#3043 - Saturday, January 12, 2008
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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3043, Saturday, January 12, 2007
We have all spontaneously experienced the grace of being fully present - moments where time stands still and we overflow with feelings of joy, wellbeing and gratitude. These peak moments surprise us, perhaps while meditating, making love, being in nature, or engaging in a creative activity or an athletic pursuit that we love. The experience of being fully in the Now is when we feel most fulfilled, effective and alive.
Living in the Now has infinitely more to offer than peak experiences. In the present we're connected to our most authentic self, we access our highest potential. It is in the Now that we are healed, and build healthy relationships. We discover that which has always been waiting for us: Presence - the felt sense of unconditional love, the rightness and oneness of all things. Here we learn trust and free ourselves from our negative thinking. We are no longer ruled by fear. Simply put, the most important thing we can ever learn is to live in the Now.
Yet, to live consistently in the Now requires that we recognize where we go when we leave it. Consider the question, "Where do I go when I leave the Now?" You will discover there are only four places you can ever go. Your mind will carry you into the past or the future, or into ideas about yourself or others.
Me, You, Past, Future - these four places are the poles of two basic dynamics in our experience of ordinary consciousness. The first: our brain's wiring that perceives time as a movement from past to future. The second: the dualistic, subject-object, nature of our consciousness - as soon as there is self, there is other, the observer and the observed. The subject is "I" or "me." The object can be anything we think about: a person, money, our job, God. Once our minds leave the present, we easily become the victims of delusion. These delusions are self-made, built from the ways that we identify with our stories about ourselves, others, the past, or the future.
The word "story" indicates that our thinking about ourselves, others, the past, or the future is always an opinion, a judgment, or a belief; we cannot ultimately know it to be true. On a rainy day, to say, "It is raining" is a fact. To declare, "It's a miserable day" is both a story and a negative judgment. Our stories become true for us because we believe and identify with them. Each story generates some emotion or feeling in us not intrinsic to the actual moment itself.
When we go into the future, we worry about virtually anything: our health, our finances, our children's futures. Alternately, we hope for virtually anything: a promotion, winning the lottery, the perfect partner. The result of future stories is to fill the Now with fear or hope. Fear creates misery, but hope is also problematical. When we tell ourselves stories that conjure positive feelings, it is generally because we don't know how to connect with and accept what we are actually feeling.
Going into the past, we feel guilt, nostalgia, or regret. We blame ourselves or others for what happened moments ago or decades past. We tell ourselves everything would be better if only we, or they, had acted differently. We burden the present with what we have chosen consciously or unconsciously to believe about the past, rather than discover who we really are in the Now. Living in the past we have no foundation, no true self, to stand on. This new moment, filled with infinite possibility, becomes the victim of recycled misery, or is disappointing because we compare it to some past happiness. Until this moment fills us and is enough, we can never know our own fullness.
When our minds carry us into me (subject) stories we create grandiose or depressive beliefs about ourselves. By identifying with them, we lose contact with our larger awareness that can allow us to simply see these stories and not become possessed by them. Grandiosity causes us to discount others; depressive beliefs create loneliness and insecurity. Believing these stories we cannot really love ourselves or invite love into our relationships.
Finally, when we move into you (object) stories we become angry, jealous, hurt, or make someone so special we give our power away. These emotions pollute us and blind us to who others really are, while we lose the ability to feel compassion for them.
This ceaseless poisoning of Now by our past, future, me and you stories is the principle source of the conflict, distrust and emotional suffering in our lives and in human affairs. Without them, we discover that we are sufficient just as we are. Life is good. We understand that others are victims of their stories, as we have been, and spontaneously feel empathy for them instead of judgment. To become conscious of who we really are, releases us from so much unnecessary suffering. We feel connectedness, gratitude, and happiness. Learning to live more consistently in the Now, we make peace within ourselves and in our world, for what we do for ourselves, we ultimately do for everyone.
- Richard Moss, MD, from The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness, posted to The_Now2
It's funny how people sort of worry about "doing non-doership" being a problem when looking into the notion of doership. I'd like to address this, and introduce a new analogy into the "nondual lexicon" :
Doership = crack addiction
Ppl do not realize that their worry stems from coming from the addicted end of the spectrum. "Oh my god, you mean cut back on the drug so I'm doing almost nothing? Horrors!"
Try it, it won't bite. You probably won't be able to stay cut down for long, as crackheads are driven to use. Loneliness and boredom will raise their ugly heads, and you'll be back on the train again.
If by chance the addiction is broken, you can "chip" as much as you like. Be deeply contented doing nothing, and do 'whatever' beyond that. But you will have to give up the fear of cutting back first, so you can fully investigate the cycle. Cheers.
- Tim G, posted to NondualitySalon
what a strange animal
I can't liken it
to anything in nature
(or out of it)
the best I can do
is make a loose analogy
and hope the reader
by sense of smell
(be nice now!)
what I am getting at
what is it like?
It is like a man
in a hole
trying to get out
with great assiduity
on the straps
of his own boots
all the while
unbeknownst to him
somebody is pulling him up
with a rope
Once out of the hole
takes his boots
and has them bronzed
and hung up
- Z, posted to Nonduality Salon
A few years back I was in our local Wal-Mart Super Center. It was right before Christmas and the place was packed. I noticed people smiling at me. Strangers, smiling. I wondered why and then noticed I was happy and smiling. I wandered aimlessly through the store for awhile smiling at everyone I met. I discovered that for a few seconds the smiles I received back had a genuine quality I hadn't often seen. I felt better and better. I went home smiling. I don't hear many people speak of smiling or being very happy when they leave Wal-Mart.
This evening I had the greatest experience yet. I came across what I would judge to be a tough nut. An elderly gray haired gentleman with a lifetime of worries displayed on his face. Jaw firmly set, in need of a shave, tattered and thin coat, a few bargains in his basket. I didn't think he would look up. I noticed my smile had faded through my snap judgments of him which quickly turned onto myself. Our eyes met. His face began to change from a gray to a glow. It reminded me of the growing Grinch smile from the Christmas cartoon. This man's face grew younger as his smile widened. I felt my own face stretching to make space for my growing happiness. Our eyes held firmly as our smiles almost laughed out loud. Our childhood smiles nodded simultaneously as we passed each other on the jellies and jams isle.
I smiled on through the store carrying coffee, bologna, cheese, and a sense of amazement about why I didn't get a cart for the rest of the things I would soon be juggling. As I headed for the check out line, I saw my new old friend I haven't met yet. Although his posture showed his struggles, his face beamed down on the dozen eggs riding where a child would usually sit. Our smile. The very same smile you can feel defying the law of gravity at the corners of your mouth. Right Now.
- Tim M, posted to adyashantigroup