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…

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 1)

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What is an expectation? An expectation is nothing more than a mental concept. In order to compare it with the current experience, the current experience needs to be conceptualized. As a result, there ‘are’ two mentally fabricated constructs that can be matched up, with a ‘result’ of putting a label of either “this is liberation” or “this is not” onto the experience.

Every expectation is in the way of seeing what is here, right now. Every single expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS. Expectations are about the future. But liberation cannot be found in the future.

#1 Expecting that identification with thoughts and stories would never happen again

136.3Liberation is not a one-time event. After seeing through the illusion of the self, being lost in the content of stories and identification with the I-thought still happen. Because both believing thoughts and the identifying with the I-thought are nothing more than conditionings; they are only conditioned habits. And just because seeing through the illusion of the ‘me’ has happened, it does not necessarily mean that X years of conditioning will go away at once. But without a centre, a ‘me’, there is nothing they could attach to or stick to, so gradually they fall away. This falling can last until the end of the organism.

Like when you go to the cinema, being lost in the story happens with the identification of the character on the screen. But sooner or later there is a sudden ‘awakening’ with the realisation that this is just a story and the characters on the screen are not real. But in the next moment or so, being lost in the story can happen again and again.

However, every time it is checked ‘What is this me?’, ‘Where is it?’ – it is clearly seen that it has never been, except as the content of a thought – nothing more, nothing ‘real’.

#2 Believing that liberation is a meditative state

What can be experienced in meditation is an altered state, a state where thought processes lessen. But no states are permanent. Seeing ‘no-self’ is not about having a constant meditative state, or any kind of state. It is simply about seeing that there is not and has never been a ‘you’ at all that could control or govern life. There are no altered states involved.

#3 Wanting a previous spiritual experience back

Whatever those glimpses were, they are over. Finished. They are only memories, only thoughts (stories) arising now. They can be hindrances of seeing what is, if you try to compare any current experiencing with those memories. So it is better to let them go and be what they are, only thoughts (memories) arising in the present moment.

Continued in part two…

What is ‘my’ identity made of?

What is your identity? Do you have identity or are you the identity?

Are you a human, a man, a mother, a hard worker, a good or respectful member of society? Are you the daughter or son of your father and mother?

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Have you ever really seen your mother or father? Have you ever got real interaction with them or have you just been interacting with ‘your’ story about them?

What are your parents? Do they really exist independently from ‘your’ interpretation? Or are they just thought stories appearing in the moment? Are the stories about ‘your parents’ part of ‘your’ identity?

What would you be without the stories of ‘your father’ and ‘your mother’?
Would you BE?

‘My father’ is just a story, a mental construct with associated attributes.
My mother is who I believed her to be.
My parents don’t exist without ‘my’ interpretation.
The bodies that are called my parents are real*, but all their attributes and characteristics are projected by ‘me’.

Every time I meet with my father (or just think of him), the whole story about ‘my father’ is projected onto him, and all my reactions and behaviours towards him are the result of reacting to this image of ‘my father’, and not to that body that is called ‘my father’.

And it is not only about my father. I react to everybody – who resembles ‘my father’ even just the slightest (my boss, my neighbour or the high school teacher) – as if they were ‘my father’. When this projection happens and the story is believed, and therefore resulting reactions arise – the sense of ‘me’ emerges.

‘I’ live through these stories. ‘I’ live through projections.

‘My father’ is part of ‘my’ identity.
My identity is nothing more than a collection of stories appearing as content of thoughts in the present moment.
Without these stories, ‘I’ don’t exist. ‘I’ live only in stories.
My parents are ‘my’ faces looking back from the mirror.
I am the story about my parents.
I am ‘my parents’.

Two individuals can never really meet. I cannot see you, I cannot hear you, because I can only see and react to ‘my’ story about you. The whole world is ‘my’ projection. Nothing exists without ‘me’.

There is no ‘you’; I can see only ‘myself’ in ‘you’.
‘You’ are just an image in the mirror reflecting back ‘myself’.
‘I’ am both the projector and the projected image.
‘You’ are ‘me’.

* (the body appears real in conventional reality, but not in direct experience)

If there is only oneness, why can’t I feel your pain?

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Question: “I AM is all that is, all One. Then, why would a truth realised person feel the physical pain only when it is pertaining to his/her body and not when someone else is hurt in front of that person? If there is no one inside the body then who is that that feels the physical pain when the body is hurt or diseased?” 

In these questions there are several assumptions that need further investigation.

At first, a truth realized person does not exist, because there is nobody to become truth realised. There is only ‘realisation’ or ‘liberation’. But it does not happen to anybody. There has never been an ‘I’ than could be liberated, not even a body.

