Sunday, June 28, 2015

Feelings and Emotions

"Trust your feelings." "Just go with what you feel." "You don't express your feelings enough." We've been trained by our cultures and societies to think this way, that how we feel is an indication of truth or wisdom, or in some way indicates how we are doing or what we should do. But is that really so? Have we questioned this? It is very important to recognize this misunderstanding and to see the confusion and suffering it causes.

People have been trusting their feelings since the beginning of history and look what a mess it has gotten us into both on a personal level and on the level of world separation. Hitler certainly trusted his feelings, a little too much obviously. Okay, that is an extreme example, but what about you? Have your feelings always been trustworthy? Has going with your feelings always brought a desired and beneficial result? I venture to say no, certainly not in my case anyway.

Feelings are fleeting appearances triggered by stimuli either within this body mind organism or coming from outside of this body mind. They are naturally arising events, but in no way are they an indication of intelligent action nor do they indicate anything about us.

I am not saying that emotions are bad or should be denied. Nor am I saying that they should be gotten rid of. They are a perfectly natural and normal human appearance.

But, living at the whim of your emotional and feeling life is clearly bondage. When emotions are pleasant we think we are doing well. When they are unpleasant we think that something is wrong with us. This is the seesaw ride that keeps us in confusion and suffering. Even inherent in pleasant emotional states is the deep knowledge that they will end, and this causes clinging and attachment, not wanting them to end and fearing that they will. But they will end. The nature of all appearances, without exception, is that they appear and disappear. No appearance is eternal.

Why not be free of emotions? I'm not saying to not have emotions. Free of emotions means knowing who you are, your essential aware nature, that is before, during and after the appearance of emotions, and enjoying that, knowing that you are fine, no matter what your emotional state is. It means not being tossed around like a twig in the ocean just because the fickle waves of mind are active. When you know yourself as the vast ocean what does it matter what a few waves are up to?

So, how can we come to know this freedom in our own experience? Simple. Just let whatever is appearing appear without caring one way or another, and simultaneously notice your essential aware nature, that you are aware. Just don't care what is going on in your mind. In that moment you will begin to recognize what freedom is.

Freedom is your essential nature and it is not dependent at all on circumstances — physical, emotional or mental.

Try this for some time. When an emotion is arising, good or bad, just stop focusing on it for a few seconds and recognize that you are aware. Don't expect the emotion to change. Just notice your essential aware nature, that you are here, present, aware and that regardless of what you think or feel, all is well. Just notice, that's all. Soon you will begin to trust in that more than you trust in how you feel. You will begin to realize experientially what freedom is. It is who you are already. You come to know yourself differently than you had before.

You are already free, you just think that the ups and downs of your emotional life indicate that you are not. Find out if that is true. Check it out.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Freedom is not an experience

Freedom is not an experience. It is not dependent on how you feel—good or bad. It is not even dependent on always recognizing your essential nature at all times. It is knowing without doubt and being convinced that who you are, essentially, is free.

Up till now in life you have trusted your experiences, especially thoughts and emotions, to indicate how you are doing. This is just how you were taught.

It is a matter of just letting all of those thoughts and emotions be as they are, because you know you are free. And if you are not convinced that you are free then just keep letting them be anyway and keeping noticing your essential aware nature, while they are appearing. This will convince you.

No matter what appears, pleasant or  unpleasant, 

don't attend to it.
Just don't attend to how you are feeling, whether good or bad.

Place no value on it either way.

In that moment notice that you are aware,

not only aware of the feelings,

but aware of whatever is appearing here and now.

The feelings are just one appearance in millions of appearances 

all happening now.

They are all appearing to you.  

 Your essential nature is aware.

Aware of all of it.

So don't focus in on or attend to however you are feeling.

Let attention be free and open,

and see that all is included,

and that your experience is not limited to a particular emotional state.    
            In doing so, you will begin to notice that you are free.

  Whether you feel good or bad,

simultaneous to that,

you are freely aware.

