Thanks for guiding me through this. :)
That’s quite ok. I am here for you until you are free :)
I’ll give you a few more clarifications on what you said below.
I was being restricted by this belief that I can come here and write a reply only after I succeed in seeing the thoughts arising in awareness.
Good seeing! That is not true at all. And you do not have to live like that any more. At LU, you can write as often as needed, part way through any question, just to say what’s coming up so far. Or even to say it’s a difficult question, and maybe it can be rephrased differently.
Better to try and write every day, with partial progress or whatever is showing up for you.
Ever since I wrote to you about being present with the emotions, I’ve been doing that. All the time. And living has been quite difficult.
Ok perhaps one thing should be made clearer, it is about being present with the emotions, AND meeting them with equanimity!
As an emotion arises, look:
- identify the body sensation component
- identify the thought component
- then greet it with equanimity, because the sensation is just a sensation it is not personal; the thought is just empty, unreal, if you let it go it will dissolve.
As soon as you greet it with equanimity, you allow the emotion to pass unobstructed. This is key.
The tension (or whatever) will pass through without being stored in the body then. If NOT meeting it with equanimity and allowing it to pass (regardless if observing the arising or not) it will be stored in the body as tension etc leading to later struggles, when it resurfaces and triggers a chain of negative thoughts.
I realized that the mind-body connection means that relaxation or tension in the body is mirrored in thoughts and vice versa. As I’ve worked on relaxing the body, I’ve realized just how tense it is!
And as the body relaxes and lets go, the tension and stress in the whole being relaxes and sinks more into the presence.
Exactly! Simply, the body can be used as a tool to purify the mind. That’s all we are doing.
Another insight I’ve had is also about facing what is but on a different level. I’ve realized just how much time I spend in my head/mind (vs the body/emotion). It’s crazy. No wonder I’ve been so unhappy throughout my life.
Right exactly. So the separate self is made of thought. It does not exist, but we THINK it does. Thought itself IS the problem! So we cannot solve this with thought, AT ALL!
Could you use a thief to catch a thief?
The body — is one tool that CAN be used to start to disentangle the embedded thoughts about self, because it is not made of thought.
And it’s also becoming clear why I have been feeling stuck in my awakening journey. I’ve been focusing on ideas and neglecting the body.
LOOKING, at direct experience in the present moment — is the second tool that can be used to dissolve the illusion of self.
Because when you look at what is immediately true, in the present moment, PRIOR to thought jumping in and analysing it, you are also not using thought.
This is why your answers should be quick. Look. See. Report back what was seen. Don’t think it over, or you allow thought to corrupt the process!
So those are the only two tools we have for liberation.
- the body (known as the gradual path)
- looking at direct experience (known as the direct path)
LU is all about the direct path. But I’ve mixed in some gradual path tools because you seemed to be struggling to disengage with thought.
Now you have seen the problem for yourself :)
I will look at them as soon as the worst tension is out of the body
Observe the tension arising, and respond with equanimity and release it.
It’s just tension, it cannot hurt you.
Then it should pass easily.
Take care also, that the mind (thought) likes to manufacture excuses for why looking (liberation) cannot happen today, but can only happen at some point in the future (that never arrives). This is purely because it wants to delay its own demise, indefinitely, I’m afraid. But thoughts are not real and need not be obeyed!