Friday, 3 August 2018

Resistance

Another look at resistance. I have to say, that every time I had to write about resistance, an article, or a reply to a question on LU forum, resistance was playing its part. I mean that it felt like some kind of mysterious force holding something up. Even with this video, it took me a long time to get it uploaded, as the internet connection was playing up.

We all feel resistance sometimes and it can be like a blind spot. How to get rid of that unwanted resistance?

What if resistance is really a friend?

Sometimes just seeing it in a different light can change the whole show.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

From Seeking To Seeing

I was a seeker once. I was looking for something. I did not know what that was, but I had heard stories about enlightenment, awakening, constant bliss—I wanted that. I knew that where I was at the time wasn’t it. I had an urge to find out what the holy grail was that would make my life better in every way.

Somebody once asked me straight, “What are you looking for?” And I replied, “Enlightenment.” Did I find that? No, but I am not looking for it anymore. I stopped chasing ideas and found something else instead: peace. Not in a way that everything is quiet and slow, but in a way that there is much less internal narration about what is “not enough.” Everything is just fine. There is no more judgment of good versus bad, no more fight of good versus evil. There is a silence of mind that is much more delightful than fighting what is.

The seeking pattern has stopped running. The drive that was here before, trying to get/achieve/improve something, is now absent. There is openness instead, a spaciousness that allows all happenings to pass without internal friction. If I get annoyed, which I still do, it lasts only a short time and gets resolved quickly.

Seeking is a form of striving energy that wants to get somewhere. This, here and now, is not what it wants. There is something else to get so that the tension will cease. But it does not cease; it only takes small breaks. The “happy tomorrow” does not arrive; it feels like you are trapped in an unwanted time and place, a prison that has no doors. The seeking continues. New books, videos, talks, gurus—they all seem to have something desirable, yet not achievable. How to get off of the seeking merry-go-round?

There is a flip from seeking to seeing, and it is not what the mind thinks. It is not about making something external change so that I will feel more comfortable; it’s internal. The energy that feels intense wants to be felt—fully, openly, purely felt. When we look at what seeking itself is, rather than toward the direction of where our attention is going, seeking can be seen as a mechanism, a pattern, a strong energy. Observing it with conscious awareness, recognizing it, and then feeling the sensation melts it like a sun melts a cube of ice.

So, if you are looking for something, stop for a minute and feel the sensation that is driving the search. This sensation is here, and it does not matter so much why it is here, or who put ideas of “not enough” in the mind. What matters is that this sensation is recognized and fully felt. Seeking for flips to looking at. Once the energy is allowed to be fully present and embraced, the mind becomes relaxed, spacious, soft; it no longer feels the tension.

Try this exercise. Feel the sensation of “not enough.” Feel the sensation of lack. This sensation has a location in the body. Observe it. Allow it. Let it be as it is for a minute or two. Don’t think about what should be different or how much you dislike it; just feel it as it is. Be honest with your own feeling. Be curious about the sensation. Let it enfold you fully, even if it is intense. What is behind it?

Doing this a few times a day may feel like practice. But it’s worth it to remember and engage with this, because the more you become honest with the feelings that are arising—the more you look at what is—the less there is striving for something else. It’s a focus shift from seeking to seeing; all it takes is a conscious look at what is actually happening here and now. The mind can find peace, and that’s the end of the seeking pattern. Then a whole new world opens up—the one that was always here, always present, but was ignored or unnoticed, because of that constant nagging feeling of it not being enough. Thoughts stop running wild; there is more spaciousness felt. There is ease and lightness.

Seeking ends, but exploration continues. And exploration is a different kind of energy—it has a sense of wonder, curiosity, playfulness, and childish innocence. There is no more striving to get out of an unwanted situation, but rather resting in the situation that is neither wanted or unwanted but simply is.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Competition For The Best Identity

At the meeting, they all sat in a circle. It was a competition for the best identity and who owns it.

‘Ok, I will start,’ the first man spoke. ‘I am a breather. I breathe. I am born to be a breather and I do that very skilfully. Look!’ He inhales and exhales through the nose.

Everybody applauds as the man demonstrates his skill.

‘And I am a writer. I write a lot and I published 25 books,’ The guy on the right introduces himself. ‘My books are about how to be an excellent writer. I have been a writer for 33 years. Ever since I was a kid I started to write. First, there were short stories, then novels, now it’s technical stuff about how to be the best writer. I write a lot. I live for writing.’

This guy got applause too and then the woman next to him spoke:

‘Hi everybody, I am a dancer. I dance at a cabaret and I love it.’

‘I am an eater. I eat everything my wife cooks. I can eat a lot. It’s really great that she likes cooking. She is a real cooking pro too. I live for eating and if I would not eat I would die. So I keep doing what I do the best- eat to stay alive.’ He looks proud of his big belly and he is definitely alive.

The next guy introduced himself as a listener, he did not say much, the woman next to him was a knitter and her daughter said, she was a dreamer. Apparently, her dreams were so beautiful, she could not wait every day for the night to fall asleep.

And the last man said he was a thinker. He was thinking thoughts non stop all day long. He was so proud to be a thinker, as it’s not so easy, you know, to think. It’s not like breathing, right. Either you are conscious of it or not, the breathing is still going on. It’s not so complicated, just inhale and exhale. Thinking, on the other hand, was an art, just like dancing or painting, not everyone could do it skillfully.

After the introductions, everyone sat quietly for five minutes. The dancer started to speak.

