|Dr. Robert Puff|
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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3660, Saturday, September 19, 2009, Editor: Mark
Questioner: Yesterday when you said, "Okay, find somebody next to you," I thought, "Oh gosh, not that again." But of course, it ended up being exactly the help I had asked for.
Q: The question you asked was, "What is the danger of stopping your thoughts?" What I realized was that I couldn't stop them, but I could stop chasing them.
G: That's it.
Q: I have been chasing my thoughts and I am so exhausted. And I just saw that the danger was in the anger and the grief, which thoughts can kind of cover.
G: So you protect yourself by thinking. Yes, this is a common defense.
Q: So when it came up yesterday I realized, "Wow! No wonder I keep chasing my thoughts." And then I started to wonder, "Am I willing to just stop?"
G: Are you?
Q: I have to be.
G: Good. And when you stop chasing thoughts, what is here?
G: Grief. Well, that is just right. So let this grief be here without any thought about the grief, or what caused it. Just grief, pure grief, pure energy: a form of shakti.
Q: It's like, "Let it just have me."
G: And if it just has you?
Q: It is finished.
G: And what is here in its place?
Q: There is a kind of calm and a knowing that there is no safety.
G: And what happened to the anger? Is the grief under the anger or is the anger under the grief?
Q: I really don't know; it is all mixed up.
G: Then it really is just energy. It may be a very uncomfortable, crazy-feeling energy. But to experience it as that, without giving it a label, is to meet it. It is like waking up in a nightmare, and meeting the energy of it. The dream of it is gone. Maybe you can't even remember what the dream was, but just let the energy be here. It may have nothing to do with you.
Q: Wonderful! Oh, to truly feel that, to know that it doesn't have a thing to do with me!
G: Yes. Maybe it is coming to you for liberation, but it gets stuck because there is some identification with it. And that generates the thinking to avoid feeling it. This leads to the chasing.
Q: The chasing.
G: Chasing is...
Q: Running from...
G: Chasing and being chased. But you know...
Q: I think the anger is underneath the grief. Maybe that is what I am not finished with.
G: Good. That is telling the truth, so...
Q: Anger is not okay. Somehow grief is okay.
G: Grief is definitely more socially acceptable. So can you experience this rage? Let's don't call it anger; that's a little too nice. Rage is what a storm does. There is a raging energy. So without indulging it and without repressing it, just meet it. Let your consciousness fall into it.
Q: That is where the fear comes in. I want to stop this.
G: That is natural. So just meet the fear. What is that?
Q: It just went away.
G: Yes. It is liberated. So what is left? Is the rage there?
G: Just let it in. We are not trying to getting rid of it, you know. We know how horrible rage can be. We know how it can cause murder, and war, and violence when it is indulged. And we know that when it is repressed it causes a murder of your life force. This is an internal violence, a suppression of energy. Neither of those strategies works.
Q: I guess I just want to cut it off.
G: Yes. But it doesn't work because then you aren't alive. So the possibility is just to be here. It has come, so let it in rather than playing the game of chasing and being chased. It's an invitation. And it comes into your heart, because that is where satsang is offered. The mind will say, "No, I don't think that should come in. It isn't spiritual to be enraged." Yes. That is when the mind is the leader. Well if you just drop that, and let the heart be the leader, then you welcome this emotion - this huge, negative force of the universe - into your heart. That is inquiry: emotional inquiry. Most people will stop with mental inquiry, because it is safer. What is that?
Q: I have been running from it all my life.
G: Well, this is a good place to stop. There is nothing wrong with rage. It is how it is used that makes it wrong. Rage is a natural phenomenon. I mean, look at the great teachers and leaders of our time. Look at Christ. Wasn't rage one of his strongest attributes? Look at God. Look at the goddess Kali. Look at this tree that was struck by lightning: it is still growing. There is a force, an aggressive force that is part of nature. It becomes rage when it is tortured, or indulged, or repressed, because it starts to build. But it is your life force. It is the force to live, the force to be. It is the force to say, "No, it's not right." It is the force to speak when it's time to speak. It's not always pretty. Let's assume it is ugly. This ugly force gives rise to the beautiful flowers in the spring. Let the ugly in, the unspiritual...
