When there is a connection with Life through feeling, then the compulsion to act based on learned ideals (conditioning) is left aside. In our society we are told to DO something when we perceive that the ideals which have been taught to us, are compromised.
Observe that circumstances surrounding Life are unexpected. We could think and predict that something will go one way and act upon that prediction, but many times; Life will go its own way. Many times our untimely and idealistic action could exacerbate the situation that we wanted to avoid in the first place.
Without a doubt, this desire to intervene without allowing every party to fully express, (to DO their part) will create further conflict.
While in society to DO something is encouraged, we are not aware that most of the time this ACTION is the expression of ego. Therefore, the final product may be perceived as violence, a force to intimidate others to comply with our wishes driven by some ideal. That is the world of the mind, the “reality” in our every day dealings.
The opposite of action, is inaction but that word is defined in a negative way: “Lack of action where some is expected or appropriate.” Non-DOING has been equated with inaction or non-action but the word “laissez-faire” has been chosen here to replace the negativity associated with the words “non-doing” and “inaction.”
Laissez-faire means to “allow to do,” that is to allow for things to take their own course without interference. In this way, we could observe where exactly something is going, thus action is on going in the form of attention and unavoidably practical, at some point of the journey. When our feeling is aligned with the common good; that action is void of egotistical pursuits. Typically, we put our ideal first and act according to it and label that activity as “fair,” “impartial,” etc. We are not respecting the changes that may happen as Life is uncertain and dynamic.
“Right action” then, is to follow through and wait when the opportunity to align in that journey appears, without having an ideal on how things “should be” but merely connecting with our feelings and our intention to serve the common good.
The “common good” is very important. Otherwise, we are acting as if we align with a specific political party and only care for those ideals.
If Life is a play, every person or actor in it, has a part to play. Allow for the actor to express his unique part for there are many others parts involved within a scene. Even as we try to singularize “my action” from someone else; we could observe that there is a common thread coming from Life itself, which stirs our activity in one direction or another. We are connected with this intangible, invisible source where a keen awareness could be able to perceive it.
Non-action or “laissez-faire” (In spiritual talk) is not a practice. When it is natural, it is harmonious with Life. That harmony depends on our level of observation, awareness and feeling Life. Otherwise, it is “you” allowing others to act or “you” avoiding to act. That “you” in it, is a gross misinterpretation of non-action.
Just like the word “energy,” when the word “feeling” is mentioned, that word can mean many things.
We feel pain. We feel love. We feel the breeze of the air. We feel anxiety. We feel cold. We feel fulfilled. All those “feelings” do not have anything in common. Some are related with physical senses, others with the mind and yet others are mostly subjective, according to personal experience such is the case with love or peace.
What do we mean when we say that we could relate with Life through feelings and not the mind?
That is a hard question to answer for it depends on our experience and observation of the mind. Most humans at this time, are completely plugged in with their minds, completely identified with it as “I,” thus Life will be only experienced through their mind.
Therefore, someone who only “knows” and experiences Life through ideals, definitions, explanations and concepts, is not able to feel in Life, for feeling is not of the mind.
Some have made a separation between the mind and the “heart,” identifying the heart as the center of feelings. However, this has brought further misunderstanding, as many think the heart is a romantic place left for artists, which is disconnected from ‘reality.’
There is the feeling of emotions which is the typical center of perception of artists, and there is the feeling of sentiments, which are not part of duality. In short, an emotion is duality a sentiment is not.
When we look at the innocent face of a baby or when we reconnect with someone who we haven’t seen for a long time, there is an unrehearsed “feeling” which will feed us, that is we will feel “good” and wholesome for a moment until the mind appears with thoughts and inner chatter. That sensation which is unexpected, legitimately unrehearsed could be a description of a feeling.
Why is it so important to feel? Because fulfillment in Life is through feeling. The mind is not capable of being fulfilled. Humans are looking for fulfillment in Life. That is the basic premise of living.
Our actions, our responses are utterly conditioned. “Hi! How u doing? Good? Great! Good to see ya!” For most that common interaction is completely coming from the mind. Typically, we do not mean what we say but it is a rehearsed, accepted, socially correct and desired behavior.
Feeling through sentiments brings calmness, well being in connecting with another and Life.
