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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rest

I've been snuggling up to a radically new relationship to Is-ness.

The unwinding mind in me is like an untied balloon sailing around and around as the air rushes to escape out of it. The "I" I have thought I am has no traction, no control, no creative ability. All the years of straining and striving, praying and teeth-gnashing, has been no more than tail-chasing, resisting, temper-tantruming.  And as I catch up to this truth, I am finding that more and more I can be with life in the moment as though it is a perfect, simple cup of tea.

There is nothing to add that can make it more or better than what it already is.  Oh, I could drop in a skewered couple of green olives, if I were feeling manic enough, but I will never make it a martini. And there is nothing that can be subtracted from it either.  I can't take out the heat or the wet or the color even if I wanted to, and since I can't, why worry about it. 

But wait...what madness would want to change What Is?

From the perspective of The Course In Miracles, this question summarizes the only problem we have ever had.  We forgot to laugh at the "what if we could be more than God?" thought, and this forgetting made the thought real to us, because as God-mind, our thoughts have power.  Then we made the world we see to hide from our pain in "separating" from God, from Is-ness.  Now we dream dreams that can never be Real, attempting to make more "life" out of what has never been, instead of returning our thoughts to what is already Perfect Is-ness.

Ah, the mirror again, showing up in the little lives like mine that seem to be born, work, and die.  How much of my life has been spent trying to turn something into something it is not!

I must remember to laugh.

The cup the tea is in will change, of course, and it will ultimately, later or sooner, die, as does every form.  But tea.. as it is.. right now...just Is.  Rumi might tell me to sip it and get drunk.  I think that is the direction I am heading.

Being a reluctant go-getter all my life, this life-as-tea existence is, as I allow myself to sink into it, above all other things, restful.  The Course calls it the Holy Instant.  But it is still a "skill" at the moment to hold this space, and it strains me at times, at which point I must back off and stop doing "not doing."  I learn a lot by watching knee jerk make-it-happen, declarative responses that sneak into my thoughts or words or actions.

In other ways, it is miraculous.  I saw the Buddha in my son the other day, and I real-ized that for some time, years, I had abandoned him. I knew him as the baby Being, all Is-ness in my arms.  But somewhere along the way, I had stopped being with him and had been trying to draw him into The Story.  Of course, he could not join me there. Conditioned egoic mind had caught up to us and we were lost to each other.  Temporarily.

Thank GOD I am being shown how to be.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Backlash

As a kid, I never wanted to keep a diary, because I was afraid that some day I (not anyone else, but myself) would look back on it and laugh at how serious I was about my juvenile feelings and conclusions.  I was deathly afraid of this at the ripe age of 10, which shows me how much I probably needed to feel heard by someone who could just listen and accept.  I even remember once writing in a brand new diary a solemn vow: "I will never look back on this and laugh."  I was very conscious of the fact that I did not trust my future self, though.  Even with the promise, I never filled in many pages.

Not much has changed, really.   

I have noticed that every time I write something I experience a backlash a day or two later.  "Was that true?"  "What was my motivation for writing that, or writing that that way?"  "Ugh, what was I thinking...who am I to think I could write honestly? Obviously, I'm writing for some kind of effect...I don't even think that's really true, do I?"  etc etc. 

There's an infinite number of ways I can take a wrong turn somehow and move out of helpful mind-watching. It's always a form of fear that takes me for a good wallow in the navel fuzz-side of introspection. 

You are in the navel fuzz if looking is not making you feel lighter. 

I had a helpful thought today though about that part of me, the one that looks at anything I say or do with a curling lip and dripping derision.  (Yes, a sister to The Judge.....a know-it-all-and-argue-with-it-all teenage sister, no less.) Her job is specifically to muck up any sand mandala I may have put myself into.  It's as though she'll spare me from the need to wait for the elements to blow and wash it away...she jumps into the middle of it, smooshes her feet around to smear the colors, and then says in a triumphant voice, "There! Fixed that!" 


I'm on to her and can start to feel when she is on her way to the scene...and I can just stop her now, I think.  Maybe.  Whatever the issue, her response is not helpful.  Grow up.

