Tag Archives: Enlightenment

How do you make hard decisions?

3 Ott

Yesterday morning the above question was dropped from a dear friend, and the answer that came seemed valuable, so here it is, just slightly edited.

There are two answers to that, yet they share the core, which is you go deep inside of yourself. Deep inside of you, you have two advantages: one is equanimity (the balance needed to take hard decisions), the second is that you have the space to accept the pain or sorrow that might come with it. From that deep space you also are sure that you have to do what comes to you, and you are ok with it.
By going deep inside of you I mean: you put all of your attention inside the body and start noticing every single little activity, energy movement, sensation, that goes on inside. Special attention among all those activities is deserved by breathing. By that, you make your mind reasonably silent and you notice the space inside of you, and breathe into it.
Initially I mentioned that there are two answers, so let me now explain them: the first is the classic and real life one. As soon as you reach the depth of you, you allow for whatever needs to come to you, to arrive. If the time is right, it will arrive, or you might actually already find it, down there. If the time is not yet right, you should simply wait. Normally you know. If you are deep enough you are immune to the frustration or urgency, you can see them but you shouldn’t be bothered too much.
The second answer actually implies that there is no you taking that decision. That decision is taken by itself. It just comes and it has a power of its own, that cannot be ignored.
At the end the difference between the two answers is how well you know yourself. It always boils down to the depth that you are….. Whether you know it or not, you are a little bit (or a lot) like the Sun, therefore deep down you don’t care if a plant lives or dies because of your light, your love, and it is not because you lack compassion. It’s just that you have to share it ceaselessly.

You mean meditate on it, pretty much?
Well, very close, yes: it only depends on how you see meditation. The difference would be just that often meditation is seen as an effort to keep thoughts out, while this is just sinking in and watch what comes.

Annunci

You don’t push away “causeless” joy, do you?

14 Set

I don’t know why last night brought me this question nor why she made me answer it. Maybe because I felt that in older and less cheerful times I happened to enjoy random bursts of happiness too, but I must have been pushing them away, by wondering what reasons I had to be happy.

Perhaps there is no need to say it, yet: joy is perfectly justified, always. She is, for millions of reasons. I could list some of them, starting with the fact that you are alive, you can read these words, you can probably tell your loved ones how much you do love them, you can walk (ever tried to do without, for a few days or months?), or you can take something with your own hands… I could go on forever, probably.

“What? How about all the misery that surrounds us?” Dear, you can neither tell how much such “misery” is, nor why it is there. On the first matter, if you ask someone who lives in the slums of Calcutta or Rio if he or she is happy or not, you will probably get very similar answers to the one you could get in Manhattan or Milan. Actually, they could be even better. If you ask a 10 year old boy… the first enjoy themselves more for sure. To address the second statement, let me confess one of my feelings about life: this experience has a purpose, and it is to grow up. I shall use Catholic language to make my point, but I could use another one: “misery”, if and when you experience it, is the gift that God is sending you so that you can grow up a lot. I know that sometimes it is not easy to see, let alone to accept, it, but if you could it would make it so much easier.
Mother Teresa, during an interview with the BBC, was once told, “You know, Mother, it’s easy for you to be more dedicated to service than us, mere mortals. You do not own a house. You have no possessions. You do not have a car. You do not have insurance. You do not even have a husband.” Mother Teresa replied: “Forgive me. I do have a husband -showing the ring that her monastic order wears to symbolize the marriage with Christ- I have a husband, and I want you to know that He can be really rough, at times.”

“But I feel awful!” I am sorry to hear that. May I ask you a question? Why are you feeling bad? I do not care about your answer -no, I did not just go nuts- but you should. I advise not to respond just now, though. I highly recommend sitting on the question, maybe even sleeping on it, and let it dig inside until it can. In the spiritual world I might say meditate on it. The insights that might come could be a significant surprise, and they might even change something inside.

