Emotion and identity

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In recent weeks it becomes clearer and clearer how strong emotion and identity link together to form a sense of the separate self.

Let’s say a wave of annoyance or anger arises against Trump, immigrants, your spouse, your own actions.

That emotion somehow seems to cement identity.  You seem to know who you are.  You are the one, you think, riding that white-hot feeling of rage.  Or that mild buzz of disagreement.

This link seems to convince us who we are.  We are the one who wants to right wrongs.  We are independent beings deserving a say, a voice, an opinion.  The emotion bubbling alongside the thought somehow convinces us that it’s true.

I recently experienced a disagreement with my husband.  He thought one thing; I thought another.  A wave of annoyance arose.  Thoughts clamored to the surface:  he’s wrong, I’m right, the answer is of course my answer.  Simultaneously a logical part arose attempting to find a solution to our dilemma.

What was interesting is that the wave of annoyance and sense of “I” arose simultaneously attempting to convince the separate self of its existence and truth.

If you’ve done inquiry for a while, it’s sometimes possible to surf that wave of emotion and simply be with it.  To see very clearly that the emotion does NOT mean it’s coming from a separate self.  In fact, surprise!, it’s possible for the view to shift to a perspective which sees that the emotion is simply a reactive arising–and definitively not who one ultimately is.

It’s possible to look around the living room and see–once again–that what one truly is is aware, free, all-encompassing.

Identification shifts from the focused to the expansive.  It shifts to reveal the emotion as not-self.  Simply another arising in an infinite field.

The argument with the husband or Trump or your own actions?  With the shift comes an opening for something else to appear.  A space for unknown possibilities now arising out of peace.

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Stuck in emptiness once again

Cougar in forest

Emptiness/fullness

Sometime in late May the ego seemed to dry up and disappear again.  One knows it because the wanting and desiring and craving fades.  At first it felt soooo peaceful and relaxing and wonderful.  Like the peace that passeth all understanding.  Feelings (both positive and negative) came and disappeared.  Thoughts of all kinds arose and fell away.  The space of awareness held everything, all was allowed, welcome all you vagabonds!

A sudden desire to meditate on emptiness appeared.  I usually feel no desire to meditate any more, so this felt surprising.  OK, emptiness, here you are.  The body relaxed deeper, soothed by no-thing-ness.

Suns rose and suns set.  The days meandered by.  Personal will seemed gone.  Emptiness simply moved through the mornings and evenings, occasionally jarred  by sadness, anger, or whatever human emotion the body-mind produced.  Nothing ultimately disturbed.

We split and stacked our wood for next winter.  I ran the wood splitter and we both lugged the firewood into the truck.  Eventually we unloaded the pickup.  It all felt good and flowing.

The body was ill, as well, during that time.  A dull ache permeated from the underarm to beneath the right breast.  The emptiness allowed it all.  In the midst of the discomfort I called the doctor and scheduled mammogram and eventually ultrasound.  An inner thought wondered if this was it–dread disease, come to inhabit and take the body.  I remember fear and then thinking, “OK, yes, if it’s time, that’s OK, too.”

The body breathed and breathed and breathed.  We split wood, I did diagnostic tests, and hurt while feeling peaceful and flowing.  Emptiness surrounded.

Then I noticed another feeling arising. Almost a light depression.  A hollowness.  A feeling of being stuck.  A frustrating sameness to life.  No ups, no downs, no joy, no real fear.  Just this over-arching emptiness at the base of all things.

Suddenly I felt a desire to listen to Adyashanti, one of my favorite spiritual teachers.  So often his teachings truly change things at a deep level for me.

He spoke of fixation and how our point of view can fixate in any state.  We can fixate in emptiness, fullness, oneness, separate self, or divinity.

The minute he spoke I KNEW what had happened.  I was stuck in emptiness once again.  (Not the first time, and probably not the last…)

How subtle–that even a point of view can fixate like that!

As he spoke, the fixation shifted and changed and dissolved.  And now it’s all brand new.

Now the heart feels full once again.

And, joyfully, the body received a diagnosis and the pain seems to be dissolving.  Turns out I have an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage–probably caused from lifting wood too high to throw into the truck.  Now I can remember lifting a log and feeling a pressure under the right arm…before the discomfort spread all around the rib cage.

And life continues to change…empty, full, and who knows where next?

 

 

 

 

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

Who thinks?

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A thought arises–any thought–and the perspective of an individual self nods and thinks, “That thought is mine.”

Obviously, the seemingly-separate individual self thinks the thought appeared in the brain attached to the neck attached to my two waggling arms and these sturdy long legs. The person has been conditioned since wee babyhood to equate thoughts to a personal self.

To our seemingly-separate self the idea that thoughts are “common domain” of the flow of life seems bizarre, unreal, absolutely untrue.  To even contemplate that thoughts are not attached to the body/mind reeks of heresy!  No, no, no, my individual separate self proclaims–my thoughts are obviously mine because…well, because my friend Susan isn’t thinking the same thing.  She’s obviously got her thoughts and I’ve got mine.  End of story.

One vase, two profiles?

