The other day, I took a taxi to go home. The taxi driver started a conversation which ended in knowing about his “spiritual” experience: “ I lost my wife by being unfaithful and then I resorted into heavy drinking. I even had sex with guys… and then, I was saved (by his new religious belief) when I decided to go to the temple and heard the pastor talking. The pastor said that I could hear the voice of God. He gave me the versicle in the Bible. I prayed to God and then my Life turned around. I heard his voice. From that moment on, I decided to spend more time at the temple and share the word of God.” He handed me the Bible where he had underlined several passages that he knew by heart for me to read out-loud during the drive, while he was explaining those to me. I thanked him for sharing his story and finally he gave me some literature from his church to read in my spare time. Then he said: “I want to pray for you, what is your name? I said, “Ahnanda.” Thanked him again and left.
I was happy for him. I let him express what he IS and that gave him a little boost of reassurance of his own beliefs and experience. Little did he know that I had my own spiritual journey. He thought that he found “God” just like many other believers. That belief is uplifting him.
I learned the importance of allowing others to express their own religious experience even though they may be looking to proselytize.
Living in the “heart center” is not concerned in being “right” and “teaching others.” It is only concerned in naturally harmonizing with everyone. The above is by no means an example to follow. Life is unexpected and as we get in tune with feeling, our actions will be unexpected as well, rather than rehearsed. We could go through forethought, preconceived activity which maybe thought to be “correct, right” but which hides our true nature. As a person evolves through what we know as “spirituality”, it will be important to observe the raw self, without the disguise of DOING a determined action.
For instance, there was a Buddhist monk who said that if someone offers him a plate with meat in it, he wouldn’t reject it; for he will be rejecting the person who offered him a gift. But if he was offered to choose between a plate with meat or one with vegetables; he will pick vegetables.
That is a preconceived action. The motto is : “Do not reject anything.” However we need to look at “rejection” from a broader perspective: Is rejection showed through an ACTION (taking the plate or not) or is it an inner FEELING?
Can you reject your own well being for the sake of agreeing with someone? I am not saying to “make someone happy,” for the act of accepting a meal is not about making someone “happy or unhappy.”
In the heart center, we could observe that if the feeling is of rejecting meat but accepting it for the sake of conforming to a belief; then even though there was outside acceptance; there was inner rejection. No one else but ourselves could confirm that.
As we move into the heart center, there is no preconceived way of ACTION. There is no performance to follow out of some belief or tradition. Every person we meet, every exchange with others will bring its own way to ACT. That action comes from who we ARE.
How do we know if the action was proper?
There is harmony within. We could feel that. The mind does not bring some inner chat to tell us if we were “right or wrong.”
Personally, I do not reject meat or people who likes to eat meat; but at the same time, I know what agrees with my physical body at this time. That may change. Others may be alright with eating meat.
Everyone is different and different situations will arrive in our lives. I feel that to have a preconceived way of acting is truly emphasizing the mind over exploring the feeling of the moment.
Similarly, the cab driver is acting through preconceived directions by following a “holy” book. In his level of consciousness, that may be desirable at this time, but again; that may change. If we still follow preconceived patterns, then the mind will be at ease with a belief but not the heart .
Is following a particular moral code, enough to make us feel in harmony within? If yes, our lives could be a script to follow, from daylight to nighttime. This is “right” that is “wrong.”
Those parameters are necessary in society as they are simple to follow, but at the same time are limiting our own experience of feeling from the heart center.
Giving is not always “good”. Taking is not always “bad.” Those are only beliefs. Through the mind we can try to analyze the circumstances, the people involved, we could try to read the intentions, etc. and evaluate the situation to believe that we have acted “right,” for we have conformed to some pattern. There is no sensation, no feeling of harmony within.
Without that feeling, there could not be fulfillment in Life. Life is meant to be felt not thought out.
A: “God is our creator and he gave us free will and eternal Life!”
B: “Why do we have to believe that we were created?”
A: “Look, if you see a pretty house in the mountains, you will ask yourself: who created this house? Right?”
B: “Not necessarily. Perhaps the house was always there. Matter cannot be created neither destroyed, it can only transform. Correct?”
A: “Someone had to build it!”
