Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I've never felt more alone in my life. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Today I spotted a green turkey and giblet flavor Fancy Feast in the grocery store and I missed my cat. She recently died.
What is feeling alone anyway and why does that thought, "I am very alone in the world" bring feelings of despair? Actually maybe the feelings are of danger and it's a result of our ancestors needing to socialize in the wild just to survive. Loneliness meant you were exposed to the elements and carnivorous enemies.

Let's explore the feeling physically. My chest tightens. I get an antsy feeling, which sensationally feels like quick contractions in my stomach, thoughts tell to to do something, else, quick, like having an internal alarm,  flashing. My answer is to develop a fantasy, some sort of story, that makes feeling these current feelings fade into a fuzzy cloud that I don't have to touch as deeply. Another words, I make excuses.

I'm tired, though, of making excuses and I'm tired of having chains on my ankles. These chains manifest whenever I grovel to be accepted, needing to prove myself, finding somebody who doesn't approve of me and then obsessing about figuring out how to get the impossible. First I find somebody, then I turn them into somebody else, in my mind. Somebody who holds the magic key but yet is bound never to unlock the door for me. I turn them into people that they really aren't, anyway. If the door was ever unlocked and I were to enter the secret castle, I would find nothing inside, not an armchair, not a picture, not a soul in sight.

These patterns and thoughts and sticky feelings seem to cling to me like a virus I can't cough out.

What would it take to make that final cough. Who would I be without this pattern that drives my every movement? I would be fearless. I would be content, I would be independent, speaking my own mind, not trying to prove myself, I would be confident. Is this something that can be changed? Am I bound, my whole life to move from disapproving person to disapproving person hoping for crumbs, trying to prove my value?

Who would I be if I didn't follow this pattern?

I would be free to forge my own path. I would be fearless.

A warrior.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sometimes you just want something to be taken away. You don't know how to get rid of it yourself so all there is left to do is stop all the trying, convincing, fighting and just shake your head to it as many times as necessary until finally it's gone.

Just like that, in the blink of an eye, something that once seemed so important and steady and constant can vanish. It never existed. It's stardust, it's a flash of light.

Why hold on to anything. Do we always have to be loyal to our tragedies? We hold on because we think it's a legitimate part of who we are. What will letting go mean? Will it mean we've failed, we're nobody, we're everything sad or pathetic that they thought we were.

Or.. are we just free of it. Loose leaves moving with wind sometimes falls in swirly randomness to the ground.

That is what we really are.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I want to run away from the dark house, but I'm trapped. I resist the urge and sit tight, listening to the tapping that comes from nowhere and disappears into nothing as shadows shift and flicker on the wall in a distant room. 

I shiver. Feelings lurk around me large. They are the monsters that hid under my bed as a kid. They're a toothache deep in a rotted root. 

My chest is so tight. The gale is coming. I grit my teeth to face it. The onslaught of feelings.

I'm all alone and nothing good can happen. Nothing. Agony. Blandness. Choking. Suffocating. Pure whiteness glares into a hole.

When I feel as if somebody is disrespecting me a fury wells up inside like fire. I want to physically hurt him. I want to rip him to shreds with sharp words that tears him apart or at least makes him cry. I fantasize about it. I obsess. The energy is larger than I am. I don't want to have it, but I allow it, feeling what it feels like as if it were an object.

There's no reason it's happening. There's nothing to fix. There's nothing to learn. Sometimes strong feelings happen, it's the same with all of us. It's not personal.

It's never personal.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My mind feels foggy most of the time. It could be because I'm getting older. It could be because I haven't been writing regularly. Or it could very well be because I start work at 5:30am every morning and am not getting enough sleep. The key to not being stuck in writer's block is to keep writing, no matter what, a little, or a lot each day. No matter how pointless, or sloppy, or foggy.

What is on my foggy, blurred mind these days? Doing things to pass the time I suppose. I've learned how not to be unhappy so far, but I still haven't quite answered the story of how to be happy. Some would say there is no definitive recipe that will concoct the precise flavor of happiness. Some say contentment, or okayness, is always here no matter what, in fact it never leaves. This seems true to me. Yet there's still plenty of time, and plenty of things to do to fill that so called time, no matter how much time is just a concept in the head. It's the concept we all play around with, so that's what I will find. Ways to play around with so-called time.

