Please gently observe that whole process, and keep writing about every sensation and thoughts that
Whenever attention is brought back from thoughts to observation or looking at what is, sensation is present in the neck, head and face. Right now, it's felt in the back of the neck, the face. I was going to say that when the attention is brought back, sensation begins in those areas; perhaps its that sensation is always there, and it's only perceivable when space is created for it to be perceived. Right now though, it feels so prominent and strong (beginning in the top of the head now) that I'd have to say that I'd notice it if it were always there and that it is manifesting as a result of the shift in attention.
There continues to be an associated relaxation and sensation of openness or expansion in the chest. As I scan down the body, I the areas around the hips let go. The whole body feels at ease, and also energized. The sensation in the head and neck and face is tingly, and while I wouldn't call it pleasant, there is a kind of euphoria at how free I feel from thought, and a delight in being able to simply attend to this one task of looking at what is happening and reporting back.
It feels so liberating not to have to interpret it or figure out why any of it is happening, or even how. Just reporting. Makes me now wonder why I'd ever want to have to 'understand' something, anything, again. Especially as it can't be truly known. In the end, if I can't verify it with a sense, it's necessarily conjecture, fluid according to whatever thoughts arise in relation to the concept trying to be understood and however those thoughts are assembled into a theory in a given moment.
I grew up as a 'smart kid,' winning awards for academic achievement, placed in a 'gifted and talented' group, and my identity was inextricably linked with being right and having the right answers. There were trophies and plaques and medals and a case built to house them.
There have been moments in this process where I've wanted to get it right and give right answers, and while I feel that I've done well in answering truthfully and according to what I'm actually experiencing (rather than what I think I should I say), I've observed the response to your positive feedback. There's a sense of 'oh good, I'm doing it right, I'm saying the right things,' and a familiar relief that I recognize from a life spent seeking approval.
Typing comes to a dead stop now as it's clear that everything about that cultivated the sense of separation. Some 'self' trying to get something from other 'selves' -- with every award, that 'self' had more evidence of itself, another board with which to build itself up, distinguish itself from others, and present an appearance of worth and value, and with every failure, more agony as a hole was punched through it that anyone looking would be able to see through, see the empty inside of it, and then the desperate efforts to hide and not be seen, not be seen to be flawed, imperfect, fallible, and thus unloveable.
Realizing now how deeply I've needed the sense of self, how fiercely I've fought to develop it. It's been manufactured, this whole time, a costume, a shell to shield the truth of the 'real me' underneath. And so, what is the 'real me' underneath...
What is underneath the self I've constructed.
The agony of failure wasn't stemming from the self's inability to protect a real me underneath, it burst forth as the self itself sensed threat. Its, the identity's very existence, was about being right, and so being wrong and still being meant that it was NOT. So the panic was that there could be wrong, and living would still happen. There would not be actual death! It felt like death, but it was the self that felt the fatal threat.
What's true about the above? What can I know for certain?
I feel like I'm close, like I've swung very near to seeing clearly that this self was a total illusion, pendulum feels like it's swinging away again.
Coming back. The shell-self wasn't there to protect a real me. It wasn't there to keep people from seeing through it to the flawed, fallible human. It was there to sustain itself. I thought there was another self underneath, like maybe the inner child or something, but THAT's just another layer of the same thing, it's not an actual THING, it was just made up of other stuff from another time. Underneath that there's just awareness.
So now to consciousness. Awareness makes more sense to me now. Consciousness is too loaded a term, too linked to a sense of agency, something being 'conscious,' a 'conscious self.'
Is it more like an imaginary object or concept, such as love or justice?
So yes, to me, consciousness lands in the realm of being a concept. How do I quantify how conscious I am? How much consciousness I've accumulated? How conscious I am compared to someone else; that's something I thought was key, that I needed to engage with conscious people. That idea's totally made for more separation in my experience.
Meanwhile, awareness just is; it is verifiable. There is awareness. Right now, awareness of my hands scratching my face, of construction sounds above, of my dog laying next to me, breathing. These things are all happening, and it's amazing to feel like no story is needed about any of it. It can all continue and it doesn't have to be any different than it is.
please go with it and see what is revealed.
There's a lightening in my chest, a fluttery feeling as I consider that I can just be with what I see (or taste, touch, etc.) Objections arise: is that negligent? will I be missing something? what about realizing my potential? making the most of my life? being a good person? what about being thoughtful and anticipating the needs of others? and if I'm not actively directing my life (via visioning or imagination or setting of intention), how will it go where I want it to go?
As I settle back into awareness, I seem not to be that worried about these things. And I think I'd trade them all for the lightness in my chest. If a 'right life' means feeling tense and projecting attention outside of the present, caught up in thought, then I'm ready to let go of that pursuit. Feels scary to do that. Feels like I could drift and be at the mercy of... of what, reality, I guess!!
That's what I'll explore today. Just being, and being just with what is observed.
Let's see where awareness and reality take me.