11 December 2014

How much does your idea of yourself condition your reality?


As you start to build up your mindfulness, you start to become aware of different layers of blockages within you. And what is oppressing you unconsciously. So, for example, if you’ve got this kind of heavy energy in your chest, normally we’re not consciously aware of it but unconsciously it’s affecting our mood, our attitude, how we feel. With enough mindfulness you become consciously aware of the energy you’re holding and now you can watch how you feel about it. But can you see how it’s actually been making you feel?

This is what’s key, because it’s not just an unpleasant physical feeling. If you really go deeply enough, you’ll get a sense of what it’s been doing to you, this energy that you hold. Now, you have to go very deeply into this to be able to see this…’s all very well to say “yes, it’s impermanent, this is the arising of bad reactions in my memory, feeling is one thing, my reaction to it is another”, it’s kind of mechanical, but you need to try and really embody what you feel. Because we’ve spent a lot of time trying to not feel it. Now, it’s possible to do your meditation for many, many, many years, believing you’re very skilful at paying attention to what’s going on in your body, without recognising at all how you feel. Below is a discourse that discusses lifes highest intelligence.

[groups_non_member group=”Registered”]So, how do you really feel? The truth is you don’t know how you feel. You don’t know how you feel because you don’t allow yourself to feel it. And yet, how you feel is driving you at every single level, whether it’s frustration, worry, fear, anxiety, resentment, there’s all kinds of stuff deep down in our unconscious and we do not see how we are being driven by how we feel.


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[groups_member group=”Registered”]So, how do you really feel? The truth is you don’t know how you feel. You don’t know how you feel because you don’t allow yourself to feel it. And yet, how you feel is driving you at every single level, whether it’s frustration, worry, fear, anxiety, resentment, there’s all kinds of stuff deep down in our unconscious and we do not see how we are being driven by how we feel.

Now some of us are much less driven by this than others. That depends on how much of a grip our sense of self has upon our reality. Some people have not such an elaborate idea of themselves. There’s more, sort of…immediacy to them. Yes? Some of us have a very elaborate idea of ourselves and are very wrapped up with ourselves, and others aren’t. And how wrapped up with ourself we are will express itself in how complicated and complex our array of responses are to what we actually experience. How much there is in the way between us and what we’re actually experiencing. And we aren’t aware of how much there’s there. We’re not aware of how complicated we’ve become and how entangled with those feelings we are and how driven by them we are.

Now, in some cases it can be a single thing that is right at the root of our being, driving and nuancing and flavouring and texturing almost everything we do. And we will always be hugely conditioned and driven by it until we see that our whole world is defined by our attempts to justify our position. Do you understand what I mean by that? The way we see the world is our attempt to justify our position. And that position that we’ve taken is utterly conditioned by the feelings that we’ve had and we are holding onto around certain things. So, some people might think something is really important, “this is very, very important” and other people might think that something else is very important, and other people may think “oh, don’t be ridiculous, it’s all about this”. Yes? And that bone that we gnaw on, that we see as so fundamental to life, is not fundamental to life, it’s fundamental to me upholding my idea of myself. And the energy that we invest in it is the energy that separates us from just being able to get on.

Are you getting what I’m saying? So, what we’ve got to try to do is to acknowledge or just touch what it actually feels like being me. In brutal self honesty and openness and real willingness to get on down, stop tap-dancing around trying to be what we think we ought to be, showing what we think we ought to show, pretending that we feel what we don’t, and get right down to the square root of what’s actually driving you and see where it is appropriate and conducive to your well-being and the well-being of others or where it is detrimental to your well-being and the well-being of others.

Now that’s actually what we do here. Now if I write it down on the board and say these are the wholesome mental states and these are the unwholesome mental states, and this is what you want to be letting go of and this is what you want to be generating and cultivating, it can become almost a mental exercise without actually acknowledging how that truly relates to you. We can very religiously and diligently and ardently practise our meditation, going through this body, feeling the four elements, feeling impermanence, feeling “oh, this is anger”, feeling this feels like attachment, without getting to the square root of where it’s coming from.