We may need to be aware of this to reduce the influence of the mind, for otherwise; we may live a completely unfulfilled life. Although we may have accomplished many things in society, our minds will not allow us to sense fulfillment. The mind is driven to go for more. To accomplish the ultimate experience, believing that once we arrive there, then we will be happy. But that time never arrives, and that is a blessing for an overworked mind, for otherwise a mental breakdown may appear. “I arrived but it is not as I thought. I wasted my Life. I ‘feel’ empty handed.”
Another name for “feeling” could be “No-mind.” When there is an experience of no-mind, the “problems” created by our minds are not. Thus, we can observe with freshness and without the filter, or veil of worries and unfulfilled wishes. Through no-mind, the fulfillment of the moment (now) has satisfaction, while our anxiety for “solutions” in the mind world remains. Observing that contrast will show us our path.
Reasoning kills our feelings. Have we observed that?
For many seekers, the ego is some sort of individual entity tagged with the word “I,” and offered an extension of its influence through the word “mine.” That description is easy to grasp, but not enough.
A seeker should not be comfortable with a description, which only brings mental understanding of the idea; but a seeker may need to observe that ego in action, become conscious when it is being displayed as it happens in “real time.”
We may discover that the inner chattering of the mind is part of that “I” and the outcome of our conditioning. When we identify with that voice as “Me,” that is the second when action is the outcome of pure conditioning. Therefore, where is our “free will”? Some trying to make a distinction between the ego and that which is “really me,” may say that the voice of the chattering mind is not me, but the one hearing it, is truly “me.” However, the voice and the one who listens are both the mind, where different faces of ego come from.
Our society encourages the cementing of ego as that brings individuality. Our society is made under the premise that we are all separate; therefore our minds will bring that understanding of Life which brings as consequence, the perception of conflict to preserve that “I” when dealing with others.
Individuality is merely an aspect of the experience of Life. Because we are unable to observe how connected we are with Life, we encourage division, competition: The “I” with its many identities will fight with other “I’s” for supremacy.
What are those identities of the “I”? A profession, social status, a team, a political party, a religion, a belief, an ideal, a country. Observe that those identities are idealistic, nevertheless; those are “real” in our mind world. For example, burning a flag may be considered a criminal act for the ideal it represents when in reality, a flag is a piece of colored cloth which encourages human division.
How is it possible for someone to observe without bias his own ego,while still trapped in some identity? It is a very limited scope of observation.
It is an interesting exercise to read the world news and observe the extension of identification of humans with different ideals which will make up their egos and how the mechanics of conflict will be unavoidably there; which are usually dealt with violence. That is in a nutshell the history of mankind, thus we are born with that legacy. That is our conditioning.
What is the way out ? It is not through some social agreement or structure or law, as those are other ways we have invented to deal with conflict in society. Those methods are meant to “do something about the problem;” and we have changed things around superficially throughout History, although psychologically man is the same. There is constant division within and with others.
As a species we are highly conditioned to use only the mind to deal with society’s problems, thus we can only perceive Life though a mental position, which is empty of fulfillment. The “normal” man is an unfulfilled creature who is constantly searching for meaning.
The issue is the overused ego driven mind. Is there another way of connecting with Life besides the mind? Yes. There is. With Feeling. Fulfillment is there. That is the journey seldom walked by the “normal” man.
The religious world works exactly as society does. There are rules, regulations, commandments which are practiced and followed. From the religious perspective it could be said that their rules are “pure,” “spiritual,” etc. but that statement is merely a point of view.
Society has rules which are not labeled as “pure,” but as “good,” “moral,” “positive,” etc. That is also a perspective, although; it has been “bought” unobserved by the immense majority.
In both “worlds” there will be inner conflict as the validity of those rules have not been deeply considered by the individual but rather imposed from the outside: Whether that is “God,” or the “Government,” it is the same thing by all practical purposes.
To follow a structure is considered of great value. We are taught to identify ourselves with a system, a philosophy, a team, a guru, a god. As a matter of fact, “success” of any system is based on observing how many followers that system has. In that world, the collective consciousness of the masses is very important, but the ability of the individual to observe inside and act accordingly is disparaged.
