looking for clarity

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Thu May 21, 2020 4:56 am

Hi Ilona,
Yes, the thoughts about future come with fear and suffering.
Indeed, for me this seems to be the central source of suffering.
Where is future now? Where is that image?
Right now the future is just a set of thoughts. It consists of some images and words, a mental movie inside me, not truly me inside it.
What do you see in the image?
This mental movie appears taken from “my” viewpoint (so I do not appear as an object in it, but as the subject) but there is imagined pain there. It is like a nightmare depicting some misfortune and pain, or continuation of current pain. For example, it might depict members of my family very plausibly being harmed "in front of me", or it might merely depict some endless annoying chore that I am looking at to be done. Then other thoughts arise saying “this movie is a warning even if it isn't happening yet, keep seeking a way to avoid this fate”.
Is that image you?
In a nightmare, is it me that is experiencing it? In reality there is no separate entity “me”, and in the nightmare the same is true. But there is a nightmare projection, and there is a discomfort that accompanies it. The thought of a lime in your mouth tomorrow is not the same as a real lime in your mouth now, but just the thought is enough to make your mouth water right now.
Is thinking about future helping? If so, in which way? What does thinking about future solve? What do you get from that?
When there is no fear, the future acts as a thought-map to help navigate my behavior NOW. It seems like this map is useful, as long as it is not mistaken for reality itself. In these situations, there is sensible planning NOW "for the future". It does not create suffering.

But when the future-thoughts depict pain and discomfort, it triggers a resistance (at least in me), and there is a desperate hunt to escape. This process is often repetitive, it IS suffering, and it's pointless. I get nothing from it. But I have no control of these thoughts/feelings. And the thoughts are seductive. For example, in my life there are some periodically deeply painful experiences, for various reasons. It is the psychological equivalent of electric shocks. Thoughts arise warning me that tomorrow will have more such shocks, in unpredictable variations. Thoughts arise to try to escape. They try and try, but there is no escape. But maybe tomorrow the escape will be discovered, if I just think hard enough! And so it goes on chewing away, never knowing when to stop and surrender to whatever is coming.

Having said all this, I am experimenting more and more with the only way I can see to deal with all the above considerations, namely to focus as best I can on the present moment and just feel the present pain AND the present peace that co-exists with that pain by complete acceptance. If future thoughts arise and there is an obvious move to make, then I make it. If future thoughts arise just to scare me, without any obvious action that can be taken, I try as best I can to say "sorry, you are not real (yet), I don't have space to take you seriously until you come to pass in the present moment, and then I will give you my full attention and acceptance". Of course, this does not always work perfectly, so all I can do is follow the approach of "least resistance", even if I cannot drop all resistance, accepting the resulting suffering.

But if you sense that I'm missing something, please let me know.

Thanks!

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Ilona
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Thu May 21, 2020 7:32 am

Thank you for reply.

This is interesting
This mental movie appears taken from “my” viewpoint (so I do not appear as an object in it, but as the subject)
Is that true, that you appear as a subject? If it’s an appearance, it is an object. You see that appearance. That appearance is not you.

Imagine yourself in a tough situation, just for a minute. Are you in the image?
You see the image. And anything that happened in the image is an object of imagination.
There is witnessing quality, the image is seen. What is looking at the image?

The mind imagines a problem and the mind imagines a solution and the mind imagines the impossible situation without a solution and that is intense. Can you see that you are not the mind, mind is seen too. Thoughts are seen, images are seen and neither thoughts nor images are you.

Is this clear?


Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Fri May 22, 2020 4:21 am

Hi Ilona, I have answered your questions first, hopefully seeing what you wanted me to see. Then, after a dashed line, I have written what occurred to me today as I tried to home in on the central source of suffering.
Is that true, that you appear as a subject? If it’s an appearance, it is an object. You see that appearance. That appearance is not you.
Sorry, I think I did not convey myself clearly in the last post. I understand what you are saying here.
Imagine yourself in a tough situation, just for a minute. Are you in the image?
You see the image. And anything that happened in the image is an object of imagination.


For an example of a fear, let me use my fear of public humiliation, where there are images of people harshly judging me for something or another (lots to choose from). I visualize the people in the room, seen from some angle. Of course I am not there and neither are the people, the entire visualization is an appearance in my thoughts.
There is witnessing quality, the image is seen. What is looking at the image?
I (if you allow me that word) am looking at these images, but I am not one of these images.
The mind imagines a problem and the mind imagines a solution and the mind imagines the impossible situation without a solution and that is intense.
Yes, the mind imagines "problem", "solution", and "impossible". But the word "intense" you used refers to the ACTUAL tightening felt in the body, a real reaction to the imaginings in the mind.
Can you see that you are not the mind, mind is seen too. Thoughts are seen, images are seen and neither thoughts nor images are you.
Yes, I am not the mind or thoughts. So I should remain aware of their fictitious nature as these thoughts arise, just as I remain aware when watching a scary movie that it is not real. Is that what you are getting at?

