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.)

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.

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?

What is love?

Romantic love is often depicted in moves as a beautiful fairy tale. After many years of lonely nights and bad relationships, finally the beautiful girl finds her ‘soul mate’, who is perfect and special and loves her unconditionally. These stories promise a happy, fulfilling life, where love conquers all. But is this our everyday experience in our relationships?

118“I want you to love me. I need your love. I need you to accept me as I am.” This is what we think what we need. But these words can be translated into these: “I need you to reflect back a positive self-image to fill the hole in me. I need you to accept in me what I cannot accept.”

Relationships are mirrors. They mirror back our ‘selves’. Relationships reflect back our self-image. I am looking in others that seems to be missing in ‘me’.

The feeling that something is lacking is part of the life of almost all humans. We lack love. We lack acceptance. Therefore, we are constantly searching outside, seeking approval to fill the lack and to be complete and whole.

When ‘you’ and ‘me’ fall in love, it seems that we love each other. But actually, I love the story of ‘you’ I have about you, and similarly, you just love your story about ‘me’. We only love the images we have of each other. So we have an unwritten pact that we mutually fortify each others’ self-image; and if you dare to break these rules, I either try to carve you to fit into the image I have of you so I can feel loved again, or I withdraw my love because you have diminished my already frail self-image. The pact is about inflation, not about deflation.

My love is conditional. I love you only when you make me feel happy, whole and secure. My love can easily turn into hatred if you stop fulfilling your designated role. So, I need you to change in order to feel happy again… This is what we normally call love.

But can love be conditional? Is it really love or just a form of attachment? Of course, this is one of last things the ‘egoic mind’ wants to hear, because it shakes its illusory foundation.

Is love an emotion at all, or a state of being?
Can any state be permanent?

Love cannot be found in the seemingly outside world or in the apparent others; love is here and now, in this moment. When there is no resistance to what IS, so called ‘pleasant emotions’ can arise. But love arising from non-resistance is ‘different’ from the love we conventionally refer to. In this sense, love is not something that can be achieved by doing.

Love cannot be gained.
Love is not doing.
Love is non-action.
Love is non-resistance.

Love is acceptance.
Love is peace with what IS.

When there is no resistance, love naturally arises.
Without resistance, love is all there is.

‘I’, as the centre of the universe

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When the identification with the ‘I’ thought set forth, from then on, literally everything is viewed from the perspective of a separate individual. The ‘I’ becomes the centre of the universe, and contrary to popular belief, this egoic perspective never stops until the end of the organism. The only way to break the spell is to awaken to the realisation that there has never been a self, who could own life, in the first place.

The sense of ‘me’ is constructed by the brain from the concoction of the mental image of the body, the collection of memories – which is the base of ‘my’ life story –, the compilation of thousands or millions of beliefs with the associated emotional responses and conditioned, habitual judgements.

With every thought and every belief the sense of ‘I’ is ‘created’ again and again. ‘I’ am the centre of everything. The ‘I’-thought is so pervasive that it is there even in the most seemingly innocent judgements, like ‘This flower is so beautiful’. Apparently, the word ‘I’ is missing from this statement, and yet, it is still there implicitly, because ‘I’ am the one who makes this judgement about the flower, according to ‘my’ definition of beauty. A flower does not have an innate attribute of beauty. The flower just IS. ‘I’ project beauty on it. ‘I’ put the mental label of beauty on it.

Reality is neutral.

All the input that comes from our senses is filtered through a huge, intricate web of beliefs. As a result, a flower may look like ‘for me’ as if it has independent and inherent attributes as its own. But in direct experience, there are no attributes, just colours, shapes, movements, scents, textures.

When these judgement and beliefs are seen for what they are – simple thoughts passing by – then the heavy veil of life gently becomes translucent until it disappears back to nothingness.

This is peace.
This is what ‘we’ are seeking.
Freedom from ‘our’ selves.

What is the meaning of life?

This is an all-time favourite question; does life have a meaning?

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But what is the ‘I’ that wants to know the meaning of life? What wants meaning? Why is there a need to assign any meaning or purpose to life? Why not accept life as it is without putting any interpretation, intention or meaning on it?

Have you ever entertained the possibility that life does not have a meaning?

What comes up, how do you feel or react when you read these lines? Is there resistance? Do ‘you’ want life to have a meaning?

What is this ‘I’ that doesn’t like to hear this?

The ‘I’ desperately wants to find or assign meaning to life because for the ‘I’ life is equal to ‘me’. It says: “I have a life and I want to have a meaning and purpose of my life”. But without life having any meaning ‘my’ life does not have a meaning either. I am nothing.

This is the last thing the ‘egoic mind’ would like to hear because it could lead to the conclusion of its annihilation.

But is there a self in the first place that could own life?

While the ‘I’ try to find or assign meaning to life, there is being lost in the heavy veil of dreamland – made of mental constructs – lost in the content of the story about life and not seeing what IS. Life is happening right here, right now and nobody is living it.

Searching for meaning is just a form of seeking.

The ‘mind’ always wants to put meaning on everything.
The ‘mind’ is a labelling machine.
Meaning is just a mental label on what IS.

Life is living itself without any purpose or meaning.
Life is as it IS.

This is freedom. This is peace.