Under those circumstances, we have created an ideal of spirituality based on the value we give to the teachings and experience of someone else deemed “elevated” or superior. The authority.
Nevertheless, those teachings are interpreted by followers in different ways. Thus, the need to standardize teachings became important to keep the structure simple; although the intrinsic value of the teaching, which needs to be dynamic to change according to circumstances, is missing.
Therefore, we have “spiritual individuals” with utmost rigidity. Those who believe that to follow an ideal is more important than to assess the individual circumstance given by life.
To look inside requires freedom from the structure of systems. Many disenchanted former followers of structures; will take the path of apparent self-observation and rejection of external authorities. However, we cannot pretend to act in an authentic way in society or a religious setting, while we are utterly conditioned by them. Deconditioning is the single most important item to be able to observe different perspectives. After we have done this “homework,” then we could be able to observe, become aware and act.
Thus, there is value in being a follower, but that cannot be the ultimate. There is also value in acting freely, but that could be a greater illusion when we have not gone through the “process” of deconditioning.
“God/Government says and I do,” may sound like a great act of abnegation, but we forget that this authority who speaks/ writes to the masses, will not be able to fit the particular individual circumstances.
If the authority says/writes: “You should never kill” then questions of interpretation will arise: Could I go to war in the name of saving “my” country? Could I kill someone out of self-defense in all circumstances? Is it alright to kill other species to eat and survive or the law of “you should never kill” applies to this?
Some would like to go into philosophical, moral and even scientific discussions to answer these questions; that is to answer an ideal with another ideal. The masses want the “easy steps” to remember “how to act” and not to make “mistakes.” Any answers will create further religions, more philosophies, beliefs and so on.
That is our world of beliefs, ideals and conditioning. Few individual authentic actions, but lots of rehearsed, conditioned ones.
Many spiritual seekers after learning about duality, may believe that there is no “way out” of that. For instance, what I hear most is in reference to the understanding of pain and pleasure. Certainly, if there is the experience of pleasure, there must be the experience of pain. That is perceived as a trap.
On a different perception, society teaches to maintain something considered “good” or pleasurable as long as possible, and to fight or have a rejection towards what is perceived as painful. On the other hand, some religions take the path of trying to avoid one side such as pleasure, with the idea that pain will be avoided as well.
Also it is believed or perceived that Death is painful, sorrowful while Life is pleasurable and a sunny experience. The observation, is to recognize that one side of that duality has been perceived as something unwelcome. Death is no longer something natural, unavoidable which can happen at any time, but something to be afraid of; thus we are taught to live with fear of an unexpected “final” experience. That is the primordial fear affecting the function of our first chakra and from that, new obstructions will occur. Because we fear death, we fear life; for the perception of separation is just in our imagination and conditioning. Both are a continuous experience.
Life will present moments of pleasure and pain as we know; while Death is something unknown to most of us, for we haven’t had the experience yet, or we don’t remember having it (if we would like to be accurate on this) but we judge and believe according to our conditioning.
I heard one time that the “art of living is to die at every moment,” or in other words, “The purpose of living is to know how to die.” These words may get lost in interpretations and misinterpretations, but they have clear meaning for some.
Those phrases are very insightful and perhaps haven’t been explored enough; but as a matter fact, they represent a healthy, sane way of living where the mind is no recording traumas or events to be rehearsed later on. The mind works almost as when we take pictures or film the beauty of Nature with the added “feature” of adding emotions to spice up the memory. However, the one recording is missing the moment, the now. We feel glad to go back and watch the pictures, but the “change” inside, the “magic touch” which happens at the moment of the experience when the mind is idle, is completely missed.
Life and Death are one movement and so is pleasure and pain. When there is something that we “like,” definitely there is something to “dislike” and so we seem destined to experience these seemingly two different movements without “escape.” Even some have said that pain and pleasure “are the same,” but our experience will tell us otherwise. They are not the same but one.
The world of duality is the world of the experience of the “I.” It is that “I” experienced by most, the one unable to experience lack of duality.
Peace, Love, Bliss. Those have no opposites when there is experience, and even more sublime when the experiencer dissolves away. However mentally; we find opposites through words: Peace with war, love with hate and bliss with misery.