A small additional “caveat” (a Latin word meaning a meaningful detail).
Let’s pretend for a moment that Life is a mother. A deeply loving mother -like most mums- who can not read minds. How does she know what you want?
If I were talking, now I would switch to whispering: “You need to let her know.” How? By saying thank you. Being grateful for everything that she sends our own way, which is very much, puts her in the mood to be even more generous –how human of Her!– and even more importantly lets her know what we really like, what moves us, what excites us and what makes us really, deeply happy.
The famous book “The Secret” contains quite a bit of nonsense, but also a few important truths. We do have the power to create our own reality, but it pertains to the depth, or heights, of ourselves, not to our silly minds. What attracts our energy now is what creates our reality. That’s why you see many people who are very rich and yet might not exactly be deemed to deserve much (how judgemental, lol). They are honest and clear, perhaps only towards life but that’s more than enough: life loves them just like she loves us, and she hears them.

Spiritual agriculture

23 Mar

That’s it …. It’s not exactly a job, not a very cool thing, I can’t deny I am doing it and yet it is obvious that it is not me who does it, as a farmer would be ridiculous if he affirmed “I make my plants grow.” No he doesn’t, yet he does something.

I felt that the metaphor I received this morning is very accurate: spirituality has many similarities with agriculture. Some might hope with gardening, but unfortunately no, agriculture. When effort is involved in spirituality, it is considerable, and you have to get your hands dirty. No protective gloves, at least sometimes you just have to take them off. You put yourself into the game, in a way it is a matter of survival. If your plants die you risk personally, a tad more than just your mood. Rarely you can start by buying something ready made. If it seems to happen, it just means that the price and the preparation were addressed earlier, perhaps in a non formal yet substantial way. You do not get to true spirituality without having paid a significant price, without having understood – for one reason or the other – that this aspect of your life is absolutely central. It is not, and can’t be, a hobby. Must it be a job? If you ask me: I’m afraid so, although nothing prevents you from having a second one. At least the intensity of the commitment should be of that kind, and as far as I know also the centrality of the theme. Mind you, you can live very well taking care of it (quite a?) bit. After all, who says that the work we came to do has to be completed in this life? One must feel what is right for him or herself. Yet if at some point you came to the conclusion that you should “finally resolve” this life, in the sense of getting to the bottom of it, I’m afraid there is no other chance: the effort that will be required will be total.

It is also important to know, though, that the real part, just like a farmer, won’t be done by you. The miracle will be performed by the sun, the rain, the earth, the wind, some unknown animal or insect, and at the innermost core. In a word: Life. You just have to show up on your fields. Day after day. Do what is necessary, which sometimes might require an investment, or quite some effort, or perhaps a specific and deep preparation. You see it, you feel it, usually you know, like a farmer: if you just bought the field you know you will have to plow. You have just planted? You will have to irrigate. If you do not know what to do, you go seek advice from a friend or a professional. “Do I need a guide, a Teacher?” This is an important question, which would require a separate treatment. If I were pointed a gun to my head, for an immediate and definitive answer, I’d say yes. Yet this answer is subject to what you just read, too: you see it, you feel it, you usually know. And when you’re ready, he or she will find you.

Down to the roots

28 Ago

2013 08 28 la memoria
This image gave a graphical representation to a feeling that I had for some time: the implications of my beliefs. When we begin to wake up or just do psychological work, we realize that a -sometimes very large- serie of fears or reactions of ours is interconnected. In reality, this picture could make us infer that they all might be.

Staying with the feeling of the present moment takes me back along the branch that just showed up. The deeper I can follow that feeling to, the closer I get to the origin of the family of reactions and fears, and the more I actually liberate it. As if I lived with a pair of glasses whose lenses were covered by films, layered upon each other and maybe a little dirty: staying with the feeling allows me to check, and most of the time realize, that it is useless and has no reason to stay there. Staying with a feeling does not necessarily allow me to get right down to the root of the belief or fear, but film after film I do get down to the lens. I might even realize that even the glasses have no solid reason to be there.

After being with the initial reaction of fear, if not dismay, that this image brought up for me, I got the intuition that any one branch of this structure can lead me to the center, the nucleus. No need to take care of each branch, I have just to follow the path to the core to unravel the mystery and to access peace, which can only be accessed just now.