She reminds me of a story I read about Helen Shucman, the scribe part of the duo who brought in A Course In Miracles.  Her poetry, which she felt was inspired by the same source of the ACIM, but was not "channeled" or received as a direct transmission, was a "guilty secret" she shared with only a handful of her closest friends who knew about her gifts.  But one day she was connecting very well with a young woman whom she was showing a sweet maternal tendency towards.  She surprised the rest of her friends when she went to the closet and pulled out her book of poetry.  "This is my favorite one," she told the young woman and then read it to her. 

When she finished, the woman was moved. "Yes, it's beautiful, isn't it" Helen responded, then added,  "I hate it."

I so get that.  There's something in us (e-g-o, obviously) that really wants to avoid the Open Doors or anything that reminds us of the sweetness of Truth, even while we also feel that we want it more than anything else.  It's a paradox.

So what if my words aren't Truth?  Or if tomorrow they seem worse than no-truth...maybe horse pucky?

I find my happiness staying the student, learning from the words that seem to come from me or seem to some from someone else...or even from something "other" through me.  This blog is a therapeutic form, but what of the comedian who puts his private thoughts in a funny routine on stage? I'd say anything not harmful is therapy.

Interestingly, I ask some of my hypnotherapy clients to journal privately at home.  When they have the courage to actually do it -- when they can tell mandala-smooshing girl/boy to go away -- it seems to really help.

Monday, February 14, 2011

*Bleep!*-ing for virginity

One of the big changes lately is that The Judge has been (mostly) silenced.  She's been removed from her queenly throne and tied to a chair with duct tape on her mouth. I've caught her tapping critiques with her toes in morse code from time to time, but it goes without saying that she isn't having the same crazy-making/world-distorting effects that she used to have. 

Without her constant interpretations, chastisements, critiques, and general haranguing, it's gotten so much quieter in my head. And something else: the angry mob from the past/future I like to call the Peanut Gallery are starting to show signs of disorganization.  Without their fearless leader egging them on, they don't seem to care that much to hang around.

So now that things are quieter, I just watch my ego.....it's a full time job.

I'm a cat watching for a mouse.  It doesn't take long until -- aha! --  I see the tell-tale signs of prey. The obvious sadness or anger rarely rear their heads lately, but all kinds of other vermin still lurk. A thought of annoyance, a shade of regret, a feeling of being hurried or impatient, a compulsion to need to speak while the other is talking, the familiar attack called "competitiveness" in all its ugly shades (like imagining I have a clue what someone else should or should not be doing), and the old unfriendly visitor...self doubt. 

Hunting in such fertile ground, this cat is never hungry or bored.


Yes, there's a weird sense of fun about it all.  I've stopped hating the ego which has made all the difference.  I don't like the ego, but I don't make it a big deal.  Before I was still trying to improve my life. I knew it was "bad" to be in ego and not conducive to "a good life," so I would see it in myself and then beat myself severely as punishment.  In between sessions of self-punishment, I would invest myself in terribly unhelpful (albeit understandable, considering the consequences) practices.  I would a) look with my eyes half closed, b) focus outwards on the world and what everyone in it was doing "out there", and c) try to cover the whole mess up with denial. 

In other words, I was having an ordinary human experience, the kind most "good intentions" bring us.

Hating the ego is like f-*bleep!*-ing for virginity.  Or put another way, your motivation for waking up from the ego can also be the thing that keeps you from doing so, if you aren't careful.  Knowing the stinking ugliness of it all is helpful to propel me into action, but if I stay thinking about its ugliness, I might accidentally become an evangelist, not a mystic.  There's a difference.

I think it's best to take the whole thing lightly.  But first you have to take yourself lightly, and you might have to give up on making your life a big deal.  That might be the hardest step, but then you are on a roll...and it's all downhill.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training wheels

I love mornings.  What was for decades a ritual that I enjoyed in solitude -- and fiercely protected and defended as "me" time -- is now shared by the love in my life. He is not an intrusion...he is an evolution.

I stagger from the bedroom to the kitchen where I grind the beans and get the coffee pot working. I carefully set out two cups in front of the brewing pot, then I feed the cats, and put away any dishes that have dried from the night before. After only half the cold water has left the reservoir, I fill the cup on the right, mine, with the very strong brew that has made it to the carafe, and then sit down on the couch in the sun room. Francis, the "dog-cat," hurls all 15 pounds of himself onto my lap and we play the "no kneading, lay down" game.  I sip my "espresso" and stare off into space for a while, letting the caffeine awaken my nervous system out of its sleepy dullness.