‘Being a dancer is so much fun. I hear the music and let the body move in rhythm. It’s almost like I don’t need to do anything, the body moves, the dance is spontaneous creation which has a form of its own. I am a great dancer!’ She shows some moves and everyone applauds.

‘I know what you mean,’ said the breather. It’s like this breath here is going on whether I am conscious of it or not, but hey, once I’m aware that I am breathing it’s a whole different thing. I am such a good breather. I have never missed my step. Always in and out. In and out. I am a breather all day long and at night it goes on automatic. I’m not sure how that works, but breathing is on automatic while I sleep!’

‘I think,’ said the thinker, ‘I have the most difficult task- thinking thoughts is not a joke. I have to be always aware of what thoughts I am thinking because if I am not aware if I don’t focus all my attention on thinking, thoughts are not going to come. I am a philosopher, you see, it’s hard work to be constantly thinking right thoughts. And I have no time at all to rest. This work takes all my energy and attention. I can’t let thoughts to just come by itself, like this breather dude. My work is mental! I put 99% of attention and effort on making thoughts appear. If I stop thinking just for a second, I don't even know if I exist.

Everybody applauds the thinker and agrees that to be constantly thinking is indeed a very hard work.

The listener was just sitting and listening. He did not say a word, he was so absorbed in his task. He wasn’t even blinking, just looking at people with eyes and ears wide open. It seemed like a very difficult task too but he was handling that very well.

The knitter reached out into her bag and pulled out a half knit sleeve of some blouse. It was pink and fluffy, matching a bow in her hair. She was concentrating on her work and did not see or hear anyone in the room, it seemed that the pattern was very complicated, so the knitter was totally lost in her work, which just demonstrated how true she was to being the knitter.

The eater was irritated, he could not sit still in his chair as he had nothing to eat. He just finished his sandwich that wife packed for him before the meeting started and now was waiting impatiently for the next bite. He was looking at a watch frequently, perhaps lunch time was coming soon.

And the dreamer explained how she does not need to do anything to dream. Dreams just come. No control. Miraculously dreaming is just happening. And it’s very pleasant and easy. It’s just a bit too long from waking up till the time for bed. She could not demonstrate her ability in this circle, but she assured everyone she was a good dreamer.

So who wins the competition for the best identity?

The thinker, of course!

Why? Because even though we breathe, dance, listen, write, and do other stuff, only the thinker says, I think, therefore I exist. We don’t say, I breathe therefore I exist, or I listen, or I eat. We say, I think. It appears that thinking is not going on naturally, like let’s say we hear sounds effortlessly, or see colors that simply are here. The thoughts are something that the thinker has to do, otherwise, they would not come! Or so he thinks.

What’s your identity that you have to own in order to exist? What is that you are underneath all labels?

Do you agree that thinker is The Greatest Identity worthy of winning the best identity competition? Maybe there are better ones, like doer, lover, teacher, seeker?

Write in comments!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Unfolding Contractions

Last Sunday I held a group Deep Looking event in google hangouts. It was a powerful session where we sat with sensations and invited contractions to come up and gently unfold. Here is something I wanted to share with you after the session:

Sometimes we feel stuck in an uncomfortable feeling and nothing seems to work. Or, it works temporarily until the next treatment, the next attempt to resolve something that keeps coming up again and again. What if I told you there is a hack to that, that is very simple and effective. 

Imagine you fold an origami. It was once a flat paper and now it is a 3D form, it has volume, it's like a container, a new form that holds space in. Contraction is like the origami form, it's folded in and it holds something. What we can do is unfold it and by doing that, it returns to its natural form--which is spacious formlessness.

How does this look in practice?

The contraction/ tension that is felt, is a sensation. That sensation feels like it's intense, unpleasant, unwanted and the repulsion to the sensation is called resistance. (It's actually a protection) Let's rename contraction to protection, there's a lighter feeling already and an invitation to welcome it.

Just look from this angle: Some time ago some hurt happened and there was an unconscious decision to guard yourself from something like that in the future. This is normal human behavior (avoiding the unpleasant and seeking the pleasant). It's like the mind's computer wrote a program that if 'this' happens then it must activate protection. So every time 'this' happens, there is a sensation that arises, the protection is activated and it kicks in automatically and we notice a reaction happening. By focusing on the sensations of protection we have no more access to the sensation that the protection is covering up. We also call this mechanism--fear.

The protection is felt, but what is it about?

Try this exercise:

When feeling protection, ask it- who are you? What are you? What are you protecting?
And just wait. The answer may come up or not. Notice what happens. This way you can look into a feeling of tightness and see what is behind it--what is it that needs or wants protection.

Some other questions you can ask are:

What do you want the most?
What wisdom do you have for me?
Are you helping?
Do you want to relax?

Don't try to fight protections, they are here to help. Only not all old programs are still useful, helpful or necessary. Some programs are very old and no longer needed so they can be seen and let go. When protection comes up, welcome it as it comes up to be reviewed and adjusted. Those that are still needed can stay, but those that are only creating unnecessary tension can drop. It is safe. All it takes is seeing them. By that I mean - really feeling into sensations, giving the sensations 100 percent of your attention, simply allowing them to be fully felt.

This is the unfolding. Forms of protection can dissolve and go back to rest.

Once protection is released, there is a sense of openness, spaciousness, boundlessness, no borders.

You can ask for protections to come up and then watch where they show up in the body and talk to them. Sounds unusual? Try it. Asking direct questions in a friendly way will create an allowing space for those protections to be as they are. This is surrender, letting go, the end of resisting. Try this for yourself.

If you would like to join the next online event on the 4th of February, there are still places available. You can register by email here.


Happy Unfolding!
Much love