a step away from what is

384The predominant state for almost all humanity is that our sense of centre resides somewhere ‘in’ the head and everything is dominated and overridden by thoughts. When the focus of attention goes to thoughts, the content of them is magnified by creating separation and thus the illusion of a contracted me.

However, when the focus or energy flows from thinking (head) to feeling (heart) something very profound happens. The sense of centre shifts with it to the heart, but without the ‘me’. The ‘me’ is left ‘in the head’. And then there is just a spacious allowing gentle kindness, an open heart…

But when the focus of awareness is narrowed and limited to thoughts, we are missing what is really happening… reality is simply not noticed because the attention is contracted into storyland, to the story of my life.

While the content of thoughts are amplified, they can seem quite huge and very important and thus seemingly obscuring the peaceful-loving-allowing being that pervades everything.

When thoughts come up and are believed in like “this should, or shouldn’t be” the connectedness to the heart is seemingly obscured. Every time a thought is engaged in, it is a step away from what really IS.

“This should, or should not be” – But how do I know that this is true?
Have I ever considered the possibility that what is, is EXACTLY what should be?

And how do I know that this is exactly what should be? — Because it ALREADY is. It is already accepted on a deepest level, otherwise it wouldn’t be.

So who am I to argue with what already is?
Whatever is, is exactly what should be.

And this does not require any beliefs. What is is, regardless whether it is believed, argued, resisted or not. However, arguing with what already is, requires beliefs.

But do beliefs know anything about what should or should not be? Do beliefs know anything about what is? Do beliefs (shoulds and should-nots) have any effect on what is?

Every single thought believed is a step away from this. From what really is, from aliveness, from peace-kindness-loveness. Every thought believed is a step away from the heart, from feeling, from being

There is peaceful lovingness when the mind is in harmony with what is.

The heart simply cannot be touched by the story. Thoughts cannot leave any marks on the isness of being…

When the heart is felt fully, there is an overriding sense that everything is perfectly in the right place and the right time, exactly how it should be.

This is freedom…
Smile on the face… being at home…

Just feel…

(And of course, labels and thoughts cannot describe this, but please let me use these words like head, mind or heart just for the sake of communication, without taking them too seriously.)

I = love = you

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When seeing through the illusion of the ‘me’ happens, it is not uncommon that love becomes denied because it is seen that what we generally refer to as love is simply not what it seems to be. This so called conditional love actually based on the lack of love. It seems that love is missing here, so there is a search that something ‘out there’ might be able to fill this lack and make me whole and complete.

But this is just a con. The trick is created by the beliefs about myself; that I am an entity sealed behind the skin that is separate from the rest of the world, and most importantly, I am separate from love. Love is something that is not here but ‘out there’. So seeking is set apart to connect ‘you’ and ‘me’ that are seemingly separated by this fundamental belief.

But love is not out there. There is no separation between me and love. It just seems to be because this basic belief is seemingly obscuring the love that is here, in this moment.

When the belief in ‘me’ is set rampant, love appears to be missing. So I cannot love and deeply accept myself, therefore I want you to love me and fill the hole, instead of me loving and accepting myself. In this conditional love actually there is no love at all, only lack, due to the perceived separation. And when I cannot love and accept myself, I cannot love you either. So the desire that I want you to make me feel loved is coming from the belief that I am separate from love.

But love cannot come from outside. Let’s say I love you a lot, but you do not love yourself. Would you be able to feel my love? Would you be able to feel something that you cannot feel?

You have to know love to be able to love.
If love is lacking in you, you cannot feel my love towards you.

You can only feel my love if you are love!
If you can feel my love, it means that you love yourself in that moment.

So love is not something that coming from outside to fill me up, but rather love is flowing out of me, through me. I love and deeply accept myself; therefore I can feel love and deep connection towards you. I give you love, because I am love.

I = love = you
There is no separation…

And of course there is neither ‘me’ nor ‘you’ that could be separate from each other, but language fails at this point. I am trying to express something in words that are inexpressible. As soon as we try to use language the experience is conceptualized and a seeming separation alongside with ‘you’ and ‘me’ emerges.

Love simply ‘wants’ to love.