In fact in many places in spirituality you hear mentions that the only thing to remove is the identification with the false self. Worth reminding: by identification I refer to the conviction of being someone or something different from what I really am. Unfortunately the fact that such identification is extremely well rooted is often omitted, and realizing intellectually that it is false does bring benefits, but does not free me.
The first understanding, that I just called intellectual but can also be more profound, allows me to realize that reality might look different if I look closer, and prepare the exploration that leads to an actual liberation.

The game is to follow the lead that the feeling gives me, by putting my attention to its manifestation in the body (keep in mind that many sensations occur in the head), and keep it there while it persists. Every sensation has the power to bring me back to peace, and this is what happens if I have the courage to welcome and follow it. Over time I noticed that by following the sensations, my internal space of peace widens. By following the feelings I explore and clean up the area.

An important note: the reason why I usually run away from feelings is that I am terrified of what they typically trigger, i.e. the Babylonia of fears, thoughts, assumptions and imaginary conclusions that makes me feel bad. Staying with the physical sensation prevents that reaction though, severing the connection between emotion and the streaming of absurd ideas we are accustomed to.

It’s just a different way of describing what the article “Bring that candle around your depths” mentioned….

One last observation: freedom does not mean no more unpleasant sensations. The difference lies only in what I do with the feelings that arise.

Picture: courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/FansOfCognitiveNeuroscience

Bring that candle around your depths

4 Apr

When you find the light within, you know you can access it. Call it recognition of yourself, awakening, or else, you know you have been changed, and Grace has entered your reality. That, normally, does not mean that the clarity it brings will affect all of your earthly experiences. Quite often we tend to develop  frustration on the topic, since at this point we can distinguish when the light is on and when it is not, we feel pain if it isn’t and we can’t stand going back to old repetitive patterns, which at this point become even more annoying.

Recognition needs to be integrated. This, in practical terms, means that you want the sparkle to spread out into the entirety of your human experience. How should you do that?

Imagine that the sparkle that entered yourself is a fire. Once you light it, it’s not going to extinguish itself. You can actually grow it bigger, usually by practice of some sort or by “trying to be present”. It will affect you, but ultimately it is extremely difficult that just out of that practicing it will enter every corner of your being. In fact you could say that once you light the fire in your cavern, it will brighten it but, because you are so much vaster than you think, its capacity to guide you will be still somewhat limited. As soon as you turn around the wrong corner, being it relating or some area affected by old pains or clutter of some kind, you will experience darkness again. What comes with it, is that most spiritual seekers will normally do the opposite of what is needed: meditate some more, and keep off dark spaces. Or become frustrated, maybe even teach so that they can get some confirmation that they are “perfect” as they are and brighten up the initial fire. Maybe ego is no longer in perfect control, but it has still quite some grip and can reinvent itslelf in a new, subtler and more acceptable version.

What needs to be done is integration. Because your fire is not going to be exhausted, you can start going around your cave, and the world, bringing a candle with you. Yes, go towards dark places. Let them suck you in at whatever depth. You have the candle with you. You will need to move slowly, humbly, of course, but do not worry too much because existence only gives you what you can handle. Gently and willingly enter those places with your candle, let yourself be consumed by that darkness. What actually reveals itself, is that if you do go into those corners as the light that you are, you will notice that obscurity not only gets enlightened by your candle, but it starts firing up itself. Yes, your obscurity, your pains, your fears, your gloom, are made of fuel, and as you enter them consciously and willingly stay there, not only the pain at some point seems to dissolve, but it turns out that it reveals itself as Love, the highest quality fuel for your candle.

How do you deal with the pains? Feel them. At the physical and/or energetical level: when something comes up, gently move your attention towards it, towards the area of the body where the feeling or the contraction appears, and sit with it for as long as you can, and as long as it is there, possibly be mindful of it even while doing other things. Do not run away. Just a little practice will show you that you can and it is not hard, not nearly as difficult as you imagine. You might also get “downloads” afterwards, understandings about it (do not look for them, especially initially or you will just approach it from your mind, which would be useless at best). It is a matter of relaxing in it. A little bit like entering a new area of the cave and becoming comfortable with the new space. It’s not new, most of the time, of course. It was just never entered consciouly, nor you ever tried to be comfortable in there. Still you will notice you can, and after a little practice you totally understand you should, since what you get out of that sitting is that you liberate that area!

