Constantly I observe seekers wanting to improve themselves. These seekers will go to different places, take different classes and DO different rituals believing that “now” they are better, they have arrived.
In a short time, reality will hit them when there is no such change. DOING cannot change BEING.
The whole set up of what is called “spirituality” is made on the premise that someone else is able to save me, someone is able to heal me and someone is able to tell me what to DO with my life.
While we divert ourselves in fixing what we see as broken, typically we fail to understand what IS.
Humans have 3 centers within. The mind, the heart and the gut. Without feeling these yourself, I am merely giving information. Once it is felt, then you know. If you know, I am merely supporting with words what is in your experience already. Thus, I am not a teacher. You are not a student. I am merely sharing.
Desires to fix what is perceived as broken or to transform “bad into good” comes solely from the mind.
The mind, is the repository of ideas given to us from the surrounding conditioning. There is no “spirituality” per say, when someone is relating with Life from the mind for we are striving to find ‘reasons’ for everything. Life has no ‘reasons.’ Nevertheless, a beginner will try to understand Life from the mental perspective. Beyond the mind, there are other ways to be in tune with Life.
The heart is the next center. Emotionally, we are connected with Life through the heart. The heart has no reasons. Many times we will hide our emotional feelings with some mental reasoning. This will give us the sensation of not being satisfied. Mentally we may think that we acted in the “right way,” but emotionally, we will feel empty, hurt, unsatisfied.
We will not perceive this lack of harmony if we are looking for external ‘quick fixes.’
In some religions, there is the practice of looking at the navel to meditate.
The gut feeling is not something to meditate on, but something to feel. We are connected to Life and to our mission in Life through the gut. The language of the gut arrives when we feel what is going on there, while being barely connected to the mind. The mind merely receives the message, for without the mind; there is no interpretation, that is to put what we feel into words.
How many are in tune with these 3 centers within us? Not many. For our culture, the mind is the main center, when in reality to maintain the wholesomeness of a human being, the mind should be the last center in use. First is the gut.
The gut like the heart does not know about ‘reasons.’ To feel fulfilled in Life, we will need to learn to listen to the heart and the gut.
For instance, a seeker may be stuck in a job that he does not like. He may be listening to the mind and its reasons. The heart may have some emotional conditioning while connected through the mind, but the gut feeling only needs to be heard. Ask the question and listen for the “yes” or “no.” This is what takes “practice.” Trust arrives little by little.
Do we want to take a class to learn how to listen to the heart and the gut?
Do we need easy to understand steps, methods and classes? That is what the mind desires.
Part of the process of “improving” as a seeker is to unlearn in order to learn something new. Unlearning is a necessity. Newness comes through this. Most seekers are unwilling to go through this process of unlearning, as this means that the person will be “new.” Practically, this may happen as having a different occupation, leaving the settings of the previous life, knowing new people and naturally, cutting ties with the old ones, etc. Life will put this situation. This is not something that someone should try to “DO.”
In the meantime, how do we start? We need the time to experiment within. We need willingness to go into this journey. This is known as solitude.
This is necessary to understand ourselves. It is through that “understanding” (this is not mental but rather openness) how change takes place without looking for it, without expecting it, without believing that this change will make us “better.” In other words, it is a natural change.
What is natural will develop once the unnatural, conditioned barriers of our minds are left aside.
If we could look at ourselves in the same way we look at others, if we were able to grab and read our own personalities the same way we do with others, we will obtain the blueprint of our “I,” just to disassemble it; rather than enhance it with some idea of what ‘better should be.’
That is to help ourselves.
The importance of feelings cannot be overstated. Through feelings we feel fulfilled, satisfied in Life. Love is a feeling and such is happiness, what else do we need?
Note that the word “feeling” is not enough to express the experience. We could use the word “emotion” to add complexity for the mind wants to “understand.” Spirituality is not about repeating concepts, it is mostly about your inner experience, your inner observation, how aware we could be. Labels only confuse, segregate, separates, dissects the experience.
Please consider the following not as a belief or as interesting info. Just see it in yourself, if you could see these descriptions in “you.”
The feeling that brings fulfillment is the one coming from the BEING itself through the “gut,” thus a “gut feeling.”
Take the time to observe it and recognize it. Some may call this “intuition” which is another label pointing to the same direction. Japanese medicine knows this area as “hara,” and in Chinese medicine it is known as “lower Dantian,” or the “sea of Qi.” It is not only the “gut” or the stomach, but the manifestation of vitality of BEING in this physical plane.
When that zone is relaxed, you feel relaxation, you feel good!
