Monday, April 18, 2011

The Mind is Quickly Cornered

It's amazing how quickly the mind is cornered during nondual investigation.  If you are open to investigating the personal identity, you are likely to discover, in a relatively short time, that this personal, limited entity you've believed in for decades is a phantom.  It's nothing more than a thought about a separate "me."

No matter where you look, or how you look, you can't find a locatable, personal entity inside the skin line of the body.  A skilled nondual teacher, or even a well written nondual book, can reveal this to you in one sitting.  Your logical mind is no match for this inquiry.

And yet the vast majority of seekers continue to act and feel as if they are a separate, limited entity for years after the mind has been cornered.  This is a strange game indeed.

When we begin self-inquiry we get very excited because we get a quick understanding that we are not what we took ourselves to be.  We see through much of the mind's trickery.  And we expect the mind to go quietly into the night, surrendering to our new understanding and allowing us to realize our true nature.

But it doesn't happen that way.

The mind is quickly cornered, but its deception continues.  It has a lot more tricks in its arsenal, the most potent of which are FEELINGS.  No matter how convinced we are at the level of thought that there is no "me" -- the level of feelings present a different challenge.   We continue to feel separate and we retain the feeling that we are still located inside the body.

It's frustrating because we can see so clearly that the individual does not exist.  It is obvious that it is a thought that comes and goes.  Yet we seem to be imprisoned by our feelings, many of which are deep rooted. We feel separate or insecure even though these feelings make no sense to us anymore.  Why won't these illogical feelings just go away?

This may continue long after we see through the THOUGHT that we are a separate entity.  Allow the feelings to be there.  Fighting or resisting the feelings only strengthens them.

It's an important step to corner the mind and to see through the belief in the separate, limited entity.  But it is by no means the end of the investigation, so don't start your celebration dance yet.  If you've been doing self-inquiry for a while, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fight with the Body

We are conditioned to resist the condition of our bodies.  We don't like something about the way we look.  Either we're too fat or too thin.  Our nose is too big.  We don't have the kind of hair we think is most attractive. 

Our resistance is not limited to our appearance.  We're also at war with our bodily feelings and sensations. We don't like certain sensations that show up, such as soreness, pain, or tightness.  We feel the need to change them -- right away -- so we will feel better.

Most people spend their entire lives engaged in a battle of trying to change the condition of their bodies.  I took that approach for many decades until I realized it didn't work.  I thought, as most do, that resistance was helping me, motivating me to make desired changes.

Thus, if our muscles are tight, we will be unhappy with that condition.  We may begin doing stretching exercises or attend yoga classes regularly.  We may visit a chiropractor or a doctor to see what kinds of physical manipulation will help to alleviate our discomfort.  All of these efforts might help our condition to some extent, but in most cases, the relief is temporary.

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with stretching, yoga, or seeking the aid of chiropractors and other medical professionals.  In many cases, they can contribute significantly to our health and well-being.

The key is whether we engage in these activities or treatments out of resistance to our current situation.  When we come from resistance, we are likely to get temporary relief only.  We're also likely to make less than ideal choices.  We may say that the yoga or stretching are helping us, but if we're honest, we'll admit that shortly after we leave the class or the treatment, we once again feel tight or sore.

When we allow the discomfort to be there and listen to it, we are then guided to take certain helpful actions.  That may be yoga, stretching, or perhaps doing nothing.  The mind rebels against the possibility of doing nothing to counteract pain, as it convinces us that we must do something to change the current feeling as soon as possible. 

Allowing the feelings to be as they are does not result in an immediate cure.  If you try to use this type of investigation to cure discomforts and illnesses, you are going to be very disappointed. 

Allow the body to be as it is, and expect nothing.  To the conditioned mind, this approach is insanity.

However, as the mind quiets and listens to the body, without resistance, an environment is created where the body will tend to relax.  When action is needed, you will take that action -- but it won't be coming from resistance.  It comes from the open, clear nature of your Being -- and will be the appropriate action for that moment.

When we don't resist our bodily feelings and sensations,  there's another benefit.  We may uncover the deep seated emotions that are often the cause of the discomfort.  Massaging muscles can make us feel better temporarily but that kind of physical manipulation will not get to the core of the emotions that are causing our muscles to be knotted.

If you have the courage to take this approach, you won't like everything that unfolds.  Certain sensations and emotions will arise that you have been suppressing for decades.  In fact, you may feel even worse in the short term. If some type of exercise, treatment or medical intervention is needed, you will be guided to it.

End the fight with the body.  It is trying to tell you things and to guide you.  This guidance is not limited to your body but also points you to your true nature, which is far beyond the limited, separate self most people take themselves to be.