Is it possible for someone to experience Love, and to have feelings of hate at the same time? In the experience of the “I,” it is possible for duality is there, but that cannot be true love, although we label that as “love.” Do we see the issue with words pretending to describe non dual state of consciousness?
True “Love” is not of the “I,” it is an experience of what is beyond that “I.” However, we cannot “get to that level” unless we clearly recognize that “I, ” acknowledge it, study it, observe it, become aware of it. We need to become our own scientist.
The idea to reject pleasure so the experience of pain is not, takes away the experience of being human. Some religions are using the mind and its “natural” duality to express something which is only idealistic. Thus, we may need to get away from the experience of the mind to know what lies “above it,” what is known as the “heart,” for lack of a less romantic label, but it is the world of feeling.
So what is the “solution” to get away from the trap of duality?
As long as someone dwells in the “I” without ulterior awareness, that person will not be able to acknowledge “no-I,” and with that “no-mind,” and with that, a different kind of perception which is beyond the experience of duality.
Yes, “we” can go beyond duality. That is what is known as the state of witnessing.
Will resume writing on August 27th. Until then! 🙂
The following will be a description of the religious/spiritual experience, according to my own experience. None of the levels are better or more “advanced” than another, for there is a continuity which needs to be divided only for the sake of understanding and the limitations of language.
The label “religion” has a connotation of “faith and beliefs.” At this level, we may have a belief in god, the virgin, saints, prophets, saviors, gurus, angels, extraterrestrial beings, beings of light, etc. There is always someone “higher” than us, humans; who are ready to perform “miracles” or specific actions to help us in our lives in exchange for nothing. Thus, we ask them for salvation, redemption, favors, miracles, etc. Typically there is someone in those religions who has access to those higher beings, or there is a belief that this is so; while the rest, the believers; will use them to intercede into that. A religion has a body of beliefs which are referred as “truth.” Those beliefs are indisputable and require the follower’s full agreement. “Blind faith” is typically the phrase used to refer to this stage.
Such follower may have a code of conduct or behavior which aligns with current values of society, which are known as “good deeds.” Such performance is encouraged by their faith, and according to their belief; become the “measuring stick” of those higher beings to concede special favors to the followers. In that way, societies will support religions, as they are guided by the same recognized basic values.
Later, “Spirituality” came as an offshoot of a religion. The idea of worshiping “higher beings” is placed on a lower level if ever, and the value of particular beliefs known as “truths,” is downplayed. What matters here is the experience of the participant and not how much that participant follows the structure. Spirituality then grew into many avenues and was accepted by the masses as an alternative to worship. The rigidity of a religion was transformed into over flexibility: Use it as it best fits you. That attitude brought a new fashion in style: The spiritual seeker, the one who jumps from flower to flower searching for something “special.”
Out of the many “spiritual” paths, we could recognize two distinct but complementary paths: The one recognizing the importance of subtle energies ( the ones embedded in chakras, kundalini, vibrations, third eye, etc.) and the other which brings the element of inner observation, awareness. These 2 particular paths are not concerned with deities or worship of anyone. There are no particular beliefs to follow, although some may import rituals, gurus’ words and even worshiping practices from the previous stage. However, the main element to “study” is the self.
Observe the shift: From the “others,” the gods, the higher beings into looking at the self. The journey could be put into a nutshell: From worshiping others into self-realization. That shift may take many years if not many lifetimes, but it is bound to happen, when the seeker is ready.
Generally speaking, religions are not concerned with inward study, although there may be rare exceptions.
When a person perceives subtle energies, that person is concerned in exploring their own atypical experience. At the end, they may realize that everything is “energy,” including what we know as “I.” Those without this experience, but however open minded; who have already gone through many “miles” of the journey, will become acquainted with studying the self through their own observation. It is important to mention that both paths are truly complementary of each other, for a person with high awareness will be able to perceive subtle energies and vice versa. When this level hasn’t been reached, then a person following the path of energies will perform exercises, mudras, mantras, chakra cleansing, etc. as another belief system which in turn will help that person to run away from the important item, to know the self.
Similarly those following the path of observation by itself, will be limited by their own findings. Sooner or later they will need to go deeper inside their inner subtle energies, to “advance” the level of their awareness. This occurs through outside help from another, usually of those who are in tune with different healing modalities. For instance; when there is observation of an emotion, there has to come a time when we recognize the energetic value of it, and how that could dissolve. That is a learning adventure in itself.
