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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“That little one never made it”

Who we are

Adyashanti shares an interesting story.  I am paraphrasing from memory, but this is the gist:  A spiritual seeker tells him–I want what you have.  Adya appears puzzled.  What do I have?  The spiritual seeker says–I want to be enlightened, to be awake, to be realized.  I want what you got.  Adya replies something like–oh no, I never got anything.  That young man never got anything.  That little one never made it at all.

This story comes back to me at times.  Like this morning.  Sitting here on the couch, thoughts appear in the background.  They keep referring to a “me”, to a Kathy.  They continue to reference a solid separate person with certain characteristics.  The foreground of consciousness watches them appear and disappear, appear and disappear.

I sometimes want to explain to my friends and blog readers here on line.  To tell them what happened, what shifted, how the outgoing blogger and social media participant dissolved–poof!–now you see her, now you don’t.

I want to make up a story telling you where the person went. “This is what happened,” I will say, craftily spinning a tale, pretending that there is an actual person who can come and go, arise and fall, create stories and fall silent.

But the stories can’t really be told without fabricating more creative non-truths.  I can’t tell you anything about me without shape-shifting into a me.  (Which is perfectly OK if that’s what the Universe wants to do in this ever-changing moment.)

Sometimes, like this morning, there’s a nostalgia which arises for the person.  Oh, that little one, that one, where is she?  I almost want to create her this morning out of sticks and stones and a rib from Adam and some grinning amusement from Eve.  To craft story after story to make a solid character who acts predictably in certain ways, who is dependable as the heroine or villain of the tale.  Or who loves acting unpredictably!

(And some days she returns–oh here I am, darling!  Let’s play today.  What character do you want to be?)

But it doesn’t seem possible right now.  It’s as if the old characters have fallen away into the snowy woods, a snowman melted away, the archetypes empty icicles gleaming in the weak January sun.

Matthew of Biblical fame says it this way:  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

The fullness that remains when one dies while still alive! Wow!  What appears in place of the stories is truly amazing in the most ordinary way.  Fingers typing, can you imagine?  The wood stove humming?  Thoughts and stories appearing? To enjoy encounters with people more than before, but without needing anything in return?  All without reference to a central character, a separate person?

Perhaps it was Adyashanti who said that you may lose the separate self but what you gain is the whole world. The whole darn world!  Can you imagine that?

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

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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Does it matter if anyone shares your spiritual perspective?

Our creations

Many faces

Does it matter if your best friend understands or cares about your spiritual viewpoint (or lack thereof?)  Does it matter one iota if your husband or wife understands he/she is not a separate self?  Do you ever need to convince a single other person about the validity of your worldview (or non-existence thereof?)

I don’t know about you, but most of my friends do not care at ALL about non-duality or non-separation or Oneness or whatever.  Some of them seem politely interested.  Some of them are even intrigued.  But on a fierce and passionate search to discover THE TRUTH?  I think not.  Believing it’s even possible? Wanting to think about it or live it 24/7?  Nahhh.

And how many people have you met who have sought and sought and sought and sought and sought until giving up in exhaustion before realizing THE TRUTHLESS TRUTH which existed all along?  Have you met one person?  Six?  A baker’s dozen?

More importantly, does it matter?

My husband has five percent interest in discussing spirituality.  A very few friends exist with a moment-to-moment understanding of flowing as the river of life.  A handful of friends like to ponder spirituality, what makes the personal self tick, the meaning of the Universe.

And isn’t it all fun to ponder this and that?  To dissect the motives and actions and thoughts and intentions of the separate self?  It can be a blast doing that for most of this lifetime.  There’s always the possibility that we’ll figure ourselves out and finally be happy and content and peaceful and satisfied, right?

Or one can simply jump off the wheel of self altogether, the mandala of spirituality or philosophy or psychology.  What’s left after the jump?  Anything one can discuss with another living soul as you free-fall without a net?

