Friday, September 9, 2011

Awakening the felt awareness that we are all one – opening the heart to the Present Moment

We have heard that 'we are all one' – the phrase can be like a cliché – we know this intellectually, but is there a felt experience of this? Living in our minds in the past or the future, we experience feeling separate and not in the Present Moment.

I have come across a few writings of others that I wish to share that, to me, are down-to-earth and practical ways of accessing a reality different from the world of 'appearances' that ordinary mind believes to be reality. Accessing a reality of the Present Moment where we may experience a sense of connectedness – different from our ordinary state of separation and beliefs in the 'stories' of our lives.

Why does this matter in our busy lives- the notion of ego and belief in the 'story' of our lives

  • Ego has taken on the role of Master in our lives - rather than as the servant - it's appropriate position
  • For many, ego has usurped our identity...not knowing who we are without our material markers that demonstrate that we are 'someone' (the prestigious car, home address... or simple need for approval, or to be 'right'
  • Believing in our thoughts, we find ourselves carrying--often unwittingly-- regrets from the 'past' and worry about the future.
  • Believing in our thoughts, we also find ourselves locked in conflict with others who are important to us - we may be holding beliefs that the 'other' should or should not be doing something (according to our belief)- or should or should not have done what they  did. This belief becomes a story in our head that gives birth to  unresolved conflicts & resentments.
  • We believe in Separation - that we are separate 'things' and that our life is 'happening' to us.
  • For many, we are Not in the Present Moment - therefore, the alternative is being caught in Thought about what has already happened (and our disapproval or dissatisfaction with it - or thoughts of what is going to be in the future--creating worry, frustration, sense of hopelessness. This frequently causes us suffering, feeling stressed out or conflict, feeling separate from other people and living creatures.
  • As ego thinks in terms of 'me' and 'mine' - these thoughts perpetuate a subtle (or not so subtle) fear of lack - creating needs for Things, sense of 'not-enough' as evidenced by the rampant consumerism today - consider how many storage units exist in a square mile around your location.

Imagine how this way of Being may impact our planet and her resources?

Ego creates the sense of being a person – separate from others and from everything in life. Ego believes in past and future—it is never in the Present Moment.

Richard Moss, MD has an excellent description of ego—out of which we live, continually affirming it's existence. Ego believes in 'me' and 'mine' and the sense that we are all separate. He states that ego's job is to make us feel special; and ego achieves this in two ways... creating stories that you are more than you really are – or less than you really are.

He asserts we feel special through 'inferiority' – ie. I'm humble and I don't put people out... I don't ask for what I want... believing inadequacy; believing unlovability; believing you're a burden, that you don't matter, unattractive, incompetent, a failure, bad or wrong—resulting in constant apologizing...
OR, we feel special through 'superiority'... grandiose, I don't wait in lines... boy, people are stupid these days, I don't have to deal with this!; domineering; you know best, you're right while others are usually wrong; this superiority cuts one off from their ability to be vulnerable in intimate relationship.

Ego does not care about how you feel; ego only cares about it's continued existence—assuring that you continue to believe in it's story about you and how you are special – through superiority or inferiority.

Ego is an outgrowth of all that we have learned... have been taught—verbally or non-verbally—throughout this life. We are told as toddlers what is 'good' and what is 'bad'. We are told who we are. We are told what we are like. We are told how we should or shouldn't feel! Indoctrinated into a particular religion, we are told what to believe. Indoctrinated into a particular social strata, attitudes are infused. Our identity and ego become intertwined.

I make no judgments about ego – rather, I offer a perspective in considering the degree to which it is or is not helpful in accessing Reality.... other than that of the story we believe—otherwise known as the 'dream'.

Writer Scott Kiloby writes about living life in non-duality. His teachings address how our thoughts, and our belief in our thoughts are the source of all our suffering and sense of separation.

Kiloby indicates that bringing oneself into the Present Moment (Being in Presence) interrupts thought and the belief in separation (if only momentarily, at first).

A method for coming into Presence (present moment) wherever you may be - you may bring your attention to your breathing, and to focus on sensation in the center of your chest (touching a point with your finger can activate sensation there). Take a moment to experience this, now.

Notice, there is no Thought there, only a sense of presence... a space. We can return to this space as often as we remember to do so in our day...providing a respite from the constant 'thinking' that typically occurs.

Notice how ~
Thoughts (I can't stand this - this is horrible, I have to wash the car, go to the bathroom, 
   I  have too much to do, I don't have enough money, I think she's mad at me)
Emotions (frustration, annoyance, worry, anxiety, guilt, excitement, hopeful)
Sensations (hot, cold, ache, tingle)
States (low mood, elation)
and Experiences (losing your keys, having a fender-bender, receiving a positive review at work, caught in traffic, walking on the beach)

these all come and go 
             – like clouds passing through the sky. Awareness (Being in Presence) sees these internal and external things appearing and then disappearing. Awareness is always available to us no matter what is happening – we can return to the present moment – Presence - creating that inner space.

The possibility exists to begin to unhook from thoughts, emotions, sensations, states and experiences (Appearances) - seeing how they pass through Awareness – like clouds – and noticing the stories attached to these appearances. This is the beginning of true freedom.

Many of our thoughts are unnecessary, needless and incessant. Notice. Notice how our emotions are mostly a result of our thoughts...causing suffering, stress, conflict. Notice how 
  • thoughts appear out of nowhere 
  •  suddenly, thoughts disappear. 
  • They arise on their own 
  • you don't cause them
  • Simply Notice, without judgment and without needing to manipulate or change anything. 
  • That which sees the thought or emotion is Awareness. Awareness is who we truly are.  We are not the ego that says "I am".

Awareness (Presence) is like the movie screen. Thoughts, emotions, experiences, states are the characters and the scenes moving across the screen. They simply appear and disappear on their own (they are called 'Appearances'). They are fleeting. Human life is a wake-up call – we are called to wake up from this movie – to wake up from our story that has been created in our minds. We can stop believing that life is happening to us. We see that life is just happening.

We see around us, today, how increasingly polarized people's thoughts and attitudes are, today. Believing in our thoughts, we are polarized, we believe in separation - the Other - who is Demonized. Cooperation becomes non-existent - in the workplace, in our relationships, in our political system.

The more frequently we allow ourselves during our day to return to and rest in Presence (while waiting in line, sitting at a red light) – and to let all appearances be as they are – moving through Awareness (presence) –  we begin releasing ourselves from our story.... less and less do we buy into it or get caught in it... we notice it and step back - 
and no longer believing the thoughts that perpetuate the story.
We find ourselves less and less arguing with reality.
More often we are accepting 'What Is'... rather than resisting, complaining or 'shoulding' (it shouldn't be this way - it should be that way)
Being in presence, we may gain a sense of peace... of connectedness. 

Experiment with this - share your experiences of Noticing in this community of readers  :)

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