Is this incoherent, foggy, blurry, cloudy. Perhaps. But I'm sticking with this for today with the expectation... well.... not really expectation. With the hope.... no, that's not right either, not hope. I guess I'll just wait and see, if the fogginess clears up and my writer's block goes away. Maybe it will or maybe it won't. Either way, time will have passed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm listening to the debate again today and noticing the forced inflection given by both candidates at certain points in their arguments when describing their policies. They have obviously both been coached on how to sound appealing and likable to the masses. We are a country that decides who to vote for based on image rather than substance. We should be demanding from both candidates numbers and clear explanations of what the numbers mean so that we can see for ourselves whether or not they add up and make sense, this would force both sides to come up with clear game plans rather than what just 'sounds' appealing to certain demographics. We should be voting based on ideology rather than vilifying the opposing candidate and getting joy from the name calling, this is not the superbowl. The candidates are just giving us what we want, image and condescension, not logic, reason, facts and math. This is actually not the fault of any candidate or politician or even the press. It's because people, you and I, choose who we vote for in much the same way as we choose a sports team to root for. Until we stop treating politics like a huge sports contest, we will have the same old problems we keep having no matter who gets elected and no matter what their ideologies are, because they want our vote, and we tend to vote for whose image we prefer rather than substance or facts.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Contemplating What is Good and Bad

The other day somebody asked whether I thought of myself as a good person or a bad person. Maybe a month ago, I would have argued that I was definitely a good person, and then stated all the reasons why.  

The need to think of myself or somebody else as good or bad is a recipe for unhappiness. If I label myself as good, then when my actions don't reflect that image, I must fix it, I've fallen off my own pedestal, I feel like a failure. This begs the question of whether or not having a certain image can actually make somebody happier. Society and commercialism says yes. We must be young and attractive, successful, "good" people, and to do that, we must buy certain products, do things a certain way, say certain things, follow the formula. 

When we look at our lives though, and reflect on when we are the happiest, it's obvious that the image we have for ourselves has nothing to do with it. Happiness is in the laughter that bubbles up in the spur of the moment. Happiness is in the sharing of tenderness with a friend. Happiness is in the adventures we take and the pleasures we indulge in. Happiness is found in the hot baths we take at the end of a long day, or in the hot chocolate we sip as we watch the rain. In other words, upon more careful observation, happiness is found when the idea of who we are is dropped and we just let go and relish the moment. Having to live up to or maintain an image actually causes stress. Careful attention to how the body reacts, tells us this.

One way to know how to be happy is by paying attention to how the body feels. Careful listening. Notice what makes the body relax and feel open and at ease as opposed to what makes the chest tighten, the muscles in the head contract, thoughts overflow and the stomach churn. Of course these physiological reactions could be caused by thoughts, in fact, some people think all physiological reactions are caused by thoughts. Either way, noticing the body's reactions completely and thoroughly without resisting or distracting yourself from them, allows the proper associations to be made between the body and the trigger. The body is intelligent, it tells us when we are hungry, when we need fast energy and when we are sleepy. Letting the body fully respond to stimuli allows it to learn what is best for it or not. 

A possible reason we can't seem to break some habits could be because we don't really pay attention to how it makes our bodies feel. When the sensations become uncomfortable, we tend to brush them away and distract ourselves by doing something else, instead of just sitting through them. Just noticing. Sinking into the actual sensations without labeling them informs the body and mind. The body has a natural propensity toward health and survival and will make the correct associations. 

So why do I feel so much happier lately than ever before? Is it because I am a "good" person or because circumstances have changed? Have I found hope where before there was none? Actually, the opposite reasons are true, little by little I've widdled away at the labels I once had for myself. I've seen through them, so to speak. I feel less pressure to live up to an image now, and I don't feel as guilty about making mistakes or falling short from some imaginary standard I set for myself. What happens, happens. I feel the feeling fully, as body sensations, and then something else happens. It's very freeing, and feeling free, feels good.

So do I think I am a good person? The answer is no, not really.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The taste of the Impersonal...

First a disclaimer. This is my experience and is not meant to be a guide or reference of any kind, for anybody else. I'm not writing to convince anybody of anything or to state an absolute truth. I'm basically just awkwardly attempting to express experiences that I don't even fully understand myself yet. The trouble with writing this out though, especially in the form of a public blog, is that a sense of identity wants to come up, a striving, a sense of wanting to be something, or wanting others to think I am a certain way, whatever that may be.