But when love and deep connection are resisted and denied, it becomes uncomfortable and painful. But love is unstoppable. It starts to burn through all conditionings that seemingly obscure its way, until it can flow freely, unconditionally. It brings up all the beliefs, shoulds and should-nots, social norms and believed demands the ‘me’ should live up to, and burns through them one-by-one.

When love is painful it means that there is a condition that does not let love be felt fully.

Once the heart is opened up for love and deep connection, by seeing that there is no ‘me’ that could be separate from it, love becomes unstoppable and inevitable because no belief can obscure it completely ever again. Love no longer can be eluded…

I am love
I love
love

You are love
You love
love

Eventually, both you and me collapse and only love remains.

Ocean

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Under everything
There is deep allowing
Non-resistance
Just peaceful floating

Feeling, smiling… being
Drifting into releasing

Wave of thoughts holds me on the surface
But in the next move it drags me down
To the endless bottom of the sea
And I let it be…

Crispy coldness with a gentle stroke
Floating into the tender arms of deep closeness
Soothing touch of the depths of being
Let it be, releasing

Freely drifting in the lulling blueness
With the brush of the sun’s gentleness

Drifting to the surface with a smile on the face
This is freedom… this is no place…

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Attachment as part of the dream

After seeing through the illusion of the self, a new form of seeking can develop; a desire for the identification with the I-thought to come to a halt. But identification with the main character of the movie still happens as part of the flow of life.

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The movie or the dream of life cannot be escaped. And what would want to escape it anyway? Only the ‘me’ yearns for freedom. But freedom from what? Freedom from itself.

But this is a dead end. A non-existent self wants to get rid of itself in order to gain freedom from the pull and push, the attraction and aversion of attachments. The ‘me’ has attachments to everything that arises in the dream.

There is a general belief that attachment can develop only to something that is regarded pleasant for the ‘I’. But when it is examined closely, it turns out that attachment to so called ‘negative’ things can be even stronger than to those where the ‘positive’ labels are applied.

Everything in the movie is about attachment. I have attachment to food, drink, sunshine, trees, sleeping, loved ones, to the air the body breathes, to literally everything. Some attachments may be stronger than others, but still, in the movie of thoughts there is only attachment. As soon as the dream world arises, attachment emerges with it.

The movie itself is attachment.

Because as soon as an object emerges, the ‘I’ appears with it. When the current experiencing is labelled as ‘this is a tree’, at the same moment, a subtle ‘me’ arises with it as a reference point in seeming space and time. “Here I am, and there is a tree”. The tree is defined by ‘me’ being a separate subject that is experiencing that object (tree) over there. But actually, both the tree and ‘me’ are nothing more than mental concepts. The tree and ‘me’ exist only in thoughts.

But in the dream of thoughts the ‘I’ and the tree seem to be two separate objects – or rather say a subject (me) and an object (tree) – that are connected by attachment. Although, the attachment to a tree can be very subtle, hardly noticeable, yet it is still there. The attachment-connection can be easier to spot on when it is about loving or hating an apparent other.

“I love you” or “I hate you, because you caused me pain” – but is this really the case? Is there really a separation between ‘you’ and ‘me’ or love and pain?

The ‘I’ and the seeming other that is the apparent cause of ‘my’ suffering are one. We are both ‘made of’ thoughts. There is neither ‘me’ nor ‘you’ that could be connected by pain or love, because all these are just one seamless movement of life.

When the mirage of the self is seen through, the whole dream of ‘my’ life can be observed from within the movie.

But anyway, there is nothing wrong with attachment, or the movie, or the mirage of ‘you’ and ‘me’. Attachment can be beautiful when it seen for what it is… just one movement – just a desire to connect the seeming separation between ‘you’ and ‘me’ that has never been there.

And yet, a wide range of emotions can arise as part of the movie of ‘my’ life. There can be love, guilt, pain, fear, happiness, peace or sadness. And of course, the ‘me’ wants to get rid of all the so called negative emotions.

But the desire itself to get rid of them is made of attachment to them.
Without these emotions ‘I’ would not exist.
There is an attachment to resisting the ‘negative’ emotions.
And while I resist, I persist.