Perhaps we could observe 3 main centers of “feelings.”
The gut or “hara” as explained above is the main one but, we are not in touch with it. BEING according to our role in Life will manifest there. That is honesty in a nutshell. Our conditioning is to sugar coat that with thoughts, beliefs, ideas we have been exposed to and which we consider “thoughtfully,” “mindfully” speaking, to be “right.”
The second center is the heart. Thus, “heart feelings.”
We have been conditioned to believe that the “heart” has the most important feelings to “listen to.” Nevertheless, the “feelings from the heart” come actually from the mind. Those “feelings” have the conditioning of many past experiences.
For instance “love.” It is a label with many meanings. There is love for parents, for siblings, for offspring, for a partner, etc. All of those forms of love are different, but yet we use the same label: “love.” Where is the conditioning? In the way that we should express a particular “love” for a particular relationship. Observe “Love to God.”
Why do we use the “father” type of love? or even the “beloved” one? Is that what is missing in your Life? Why isn’t there a particular type of love for God as there is for a sister, a father, a son?
If you are aware of your conditioning, there will be greater openness in you.
Finally, the center in the head, which we label as “mind,” “brain,” etc. That is where most people function. That center is the furthest away from the gut. We use reason, logic, words to create our world.
For instance, you may hear poetry. The words “touched you.” The mind has been touched. A word brings the experience as the mind has a particular meaning for a particular word. “ My heart has been touched while hearing that beautiful poetry.”
Words… don’t bring an experience other than the one we believe they mean. The word “snake” could bring different reactions in people according to their experiences, however, for mainstream, that word brings a negative connotation due to religious beliefs or sexual hang ups. Conditioning.
That “feeling” is conditioning “stored” in the mind.
Again please observe those centers within yourself, otherwise; the above will just feed your mind with additional information.
In spirituality, knowing is BEING it. Not READING about it.
Into how many pieces, could your heart be broken before you die?
The number of pieces does not matter. What matters is to be able to pick your pieces up with gratitude.
That “death” will bring an extraordinary resurrection, for sure.
Brain said to Heart: “I have never had my heart broken”
Heart responded: “I have never had a headache.”
Brain said: “You are so lucky!”
Heart responded:” So are you!”
Pain in Brain or in Heart may be different but … the same pain.
If you are all heart, you could only have your heart broken. For you, Life will be the experience of a whole heart which then becomes broken.
What is wrong with that picture?
Do you want to always have a whole heart? 🙂
That could be like eating mashed potatoes every day. Yes, you may like potatoes but then after a while… you will not.
See the trend? It is called Life changes.
Observe how Life will take you to different experiences of the heart. The heart will be broken little by little or it may be a huge rupture. It is that uncertainty what makes Life worthwhile. What does destiny have for you?
Whatever it may be, one thing is certain: You are ready for it.
Do you like that experience of pain?
That will be the incentive to appreciate a whole heart.
How could you appreciate it, if you always had a whole heart? How could you appreciate the heart, if you are a Brain?
The Brain will allow you to be outside, in the peripheral part of things, analyzing, defining, comparing, assuming… but never daring to experience “it” for it may hurt.
Be reasonable. Be logical. Be smart.
Pain chisels the heart, but pain makes it whole again.
“How is that possible?”
If Brain is the one asking that question, the answer could be: “You will never know.”
“But… I am smart. I am a quick learner. Explain that to me!” Brain replied.
It will not matter how many times we could repeat ourselves… it will not sink in, Brain. It is beyond your range of experience.
But if the heart is asking that question… well, that is not a “true” Heart…
In Life we will know many Brains and many Hearts. We will know many “half and half” and many “have-nots” of people.
Appreciate every one of them, for you have been/are/will be/ them…
“Oh! I get it.. Life is about appreciation! “
No, Brain… it is not a word, a definition. It is BEING that without trying to BE. Allowing it to happen.
That appreciation of variety is extraordinary, divine, inspiring…
Observe, appreciate, enjoy and… smile 🙂 for all is good… exactly as it has to be!
…And just when I thought that to be tough is all there is in Life, I found that toughness is the biggest vulnerability someone could have.
When there is no awareness, we could be taught to put up an image in front of the world just to protect our own pettiness.
It is the typical “office world” mentality of “marketing ourselves” to boast about our strengths and to “fake it until we make it.”
That is the world of pressuring ourselves to “succeed.”
Nothing wrong with that world.
Nevertheless, in Life in our relationships with people it is of great importance to show who we are.
