To face emotions is part of the obstacle course of the Life walker.
An emotion is triggered by beliefs and healed either through the understanding of those beliefs or the strength to face that emotion.
Any emotion will manifest in the body as a pain, disease or discomfort.
For instance, someone may feel that the area in his lower neck is tight.
That will cause discomfort. Some people label that as “stress,” and may want to take some medicine/muscle relaxer to feel OK again.
When we observe emotions, for instance we could pinpoint a subtle pain in the chest. That pain comes with a sensation, a feeling, we could label that as “anxiety.”
Anxiety was the cause of the muscles tightening.
Observe the path of that emotion: It will tighten the stomach and then the neck.
Why is this important?
Because if we are unaware of the underlying emotion and only perceive the physical discomfort, we may be overlooking the cause and perhaps unnecessarily medicating ourselves.
This is a practical use of observation in our daily Life, thus a very “spiritual” practice.
Deep breathing is the remedy rather than a pill. To be aware is the panacea and not to use a label or definition.
Do you feel fear of rejection?
That is another emotion. Observe how your body tightens and how the “stress” appears.
How do you cure that fear?
By facing it.
The emotion of fear is cured by facing that which we fear.
What about fear of death?
Wait until the time comes… and then you will face it. In the meantime, your fear is about losing what is known to you.
The process of healing from a fear is a journey in itself, our healing path.
To know how to face something in Life is a learning experience. The label used is to have courage.
It is important to understand courage.
Sometimes we may need to face our fears right there with the inner strength that we have accumulated. Other times, we may need to withdraw completely and to give ourselves the time to build our confidence, our strength. To withdraw is the time to cuddle the inner child.
Thus, courage is always a manifestation of our strength.
The way to increase our fear is when we face something without our inner strength to support it. It is to build a house without a foundation.
Joshu asked Nansen: “What is the path?”
Nansen said: “Everyday life is the path.”
Joshua asked: “Can it be studied?”
Nansen said: “If you try to study, you will be far away from it.”
Joshu asked: “If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?”
Nansen said: “The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the non perception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond all doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.”
At these words Joshu was enlightened.
Mumon’s comment: Nansen could melt Joshu’s frozen doubts at once when Joshu asked his questions. I doubt though if Joshu reached the point that Nansen did. He needed thirty more years of study.
from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings Compiled by Paul Reps (Anchor Books, New York ~ 1956)
The above came in an email to me.
“Mumon’s comment,” show the “enlightenment of knowing.” To be able to express what Mumon said, is the knowing of going through Life itself in awareness.
Is to study “bad,” a waste of time in “Spirituality”?
Neither good nor bad. It is part of the necessary experience and not the ultimate experience.
No one could become “enlightened” by just hearing words which just “make sense” to them. There has to be a background of experiences along with deep insight, which does not come from being “intelligent” or well read.
A person lost in rationality cannot flow with Life. A person who does not have critical thinking skills, is an easy prey for beliefs.
Let me share what I see through my experience in Life, as being the obstacle for seekers not being able to open up to a different consciousness:
Rationality. Thinking. Beliefs: Believing in the “only way.” Believing that “spiritual” experiences come included with a dogma to be followed, studied and recited to others. “Black or White” mentality.
That sense of “freedom as the sky” as Nansen mentioned, is lost in the cage of beliefs and rationality and with that our ability to perceive Life without beliefs.
For example, when someone makes Zen as Zen by defining it, by giving it boundaries, then, that “practice” becomes another dogma just like any other dogmatic religion full of beliefs.
Let me put it in another way, anything that we define becomes rigid in our mind. That rigidity is not consistent with the way Life is, which is constant change.
Defining Life as being “constant change,” is not what is. It is just a way to express something for the majority to understand, to “like” a writing, but the “reality” of defining Life as being change, makes of Life an unchanging event, stuck in change. Paradoxical wording.
Life is…. Life. “What is.” 🙂
The above is what a Zen student may enjoy. The puzzling, contradictory words which break the system of linear logic and black or white mentality; however, let me tell you something:
That game of words is completely and utterly meaningless. That game of debating as to who has the best “rationale,” is empty of substance.
Let me put it in a short phrase: The more we think, define and reason, the further away from “what is” we will go.
“Geshe” is an “academic degree” emphasized by a tradition of Buddhism for nuns and monks.
Someone could be very intelligent to get that “degree,” nevertheless; it does not mean that his consciousness has changed. In that sense that intellectual prowess is a fake façade hiding the real self, which is BEING not THINKING.
“What do you think I should do?” Anyone could come up with “solutions.” That is all in the realm of ideas, “theory.”
“Spiritual” people, full of degrees in Metaphysical studies and/or labels such as “yogi,” “guru,” “priest,” etc. may be well versed in words, logic and reason; but their consciousness may be at the same level of a “normal” everyday man: Full of “I,” beliefs, emotions and moral standards.
Are degrees “bad”? Neither good nor bad. Useful in the “Office world,” useless in Life outside the office world.
BEING, CONSCIOUSNESS changes all by itself through the assimilation of Life experiences. There is no study, no religion, no dogma, no God, no book or philosophy able to make that change to fulfill our needs for “enlightenment.”