Shape shifter

CRW_9048-large.7I am a shape shifter
Falling into the abyss of unknown

Falling… just falling
There is nothing to grasp onto

Hands reach out to the next belief
Social norms, this should be or shouldn’t be
But they dissolve into thin air
There is nothing to hold onto
Falling… into feeling

Love, desire
Sweet lullaby cradling into soft nothingness
Falling… just allowing

Whatever comes I am yours
Dissolving into you
Just let it go

Thoughts try to reach out fearfully
But there is nothing, just falling endlessly

Lay back and let it happen
Dive with me, surrendering

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What are we really seeking for?

315Seeking, seeking, seeking… We spend almost all our lives in seeking mode. Nothing is good enough. Nothing is fulfilling enough. We always want more, want something else. Something is missing. But what is really missing? What is this seeking all about?

The whole concept of liberation or enlightenment is so overrated and mystified. There is an assumption under these words that liberation is something mystical, something special that just a very few can achieve or attain, and the majority of humanity can at best fantasize about it. But is this really the case? Is liberation something very special and new that we have never experienced before? Something completely unknown?

No, it is not.

Liberation is not new to us. We all have experienced it before. This is how we came to this world. But since liberation is so familiar and so simple, it is lost from our sight.

Before learning language and concepts, all babies experience this freedom. Without thinking and thus being lost in the content of thoughts, there are only pure sensations. There is only seeing, hearing, touching/feeling, tasting and smelling. There is nothing else – just pure being.

But as the toddler starts to acquire language, thinking develops and identification with the I-thought and body is set rampant. A supposed entity emerges, being the centre of all happenings. The pure being is gradually replaced by the movie of life which revolves around the main character of the dream – ‘me’.

From then on, the attention is almost always on thoughts, on stories. The connection with felt sensations is getting looser and looser, and we gradually end up engaging in stories while the realness of life just flows by, unnoticed.

We hardly feel the taste of melting chocolate in the mouth, the touch of the light breeze on the skin, the warmth of the sun, the pleasant tingling sensations in the feet, the aliveness of the body, the gentle stroke of the clothing. All of these are missed and lost, just because the constant compulsion and addiction of the notion of ‘me’ and my story.

But deep down we feel that something is missing, something is lost, and we crave it back. We have forgotten a long ago what it feels like just to be, just to feel… So we start to seek outside to fulfil this unfulfilled longing.

But if you stop for a moment… just look around… what a beauty…

In every moment there is a sensation arising that can be noticed and felt. Fingertips are touching the keyboard… sensation of the beating heart… whispering of the wind… breathing… sunshine filtering through the blinds… pressure under the feet… felt contraction and the release of contraction in the body… taste of tea… what a joy! Just to be…

This is what we are longing for.
This is home…
This is peace…
This is love
This is the end of ‘me’.
Ah!

Feel…

Running away from ‘negative’ emotions

Since we experience them so often, many of us think that we know exactly what emotions are. Generally, we put emotions into different categories and label them either as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

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When the ‘positive’ label is applied, we try to do our best to sustain the emotion, and if we cannot sustain it permanently, then at least we try to experience it as often as we can. However, when the ‘negative’ label is attached to it, we try to push it away, numb it away in any possible ways. We just want to get rid of it.

Many seekers believe that liberation is swimming in a constant, permanent state of peace or happiness. This is a huge and unrealistic expectation. If there would be only peace all the time it would stop being peaceful! Peace does not exist without its opposite. Peace can be noticed only in comparison to something else, which is labelled as ‘un-peaceful’.

There is no constant everlasting love or happiness, because after some time bathing in love without experiencing its opposite, love would fade away. Sadness and happiness depend on each other. Without the one the other cannot be experienced. But sadness and happiness are not problematic by themselves. They do not contain any innate characteristics or attributes. What creates dissatisfaction is the wish that the so called ‘pleasant’ things should last forever and no ‘unpleasant’ emotion should arise ever again, and if it still does, it should disappear as soon as possible.

Many seekers talk about accepting everything that arises in this moment, while they are still striving for having a constant state of peace and love. So you want to accept everything, EXCEPT fear, anger, hatred, sadness, frustration, grief…

Liberation is not about stopping being human and not experiencing half of the emotions. Quite the contrary. Liberation is about encompassing ALL aspects of humanness, embracing ALL emotions.