A relationship grows in depth as we take off our layers of protection, as we stripe our image and show our vulnerabilities… At that point we are not an ideal anymore, a prototype for everyone to follow…
There is no need to make a list of our own vulnerabilities and to “practice” those in front of loved ones. We just need to allow ourselves to be.
Censorship and rejection could be experienced, and that is fine. We are not supposed to be like everyone else.
That is the first point in self-awareness: Totally acceptance of ourselves; our shadow and our light.
If we have not reached that point, if there is not acceptance, then our interaction with ourselves and others will be a faked one. There will not be fulfillment experienced in relationships as we cannot be ourselves.
When we display our vulnerabilities in awareness, we could know others. For those will be triggers for others to react in judgment, censorship or advice. In turn, that will give us the chance to test our “strength,” meaning our emptiness of “I.”
Without awareness, to display our vulnerabilities will be a source of pain and suffering, for we will feel hurt. That trauma will need to be healed.
The image of the “tough guy” is in vogue. That “toughness” is just meant to conceal the fear of being just who we are. To be tough, we need to set aside our true feelings and with that the opportunity to experience living from the heart.
Vulnerabilities will dissolve in relationship with others, but only for the one who is aware. For the one who is not, it will be the source of belittlement and the need to work on his “image” by building a mental layer of shielding armor.
Emotionally, when our heart is vulnerable, when it is trusting and open, it may get hurt and that is the opportunity to heal through our accumulated strength. It is the perfect chance to see how far we have gone.
If that same heart is tough, hard and closed… not trusting anything…it may not get hurt, because it is already in pain. That is another paradox of Life.
For that closed heart, to live is a fearful experience and to close itself into a small box just to feel safe, is the extent of its “toughness.”
To open our heart despite the possibility of being hurt is an act of courage, and act of affirming the intrinsic necessity to feel Life…and at the same time; the path to experience no-self.
Pain is not to be feared, but transformed. 🙂
Whenever the “I” chooses, there is no truth
The truth is in your heart. Choice is not a choice there.
Because we are one with Life, that which separates us (thinking) may only show us facts, but not truth.
Because Life changes, facts may remain unchanged; but the truth… may change.
John and Jane promised love to each other. That is the fact. The truth is that John did not feel love for Jane.
Perhaps John did not realize of that truth for he is not used to dealing with his heart, but he “thought” that he loved Jane. The “thought” will change and so…love.
A police officer entered a semi-dark room after hearing a shooting. He saw a man lying on the floor who was picking up a gun. The police officer shooted at that person for he thought that it was in self-defense.
The police officer killed an innocent man rather than an outlaw.
The fact is that an innocent man was killed. The truth is that the police officer did not intend to kill. The law may go by “facts,” but the truth may be outside those facts.
Whenever person “A” deals with person “B,” there will be facts, actions. However, the truth will be hidden in the intention of every person.
Thought only sees facts.
This why if someone calls himself “spiritual,” that person may need to have the honesty of not lying to himself, for every lie in order to look respectable will only create a dishonest person.
The truth will be hidden under the fact.
Who we really “are” will present as a need to express itself at different times.
When we acknowledge the need, we are opening for the opportunities that Life may present.
When the opportunity presents, we may choose.
When we choose, we open ourselves for many things: Beliefs to deal with, moral standards, expected behaviors… more things to think about.
When we do not choose but we “flow” according to what our heart dictates, we act in truth for there is no choice. Isn’t that paradoxical? Honesty is of the heart. No practice needed. Honesty is all what is required… but as Billy Joel may say:” Honesty is such a lonely word.”
To acknowledge our truth beyond pretty sentences and “elevated words,” is to align with the possibility of change.
That may be the change that religions and moralists are looking for: It is natural, wholesome, healthy when the process is respected.
When that change is supported by rigid ways, fear and repression the outcome will be a dishonest man sitting in a dark corner, waiting for the opportunity to act, when not seen.
For them, to “look good” has greater value than just being.
Every experience in Life will show us who we are.
What we see outside, is the reflection of what is inside.
To change what we see through a thought just to be “positive” is to be dishonest.
To acknowledge what we find in ourselves and to look for its root, is to change without trying to change; to be truthful… without knowing that meaning… because we don’t “think” that we know… we may. 🙂
We make our destiny? OR Is destiny already made?
Isn’t destiny “you”? Isn’t “you” destiny?
A mango was sitting on my countertop. It was still green.
Have you noticed how the mango changes to become a ripe mango even though away from the tree?
Is the mango at anytime separated from Life?
We see 2 different things: A mango and everything else… Life. Nevertheless as time goes by, as Life changes, then the mango will change.
