I have been experimenting with not practising anything, no sitting on the mindfulness cushion for half an hour, no trying to get anywhere or seeking for anything, and seeing how long I can just notice what is going on without grabbing for something or avoiding something. I do a lot of grabbing and avoiding too, but it is fun to learn to just be, and play with the idea that what is happening is perfect as it is.
Notice, let go, notice, let go. I suppose you could call this a sort of practise, a practise of noticing and letting go….I have a few hours doing nothing, I notice the guilt arising (thoughts like you SHOULD be productive/useful), and let go. I don’t answer the phone when I don’t feel like it, I notice the spike of anxiety, (the thought comes ‘that could be something really really important!’) I let go. I resist texting an ex, I notice the desire (‘imagine how good it would be to catch up!’ the thought says), I let go, let go, LET GO! I say no to a social invitation, notice the fear of being judged, (thoughts like ‘they might feel rejected and hurt’) I let go. I give the higher price than the client was expecting, and notice the anxiety as I send the email, (a thought comes ‘I might lose the job at that price’) I let go and send it anyway.
I watch this busy mind as it tries to define, analyse, get things under control, run things by ‘shoulds’ and beliefs, let go. Just keep coming back to my senses. Face the fear of not interpreting and stay with the experience.
There is a part of me that is utterly terrified and full of dread all the time, and sitting there always ready to be stimulated by a scary thought and jump up and shout and start getting my adrenaline going. I don’t reject this part of me, I understand that it has a role to play, and is part of my biological evolutionary inheritance. I am learning to live with it more peacefully and to soothe it.
In the present I have found a place of safety. It is my refuge. Fear can’t seem to exist in the present, in the space between thoughts. I take short moments throughout the day to come back to this place of safety and to the space between thoughts. To the awareness that is there all the time, all day long every day…and in which we all exist. Thoughts and feelings are the dynamic expression of this awareness, and if left as they are and not reified, they disappear from where they came. It is only when we reify them and attempt to make them real, that they disturb.
I really have no idea where this is ‘going’ or what is going to happen if I keep on doing this. The part that is really scared, I register it, and cuddle it. What I do know is that despite the severe warnings from that part, the threat detection system, the sky hasn’t fallen in and everything’s going fine. The business has never done better, I am no longer in debt, I have no big dramas going on, have lost weight, get on better with the family than before…what’s not to like?
Having and running a business is a fine anchor point in the world for me, and keeps me grounded and mingling with people. I find abiding in the awareness has a swimmy feeling and can be disorientating. Well for the ego part of me/threat detection system it is.
I really need to comfort that part of myself a lot lot lot. It doesn’t like ‘just being’. I cuddle it with (literally) warm blankets and comfy cushions and make the body as comfy as possible. I wear really comfy clothes and footwear, I make sure I am warm at all times. I am learning to care and love and look after myself in the most basic of ways. I had to overcome some peculiarly strong resistance to this idea initially. Now I am getting more used to it.
I eat healthy foods just about all the time because I am now enjoying being good to myself. I notice the feeling of temptation that arises when presented with the smell of croissants in the supermarket, the burger as I pass McDonalds, and I say ‘hello temptation and desire’ and it passes. Sometimes I allow myself an unhealthy treat though too, I’m not being religious about it. I don’t eat much meat these days, it isn’t necessary and I really don’t like what goes on in the meat industry, it is not friendly or loving to animals, and find myself moving away from supporting that. I am a hypocrite too, I eat what I want, including meat sometimes. I am now a lighter weight than I have been in 10 years.
I am experiencing lots of little successes like this. And this helps mitigate the fear of trusting. The more I trust myself the less struggle and strife and suffering I experience. Well done I say to myself! I encourage myself a lot, and I am learning to be a friend to myself. A friend to everyone, to life.
“There is nothing to practise. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.
There is no such thing as a person. There are only restrictions and limitations. The sum total of these defines the person. The person merely appears to be, like the space within the pot appears to have the shape and volume and smell of the pot.
To expound and propagate concepts is simple, to drop all concepts is difficult and rare. A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet.
As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does Self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady Self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part”.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~
Excerpts from “I Am That”