Attend to that, your essential




In doing so at all times

by abiding as such,

 you will become convinced

that you are free. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Ground of Knowing

You are here, before, during and after all appearances as the ground of knowing that knows all of the changing form and data. Your essential nature knows itself, and all that appears in, to and as itself.

What almost all seekers do is look to the experience as that thing. For example, a wonderful mystical experience that is far different from our normal conscious experience. When this happens it can be quite exhilarating and compelling. We can feel that this experience is akin to enlightenment or something like that.

But, as with every and all experiences, it appears, stays a while and then vanishes, leaving no trace. Then we may be left with a sense of lacking something or of disappointment. So we long for that experience to come again and last forever, but it never does.

With unpleasant experiences we have the opposite desire—that it leaves and never comes again. So we may fear or shun possible future unpleasant experiences.

But what is here before during and after all of those experiences? You are here as the ground of knowing, that which doesn’t come and go and knows all experiences. Coming to know this aspect of yourself is a shift of knowing, from being ‘lost’ in appearances to the relief of knowing yourself as essentially untouched by experience.

All appearances, pleasant, unpleasant, ordinary or extraordinary are equal in that they appear, stay a while and then vanish, leaving only you, ever here and ever the same.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sadness and Suffering

Q: I have been thinking about "all things will pass"...which I understand, but if things do pass, such as my father's death, but it still is with me in an emotional way, are you just pointing to the physical part of this saying, and what do the words really mean...if something does pass but it stays with you, then what would you call that?

I believe this to be in memory but you do reference this saying a lot and I'm not nit-picking, more of trying to understand more about it so I have a better idea of this concept.

A: No, I don't mean just the physical part. All emotions pass as well. In fact, if you just have an honest look, you will recognize that that emotion comes and goes, and in fact, is mostly not present. You will think of your father and then sadness will appear. A little while later you are immersed in work and it is not appearing. Or you are enjoying a sunset, or laughing at your partner's jokes, or having a bad nightmare or beautiful dream at night, watching TV, or just thinking of nothing in particular.

So, in that way, you can see that no appearance is permanent. And, in fact, that sadness is never quite the same each time. Sometimes it is strong, sometimes mild, sometimes crushing, sometimes sentimental or nostalgic, sometimes sweet and tender. It is not a static fixed thing that is permanent. In a year it will be less. In ten years even far less. So, it is not permanent, it passes. In fact, it is mostly not appearing at all. See that for yourself.

We have created the concept of continuity, that something that appears in our mind remains there, like in the subconscious. But that is only a belief. That belief causes a lot of suffering. But just as in nature, appearances come and go—wind comes and goes, the moon comes and goes, rain comes and goes, winter, spring, summer, fall—this is natural and it is just the same for your thoughts and emotions. They are natural appearances too.

But, there is something that is present during all of those things I mentioned above. Guess what that is? Yep, YOU. Your essential aware nature. That is always present in all of the moments of sadness or joy. You would never know any of those experiences without your essential aware nature being present. It is because of YOU that anything is known.

So, when sadness for your father arises, it is a natural appearance and perfect as it is. In that moment just notice your essential aware nature, that you are aware. This helps in not getting into too much of a "poor me" story. Instead, it shines the light of wisdom on the story. In that moment you will know the sadness is impermanent. That is wisdom. Getting into a poor me story and believing that it is permanent or continuous causes suffering. Without that, the sadness arises and passes in its very natural flow. It is just an appearance passing on by.

Sadness is natural. Causing it to linger around for a long time by building up a story is something we have learned to do. But it is not necessary. And, it is not necessary to think that if you don't dwell on this sadness for a long time it means that you don't love your father enough. That is another learned and false belief.

See in your own experience that everything arises and passes, appears and disappears. And that if you recognize your essential aware nature during its appearance it takes on its very natural rhythm and just passes by without causing any harm. When you do this you will see that you are on to the next experience and emotion very quickly. And that too shall pass. But you remain always, aware.