But almost all of us are in a constant run. We are almost always in an escape-mode, hoping for evading this moment, an escape from life, an escape from humanness.

We are attaching mental labels to the experiencing; ‘this is bad’, ‘painful’, ‘sadness’, ‘I don’t want it’, and then we run.

Liberation is about STOPPING RUNNING and ESCAPING. Fear is not fearful. Sadness is not ‘bad’ or ‘sad’. Pain is not what we think it is. Anger is not angry, only mental labels suggest otherwise. But this cannot be seen while we are in a constant run.

‘Negative’, ‘bad’, ‘sad’ are just mental labels attached to the pure sensation.
But the sensation itself is completely neutral.

So stop running and observe what you REALLY are running away from.
The so called ‘negative’ emotions are not what you think they are.

You are running away from ‘yourself’. You are running away from all the stories that you believed ‘yourself’ to be.

But behind all stories, is there really a ‘you’ that could run away from anything, or is there only running?

Then why run?

Resistance in the service of ‘me’

325.3There is an almost constant resistance against whatever arises in this moment. Every time when there is arguing with what IS, the illusion of the ‘I’ is not seen only as an illusion – as a mere mirage in the desert – but it is mistaken to be ‘real’; it is believed that there is a ‘me’ that does not like what IS, and wants it to change. The motto of the mirage could be: “No matter what is, but ‘I’ resist”.

Resistance is in the service of the illusion of ‘me’. Without resistance the mirage of the self would evaporate. The ‘I’ can only ‘exist’ in opposition to something else that is labelled as not ‘me’.

Therefore, resistance serves a very important task – to keep the illusion of ‘me’ intact. The ‘me’ needs boundaries in which it can be contained. On the ‘physical level’ this container is believed to be the body. On the ‘mental level’, the container is resistance itself.

When there is resistance, two seeming objects are manifested: ‘me’ and ‘you’ or ‘the rest of the world’, with an imaginary dividing line in between the two. The line itself is ‘made of’ opposition and comparison.

Because the ‘I’ defines itself by either comparison – “I am taller than you”, “I am smarter than you”, “I am less fortunate than you”, or by opposition“nobody loves me”, “the whole world is against me”, “I am right and you are wrong” or “you are my enemy”.

Without comparison and opposition there is no ‘me’.
In order for the mirage to be activated, resistance is needed.
Because all resistance is against something.

When there is an ‘against’ (opposition), then there is a ‘me’ that is against – or is opposed to – ‘this and that’. So there is a dividing line, a seeming separation between two objects, ‘me’ and the rest of the world.

The resistance itself ‘creates’ the illusion of separation.

If there was not resistance, there would be total acceptance. In acceptance there are no borders or dividing lines. There are no edges where ‘I’ ends and the world or the other ‘starts’, because there is nothing that could be in opposition to ‘something else’.

So, in order to keep the illusion going, resistance is essential. That is the ‘reason’ why there is an almost constant, subtle resistant there all the time.

Resistance is essential for the sustenance of the apparent ‘self’.
Without being in opposition to something ‘I’ would not be.

Resisting resistance

No matter what we do, no matter what are our life circumstances, how content or happy we are, there is an almost constant underlying resistance to what is here and now, in this moment.

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I often get questions about what to do with this basic resistance, how to accept things as they are, or if we cannot accept what is here and now, then how can we accept the resistance itself.

Let’s say, I am on my way to a meeting, but I am late. Thoughts arise “I shouldn’t be late, I don’t want to be late” – so there is an arguing (meaning resistance) against what IS. (Let’s call this arguing as resistance #1.) When these arising thoughts are believed, associated emotions arise, like contraction in the body.

If the contraction in the body is labelled as ‘unpleasant’, accompanying thoughts can appear “I don’t want to feel this way” – thus another layer of resistance has just emerged (resistance #2).

Now, I want to get rid of the felt bodily sensation that is labelled as ‘unpleasant’ by all means (which is the result of resistance #1). What is missed here is that trying to manipulate the felt sensation creates a new overlay of resistance (resistance #2).

When this is seen, a thought might come up “I should accept the whole situation then” – but with a hidden, underlying expectation that by accepting the situation the discomfort of the whole resistance would go away.