Like magic, when the coffee pot is finished, Ray comes out and fills his own cup, and brings the pot over to refill mine.  I can make words now, and we exchange a few about mundane things.  "How did you sleep?"  "What is on your agenda today?"

We use the word "agenda" like a private joke between us. He a retired attorney and me a former corporate middle manager, our "agendas" today are often light-hearted expressions of gratitude that we are living the lives we live now.  "I was going to bring in some wood and maybe shred a few more files."  We are enjoying the music of life by listening to the silence in between the notes. 

Our cups full, we then sit on the couch holding hands and let the morning unfold.  Windows give us a view of the world outside -- sometimes they reveal sunshine pouring through the trees, often they show us rain.  We share in silence for a while, and sometimes we use words.  And often the words between us take on a temporary life form of their own, and like an undertow, they draw us, pull us, into a stream, and we are in "class."  On these mornings, we discover after what seems like only a few minutes that hours have gone by.  Today, hunger begged us to look at the clock, and it was somehow 2pm.  Where did the time go?  Where did we go?

We are in the flow.  We let go of everything we are holding on to, not by struggling with them or resisting them or ferreting them out with a technique, but by just noticing them in the lightness of the flow and watching them dissipate. With each concept that dissipates, we sink deeper.  I think we are sinking into the Self.  After many, many mornings of this, there is more Me with me.

Today the flow led me into something that has been like a grain of sand to the oyster:  A part of me recognizes the beauty in the pearl that has formed, but another part of me feels it is still an unwelcome intrusion.

As I have written before, this chapter of my life has introduced many surprising changes, including the ability to "channel."  Today I realized how much I do not like that word. It is frustrating because I would like to disown the whole issue, and write it off as an unimportant hypnotic phenomenon.  Yet it has been so helpful to Ray and me both, and I can not deny the spine tingling truth I feel in the words that are shared. But it all has had a wrong-feeling way about it. Let me explain.

It's like the Looney Tunes cartoon character who runs so fast that he runs right off the cliff, but he keeps running anyway with success...until someone tells him its impossible to be doing what he's doing, and he crashes.  I have felt aware of the cartoonish aspects of opening to other voices who speak words I have not intended in voices I don't normally use and with gestures that aren't mine.  I have felt clearly aware that I am running in the air without a parachute and that it's not possible, not really, to do this.  No matter all my intellectualizing and conceptually writing off things that the linear mind can't understand: there has remained a cognitive dissonance within me.

But today I felt a new understanding melting away my internal rift.  I laugh at the silly, gentle "set up" that something so Divine has orchestrated.

When I channel, I don't go away....but the idea of who I am is laid aside.  That is to say, I feel like I somehow become a clean sheet of paper that words and stories can be written on.  I enter this deep, gentle, powerful stream -- or I allow it to come forward out of hiding -- and let the expressions happen.  There's no thing to block them, so they flow.

I laugh!  This is so funny and so perfectly ingenious for so many reasons, not the least of which how embarrassing it is.  I have confessed my "guilty secret" to a few friends and family and this mostly-unnoticed blog all in an attempt to get rid of the guilt.  Like a bad case of static-cling, it does not go away.

What a perfect classroom this is!  Who exactly exists that can be embarrassed?  Who has the need to be considered seriously?  Who feels strongly that anything she knows must be understood or shared by others? 

It is a teaching that has so many facets I can not count them all...I get lost in the joy that each one yields.  I feel like I'm cracking the nut, I'm on the scent of the Holy Grail.  I'm finally getting to the bottom of my most serious addiction:  the need of acceptance and approval of others. But that is only desired by a little shadow figure that has no reality and must pump itself up somehow to feel like it does. And when that is not hogging all my awareness, what is? 

It feels like I'm me without borders, or like I'm a hollow container and what fills me up can not be contained.

Of course, my Teacher only had me deal with these core matters, like approval and acceptance seeking, after I was set up comfortably with the love of my life at my side, which teaches yet another lesson:  Our Teacher is benevolent and gentle, truly.  Sacrifice is part of the ego's story.

