Moving it into the nervous system

Work Zone

Work Zone

It’s one thing to understand non-duality or spirituality with the mind.  My thoughts heard about awareness and read a hundred spiritual teachers in this lifetime, so often nodding and saying yes, yes, yes.  I understand.  Yes, I get it.  I grok this, I know–well, sort of–what teachers are saying with their fingers pointing toward the moon.  Or at least I THINK I know.

Enough to write a hundred blogs attempting to explain what I think I know about what can’t be put into words.

Thoughts love to lasso possible concepts and make sense of the world.  We like to order our concepts into a giant interlocking jigsaw puzzle.  We sometimes think if we find that last missing piece–we’ll finally get it.  We will have arrived at some understanding.  We’ll know.

Of course, eventually, it sometimes starts to dawn that what the spiritual teachers (and maybe even our own thoughts) say is true.

It’s a journey of un-knowing.  It’s a relaxing into not knowing anything.  Literally not knowing where to turn next.  Not depending on thoughts as a lifeline.

Our nervous systems have been operating since birth with thoughts as King.  We think thoughts are “ours”; we often blindly obey them; they form our sense of identity.

When identity with thoughts and personality loosens, our nervous systems literally often do not know how to respond. They must rebuild circuitry with the un-knowing trust at the center, instead of thoughts.  (Thoughts still carry on, it seems, but more as advisors rather than autocrats.)

The nervous system can feel very frightened during this time.  It literally has not learned to trust “nothing”.  It feels Spirit is too insubstantial, too flimsy.  It often thinks it’s going to die without control at the helm.

So much of my spiritual work in the last eight years has been allowing awareness to move deeply into the nervous system where real change can occur.  Moving into tight, closed, clutched places in the gut, liver, knees, heart.  Awareness itself opens, releases, allows.

One of the litmus tests of the nervous system seems to be:  can we meet feelings of fear without going unconscious into a story?  Can we meet sensations of pain without resurrecting a self who is suffering?  Are we still craving food, alcohol, activities to fill our days?  Do we sense life is not enough?

If so, our realization often hasn’t sunk deep enough into our nervous system.  It’s a continuing journey of meeting whatever hasn’t relaxed in our bones, our blood, our organs, our skin.  Of learning to trust in an embodied way.

The mind can’t think its way into this.  Every time the body contracts it’s another opportunity to allow awareness to move inward and sit with the sensations without a story, without an explanation.

And slowly, usually slowly (although sometimes immediately) the body relaxes even more and kinesthetically realizes trust in the unknown is an amazing gift…

 

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Gorilla eyes

The following is a one-page handwritten stream-of-consciousness writing without commas, periods or any other renegade punctuation.  I am typing it into this post in short fragments, like a poem, to make it easier for passersby to read.  Heaven knows where stream-of-consciousness writing comes from!

Posting it here, well, just because.

Dream

Restlessness oh the world

can not be fitted into stories and categories and definitions

oh no except if the stories shine open-ended and

do not point definitively

because it’s all so all so much and

I cannot make heads nor tails nor sense of

lapping waves changing skies and songbird chatter

let alone restlessness in the gut like an invisible piano player

hitting note after note on his duality instrument with

cigar smoke permeating the bar and wine running in the gutters as a

homeless man sobs and a wealthy duchess sips

and how much can a mere mind make sense of this and

yet the thoughts continue to line everything up like ducks in a row

in a carnival game and the man hoists his shooting iron from Turkey

and grins confidently at the laughing woman

on his arm and aims and

bang bang bang

down go those ducks and the carnival guy asks

what he wants and he points to a six foot gorilla and

he carries it to the laughing woman and the shooter goes out toward the

merry go round all bravado never suspecting

in ten months he’ll be dead by sniper’s bullet in Afghanistan and

the woman will weep but only for two nights

before donning her blue dress and sitting in Charley’s bar

trying to forget

those gorilla eyes