——————

Most of these understandings, and the metaphore of the cave, came during my weekly session with Christine Wushke. A few more infos on hers might be found at the links below:

http://innerlightyoga.blogspot.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/let.your.heart.sing?fref=ts

Do not identify

22 Mar

Today I noticed an interesting detail. While involved in driving, I remembered a wise suggestion: don’t take things personally. If someone cuts your lane, don’t even believe for a second “what did you do to *me*?”. Whoever did that, he didn’t do it to you, a) because most likely that’s what that driver does, he might do it often and at whomever, b) because there is no such thing as a you or a him in the first place (if you really investigate).
Fine. But the interesting appendix to this suggestion was: do not identify with everybody, either. Yes, because the a) statement, above, tends also to generate a famous “he shouldn’t do it. period”. That particular reaction generates a “protect the world” reaction, more often than not manifested in lots of wise, serious, maybe angry thoughts. Is it better than the range of thoughts belonging to the series “he did it to me”? Not much better, honestly. It triggers mind boggling and ego exactly in the same way. Maybe potential damages from the you driver might be less serious: after all if my identity gets challenged the little me can get very serious about it, while if it is the “us” that gets affected we tend to be less prone to start a war. Still, the old paradigm of separation IS reinforced, even in the second case. And the ego is reinforced even more, because it’s rambling for a good cause.
Hey, what should I do? Should I let everybody do anything? Check: which wars did you fight for much more serious world issues, lately? Are you sure that’s a valuable excuse to lose your inner peace? Breathe, just breathe consciously. Also this shall pass. It is actually already gone, or maybe it didn’t even happen in the first place, and “life is but a dream”.

If you notice it and feel it through it stops right here…

16 Mar

…and it takes you to the formless

Have you ever noticed how emotions, once sparked, tend to stick around? Especially negative ones.
Today I have noticed this fenomenon and investigated it more thouroughly than in the past, and noticed something interesting: I had a strange anger, that I could not exactly connect to a particular event. I mean, there was something, but the detail was that the same happening would have meant nothing in many other occasions, and yet I was a bit angry and resentful. By sitting with it, I could see how that particular anger was actually causeless in itself, got lightened by that particular spark, and was going around myself a bit more.
So I just sat with it. And it got transformed in some other energy, much more enjoyable, in pure fuel. Something must have been watching more carefully, because I also noticed how that initial energy, in itself not particularly pleasant (especially because it was drawing me to be a little aggressive and grumpy), disappeared. It was actually transformed, as I just described, but the bad taste of it dissolved.
The attention that watched the fenomenon has stuck around further, for it became apparent that by feeling it through in the body, by breathing it all in, I got rid of that annoying stickiness that tends to come with negative emotions. At that point somehow I knew that -on a much larger scale- the reason why powerful emotional states keep churning us for so long can be related exactly to the lack of willingness to face them.
In short what we do seems to be: posponing. Just as when we were kids we would pospone an annoying homework, and beg mummy to let us play a bit further, today we pospone facing what comes up. And whatever comes up, just like a little kid, keeps pulling our trousers and skirts until we dedicate our full attention to it. And just like those little kids, as soon as we sit down and look at them in the eye, asking gently “what is it love?” and taking the time to relate to it, to make sure they are fine, they end up -how obviously- being just perfect.
A fairly amazing side effect? That “being perfect” happens to mean that you have been taken to the formless. Where cause and effect do not exist, time does not exist, and everything IS perfect as it is. Even that annoying emotion or emotional state becomes perfect, because it was the rope that pulled us here. I found myself pretty grateful to it.

Thanks, Christine Wushke ( http://innerlightyoga.blogspot.ca/ )

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