I am a baby. This gift is my training wheels, and the Buddha is teaching me to ride a bike.  I enter the flow when I channel in a ritualistic way...a part of me outside of time -- the part that is Awake and aware of being all that is -- speaks to the part of me still holding on to time, to the story of bodies, to the story of Laura. 

But one day, she won't be so important to me anymore.  I can feel the possibility of it all like I never could before, experiences that are like teaser trailers of the "big event."  Even so I expect I will be surprised when it happens because it is not what I expected.  I do know it won't come from "trying."   But maybe one day I will enter the flow while I'm drinking my first few sips of coffee and never come out....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who am I?

I've been watching my mind spin, looking for a way to latch on to something solid.  Themes seem to circulate, and I find myself revisiting old ground I thought I'd covered a long time ago, sometimes waving casually to old temptations whose lesson I already carry in my pocket.  I wave them on by, and then my mind looks for something else to latch on to....

As I become more aware of these thought forms and just notice them without judgment -- which does a great deal to defuse their magical power over me -- I find myself able to do that with the more visceral emotions.  I notice that this surprises me somehow.

I'm seeing that there was this acceptance that unhelpful thoughts made stories and these stories were unquestioned lies given the status of Truth in my unconscious mind.  Easy enough to drop these thoughts, then, right?  Yes! 

But there was still a belief, or a holding on to, the reality of feelings.  All feelings were happening to 'me.'  There was no separation between me and my feelings like there was between me and my thoughts.  Feelings were closer to home. They had some special status.

And then I had the thought ...

"Wait, only the Truth is true, so what I'm feeling is basically a perceptual lie/error, too. (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the world, my body, the trees and rocks etc are an illusion).  But in fact, maybe I can't really be having this feeling at all...not in Truth.  But then again, since I am, or seem to be, then I am...but I don't have to make a big deal about it."

And somehow this simple, practically-too-obvious thought made a shift happen.  I think it's because I am like the fish becoming aware of water.  I am not my feelings....they are another form of story that keeps me magnetized to my identity. 

Byron Katie asks us, "who would you be without your story?" I wonder, "who am I without my feelings?"  When I can really hold that, Laura suddenly feels like a very mushy concept.  But in a good way.   

But let's not go overboard now, I caution myself and any reader, and start denying those feelings that we only started acknowledging with years of mind-watching practice!  No, no, no...this is not denial.   I am the princess and I must not rest while I feel that pea under my mattress...I need to dig up it up, whatever it takes. I need to stalk my behavior, my motives, my thoughts, my moods, looking for clues that something unconscious and stinking is stirring, like an old dead fish in the back seat.

But after we do that a few hundred (or thousand) times, the Witness Awareness isn't blocked out of our minds like it used to be.  It's like a door has been cracked open, and I can step through it where ever I seem to be and look from a new lit up space.  I know at a deep level that the feeling doesn't exist separate from the guilty past or fearful future.  So there's this Trust or conviction, and I can say from an authentic place, "This hurts so who I Am is not really feeling it!  Only this idea of who I am is...and I will sit with THAT for a bit."

Everything gets very spacey...unsolid...slippery then.  Like the structures that held the sand together to LOOK like a castle have been peeled away, and now the little grains that make up the world I see are like fluid.

My ego identity is a package deal, and I will never convince the Laura Story that the world isn't solid and that she's not real and important. (I have years of trying to no avail under my belt as proof.  I still need to breathe every few seconds even after countless hours saying, "I am not a body, I am free.")  Yet, while I'm not making her a big deal in my awareness (hell, if all her thoughts and feelings are perceptual errors, what's left to focus on with any great seriousness?), she's automatically beginning to pale a little...become translucent, transparent.

And if I ever do become awake/enlightened in this or some other lifetime, my guess is that for a seeming while, I will still have dishes to wash, kids to care for, and stuff that other people call "problems" to attend to.  But maybe everything will be like the One Moment in which I see that it's all a perceptual lie, a big fat mirage.  It/life seems to loom out there on the horizon so tempting, but it ain't goin' nowhere, and it ain't comin' closer, or getting prettier or more spiritual.

And then I can just not make it a big deal.

On Waking Up is back: A New Beginning

I started sharing ideas at On Waking Up in 2010, almost 7 years ago now. Prior to that I'd studied A Course in Miracles for many years...