Q: Yeah. Bingo.
G: Yes. So grief, fear, rage - let them in. The easiest, quickest way to let them in, is to not take them personally. It has nothing to do with you. Bring it all home, especially the parts of yourself that have been sent off to the concentration camps, the dungeons. Bring home the locked up ones, the ones in chains. Set them free. This can cause some shaking. It can trigger the tendency to chase your thoughts. But you can experience every aspect of yourself without taking it personally. That is the paradox. What is "personal" is still a thought, but when you stop, there is no personal. You discover just this energy.
- excerpt from a satsang with Gangaji
What if even your strongest emotions aren't personal? Is anything personal? What if this experience we are having as a body and mind is more like a radio that receives things rather than creates or generates them? You need a radio to play the songs that are passing through this room now, right? All this experience is floating around, and this radio called "you" is playing these songs called desire, fear, love, envy. Even resistance is just one more song called "I want to turn off the radio." What if your internal experiences are not personal but more like something a musician recorded years ago that is being played now?
Even the love songs aren't personal. Even the very dramatic, very sad, very happy, or very romantic ones aren't personal. There is nothing wrong with them; they just aren't yours. You can still pay attention to them, but there is no reason to get invested in trying to change them or get them to stay around. Every song on the radio eventually ends - even "Bye-Bye Miss American Pie," which was 17 minutes long. It would go on and on, but eventually there would be another commercial.
A radio is a great metaphor because a radio isn't like a CD player, which you can program to play what you want it to play. What plays on the radio is not up to you. Sometimes, it is a happy song, sometimes it is a sad one, sometimes it is an inspiring one. The Mystery is so wise that it knows exactly what song to put on in this moment. It decides what song gets played, and once it has been played, you can't hang on to it. Just being present while it is being played is the best you can do. That is all you can do. Paradoxically, this recognition that everything that arises on this radio called "you" is impersonal makes it easier to pay attention to what is arising because, if it's not personal, there is no reason to hold back from it.
Another huge mystery is: What is aware of what's playing on this radio? Then, you can ask an even stranger question: Is there a boundary between what is aware of what's playing on the radio and what's playing on the radio? Is what is hearing the radio and experiencing all of the experiences actually separate from the experiences themselves? It turns out that the listener who is hearing these tunes is not separate from this Mystery. Rather, the songs are streaming forth out of the Mystery, and the listening is streaming forth out of the same Mystery. There is a huge ground, or Presence, in which everything happens. The surprise is that this ground is not a place of knowing but rather a place of open-eyed discovery. There is no knowing ahead of time what will be played; you just discover in the moment the next song comes on.
- Nirmala, from Nothing Personal
Let Everything End
There is a great momentum of suffering and confusion that every spiritual seeker encounters. It is the momentum of ignorance which manifests as the experience of conflict and confusion and which causes suffering. In order to discover the perspective of liberation, which alone transcends this entire movement of ignorance and suffering, one needs to let everything end. "Letting everything end" means to stand in the moment completely naked of attachment to any and all ideas, concepts, hopes, preferences, and experiences. Simply put, it means to stop strategizing, controlling, manipulating, and running away from yourself--and to simply be. Finally you must let everything end and be still.
In letting everything end, all seeking and striving stops. All effort to be someone or to find some extraordinary state of being ceases. This ceasing is essential. It is true spiritual maturity. By ceasing to follow the mind's tendency to always want more, different, or better, one encounters the opportunity to be still. In being still, a perspective is revealed which is free from all ignorance and bondage to suffering. From that perspective, eternal Self is realized. The eternal Self, the Seer, is recognized to be one's true nature, one's very own Self.
This is an invitation to let all seeking end, all striving end, all efforting end, all past identity end, all hopes end, and to discover That which has no beginning or end. This is an invitation to discover the eternal, unborn, undying Truth of being. The Truth of your being, your own Self. Let the entire movement of becoming end, and discover That which has always been present at the core of your being.
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