Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pain-body - fact or fiction?

The pain-body is just a concept. Honestly, folks, it’s true. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself.
One of the ways that the whole pain-body idea is reinforced is through the belief in it as an entity, a lasting entity with a past and a future. It is assumed to be in semi-permanent residence (i.e., once I liberate this creature, it will no longer live here). But where, exactly, does it live? What reality does it have? What evidence is there that it is real or substantial?
A definition of reality is that which does not come and go, that which is constant or unchanging. One way to end the pain-body ordeal is to look to see the facts of your experience. Upon investigation, you will soon see that what we’re calling the pain-body is not in fact a continuous or lasting thing.
Begin this investigation by looking into what is changing and what is not. What is constantly changing is the content - thoughts, emotions, sensations. What is constant is the quiet, ordinary knowing of all the changing content. This is sometimes referred to as presence or awareness.
Examine your actual experience and you will see this directly. Important note: Your actual experience is not the same as your assumed experience. Seeing through false assumptions is a key component to getting to the truth of your actual reality (which, by the way, ends the pain-body drama).
The mind will come up with all kinds of evidence to support the idea of the pain-body as something real, as a lasting entity. It will list this evidence for your review, probably on a frequent basis. Examples: I keep having this same pain-body reaction when I visit my mother. This emotion keeps getting triggered. There is an assumed continuity in these thoughts. If you just listen to thought, you will automatically agree with the assumption. It sounds so convincing. I can say from my own experience that I believed the assumption that the pain-body was real for a very long time. I believed it for exactly as long as I had a pain-body. Coincidence? Nope.
We need to look in a different way in order to see the truth and thereby end the pain-body drama. It’s pretty much over the first time you clearly see what is actually happening, the first time you choose fact over fiction.
What we call pain-body is actually just an emotion/thought/sensation combination that arises and subsides. It helps to highlight or notice the absence of the ‘symptoms’ of the pain-body. This will quickly reveal that it’s not always present. If it isn’t present in the moment, where is it? You won’t be able to locate it. The mind will offer some convincing statements to support the assumption that it’s just in abeyance. Believe that, and you are granting reality to the pain-body, which keeps the drama alive. Go on actual fact (i.e., it ain’t here at the moment) and freedom is already alive as the recognition of this truth. This is a very potent recognition.
Further, by reducing a so-called pain-body episode down to the simple facts of what is arising (sensation in the chest, intense energy moving, thoughts about the situation) you immediately step out of the story. This is important because story thoughts are like a magic spell; when they are believed without thorough examination, they perpetuate the belief in the pain-body and create the illusion of continuity. You break the hypnotic spell through investigation.
Finally, once you clearly examine what is actually happening, then notice what is aware of all of these arisings. All of this stuff is appearing or arising to you, the awareness. What you actually are is what is seeing the stuff, not the stuff itself. 
 See for yourself. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

To Practice or not to Practice.....

Question: Is practice required?

The idea of needing a practice in order to achieve spiritual enlightenment is based on a couple of faulty assumptions: 1) That you are an entity separate from life, and 2) that you are not yet free (and therefore need a practice in order to get free). For most seekers, these assumptions drive the whole seeking process and its activities (including spiritual practices). Through these activities, attention is largely focused on doing, analyzing, and thinking. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. In terms of self realization, it causes you to overlook the ever present aware beingness that is already established as your true nature. It’s here, but you’re looking elsewhere. 

Normally we keep pursing the activities in an attempt to get enlightened. This keeps us looking away from the very thing we are seeking. Let’s call this approach Plan A. I invite you to stop and consider that, despite years (or even decades) of Plan A, enlightenment is still elusive. I know, I can hear it from here, the mind immediately comes up with protests in response to that. I have made progress. I have more peace now and less suffering. Uh huh. Maybe so, but that ain’t the point. The point is total freedom. Now. The gradual path cannot deliver the goods. I know this from my own experience. I admit, until I faced this fact fully, I was still seduced into believing “it” (path, practice, technique) would work.  This belief ensured that I continued to suffer, and struggle, which led me to continue with spiritual practices. The seduction of the gradual path is that it seems like you are getting “there”. What isn’t usually seen is that it will go on forever; there is no end to the process. There can’t be because the goal is in the future. Freedom can only be known now. If you take an unflinching look at your experience, you will likely find that this is true for you also – what you were hoping to get has not yet arrived. Seeing this is a turning point. It becomes impossible to continue committing yourself to something that you’ve admitted isn’t working. It’s a bummer to the mind, but it’s THE turning point for you. If you’re not convinced, and this doesn’t resonate with you, carry on with Plan A.

If you can already see that Plan A is not producing the desired results,  perhaps consider Plan B. I will warn you, though, Plan B is so simple and effortless that the mind won’t believe it’s for real. Hint: the mind will never get it, so instead of listening to it yet again, ignore it and check out Plan B. You’ve got nothing to lose.

So, here’s Plan B: Do nothing. That’s it. Truly. Stop pursuing enlightenment for a moment. I mean, really stop. When the seeking activities of thinking, analyzing, and practicing stop what remains? Stop and see what is here, now.

See that before any practice begins/continues, you already are. Look into your own beingness here and now. See that in this quiet space that is you, there is peace; awareness is present. If you take a moment to linger in this pause, it becomes clear that nothing is lacking here and now. Aware beingness, your true nature, is already established. This is the goal of all practice and is in fact your starting place. You already are the free aware beingness. Now. Before anything else is studied, practiced or understood.