Let us assume that the mango had “consciousness,” the mango has an “I.”
Wouldn’t it be silly if the mango said: “I want to make effort to become ripe” or “I want to be ripe now.”
What would happen if the mango had the ability to dream about the future?
“I see myself doing this….10 years from now.” There is nothing wrong with having a dream, but Life changes will shape that mango to become something… when we become obsessive about the “form” of the change, then we have a particular objective: “I want to be xyz” but the end result, destiny is meant to make the mango ripe. That could be through any experience: I could be a beggar, a millionaire, etc. The end result is to attain insight, to be a ripe mango, ready for other experiences which will bring growth.
Growth happens through different experiences in Life, it means further insight.
Human mentality is caught up with “change” in a way which does not acknowledge Life.
“I want to change the world.”
The world will change by itself. That “I” is part of it.
“I want to change myself.” That is the hardest trick to do. Could you grab your shadow?
Don’t you see that you are the mango sitting in my countertop? Change will happen “naturally,” it may not be what “you” expected, but believe me; it is exactly what is needed…it is the experience that will make further changes for you and for all.
Are you interested in finding the absolute truth?
Some like to exchange one word for another, they may call that “God.”
Your perception, my perception, their perceptions… all of them have their own truths and falsehoods.
Since there are different perceptions, what is the truth?
🙂 It is a matter of utility. Today your truth has utility, tomorrow it is mine.
What do you desire? His truth, her truth, their truth?
Look at your heart. Feel the direction of its beating, its pulsing…for if you pick right or left, it does not matter…still you will find your destiny… just like the mango sitting in my countertop.
The heart has the answers. The head can only think of questions. Is that my truth?
No…my truth has falsehood and my falsehood… truth. 🙂
If I could get you out of my mind, I will be happy…
While most will spend their time and resources forgetting the past through getting busy, drinking, meditating, pretending to be joyful, etc. in time; they will forget.
Because we are never the same.
General wisdom will tell us “Time heals the wounds of the heart.”
It should say: “The baby-ish mind will stop crying, when peace is brought by a pacifier in its mouth.”
I guess it is not as poetic as the former, but awareness has its own language.
The mind likes static pictures. The mind will literally cry if those pictures change.
The mind cries, complaints, makes tantrums, assumes, judges and the poor “I” believes it all.
Letting go is always about the past. It could be a family situation, a relationship, a circumstance which shouldn’t…but it was…
The mind does not want to forget for there is a “something” which is meaningful, something which supports its own idea of self.
The mind will cry: “The way that one made me feel.” “I did not feel like this before.” “I don’t think I can go on without that one.”
The mind sets the source to be “him or her” or whoever. When that one is gone; the mind will cry and then, emotions will solidify the experience of suffering by following the tears of the mind so deeply, that the heart will feel wounded.
One more time, we have succeeded in hurting ourselves. 😦
Want to repeat the drill?
You feel you need something. The mind remembers that one or that situation which gave life to that “self” who is no longer there.
The mind will cry. Emotions of sadness will follow. The feeling of suffering arrives, deeply felt by the heart.
“But… What is the solution?”
It is not in the mind. It is the strength of the heart.
Let me put it in another way: “Love is the solution.”
Too cloying and cliché for your taste?
Let me put it in another way: Less I-ness.
When the heart is healed, it is always open, there is a capacity for love.
A wounded heart will go through the process of diminishing the size of the “I,” through suffering. A wounded heart will close itself to opportunities to feel, due to fear.
Resistance will be there until the “I” gets tired…
Eventually all the “efforts” from the “I” to avoid being hurt again, (Thanks to the advice of the mind) will suffocate that “I” to the point, where survival will call for a sudden change of plans.
Love can flow again. 🙂
The mind creates its own demons and protectors. To face that creation is part of growing in Life.
Do we see why all experiences that we go through are important and necessary?
When we become aware of that “I” and the ways that Life has to slim it down, then we no longer need to believe in “holy” diets and food repression.
Life is about experiences. When we are aware of them, by looking at how the self is changed into no-self, we will understand the ways and means of Life and how our perception of being separated from “what is” brings that suffering, which most are reluctant to experience.
Do you know why “letting go” is called in that way?
Because there is someone, the “I” through the mind, who is stopping something from the past to go by, to dilute itself along with the old “I.”
The “I” is hurt through beliefs of the mind. It is self-inflicted pain.
When we are aware of the mind’s tricks, we are free. No need to repress, suppress or avoid. Just conscious awareness, observation, witnessing, spectating, watching…
Who is watching?
If it is the “I” we are tricking ourselves.