---------------------------------------------------------------

Actually, your post this morning triggered the following observation. IF one knows how to face pain in the PRESENT then there is no reason for fear, which is the imagining of FUTURE pain. Because then when/if that future pain arrives in the present one knows how to face it. So fear ( = images of future pain) is secondary, only present pain is primary. Can one face immediate present unavoidable pain (toothache)? The best one can do is to not resist it at all, to experience it fully. After all resistance is pointless. With regard to the future, nothing stops one from making plans "for the future", but one can't insist that these plans work out, insisting is also pointless since the best laid plans will frequently fail. Future (imagined) pain is not a problem if one has the confidence that if ever it becomes real one will face it without resistance in the present moment. So we can forget about fear, and focus only on the present, and investigate how one meets immediate present pain. If one can drop all resistance so that there is peace in the midst of present pain, then one is free. Only one experiment to conduct, dropping all resistance to pain and discomfort as these arise and find the peace. So, DON'T RESIST the present, and DON"T INSIST on a particular future.

Today (perhaps as a test), there was again a very stressful situation, a sense of danger, triggering an uncomfortable feeling in the chest and rapid pulse. I looked closely to see whether thoughts of the future were entering into this nervous reaction to turn it into suffering. It did not produce clear images of the "future", there was just an uncertainty and agitation about what would happen next felt strongly in the body. I will have to experiment further when such situations happen again, to see whether I can let go of all resistance, and to see if I am imagining the future even a minute ahead.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Fri May 22, 2020 5:52 am

Great work, thank you.
Yes, I am not the mind or thoughts. So I should remain aware of their fictitious nature as these thoughts arise, just as I remain aware when watching a scary movie that it is not real. Is that what you are getting at?
Yes, that’s it. You are not thoughts, you are not imaginary entity, you are that sees all that, knows of thoughts, imagination, sensations and all objects that show up as content of awareness. You can say that it’s like watching a scary movie and knowing it’s a movie, you are here, safe, and the content of the movie is happening in a screen.

Good observations about pain and future pain. “future pain” is fear of sensations that may happen. And if you are able to meet present pain, then that pain is ok. It is safe to feel what you feel. Always is. Well, talking about tooth pain, if it hurts badly, there are painkillers and there is a phone to make an appointment to see a dentist. Just by sitting and feeling it fully the tooth is not going to stop hurting, right? The feeling fully is more applicable to resisted emotional pain. And yes, resisting emotions is more tension, more intensity as resistance adds on.

Good idea to stay vigilant and examine what happens in the presence of feeling of danger. It’s when you are able to meet that situation with awareness turned inwards that a transformation is possible to happen.

Here is a question- is intensity ok?
Are feelings of contractions ok?
Is resisting feelings of contractions ok?

What is not ok?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat May 23, 2020 4:10 am

Hi Ilona,
talking about tooth pain, if it hurts badly, there are painkillers...
Sorry, I meant tooth ache as short-hand for unavoidable present physical pain/discomfort in general, though I agree that if I literally had a tooth ache there are ways to treat that and I would not just try to "surrender" to it. But there are two reasons I bring up physical pain:

(a) pain can arise in ways that cannot be fully eliminated/treated, such as major injuries in a car accident, body aches during a flu, cancer, Covid-19 etc. While you do what you can to reduce the pain, there can still be a lot of pain remaining over a substantial time. When this happens (recalling my last flu) resisting thoughts keep arising saying "I wish this would end, I want to run away from this, etc." But the only options are to either stay and fully let the pain in, or to escape into a TV show. Even when one escapes into a TV show, the pain breaks through again and again. So, as much as possible one must fully face the pain.

(b) A lot of emotional pain is secretly built, layer on layer, on the fear of physical pain. For example, I have (small) fears of losing my job or getting Covid-19. Covid-19 would mean physical pain (even death!), while losing my job would make me and my family far less physically comfortable. So many emotional pains and fears have roots in physical pain. But if I know that EVEN IF one day I am cold and hungry, that I can face it and be at peace, then psychological fears fall away.
...stay vigilant and examine what happens in the presence of feeling of danger. It’s when you are able to meet that situation with awareness turned inwards that a transformation is possible to happen.
This is extremely relevant to my current circumstances. I will do as you say. I finally feel like I can do this.
is intensity ok?
Yes, it is ok
Are feelings of contractions ok?
Yes, they are ok
Is resisting feelings of contractions ok?
Yes, they are ok
What is not ok?
I like the standard of ok-ness, it does not mean getting everything I want or escaping all pain or having wonderful spiritual transformations, it just means being at peace with any situation. To answer your question, I need a few days to "scan" myself and see if there is any aspect of daily life and challenges that is not ok, that is resisted and leads to suffering, where there is some story of why it is not ok.

Can I get back to you in a few days? I want to be sure and feel it in my bones before I say that there is nothing that is not ok.

Thanks!

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Ilona
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Sun May 24, 2020 6:07 am

Take your time and explore.
Yes, it’s not about great experiences or bliss forever, but about being at peace with what is as it is.

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com


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