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.)

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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.

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.

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.

Getting rid of the ego… is it possible?

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Many seekers believe if they could successfully get rid of the ego then they would achieve ‘liberation’ or ‘enlightenment’. But what is the ego?

Some ‘spiritual teachers’ talk about the ego, others avoid using this word for various reasons. But even those who mention it, they also frequently emphasise that the ego is just a mental construct, nothing real – and yet, it is so often misunderstood…

When we hear or read something, there is an unconscious tendency to ignore everything that does not fit into our worldview or belief system, and spot all words or comments that can be moulded into our framework by projecting our beliefs onto those words. As a result, we perceive these teachings coinciding with our convictions.

214Seekers often say things like this: “My ego wanted to convince me that I should do this. …. I’m slowly shedding my ego but it’s holding on for its dear life… But I know it won’t win, the chains are already broken.”

In these types of statements the ego is assumed to be real, as if the ego was a tangible entity, accompanied by another unexamined assumption that there is a ‘me’ somewhere sealed behind the skin, over which the ego can have full power. The ‘real me’ or ‘my higher self’ is under the tyranny of the ego that needs to be liberated. The war is on…

But when I want to conquer, get rid of, change, manipulate or transform something, then the result could be quite the opposite that was hoped to be achieved in the first place. The mere resistance strengthens what was intended to get rid of, because nothing can be resisted without believing in it first. So, the ‘thing’ is being believed into ‘reality’, and now there is a war against it. But war against what?

The battle is only between mirages.

There has never been a self or a ‘me’ that could get rid of the ego.
Similarly, there has never been an ego either that could fight for its life or have a power over anything.

Ego = me = I = self
There is no difference between them, and none of them is real.
‘You’ do not have to get rid of the ego.
Because there is no ‘you’. A thought cannot get rid of anything.

When it is seen that the whole story about the ego and its clinging to ‘its life’, are just simple appearing thoughts nothing more, then the seeking can end. There is no difference between the thoughts of “I’m thirsty, therefore I drink a cup of tea” or “I’m slowly shedding my ego, but it’s holding for its life”.

A thought is ‘real’ only as an appearing thought, but never its content.

Liberation cannot be achieved.
Liberation is not about doing something.
Liberation is un-believing.
Liberation is stopping believing in something that is not real.
It is about stopping doing. It is doing nothing.
It is non-resistance.

What is resisted is strengthened

One of the natural tendencies of the human ‘mind’ is to label and interpret whatever arises in this moment. This mental narrative is not problematic by itself, and it is not necessary (or even possible) to get rid of it. Wanting the ‘mind’ to stop labelling or thinking is completely futile. It won’t happen, at least not for long.

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There are millions of labels that can be attached to anything that appears in this moment, but in general, these tags are either about approaching or avoiding what has just arisen. It is either put into the category of desired (positive) or undesired (negative). Things are rarely interpreted as neutral, and even when it happens the ‘unimportant’ tag comes with it, so it is ignored and forgotten quickly.

Let’s say, I have an important appointment at 9am, but I have been stuck on the motorway for an hour now because the car has broken down, so it is certain that I cannot be there on time. This situation is definitely labelled as bad and undesirable. As time goes on, the body gets more and more tense and ‘I feel terrible’ due to a mental story that has emerged around the situation. The contraction in the body is uncomfortable, so I want to get rid of it. I try to relax and push my thoughts away, but in vain.

When something ‘unpleasant’ happens, there is a habitual tendency to avoid it. However, the avoidance itself strengthens what was intended to be eliminated. The more ‘I’ want to get rid of something, the better ‘I’ get attached to it.

The ‘reason’ behind this phenomenon is that when I want to get rid of something it means that its ‘reality’ is already approved. I would not want to eliminate something if I had not believed that thing is real and true. And when something is believed to be true, how could it be obliterated?

Thus, the body cannot relax while the labels about the situation is believed and taken seriously. It does not mean that ‘you’ have to love the situation and happily cover it up with a positive affirmation: “How good it is, I have just lost a thousand dollars because I could not get to the meeting. I am so happy”. Overriding resistance with ‘positive thinking’ won’t help either.

The liberation is hidden in the core belief (label) — ‘this is bad’. The current circumstances are completely neutral, only the conditioned thought-tags suggest otherwise. ‘I’ project meaning onto the situation.

The car has broken down. I am stuck on the motorway. I won’t be able to get to the meeting. So, I’ve just lost a thousand dollars. – These are ‘facts’. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I want to redo it or undo it, IT IS AS IT IS.

And even the labelling nature of the ‘mind’ is part of the flow. When the story is seen and not believed, the movie of ‘my’ life is watched without identifying with the main character, ‘I’.

Arguing with what IS, is totally futile.
Arguing with what IS, is a conditioned habit.

What is resisted is strengthened.
Resistance is a guaranty for suffering.

Whatever IS, I don’t want it

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Humans are almost always not satisfied with what IS. This dissatisfaction can fluctuate on a spectrum from mild discomfort to full blown suffering, and can be artificially divided into two categories.

Probably the most unbearable sufferings can come from self-referencing beliefs, which are the building blocks of ‘our’ seeming self-image or identity with a core belief in ‘my’ incompleteness, unworthiness, unlovingness, guiltiness or whatever it might be – because deep down most of us ‘feel’ we are somehow not good enough, not complete; something is missing. But is this really the case? Is it really true? Where is this apparently deficient self? Where?

The other type of suffering is much more subtle; it is a constant arguing with what IS. No matter what is in this moment, but one thing is sure: ‘I do not want it’. Either I want the previous moment back or the next moment, but definitely not THIS. But actually, the statement ‘this moment is not good enough’ – is just a thought, nothing more.

256In the morning at breakfast, there is a fantasy about how good biking will be later in the afternoon. However, when biking happens, the mind wanders imagining eating the cooled watermelon from the fridge when I will be at home. Later, while eating the watermelon, thoughts come up demanding to check the emails. When reading the emails happen, it is labelled by the mind with a thought as boring, with an accompanying fantasy about how much better biking around the lake in the afternoon was.

Meanwhile, the sense of ‘me’ is sustained by being lost in the story of ‘my’ life. And the whole story revolves around only one character, called ‘me’. The ‘I’ is the centre of the universe, centre of its own projection. Everything is interpreted through the filter of a huge web of beliefs that constitutes the self.

The sensations in the legs while pushing the bike, the pumping of the heart in the chest, the warmth of the sun and the stroke of the breeze on the skin, the sight of the glimmering lake and the sounds of the twittering birds, the coolness of the watermelon in the mouth – are all lost and replaced by a dream

There is a constant dissatisfaction with what IS.
Because in this moment ‘I’ do NOT exist.
In this moment, without a mental commentary, there is no self to be found.
The ‘me’ lives only in thoughts.

But the thoughts or the stories by themselves are not problematic, only believing them creates the illusion of their realness. In direct experience, there are just thoughts and images passing by – empty, meaningless. Their meanings emerge only when they are believed and not seen for what they are – simply just thoughts.

Suffering comes from resisting what IS.
Without resistance there is no suffering.
Without arguing with what IS, there is peace.