Monday, July 4, 2011

Have you Questioned your own Thoughts? Are they True? How Do Your Thoughts Make You Feel?

So much has happened since the beginning of the year – and, since my last blog post – now six months ago, a time frame gap I never would have chosen intentionally--however, due to unforeseen circumstances---.which I will discuss.

Much has happened in the global scene – the Middle East, countries finding their voice against long-standing oppression. And, in the U.S. we struggle with our own political dramas between Republican and Democrat representatives--one side tearing the other side down with fault-finding, criticism and stone-walling that maintain the status quo or set us on a backward course rather than exploring means of finding common ground and benefit for all.

And, in my own life my sense of security was shaken by theft of personal identity documents, a lap top, cell phone involving an intrusion into the safe space of my home. Even after a renewed ability to access a computer, I've found it difficult to connect with what I truly find meaningful to express from my heart until now, just over two months after the burglary. Since such random 'bizarre' events are unfamiliar in 'my world'... and, it WAS bizarre... the window of opportunity was only a half-hour - where someone got in and got out of my home! ... knew right where to look... I continue to sit with the question: 'What does this experience mean?'

These times are challenging for all. These times demand quite a bit from us. Each of us is experiencing her or his own story--an opportunity to observe the way in which we move through the condition. We may move through these experiences with more conscious awareness or less consciousness. What will sustain us? My experience shows me that help cannot be found on the same level as the “problem”. Sustenance appears to be key; this question is what I propose for the subject of this post.

In the last several months I have been exploring, deeply, family constellation work and continue to find myself ever amazed at the phenomenon from the invisible world that emerges as information, direction and possibility for opening to a new mental image for the seeker of the so-called 'problem'. We tend to hold an image—of an idea of a person, a problem—well, of everything in our lives – we hold an image of it – how we 'imagine' it to be.... of course, to us, that image is absolutely REAL! Then, we come to expect things to be the way we, unconsciously, imagine.The difficulty is, we are unconscious to this pattern of Thought; and this is how we continually carry the past with us--caught in Time-- unconsciously--be it in relationship, with issues around money, health, weight, food as well as emotional patterns of disappointment, anxiety, depression, feeling unappreciated, abandoned...

Working with family constellations, we may have an opportunity presented to receive a new image that arises from the invisible, phenomenological world. This new image has the possibility of working deeply within--allowing what is not real to fall away.
We may also develop a new way of being in the Present Moment... perhaps only for a few seconds at the start.

Recently, I have been also exploring an author's work on non-duality and find myself most resonant with his expression of the ideas of application. I am feeling moved to share both the constellation work and the way of working with non-duality in daily life as we are in a critical time of human consciousness—these collections of crises—banking, debt (global, national and individual), housing market, energy, ecological, lethal weather patterns -- contributing to the threat of human existence and bringing us to a tipping point when enough humans perceive the need for a shift in consciousness.
The challenge:   Either we don't see these crises because of their gradual progression– or the crises have become so much a part of the background noise in our culture we simply tune the bad news out -- and most of us are so busy trying to simply survive, day-to-day.

Because we are ruled by thoughts, we are caught up in beliefs – we “believe” in the past and in the future – so, how do we become Present in Awareness in the present moment--basic awareness? We are troubled by the past, or want to block it out, or we are looking forward to the future, tomorrow, or some day when... we finally have our degree, when we meet that special person, when we have the house paid off, when we retire, when we can finally be out of debt...  These are all Thoughts... we attach ourselves to them, these thoughts separate us from our Present Moment.

These thoughts also create a sense that this present moment is Not Good Enough AS IT IS. The result is that we do not feel satisfied in this moment. We unconsciously feel that something is missing. We don't even know, really, what this 'missing' is - however, we feel something nagging, gnawing inside of us. So, then we get really busy in our lives so we don't notice that feeling... so busy that there's never enough time; we shop to make the feeling subside, or we eat, or use other substances, or we're super-productive...busy 'doing', or spending long hours at work. But, being quiet, being still can be rather uncomfortable for many. However, if we trace it back - I mean Really back-track... we will find the origin of the discomfort is in Attaching to and believing in our thoughts...
   This is, in large part, corporate induced...   Notice how advertising presents us with the latest techno-gadget and advises that we must Have It; the latest automobile has different lines in body design; the latest shoes have a distinct change to the shape of the toe; the slacks are looser or more form-fitting... What we currently have is No Longer Good Enough - so we Must Have... or...advertising media asserts that our teeth need to be whiter, or, we need to have a better body, or, improve our performance in the bedroom... and, we believe IT.... Not Good Enough as it is.