Now that’s what we’ve got to try and touch because when you get down there and start pulling those things out by the root, you start to dislodge all the other limiting structures that are conditioning you. Do you understand, it’s not just about saying “I shouldn’t be greedy, I shouldn’t be attached, I shouldn’t get angry jealous or arrogant…”. Those are all just by-products of where we’re stuck. Nobody is innately greedy or innately angry. It’s only confusion. You’ve got to see where you’re confused which means you’ve got to have a willingness to acknowledge “I haven’t figured it all out yet. I don’t understand. These conclusions that I’m really doggedly clinging to, why don’t I just drop them and assume that I don’t know yet?”

Honestly, it might sound like “But hang on, I’ve made all this progress trying to understand stuff”, but the swiftest progress comes when you go “I don’t understand a thing” and you just drop deeply into what you feel. Stop trying to understand it. Because your efforts to try and understand it are just getting in the way of you being with it. So meditate really deeply inside. When you get really deep down within yourself and you start to feel, drop deeper into it. When you go back to memories from your past and you think they’ve made you feel like this, how you think they’ve made you feel is your way of pretending to yourself that they’re alright. That’s not how you feel. You go deeper! How do I really feel? What’s it actually been doing to me? What’s it been doing to me trying to pretend to the world that I feel like this? What’s it actually been doing to me trying to show the world this person because it was that I I think I ought to do, to get approval. All this kind of thing. Try to free yourself up, so you can just be who you are.

If there was nobody out there to notice you, who would you be? How would you be if no one was paying any attention to you? And how would you be with it? Yes? How driven have you been by your need to be seen by others in one way or another? And in doing so, how much energy have you invested and how much have you consumed? And how appropriate is it to continue to invest such energy? How much of that energy could we have back, so that we could just be a functional part of the group that we’re part of? Rather than this highly defined individual, trying desperately to be seen. This is what makes the transition out of adolescence into mature spiritual adult hood, the gradual fading of both our need and fear of being seen

There’s nothing wrong with being individual, there’s nothing wrong with being this unique expression of life, but if you cling to it, and define your life in terms of it, then you are separate from the group. The awakened being is a functional member of the group, no better or worse than the next person. All this fixation with self is an adolescent fixation, our need to show our weaknesses and be seen for our strengths is an adolescence fixation, and it is what we call pride. Pride is the comparison of ourselves with others as better same or worse. It’s that desire and need to be seen or the fear of it. When we make that transition into what we call spiritual adulthood, we are willing to go unnoticed, willing to just be and, in doing so, to perform our functions whatever they may be with care, patience, generosity, kindness and humility

And it doesn’t matter what your function is. You don’t have to fry your head trying to decide what it is you ought to do. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you can do it with good heart and turn up for it, that’s all that’s asked. So stop thinking that you’ve got to change the world. That’s vanity.

So drop it all, find the being-ness, the such-ness, right in the heart of you, and let it start to be expressed. Freely. Openly. Because you’re here for a short period of time and don’t want to waste any more of it, wrapped up in what you think you ought to show the world. You want to get on with the job of just being here, utterly, and delighting in it. Simply. Uncomplicatedly. Directly and utterly. And dont worry yourself with all the thoughts “ but isnt that selfish”, because one who accepts themselves and others as they are is not one who will act selfishly or inconsiderately…So just do it get on with it.[/groups_member]


2 Responses

  1. Matthew

    thanks for this post burgs, it’s always illuminating to hear how the process could be so simple when we can get to the ‘sqaure root’ of things.

  2. Penny

    If there was no-one there to notice you, how would you be? I think this is a really helpful question, and for me, the silence on retreat provides an opportunity to try to answer it. No need to play to the gallery then!

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