Perspective

When and if the perspective of a separate self falls away, for a moment, hour, day or lifetime, a different perspective appears.  In this viewpoint exists only Flow, or Source, or Oneness, or God, or Life, or All, or Whatever-the-heck-you-call-it-because-it-doesn’t-have-a-name-and-can’t-be-defined-by-words.

When everything reveals itself to be One, who’s thinking?  Where do thoughts come from?  Suddenly it’s crystal clear that thoughts are the domain of the One.  Thoughts arise from the field.  Thoughts are common property, somehow channeled into this constantly-changing moment.

A thought now arises and one realizes it’s not personal.  It’s part of the flotsam and jetsam of the brain, the field, the One.  It’s not seen as particularly “true”.  It could be utilized by the flow in the next moment, or it could be discarded.

A thought appears:  I want to read this blog.  Did you think it? Or did it just appear in consciousness, in flow?  The “I” rushes in to claim it so often.  It says–I thought, I decided, I read.  But what if it’s just consciousness that decided?  The flow moved toward the blog.  You’re here reading because that’s where the the river flowed around the bend and paused here just for an instant…

Doesn’t it become harder to judge one’s neighbor with this realization?  Doesn’t it become almost impossible?

 

 

The inner place that scared me most

 

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It’s early, so early in the morning and I want to write a personal blog here on Simply Here, a place where personal blogs don’t usually appear because the fingers are too busy delightedly typing about non-duality and awareness and Oneness.

For most of my life this ego-personality has felt very restless, unsettled, a bit uncomfortable and confused.  A spiritual journey ignited early in life as a quest to *find myself*.  To learn to deeply settle into this skin, to collapse into the solidity of these bones, to breathe clearly from these lungs, to beat upon the earth in full cooperation with these feet.

It felt like the journey to truly claim the self would somehow serve others, in the same way the action of a single bird serves the entire flock.

 

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Consciousness after slipping out of the womb

This.  Here.  Now.

This. Here. Now.

Pretend you just slipped out of the womb.  You peer around at the glaring hospital lights, feeling a cool breeze on your naked belly.  Faces appear before your interested gaze. (Unless, of course, you’re annoyed to be here, frustrated and uncomfortable, wondering what the heck just happened.)

You look around.  You have no words for anything.  It’s all shape, movement, texture, energy.  A world sparkles around you, an entire dream filled with the five senses and consciousness.

Consciousness is!  It looks out your eyes and envelopes the entire room.  It doesn’t create a separate self yet.  Everything dances together and apart.  It’s all simply presence, or now.  It isn’t really aware of itself AS awareness.  It’s undefined, non-conceptualized, simply what is, without boundaries, without limits.  It’s free.

Now imagine yourself fifteen months later when Mama has called, “Annie!” or “Susan!” or “John!” sixteen thousand times.  Every time you’ve focused on Mama’s face and lips she’s pointing at you and calling you a name.

That’s when a kind of pretending starts.  Something dawns:  “Ahhh, when she calls Annie she means ME!  She means this body, these thoughts.”

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Simply here once again

Riipples

Ripples

Don’t we just laugh at ourselves, these strange seemingly-solid creatures who change our minds again and again and again?

One minute we’re coming and the next we’re leaving.  One minute we’re writing and the next we’re swearing never to write again.  One minute we’re attempting to hold together a solid sense of self and the next…well, does it matter any more?

We’re Life.

We’re Life moving, changing, dancing, singing, drinking tea, making mistakes, laughing, frowning, feeling deep-down pain or embarrassment, skipping, wielding a cane, tasting an oh-so-delicious banana split.

We’re LIFE!  This is amazing when you start to grok it with your whole being.

Within Life, thoughts come and go.  Within Life, feelings arise and fall away.  Within Life, actions appear.  Choosing appears.  Decisions happen.

But who is this phantom Chooser, Doer, Decision-maker?  I used to think it was me.  A thought appeared in the brain and a mini-me existing inside this head would ponder all the alternatives.  Should I, shouldn’t I?  Yes, no or maybe so?  An endless cycle of trying-to-figure it out ensued.

Then a decision appeared and a thought accompanied it, “I decided to write a blog again!” or “I will never write a blog here again!” and the inner-me ascertained so certainly, “I made that decision, of course I did.”

It’s the way separate selves view themselves.  As somehow apart from the river of life, as somehow independent creatures making independent decisions.

How interesting to discover that in direct experience (without the reference of the mind) it doesn’t appear to happen that way.  Thoughts arise.  Feelings appear.  And yet no doer or thinker or chooser or decider can be located.  Look inside, right now, and see, if you’re inclined.  (If you’re not inclined, never-you-mind, because are you choosing that either?)

It’s such a relief to drop away from all that sense of responsibility and to discover that something already exists prior to the separate decision-maker.  Something that can be so fully trusted and allowed and embraced.  Something that IS in every single waltz and tango and goodbye and hug and weeping tears.  Something that has never deserted us since the moment we birthed unto the planet, and maybe before, and always after.

I stand in awe and prickling tears before this truth–which can never be fully explained or made into an object–and who knows which way the river flows now and now and now again?