I'm going to try the best I can to be strictly descriptive and not monitor or advaita-proof my words. I'm writing to clarify and explore and that's it.

So I went to see Francis Lucille. The following Monday, starting the work week, I awoke as I usually do, feeling stress about the day ahead. Two words came to my mind involuntarily that made me sink into my car seat as I drove to work. The stress melted straight out of my body. Those words were “impersonal totality”. Francis Lucille has mentioned that consciousness was impersonal and when he said those words, I can't even remember what the context was, but I resonated in a deep way and immediately felt a luscious relaxation. 'Impersonal' sounds cold and lonely, but when you feel the truth of what it means, it's actually sweet and simple. Anything in the world can happen and does and it's never threatening, because nothing is personal anyway. This is not a concept that will bring relief when thought about, I know, because I've thought about this a lot in the past. The impersonal aspect of everything must be felt deep within in the body.

Another clarifying word for me on that Monday was 'totality'. When things happen, they don't happen in isolation. Everything affects everything else because we are all part of the same impersonal totality. We are not just one little entity struggling in the world, but rather an intregal part of the totality, which moves together in a dance. Even when stressful thoughts come up, or depressed feelings or anxious thoughts, that has to happen that way. While I was feeling the impersonal totality I noticed thoughts and feelings it as if all totality was moving with my every movement, feeling those same thoughts and feelings, impersonally, and I had the sense that this was supposed to be happening.

I didn't feel bliss, just a sense of understanding. When I applied this understanding to things that otherwise would have upset me, all was infused with this comfortable feeling.

Then the next day I woke up and felt like I was walking in thick mud. My feelings felt dense and everything irritated me. When I tried to apply this remembered feeling, it was only mental concept and didn't resonate. The melty, comforting feeling did not spring up, the way it had the previous day. Because I've read enough, I know that the key to freedom is not found in pleasant states bur rather a sense of freedom regardless of the circumstances. So the thick mud-like feelings are a part of what has to happen as well. Acknowledging this, actually I even wrote this down, allowed space to surround the irritable feelings and they both resided side by side, I had no agenda for the irritable feelings to change or go away.

The mind loves to strive and it will strive for peace, it will strive for the end of an unpleasant work day, it will strive to understand current situations and it will strive to alleviate apparent boredom. I've seen enough of freedom to know that the reason the mind would strive is because thoughts arise that say that pleasant feelings can be found only through future events that the mind has deemed desirable. But even when those future events happen and the mind allows itself to relax, it's only the mind's allowance of itself to relax that causes the rush of pleasant feelings, not the actual event itself. The mind sets up certain rules that say that happiness is conditional upon this circumstance or that circumstance. But feeling good is already there and does not depend on particular outside circumstances.

The feeling of impersonal consciousness and the understanding that everything belongs to the totality, brings marshmallowy feelings, no matter which thoughts are happening or what outside circumstances are arising. I think that sitting in the presence of an awakened master helps monumentally, but I also think that you have to do your own self contemplation in order to apply those feelings to your (so-called) world, outside of satsang.

I relax into the notion that all of this has already been written, as Lisa Cairns aptly puts it. The concept of free-will brings stress. There isn't free will, only conditioned thoughts, happening one after the other, opposing each other, overruling each other, triggering other thoughts that lead to other thoughts and energy arising as feelings. All of it though is only happening as life writes it and is impersonal and must happen the way it does, because of the intricate web of the totality. Totality doesn't just include people, or even people and animals, it's everything. It's what everything is inundated with, it's thoughts, it's the horizon, it's color. Everything is equal, only thoughts tell us otherwise, and make objects seem to have hierarchy, and the world to be conditional. Really everything is equal and impersonal, the resulting conclusion is that nothing really matters the way we thought it did. We are exactly where we're supposed to be and we awaken as life wants us to, and only when life wants us to. We have no say in the matter, but really we do, but only as totality, and not in a controlling personal way. What we really are is the impersonal flowing and the moving into everything, without boundary.

Francis Lucille answered the question about whether the “I” is personal or impersonal, and his answer was an ambiguous “the I is both impersonal and personal” (he was more eloquent than that, but you get the gist). What does this mean? I think he purposefully answered without a clear meaning. The true “I” cannot be determined through the mind and only must be shown to us and only when life wants to reveal it.

All these words will be irrelevant tomorrow and actually are already irrelevant today. It's just a little exploration with why we're here and who we are. Now that I've written them down, I'll let them fly away.....