             Ask yourself:   Where do my thoughts come from?

  • Can I  state, without a shadow of doubt, with 100% certainty that this thought is True ?
  • How do I FEEL when I Think this thought?
  • Regarding this situation, if I didn't Have this thought - how would I feel in relation to this situation?
  • Must I believe this thought? How important will it be in one year from now?

In dealing with the theft of my identity information, I could not allow myself to project worry into the future. It was imperative that I focus in the present moment and simply refuse to allow thought to project into the future... what if this happens?... what if that?... This focus in the Present prevented me from losing energy through fear, worry and anger that 'this happened to me' and 'what will happen if...".
I would simply bring myself back to basic Awareness of the present moment.

'Presence' is what we are – however, our culture tells us that we are 'I', 'me' – and separate from You. This belief allows me to hate you – and, on our planet – how wars are able to continue – I kill you because we are separate. You are different than me. Humanity at this time is caught up in the belief in external so-called reality as the only reality in existence: the difference in color of our skin; the difference in our religion, of our cultures, the difference in our 'beliefs'...the illusion of our separateness.
Awakening to the awareness that there is No Separation - we are All Connected - this awareness is more than an intellectual construct.This awareness will affect humanity as the notion of separation dissipates - not as an idea, or a thought - rather, as an actual experience. Personally, this would be an astonishing breakthrough for human beings.

Basic Awareness – non-conceptual presence that is here right now – in the present moment.

Notice – when you take a momentary break from 'thinking' – this basic awareness presents things 'as-they-are'. (Can I accept things 'as-they-are' rather than how I want/expect things to be to suit my expectations?--of perfection, of satisfaction)

If we stop thinking for just a moment and glimpse a basic awareness already within -
simply notice.
Notice when thoughts arise, again.
We find that thoughts distract from basic awareness when we get attached and caught up in the thought – which often leads to a feeling – frequently unpleasant: disappointed, hurt, angry, resentful.

It has been said by many teachers – Thought is the source of all suffering.

In fact, the thought we have about an event or experience may cause us more upset than the experience, itself! I may tell myself how horrible a situation is.... Or... that it Shouldn't have happened to me... then, I find myself even more upset by my thoughts. We process our life almost exclusively through thoughts – through our intellect. This fact causes humanity to be caught in various beliefs that limit awareness and cause much harm.

In any present moment, we can bring our attention to our breathing or to the sensation in our body, allowing thought to come to rest and simply 'be' with the space that is left once the thought falls away, momentarily. We can 'be' here in the moment without labeling the experience (which is another thought). 'Be' in the stillness without “struggling” to Stop Thought. Allow thought to float on by. 'Be' in the space that remains. We can experience this throughout our day – increasing our awareness of this present moment of 'what is'.

Personally, I have noticed ... in taking moments of being in the space of presence, of awareness... without thought... while waiting in the check-out lane in grocery store--an activity I strongly found disagreeable to me -- Yet, here, in the moment: simply being -- without thought... and subsequently noticing a sense of diminished feeling of impatience as I go from here to there... noticing more relaxation even when driving!  Increased sense of inner quiet. Do I really need all these Thoughts? Perhaps not...

Your comments, experiences and questions are most welcome to continue the dialogue.


  1. Seems like real work to me. I am a product of this kind of work. It only seems normal to me to think like this and write like this. I wonder how people just starting out find these ideas and come to the understanding. We had a unique set of group work situations that somehow got us there, but how do people get there these days? Blog reading? Where can people go to see through the illusion of self in a deep enough way to come to real understanding?

  2. Hi Nancy,

    Thank you for sharing with me your blog.
    This is so truth what you write.
    Indeed thought is one of the keys.
    Did you read "Master key system" by Charles Haanel?

  3. nina sybil stehrJuly 5, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Dear Nancy, I agree with what you are saying. To be present, to find the silence behind the chatter in the head, this is a continual exercise. So simple, yet so much is involved.....fond regards, NIna

  4. Nancy,

    Many thanks for putting such an important transition in our thinking into an understandable form. There are loads of gurus and clever folk out there with their instructions, their deep theorising and ego-stuff - and often they seem to be in competition with each other to be "the leader".

    In your blog you capture the heart of the challenge we have as humans to grow into our own potential, and the best explanation of the doing so I've read in ages.

    Many thanks

  5. My heart purrs as individuals respond with their impressions... comments, personal experiences to the ideas i've posted, above...

    if i may invite others to respond to this question--from their Own Experience... and, add an impression of mine to the question, above:

    "how do people get there these days? Blog reading? Where can people go to see through the illusion of self in a deep enough way to come to real understanding?"