Years ago I talked about spirituality with every Tammy, Dianne and Harriet. Every Tom, Dick and Harry.  You want to talk about Native American spirituality?  Kundalini energy?  Buddhist meditation?  C’mon, friend, let’s GO!

(This blog is really the only quiet corner of Universe where these typing fingers decide to share about “spirituality” any more…although the word spirituality does not begin to describe what *simply is*.)  And perhaps they only type because someone may be suffering, may feel a passionate desire to KNOW THE TRUTH, thereby starting the endless seeking…which eventually may lead to giving up…catapulting one into the endless now…which has always existed as the only truth, always available, always present, always whole.

But does it matter if your significant other or best friend cares about non-duality?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.  (Excuse that dualistic pronouncement, but does it really matter one iota?)

Everyone believes what they believes, inspired by what inspires.  I used to think it was important to be surrounded by friends with similar interests and spiritual inclinations.  But isn’t life more exciting with simply everyone and everything appearing with their own seemingly separate views and likes and dislikes?

Everyone is the Absolute appearing as a temporary separate self, an illusion, a trick of Maya with her twinkling wink.

Everyone reflecting a different diamond reflection of the whole.  You, and you, and you, spinning into existence and out again.

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

Stop, drop & roll (awareness-style)

One

Today we’re talking practical.

Enough poetry!

Today we’re talking stop, drop and roll.  You know, the old fire escape safety technique.  Let’s say one awakes in bed to a burning fire.  The victim then ceases movement which may fan flames, drops to the ground, and rolls to assist extinguishing the fire.

All you non-duality awareness fans probably don’t realize a stop, drop & roll technique also exists to assist in awakening beyond the thought-identified mind.

As most of you might know, we often identify with a sense of “me” which exists between our ears, maybe in the forehead area.  That’s where “I” talk to myself endlessly, story after story, hashing and re-hashing, planning and organizing, judging and deciding, you know, all the monkey-mind activities we intimately engage during the day.

Nothing necessarily wrong with those activities!  But identity can become enmeshed between the ears without any larger perspective.  Suffering may arise.  The fire of ego burns!  (Who said no more poetry?)  We may choose to “put it out”.  (Actually what we’re choosing is to notice a larger field which already exists, even though the darn fire seems to prevent larger identification, because perhaps we’re mortally afraid.)

STOP.  Simply notice that you’re caught in thought and emotion.  You’re cycling in a closed loop.  Awareness has velcroed itself to the space behind the forehead, metaphorically speaking.  It has attached itself to thought and imagination, past and future, the individual ego.  It’s perhaps fascinated with the story of a separate human life.  Just notice.

DROP.  Feel your chest, your belly, perhaps even those wiggly toes.  Notice that awareness drops or descends into the body.  Feel the differences in awareness identified between the ears, versus awareness in the belly.  Feel awareness as the body.  Linger here for a while, perhaps, noticing breathing moving in and out, in and out.  Notice that thoughts may still arise, but the velcro loosens as awareness explores itself in the heart area, in the pinky finger.  Emotions still may arise, but they appear as sensations in the body instead of glued to thought-identity.

ROLL.  Notice the room where you sit.  Let awareness roll or travel around the room, briefly noticing chair, couch, cup of tea, computer.  Notice that awareness rolls or flows easily and effortlessly, encompassing everything in the room, even the empty space.  Feel that awareness can not be separated from anything–everything IS awareness.  That floor?  Awareness.  It’s not separate from what is seeing.  That furnace motor?  Awareness.  Not separate from hearing.  It’s ALL awareness.  What else could it be?  That thought or emotion rising?  You’ve got it.  Awareness, of course!

This teeny-tiny technique of Stop, Drop and Roll contains the potential to move awareness from its focused limitation between the ears into a larger field of inclusion.  It can be especially instructive just upon awakening, before leaping out of bed into the fire of life.  I often lie quietly noticing the thoughts and identification, then the body in bed, followed by the dark shadows on the wall.  Until empty space feels like my true identity, oh yes, how could it be otherwise?