However, when there is an effort to accept something, it means that what is resisted is labelled as a ‘bad thing’. Otherwise, there would be no need for accepting it. As a result, the situation has become ‘bad’, but not because it has an inherent quality of badness, but rather because the label ‘bad’ is not seen only as a mental label attached to the current experience, but rather it is believed that the mental label ‘this is bad’ has a one-to-one correspondence with ‘reality’.

So the labelling ‘this is bad’ comes first, and when it is mistaken with ‘reality’, we try to cover it up (layer over) by enforcing acceptance – which is a disguised form of resistance – on top of resistance 1. How could acceptance then be possible?

By forcing acceptance, what was intended to get rid of is reinforced because the label was BELIEVED to be ‘real’. By forcing acceptance, the resistance becomes even stronger.

But if the belief “I shouldn’t feel this way” is questioned, meaning that it is seen that the ‘thing’ itself – in this case the felt sensation in the body – is totally neutral, it does not have any innate attributes and only thought labels suggest otherwise; then the seeming ‘badness’ of the felt sensation goes away, because it is not mistaken to be ‘real’ any more.

When the label is seen through, NOTHING has to be done, not even accepting, because it has ALREADY been ACCEPTED.

Acceptance cannot be achieved.
Acceptance is not an action.
Acceptance is non-resistance.
Resisting something is an action.

Acceptance is to STOP resisting, thus to stop acting.
But even stopping resistance is not an action.
Rather it is the result of seeing thought labels only as arising thoughts and not mistaking them with ‘reality’— and then acceptance emerges naturally, by itself, without any effort.

Expectations about liberation (part 2)

276.1(It is recommended to read the first part about expectations before continuing)

#4 Believing that liberation is feeling oneness all the time

Is it possible? If there was only oneness, then how could you cross the road without being hit by a car? If there was only oneness, then there would not be any seeming separation between the car and the body, there would not even be any car, body or road, there would be only seamless experiencing. Or, with hunger, how would you know which mouth to put the food in if there was only oneness?

Oneness is a ‘spiritual experience’, a state, which has nothing to do with liberation. A state can never last. Everything is in a constant change. The experience of oneness might linger from a few seconds to several days or weeks, but eventually it will go away. In constant oneness the organism could not survive.

276.7#5 Believing that liberation is a constant bliss

So, you do not want be a human anymore! It will not happen. Being lost in thoughts and having emotional responses do not stop with liberation. A ‘liberated human’ is still a human. Emotions are part of life. Even animals – that can be labelled ‘liberated’ – also have emotional responses for certain stimuli. It is not about having only a few selected ‘pleasant’ emotions, but is about encompassing all emotions that arise in the moment. It is not about becoming a superhuman or stopping being a human, quite the contrary, embracing ALL aspects of humanness.

#6 Expecting that ‘my’ life would change

Life or outer circumstances do not change with seeing through the illusion of the self. Only ‘your’ perception changes. Life is always as it IS. Expecting life to change is about the future. The future does not exist. While chasing fantasies, the wonder of this moment is missed. Freedom cannot be found in the future. It is right here, right now.

#7 Fearing of becoming nothing

‘I’ cannot change into nothing. ‘I’ am already nothing. The body is there*, but ‘I’ am not.  The ‘I’ is just an illusion. Only the belief that there is a ‘me’ can evaporate.

#8 Fearing of becoming a ‘vegetable’ and not doing anything

While the belief in the separate self is intact, the possibilities are restricted by the desires and fears of the centre character, ‘me’. When the illusion is seen through and conditionings start to fall away, endless possibilities open up without being limited by fears and desires. Everything is allowed to be as it is.

#9 Believing that I can become liberated

This is not about self-improvement; it is not about having or developing a better version of ‘me’ and believing “I am liberated”. There is no liberated person, because there is no ‘me’ sealed behind the skin seeking liberation. There is only ‘realisation’ or ‘liberation’. But it does not happen to anybody. There has never been a ‘me’ than could be liberated. Liberation can happen, but without an owner, ‘me’. But this is the last thing the ‘egoic mind’ would love to hear.

* (The body is ‘real’ in conventional reality, but not in direct experience)