Bearing fruit

The seed and the fruit

The seed and the fruit

This morning I decided to yoga-stretch these muscles and joints, slowly, mindfully.  One breath per movement.  This ten-minute routine brings joy when I consciously decide to do it.  Although often the mind attempts to talk it away.  Let’s not do it today, it advises, because it’s too boring, inconvenient or useless. Because it doesn’t feel good at first.  It feels too effortful, even though it’s one of the slowest stretching routines on the planet.

In the middle of the downward dog or upward something-or-other, another thought attempted to take root.  “I don’t know anything,” said the thought.  Immediately a wave of complimentary emotion accompanied the thought, because that’s what emotion does when it thinks a thought is true.  The emotion seemed to say, “Because you know nothing, you’re worthless, ridiculous, empty, pathetic and awful.”

If a person believes every thought is produced by an independent mind—and the thought defines who the person is and what she believes—then suffering often ensues.  Thought becomes entangled in identity.  What I think equals who I am.  It’s a disastrous recipe for human suffering.

Somewhere in this journey of life dozens of kind guides pointed out the fallacy of this.  Thoughts do not define us.  Thoughts are not who we are.  Thoughts come and go in the field of our awareness.  Thoughts arise in us but exist more as kind guides or sadistic demons.  Depending on our willingness to believe and identify, our struggles often arise and continue.

It’s possible to discover the truth of who we are at the ground of being.  Not our outward labels of woman, man, mother, father, gay, straight, black, white, yellow or red.  Not our clouds of feelings:  happy, sad, angry, accepting, annoying, loving, hating, wondering.  Not even the sensations arising that say we’re a separate mind in a separate body.  Of course we’re this body:  what else could we be?

Free fall

Free fall

When we look at experience—the experience of the room or space where we’re reading these words—we notice the desk, the couch, the blanket, the computer, the book, the trees, the umbrella, the bird song, the body, the ticking clock.  We’ve been conditioned by our culture to identify with only one aspect in the multi-faceted infinite awareness.  We choose one object (our body) and say, “This is who I am!”  We ignored the birdsong and the wind and the spiral staircase and the ringing phone.  We call all this awareness “other”.  We are the body and nothing else.  The world is then populated with other-ness, solid objects apart from the person-in-the-body.

Look again at the wide-open nature of experience.  Look at the seamlessness which really arises.  Without thought interjecting labels, is there really any separation?  Or is it a field of unity, of connected reality?  One whole.  One life, one dream, one reality. Isn’t it all us?

With another look, can you actually find a “me” separate from awareness?  Or is it all awareness, undivided?  Is it awareness pouring out of your eyes?  Aren’t the supposed objects simply awareness?  Can you find a place where you begin and the objects start?  Or is awareness a fluid river of appearance? Isn’t it indivisible, whole, completely saturated in and as awareness?

To glimpse this even once can awaken us from the dream of separation.

For most of us, though, we need a hundred glimpses, a thousand glimpses, a billion glimpses in each new and shining ever-present moment to truly realize this in the cells of our body, in our neurological systems.

We can begin to realize how we’ve created a world of thought, of naming.  We’ve populated a world from awareness in which we attempt to protect the imagined separate self.  Look again in experience:  where is the separate self?  See the field of “I am”, the endless infinite awareness.

Thought quite often pops back in with a thousand explanations about why we’re the body/mind.  Why we’re separate.  We’ve been taught that we’re separate human beings in a body since the womb pushed us outward.  Our mamas and papas and brothers and sisters and grandparents and kindergarten friends all agreed.
“Of course, you’re a body!” they would say if asked.  “Are you daft?  The body is everywhere you are.  Your thoughts seem to come from your mind.  Duh!”

Look again, dear reader, look left, look right, look down, look up.  See the field of awareness that you are?  See how the body appears IN it?  How the thoughts appear IN it?

Thoughts are not who we are.  The body is not who we are.

When we see this again and again in the present moment, when we begin to see the truth of this perspective, our world shifts like that baby in the womb and something new stirs.

Everything changes, or at least attempts to establish itself in consciousness, in a new truth.

Then a thought might arise, “I don’t know anything” with its accompanying emotional anguish.  But Truth sees beyond the limits of the conditioned reaction.  It perhaps sees with some degree of clarity that it doesn’t NEED to know anything.  That the truth of the moment is that there is no separate self that knows anything beyond “I am”.  Or perhaps it sees that whatever needs to be known will be known when it’s needed.