Therefore, what do we need to “do” in Life?
To BE free like the sky, to let it happen.
Who is not allowing that “change” to happen?
That is the process of the path itself. Some like to label that, to define that… as the “I.”
Many individuals are looking for the “way out,” that is a different consciousness, a different way to look at life and to be able to live in joy… The catalyst for that situation is typically an increased perception of suffering.
Suffering is not “bad.” It is a limit to show us something for those who are able to see.
Nevertheless, the “ Spiritual marketing department” will take the opportunity to offer “powerful speakers with transformational answers” to fulfill that collective need for something new. For them, spirituality is about offering “cutting edge information and techniques” for the masses so “we can transform the world together.” 🙂
Seekers are looking for life answers and they get beliefs to momentarily calm their minds instead.
Seekers are looking for guidance and they are offered the opportunity to follow someone instead.
Some people want to get something from life (money, health, etc.) and they are offered “recipes” for “easy success” instead.
It does not matter if we hear a speaker who is “vibrating in the higher frequencies,” that is not needed to transform the self. Unless what we hear somehow relates with our own experience, unless we can recognize those words in ourselves.
Recognition of something that we already know.
That is why no one could teach someone else something already known. It is just recognized.
Life will offer the “tools” according to our readiness to assimilate.
Inner observation is a tool, which does not have copyrights. No one can make $ out of that. No one could offer a “recipe” for “easy success” out of that, for this inner observation is a personal journey.
There is no shortcut for the one who would like to unleash that oppressed joy already in us. No shortcuts for the one who is willing to peel off the layers of his own personality as he could do with an onion, even if that means to shed some tears in the process. No shortcuts for the one who is willing to experience whatever it takes to find out… to find himself.
In this journey, we may discover:
Emotions, which cover our joy and deny our health.
A reactive personality, which destroys a good relationship with others and the self.
A head full of beliefs, which destroys our ability to open up to life due to fear.
The journey is intimate. Words cannot convey the walking of the spiritual walker.
All is required is to be aware, awake to be able to see that the next intersection in our path is exactly the experience that we need to continue on… and walking is the task of the spiritual walker. 🙂
Greater consciousness. Greater awareness. That is the aim of any “true” spiritual path.
This awareness is not “collective” awareness. It is numberwise. Every individual will be awakening at different levels. Therefore, a spiritual path cannot be generalized as the only “method” which will fit everyone. “One size fits all,” may work in the physical realm but certainly it is not the case in spirituality.
Everything has a method. But that method changes according to the individual, that is why the “Guru” system came into an existence. There are teachings given to all but within that, there is a specific teaching for someone according to his level. To recognize the disciple’s capacity was the task of the master, teacher or guru.
Nowadays as everything is for the masses; religions and spiritual teachings have been made as “one size fits all,” for it is easier to put together a book or a CD or DVD with methods to be sold. If for an uncertain reason the method does not work, then the student is at fault; for these methods are “proven to be correct, sacred and holy.”
One the one hand, it is very important to follow a particular method which the spiritual aspirant trusts, have firm faith and feels comfortable with. If the disciple follows that method with this frame of mind, he will do his best and will reach a realization. On the other hand, if the disciple creates a dependency in the method as a reassurance that whatever he has obtained in his spiritual life is due to a particular practice or method, then that student will be stuck. Growth will finish.
A method is just a way to take someone into further realizations, into a different consciousness. True improvement will happen when a person is able to get to that level of consciousness without a method.
Spirituality is like having a piece of candy. The method will instruct someone on how to open the wrapping paper out of the candy, what to expect after that, what is the best time to eat the candy, what are the properties of that candy, etc.
This method could be surrounded by devotional practices such as bowing down to the candy 5 times before opening it, or offering the candy to God before doing anything, etc. Those are the devotional practices introduced to give a method certain sacredness, certain importance. That is fine.
Nevertheless, to be able to taste that candy in the consciousness taught by the method, will give us the right time to let the method go away.
Attachment to a method will not bring further progress, for there will not be openness to experience something else other than a learned method for fear of losing what has been experienced so far.
It is true that it requires a very special individual to follow wholeheartedly a particular method to gain greater awareness; but at the same time; it takes a different kind of person to let the method go away when it has served its purpose.
Spiritual growth happens when we realize that everything has a purpose and when we are able to know its “right” time.
When there is a numerous amount of people united at the same time, using their internal power; there can be a fantastic impact over matter.
The way to stop this wonder is when we act in egotistical ways and by having fears.
Those are the fears arising from internal insecurity.
Those fears make those who are meant to advance; to stop.
Those fears not only make the individual to stop but to fall down several times. Then, this individual will hurt his already damaged self-esteem.
In this way a severe chronic damage will be created; which only through intense pain; those memories could be erased or aggravated.
Finally, “sound” depends on 3 factors: Location, intensity and form: the birds know this very well.
Intensity depends on your auto-realization as individual.
Form, is that which is obtained through your auto-image, that is thoughts.
Location depends on your experiences.
I want to finish by saying that the best moment to initiate any type of awakening is NOW.
It is after awakening that we can continue to advance in this path of light, sounds, stillness and silence.
* About Mathias: A wise being of light.