    ...many, many ways are being presented for us at this juncture in our history... as we find ourselves at a crucial tipping point on this planet.

    "Where can 'people' Go ??

    I appreciate this Thought example as an illustration of 'Thought' believing in Separation. In actuality... experiencing Beyond concepts -- we are All One -- Coming to Awareness of: there is no 'me' and "other people" ...then, the question becomes:
    Where can I go to see through the illusion of self...

    ... which brings us back to noticing Thought... as it arises... shining light on "my" Beliefs, "my" opinions...
    I "go" to that place of presence, in the moment - simple awareness...
    Thank you for the comment/question...
    may it evoke dialogue with others...

  6. Nancy thank you for sharing your thoughts on this blog.

    I often find myself getting caught up in the pain and isolation of the past, and look to the "what if's" of the future. Daydreaming and planning for that special day when my life will suddenly be everything I ever wanted it to be. I think to myself, "When I buy a house I'll be so content. When I retire I'll start traveling". And so on and so on.

    In doing this though, I have come to understand that as I stay within my confines of the past, I am holding on to many of those old voices and beliefs that I carry like a weight on my spirit. The thoughts I have during those times are so often lies, but getting to the real truth of who I am without the thoughts is part of my journey. In looking to the future to make everything "right", I'm often doing this at the expense of living in the PRESENT and noticing what is in the here and now. Who am I now? Who did I think I was? Is that the truth, or is that an illusion? I am now only beginning to understand just how much I've allowed the beliefs, thoughts, and lies to define me.

    What am I without the beliefs and thoughts that I have survived with all these years? Who would I be if I wasn't surviving anymore, but really living? What does it mean to understand, to really live?

    You've guided me to start noticing. It's a step in a new direction for me. I took time today to look up at the sky and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me. This afternoon I stepped outside from the office for a few moments and took some time noticing. The sky is clear blue and Mt. Baker is shining in its white glory on the horizon. The birds are singing. The trees sway in the soft breezes of early summer. I watch as two bald eagles frolic in the air. At this moment, I feel the connection of my spiritual self to the world that is. I am also the eagle frolicking in the air. The eagles live and exist in the world as it is, not the world they want it to become "if only this happens". Everything is in the moment for them. In the present this life is beautiful and wonderful, and the past and future do not matter. For just a moment, I caught a glimpse of that peacefulness, and the understanding that I belong here. In this moment. Who am I? I am here and that is enough for this moment.

  7. Hi Nancy,

    Your blog has caused me to put on my philosophical hat, which has lain in the closet for a very long time.

    First, I'm very sorry your peace of mind was violated by the theft of your personal belongings. The need to "fortify" your home against intruders at all times is necessary, but sad.

    I am not certain what the terms "non-duality" and "constellation" refer to in your blog, but I am reminded of the phrase coined in the 1600's by Renee Descartes, "Cogito, ergo sum" or "Je pense, donc je suis" - I think, therefore I am. Our experiences and our reactions to them do indeed define us. What holds us captive to continuing anger, fear and depression are the emotions associated with our experiences. For me, it is the ability to step away from the emotions, (usually fear or anger), connected to the experience and use my "thoughts" to form solutions and goals that helps me get through the rough patches.

    How do I get to that point? I must find the quiet time alone in the eye of the storm, right now, in the present, while I'm swimming, walking, cleaning house, doing night watch during a sailing passage, etc. For others it may be through meditation or yoga. As if in an out-of-body experience, I talk to myself like a loving mentor and figure out how to achieve my destination. Am I always in the here-and-now? Probably not, but then again riding, walking, sailing, moving forward with family and friends are what make me happy.

  8. dear denizen of the North...

    the Direction of the North, in Native American culture represents Wisdom... i very much appreciate your sharing of vulnerable and honest expression, above...

    your statements can serve as a guidepost for others, as well...

    we come to see that our thoughts are No Different than clouds that float by... would we bother to identify with a cloud? analyzing it and make it's existence so important?...

    and, the question: who am i without my thoughts?
    these thoughts... or clusters of memories... are merely our 'conditioning'... sort of like a house that has been 'staged'...

    try an experiment... Sit Quietly for a few moments, connect with your breathing... sense a part of your body... connect with the sensation...
    this is who we "are"...
    we are Awareness in the Present Moment...

    all else... what we've done... haven't done... what happened to us... didn't happen... is Just our Story... this is NOT who we are...

    i so appreciate your contribution to my post...