In any event, what is clearly seen is that thought is fluid, liquid, not binding, not the property of a separate individual.  There’s a choice to see the truth or the dream.  We can continue dreaming or we can wake up to what we now know is true.

In the next moment, we may be dreaming again.  It’s OK.  For me, it’s the dedication to truth which is bearing fruit at times, which creates apples and oranges and limes and lemons with deep gratitude and compassion.





10 thoughts on “Bearing fruit

  1. I tend to feel that thoughts can be like actions. I know that you said we aren’t what we think. I’m just saying that the more we think something, the more we believe it and make it happen. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are more powerful than we realize. Aligning our thoughts with peace, love, joy, abundance, etc., is actually who we really are. IMO. Don’t know if this makes any sense. 😛

    • It makes perfect sense, Lori. When we align with what we really are (all those qualities that you listed) then it seems that we’re coming from the Truth of our being. A truth that many of us have covered up with egoic patterns of fear, frustration, confusion, sadness and lack. In identifying as a separate mind/body it’s hard to prevent these from arising, as the ego seems to desperately want to survive. For myself, sometimes aligning those thoughts with positive vibes can feel really good and freeing, but they still keep me within the dream of separation in a way that feels hard to express. They’re like the positive karma of yin/yang…but what feels paramount to me is waking up out of the whole positive/negative paradigm. Having said all these sentences, I still feel like I know nothing about it. This morning listened for almost an hour to a guy who talked all about aligning thoughts with what we truly are. All these hours later all that I know is true is here, now, this. Every single word I wrote in this blog post pointing toward here, now, this can be argued into the opposite. So no wonder we worry if our thoughts make any sense! Wrapping this back around, I do believe what you expressed. Just don’t know how it all fits together beyond the immediacy of experience. Thank you so much for sharing how you see it all.

      • Perhaps the struggle to figure it out and get back to the true-self, the I AM, or oneness is part of why we suffer? Isn’t there something like that in Buddhism? We suffer because we don’t accept what is? Eh, who knows. All I know right now is that I’m not enjoying the suffering of my aches and pains. 😛

        • Indeed so. Every time we seek, we suffer, from not accepting the what is. However, the ego basically seeks constantly. It seems to seek love, understanding, cookies, coffee, entertainment, fulfillment, a billion things. When it can’t find fulfillment in the billion things, it often then turns and seeks enlightenment or the true self. Which is only more of the ego seeking. The ego literally can’t seem to accept what is, except in short bursts or efforts. What seems to bear fruit is the clear seeing of who we are. And that often comes when we’re exhausted with the search. If our ego tells us to quit seeking Oneness because it’s all suffering…then a person usually discovers that they just keep seeking cookies or entertainment. At least that’s been my experience. (From someone suffering from her own physical ailments as well!)

  2. I’ve always wanted to pierce this veil between oneness and object. Sometimes it’s possible, but takes great vigilance, persistence. Sometimes it’s granted spontaneously (in the presence of nature, great art, etc.), but not nearly as often I’d like. Presence…the work of a lifetime.

    • Monica, yes. The work of a lifetime, perhaps, seen again in each new moment (or not). This has been my greatest desire in recent years, as well. Now it’s possible to see it by simply looking around the room, but it does seem to take that focus and vigilance and persistence to remember to look. I remember us talking in Escanaba in that coffee shop about such things. It heartens me to think of you and know that your presence exists in this world.

  3. Beautifully written, Kathy! You do have a wonderful way with words.

    Years ago I read a couple of books on cognitive therapy, which started in me the habit of challenging “my” thoughts. “I’m so clumsy.” Is that actually true? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I started avoiding the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ in attempts to control negative thoughts. It helped up to a point.

    And then I started (thanks to you!) reading about nonduality. As you say, “thoughts come and go in the field of our awareness.” Joan Tollifson compares them to weather systems, storms and sunny days that appear and then disappear. Sometimes I can cheerfully dismiss them with an “I don’t believe you!” Other times I dwell on them and suffer. It’s amazing how something so intangible as a thought can have so much influence on our sense of well-being.

    • Barbara, Joan has such an interesting comprehensive way of explaining non-duality. I like to bathe in her words at times. You can see how thought is so often rushing in to label, when it’s really more like just seeing that there’s spacious sky–always–behind all those weather systems. Like you, I can sometimes see the truth of those weather systems, and at other times get entangled (in a cloud!) and, oh yes, suffering ensues. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts.

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