Finally, the journey will go from “self-realization into no-self and thus, Totality, Onenes.” The inner changes are dramatic at this stage. As there is the experience of suffering of the “I,” for everything which gave us a form of identity, will go away. That has been labeled as “Dying alive.”
Interestingly, those “higher beings” worshiped at one time, may become the teachers and guides to help those who are ready, to cross the seldom walked path of the enclosure of the “I.” That may be “true” Salvation after all.
What could be the word to sum up all the experiences currently going on in our planet, the Earth?
Love? Peace? Happiness? Hope? Understanding? Animosity? How about violence.
At this stage in my own evolution, I am observing all of that violence within. Perhaps, that is the “reason” why I pick the word violence among all the other labels. Through the experience of violence, I have been the tyrant and the submissive peon. Once one side is experienced the other side will follow, for that reason; submissiveness is passive violence.
Violence has been with us from time immemorial. A culture conquered another through violence. Then, there was violence within that conquered culture. A gender subdued another through violence. A race proclaimed its superiority through violence. In society, we clash with one another and use violence to “win.”
Violence is not just physical, but that is the most obvious and grotesque. We could insult one another, we could look at someone in a despicable way. We could say things with irony, sharpness, dryness and sarcasm. We could speak with a tone of voice meant to overpower another. To take advantage of another, is violence.
Then, we could go into the “subtler” aspects of it, the ones which not too many could observe: I could compare a person with another. That is violence for I am not respecting their unique individuality. I could teach someone that respect means to infuse fear to others, that is violence. I could “correct” someone by putting down their ideas, by letting them know that “I am right, you are wrong;” that is violence as well. The key to understand violence is in being aware of the sensation, the internal emotion, the feeling which it brings. Many times it could be perceived as a “current” over the head area. That will change our facial expression. Definitely, the first sensation will be “closing up” or clenching up. Most will feel their stomach areas tighten up. If we are able to observe this emotion, open up; let the perceived violence go through you and outside you. Thus, it is not necessarily an action the one which defines violence, but rather the engine of it; is the sensation we have inside.
There are countless ways to express violence, even while “making love” (which by the way, is the most common.) Violence is everywhere and “I” am part of it. Do we see the enormous significance of this?
How can I love and feel peace with violence within? The conditioning of using violence is overwhelming. Isn’t the “alpha male” the archetype of violence? However, we could observe that the media almost worships that “winner” image.
No wonder we are violent. That trait could be desirable for those in society who are looking to get ahead, to dominate others and show them who “they are;” it is desirable for those who only care to “look out for number 1,” nevertheless; that sort of enhanced ego, cannot harmonize with the common good. There are consequences for behaving in such selfish way.
I recall: “ A violent man does not die a natural death” Tao Te Ching – Ch 42 or in a Christian way : “… and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7.
Despite all the religious and “spiritual” teachings, violence endures. It toughen our hearts, it creates psychological pain which in turn will be a traumatic experience lingering in our beings for as long as it needs, until one day we realize it is there, ready to heal into its opposite, that is Gentleness.
Authentic gentleness is not the “practice” of a violent person. Gentleness is the outcome of lack of violence.
It is a wonder how religions and spirituality have named the capital sins, the main vices, etc. as important to eradicate; however, we are not looking good enough at the obvious violence.
We want to deal with our ego, to become “better,” but we have a hard time recognizing what that ego is.
It is way easier to start with violence as we can smell it. However, we may need to be aware that if “I” try to stop it; “I” will inflict violence on myself. It is not by rejection or suppression how violence will subside. It is by being aware of it, through watching it in ourselves and fully realizing what it is and what it does to us.
“Non-violence” is non existing in a violent being, thus; we can only “practice” it, which is truly the rehearsal of a script.
To meet violence only with some defined “non-violence,” is to take the process of understanding violence in ourselves, in a trivial way. We could DO actions which seem non-violent, but when we ARE violence we cannot get away from the fact of who we ARE and thus, we only cover the reality of ourselves with the veil of “good deeds,” until we have the fortitude to look inside.