B: “Who created the builder? “
A: “God. He always existed…”
B: “Why don’t you ask, who created God as well?”
The paragraph above was a paraphrase of an actual exchange. When we live in the mind, what is important is the concept, to “get I right.” The mind cares about “answers.”
When we live in the heart, that conversation has no meaning. There is a pretty house in the mountains, then appreciate it, enjoy it, get some feeling out of that experience which in turn will be like “spiritual food.” That will nourish you and consequently, those who are close to you in that experience. That is the “answer.”
“Who created it?” That question, even though “logical,” “reasonable” (traits of the mind) takes away the beauty of the scene for a moment of “full mind” which by nature, is never satisfied. The mind cannot get satisfaction.
Have we observed a person who apparently has everything going for him and who is not satisfied? He is living in the mind.
When I started my “spiritual career,” I too asked: “Who created the Universe?” I knew through religious conditioning that it was “God.” Also, I knew through “scientific” conditioning that there was the “Big Bang.” Somehow none of those “answers” fulfilled me. It was an empty repetition of things which are beyond my practical experience. Plain beliefs. The mind likes to take us into empty rides. We come back empty handed. An “answer” made up of words is as empty as an empty stomach, however, we feel the emptiness of the stomach, it is “real.” Words are not.
Now, proudly after some years of “search,” I could say that: “The Universe/ Life is there. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Truly.” No questions will come up to the mind.
Life, the Universe, God… those are words to express “mystery.” It is a beautiful mystery. Anything that we would like to “explain” about them, will be always short, always inaccurate, always dull… but yet; some of us “think” to “have the truth.”
That is the greatest hallucination someone living in the mind could have about Life.
However, it is part of the journey.
BEING in the mind, the heart and the gut. Those are the 3 stages of Human consciousness.
The experience is very distinct. Ahnanda is currently in the heart and after this experience is over, the gut will follow. Ahnanda is knowledgeable of the mind, as he has gone through it.
Raysha, Mathias, Miguel and Ahnanda where sharing experiences in a nearby park.
Miguel told Ahnanda: “ Now you are in the heart. However, you could go back to the mind unless you feed the heart with gratefulness and appreciation.
In you, there are 2 little dogs: The rabid dog (mind) and the happy dog (heart.)”
The rabid dog is reactionary. Trying to control things, violent with others and the self. The rabid dog compares all the time and measures how ahead he is in relation to others. It is angry if it finds out, others are better off.
The happy dog is placid, content within itself. Void of judgment. It observes and becomes amazed at Life.
Miguel continued: “The mind will try to gain control as it has done it for many years of your Life.
This new game that you will play is called the “jumping rope.” At one extreme is the rabid dog holding one side of the rope. On the other side, is the happy dog. Your task is to jump the rope at the right time, otherwise; you will be totally entangled and even could fall… “
Ahnanda said: “ I have experienced that I cannot analyze things anymore. If I go to the market to buy things, it is hard for my me to add up numbers and even I am becoming forgetful of things. Is that part of the process?”
Mathias responded: “ The mind is upset. If you don’t want to give it control of things, then the mind wants to see what can you do without it. Just talk to your mind and say: If you don’t want to help me with the tasks that you used to, that is fine. I am working on prosperity, so if the salesman says that the final price of all things I buy is something, I just accept it, pay and move on.”
Miguel added: “ In this new game you will need to learn to identify the mind from the heart, on the fly. Thus, take a moment before responding, pass some saliva through your throat and then respond. Your reaction will seem slow to others, but it will be conscious and that will avoid many unsavory episodes.”
Mathias then said: “It is important to remember that what you DO is not as important as BEING conscious of who you ARE while DOING.”
Life makes sure that Ahnanda obtains the necessary “tests” to learn to distinguish those 2 little dogs.
Contemplation is the tool to look at the self. Not to find mistakes and feel guilt as the mind likes to do; but to recognize who was there in “Me,” and how those energies get triggered. Contemplation is the “scientific lab” for that.
BEING in the heart is not a “lovey dovey” story. It is the experience of no-mind. Ahnanda has found out through his own experience that to BE in the “now” is impossible, when we are consciously located within the mind.
The mind only knows past and future. The heart only knows “now.”
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. 🙂