Beyond and not beyond thought

Spiritual teachers point to the ever-changing Now and declare:  This is it!  Embrace it.  Be it.  Realize it.

Seekers all over this blue and green spinning planet hear these words and attempt to reach present moment awareness.  We meditate.  We adjust our chakras.  We chant.  We walk in the woods.  We dance ecstatically.  We write poems.  We dream.  We achieve an insight and think we’ve attained something. We try so very very hard to be aware 24/7.

The doer within so often hears words and attempts to claim this awareness.  It comes up with plan after dazzling plan.  And, if your doer is anything like mine, it fails with plan after dazzling plan.  It’s always back to Square One.  After one or six or ten years or a lifetime of this doing/planning/attempting/seeking it can get darn right discouraging.

What else is Mind to do except come up with a plan of action?  It’s what our thoughts do.  They’re so good and diligent at attempting to fulfill our wishes.  Don’t you just want to hug them for trying again and again and yet again?

Yet the poor dears seem destined for failure.  No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we insist, thoughts can not create the Ultimate Plan.  They can not lead us to the Promised Land of Ourselves.

Why?  Because present moment awareness pulses in an all-encompassing dance that surrounds and encompasses thought.  Because present moment awareness sings as freedom, whilst thought prunes into categories and explanations.

Our Mind may read those sentences and determine that thought is an enemy to be conquered.  (Just get rid of thought, Thought advises, and you’ll get there.)  But thought isn’t the enemy.  Thought is a good friend, a great tool, standing ready in love to assist your bidding.  Thought need not be annihilated, even though it may be ready to try to serve your greatest desire.

So many plans of Mind leave us standing at a dead-end, weeping.  We’re not there yet, we cry.  We think up an explanation which attempts to explain our tears.  We’ll say sentences like:  I know I’m not there yet because I still think there’s a self.  I know I’m not there yet because I’m not 100% awake and aware and in the present moment.

Thought sobs at our tears and starts another Big Plan…simply to fail the next day or six months later.

Around and around and around the karmic bicycle we pedal.  (If this is our proclivity.)

Suddenly or very slowly we begin to realize that thought will never get us to ourselves.  Because we’ve never left ourselves.  Because this–this present moment awareness–is what we’ve been seeking all along.  We’re like a baby in womb trying to find her mother.  Her mother completely surrounds.

Thought isn’t the proper tool for realizing this pulsing dancing singing zing of present moment awareness.  Thought is like a calculator.  You wouldn’t expect a calculator to appreciate the beauty of a sunset, would you?  And yet that’s what some of us do sixteen times an hour as we seek the home which calls us.

So what do we do about this thought tool?  Is there any way for it to serve present moment awareness?  (My thought delights that it’s being asked!)

“Remind me gently to simply notice what’s already here,” I say to thought.  “Remind me to relax into this present moment awareness which always exist.”

Thought rushes off to comply.

Relax, it says periodically throughout the day.  Feel what IS before this thought.  Look.  Oh my goodness! (And then, perhaps, it stops, flabbergasted, for nothing it might say could add or take away from what appears, so complete onto its ordinary and miraculous Self.)





7 thoughts on “Beyond and not beyond thought

  1. the present entails so many things that I can notice, as soon as I am noticing, I am missing the others, opportunity cost–perhaps the times I beat myself up or that I despair are times when I have to focus on things that are not what I wish to be noticing, sometimes for me this would mean that I am deluded and that I cannot see myself, and other times it could be an escape and a wish to only notice things that are pleasing–i think life is that we notice continuously, perhaps what you call thought, labels those noticings as good , bad, of value, as obsessions etc. etc…

    • Just wondering, Elisa…do you feel like it’s you that can choose what to notice or not notice? It feels like thoughts say that we have free-will and that it’s “us” who choose what to focus on or not…but when I’m not thinking, just directly being with what’s happening, it feels like an effortless flow in which Life itself is just choosing what to focus on. My “I” can think that it’s the one choosing, but in direct experience it seems just the opposite–the eye just moves to look at the leaf, the ear moves to hear the chickadee, the body gets up and walks to the kitchen to pour tea. My thoughts think they’re the ones responsible (and who knows, maybe sometimes they are) but more often it seems like it’s a dance, an orchestra, and the central “I” isn’t really in control like she thinks. Just some observations…

      • in order to answer as best i can to what you asked, both
        however I have, at this time, no reason to need to know nor to understand which, the drive to rip it apart seems (i don’t really have a word for it and worthless seems to be rude) as it does not matter
        For my own example another way of looking at it is if my inside Miranda noticed or if Elisa noticed–it doesn’t matter in the end, it is the joy and noticing of the focus perhaps. The noticing itself. I do not believe that we are empty nor that we are meant to be empty. So far it appears to me that ripping it all apart and trying to understand Buddhism apart from the Tao has created a push to create for ourselves an understanding of and a thing that isn’t. To cause an unnatural breaking of a river, as if one drop of it is more true than the rest. If you lift up on drop on your hand can you tell if you have the river or a raindrop?

        • Elisa, this sounds like wisdom. Thank you for sharing. I don’t believe it can be ripped apart either, back into an “I” or “Life” or “other”. Yet that is what our minds seem to do. Wow, I love what you said about the river or raindrop. And yet why do our minds then beat ourselves up and why do we believe them? My mind loves to divide things up into categories, into words, into concepts. It adores dissecting the river into raindrops. And yet it can’t be done! There is a conundrum, isn’t it? The joy and noticing of the focus…yes…and perhaps it’s allowing the focus be on what’s happening, whether the ripping apart or the seeing it all together as one. Perhaps it’s only when we insist that it be one way that we suffer. It seems to be that way for me at times.

      • Oh, much of that is simply noticing. I hold no requirement for you to justify or to explain, or for you to change anything. Sometimes I speak in questions and observations that help me to notice and then to notice how it is that I notice one time over another.

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