  9. "Either we don't see these crises because of their gradual progression– or the crises have become so much a part of the background noise in our culture we simply tune the bad news out -- and most of us are so busy trying to simply survive, day-to-day"

    This was the first thing that stood out to me. On the a.m. drive to work I listen to Progressive Talk radio. I find myself waking up from my normal "tuning out" in daily life and I nod my head or even utter a verbal "yeah" to what is being said. So much happens in our world and in our country and I tend to be deaf to it as I go through the paces of daily life.

    When I'm not in the car or at work, I often find myself deep in thought as I cut the grass. That's a full hour of self-talk - and not always positive. Its amazing the stories I can tell in my head based on the thoughts that pop in. Thanks for the reminder Nancy, to just "be" in the moment. To enjoy the solitude this activity brings, the smell of the grass, the warmth of the sun, the buzz of bugs, etc.

  10. Hello Nancy,

    Great to hear from you. You raise some interesting questions in your blog, questions I have been spending a lot of time thinking about and discussing over the past couple of years.

    I recognize the Work of Byron powerful in taking us past our thoughts. It is a daily practice for me, and you capture it very nicely. I am interested to know who else you might be reading regarding dualistic thinking, as I am very interested in the impact dualism has had in history and in our personal lives.

    I am currently reading "The Disappearance of the Universe" by Gary Renard, and have just picked up "Original Blessing" by Matthew Fox. "Disappearance" is based on "A Course in Miracles", which I have not read......some interesting thoughts on the nature of our universe. (if you have not read it).

    I am sorry to hear about the intrusion into your home. Best wishes.... J.

  11. hello J

    i appreciate your comments...

    in answer to your question about writers of non-dualism, i was recently given a 35 page packet from a friend entitled: Living Realization by Scott Kiloby... I have just started reading it and very much like the clear, concise and NON-authoritative writing style in that packet...

    Thanks for your reading ideas... nancy

  12. hello John RG - post located above, july 9, 10:14 am

    i Love hearing what grabbed your attention in my post... ! Yes, I, too, find myself tuning in to NPR news and then, at times, Tuning Out!! when the news starts to feel overwhelmingly violent, hopeless, pathetic (ha!)...

    You're spot on when you write: "So much happens in our world and in our country and I tend to be deaf to it as I go through the paces of daily life."

    I have long suspected that this is by design by the 'powers-that-be'... for citizens to find themselves too busy, too overwhelmed and just tuning out... so that corporate powers just maintain us as Thoughtless Consumers and NOT mindful citizens.

    I loved the candid insights in your last paragraph... honest and real ! This candor helps us all see aspects we call 'me'... perhaps with increased compassion...
    Enjoy those buzzing bugs, John RG... and do visit again :)


  13. I'm enjoying everyone's thoughts on this blog. I can relate to the comments expressed above about listening to the radio. I listen to AM 1090 on my long drive to work every day. I am reminded of the larger world that I forget exists outside of my own. Yet, I have been thinking of it in a different way lately, and sometimes I think that (politically and socially speaking) I have been only a sheep that's been led to the slaughter. It seems like a game is being played and the populace are nothing but pieces on a chessboard. I am told what to think, what to believe, and nothing and no one is ever acceptable "as is".

    I am mindful of what goes on in the world at large. Yet I appreciate reading about non-duality and the influence the world has on our ideas and thoughts about ourselves. THAT concept has been eye-opening.

    I find solace these days in taking just a few minutes "off" from the messages, the lies, and the confusing thoughts (those of my own making as well as those that are broadcast in our society). Like you suggested above Nancy, taking just a few moments in silence to connect with the present. Not using that time to tell myself more lies. My story is just my story. The thoughts are not "facts". They need not have a solid weighty existence like a stone in my mind. They are transient. I love the idea that they are clouds in the breeze! I will remember that...

  14. delighted hearing back from you, Denizen...

    i love how you spoke: "taking just a few moments in silence to connect with the present. Not using that time to tell myself more lies. I will remember that..."

    Not using that precious moment to tell oneself more Lies... which is what we call 'Thinking' !

    i love it ! :)

  15. thank you, Linda... for your post of July 8...

    a few impressions for consideration...

    i smile when i read about the 'philosophical hat' we "put on"... i smile - these 'hats' inform our Thought...

    if you care to discover more about Non-duality, may i invite you to read my earlier blog titled: Living in Non-duality...
    written in january

    "I THINK... therefore, I AM"... Descartes posited that because he is capable of 'Thought', this proves that he Exists... Humanity continues to 'believe' this notion, today...
    However, we are moving into a paradigm shift... as more individuals come to realize that they are NOT their thoughts... that thoughts are merely figments of our imagination (something invented, made up, or fabricated) - humanity is entering an increased awareness of contents of consciousness.

    i appreciate your contribution... :)