142.4The questions about pain are based on the assumption that there are an objectively existing body and others (other bodies). However, in direct experience (experiencing with the five senses, experiencing prior to thought) it can be clearly seen that there is no body either. There are only certain sensations (like seeing, hearing, feeling/touching, smelling, tasting) – and based on these experiences a mentally constructed image of the body ’emerges’. But this image is nothing more than an idea. The body-image cannot be experienced directly, although, thoughts persistently suggest otherwise.

In the immediate direct experience, pain does not originate from the body, because there is no body; there are only sensations that are labelled as ‘body’. The body is a mentally ‘constructed’ image that arises simultaneously with a sensation tagged as ‘pain’.

Similarly, there is an assumption that there are others (other bodies). While you read these words, there is a mentally constructed ‘Vivien’ with the assumption that these words were typed by her. But in direct experience there are only words, letters on the screen. ‘Vivien’ or the other person is just an assumption, an idea. But even this is not totally the case. In ‘reality’, there are not even screens or words. There is only seamless colour-ing. There is only seeing. In order to ‘recognise’ a word or a screen, a mental concept of a word or a screen has to emerge as a current appearing thought or a mental image. But mental concepts are just interpretations layered over the current experiencing.

One could say that it is relatively easy to see this with the words on the screen but what if you are standing face-to-face with another person? In direct experience, what is the other person? How is it experienced?

The so called other can be seen, touched, heard, smelled or even tasted. But actually, there is only seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting. From these experiences a mental concept of ‘other’ emerges, believing that this is a human being, a woman, alive, X years old who is talking to me about her pain right now. All of these are projections. The direct experiencing of seeing, touching or hearing does not imply all of these. There is not even a link between the sound and the sight, yet alone ‘her pain’, only thoughts connect them claiming that ‘she is talking’. So, in the immediate direct experience, where is the other? Is there an other?

It is not about seeing or believing that ‘your body’ and ‘my body’ are one and the same or feeling ‘your pain’, but about seeing that there is neither ‘your’ or ‘my’ body in the actual immediate experience. Both of them are just mental constructs projected onto the sensations.

There is no independent ‘reality’.
There is no division, only thoughts divide.
Whatever ‘I’ see in ‘you’ is ‘me’.
‘I’ fill the mental construct of ‘you’ with attributes.
‘I’ am ‘you’.

And yet, in our everyday life (in conventional reality) we behave as if these mental constructs were ‘real’. There is nothing wrong with the body-image or any mental constructs – they are beautiful and most of the time quite useful. However, seeming ‘problems’ can occur when they are mistaken as ‘reality’ and not seen for what they are – simple thoughts like birds flying by.

Are annoying people really annoying?

281Imagine that you have a boss who is really annoying; the way he goes through the office, how he moves his hands, the tone of his voice, the way how he wants to persuade everybody that he is right. Every time you talk to him you become upset and feel tense. You even get irritated when you just spot his laptop on the desk, because it means that he is around and going to pick on you and give a lecture about how things should be.

He is really annoying. But is he truly?

Does he annoy me or have I become annoyed of him? Does his tone of voice have a power over my feelings and bodily sensations or do I get upset when I hear his voice? What does really irritate me, his voice or ‘my’ interpretation about his voice? He or ‘my’ story about him?

The whole world is just a projection. An intricately detailed web of beliefs is projected ‘outward’ to the seeming ‘others’, which is reflected back to ‘me’.

So when he starts to criticise me, it is not his words that hurt me; the ‘hurtful feelings’ come because his words have been interpreted through these beliefs. ‘I’ project ‘my’ fragile self-image onto his words, and if it hurts, it just means that there is a belief in action, a belief in a deficient, not-good-enough self.

The ‘annoying boss’ is just a reflection in the mirror.

And as long as there is a belief that my opinions, beliefs and thoughts are true and actual facts, there is also a belief in the seeming others’ opinions. But others’ opinions do not exist independently from ‘my’ interpretation. Both ‘my’ and others’ opinions are nothing more than concepts and they are not referring to anything real.

My boss’ opinions seem to ‘originate’ from him, but actually, his words are just the reflections of the belief in the deficient self.

Projection ‘fills’ the words by meaning.

When this apparent not-good-enough self is activated, “I feel little and inferior”. In order to compensate these feelings, the need for criticism arises. Every time I judge somebody, I feel better and superior because the fragile self-image is strengthened a bit, believing to be better than the apparent other. But all judgement comes from judging ‘myself’.

So, as long as the belief in the separate self is intact, there is a need for a constant reinforcement. “I need to feel superior, otherwise I am inferior”. But this reinforcement works only in comparison to something or somebody else, with an illusory separation, a division between ‘me’ and the rest of the world.

But in reality, none of them are real.
There is no separation, only thoughts suggest otherwise.
The world is nothing more than a reflection.
The other is just an image in the mirror.

Waking up in the dream is seeing that there has never been a self.
There is no ‘me’, no ‘you’, just life flowing freely as it IS.

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.