What’s the Kid in You Saying? by Rick Hanson

The Practice

Love your inner child.
WHY?

As long as you’ve lived, your experiences have sifted down in your psyche, forming layers like the bands of colored rock in the Grand Canyon. The most fundamental layers were laid down in your childhood, when your brain was most impressionable.

Because of experience-dependent neuroplasticity, the things you felt, wanted, or believed as a child have been woven into your nervous system. For example, crying as an infant until someone came, joy at beginning to walk, fun with friends, feeling bad about yourself when scolded about schoolwork, power struggles with parents, wanting your body to be bigger/smaller/different in high school, wondering if anyone will like the real you, the bittersweet excitement of leaving home – whatever your own childhood was, experiences like these have sunk in to you and travel with you every day wherever you go.

Taken as a whole, these residues make up your inner child – which is not a silly cliché, but actually a large-scale system embedded in your brain that continually and powerfully influences your mood, sense of worth, expectations, and reactions. This child inside is at the core of who you are. If you are embarrassed, ashamed, critical, controlling, squelching, pushy, or angry about this child, that will affect how you feel and how you act. Therefore, accepting the child parts within you, guiding them gently, and soaking your inner kid in cherishing nurturance will heal and feed the deepest layers of your psyche.

This inner child stuff can get conceptual, superficial, or merely sentimental. Instead, bring it down to the bone. Most childhoods are rocky, one way or another. As a kid, you probably felt hurt, were disappointed, felt like a loser, wanted recognition and love you didn’t get, shelved some big dreams, and made decisions about yourself and life with the “logic” of a child. This is real. It had real effects. And you have a real chance today to be the strong, wise, and loving friend, coach, and yes, parent that you’ve always longed for.
How?
Open to feeling cared about by someone. Next, move to feeling caring toward a friend, family member, or pet. Marinate in this sense of interest, support, and nurturance; let it fill your heart and mind. Then, staying grounded in the experience of caring, shift the target of this caring to yourself, especially yourself as a child.

Now, reflect back on your childhood as a whole, starting with your earliest memories. Stay with your experience of it, not the story line about it. What did it feel like to be a young child? To be in grade school? In high school? What were your happiest times? And most upsetting? What went well for you in your childhood – and badly? When did you feel really understood and supported – and not? What in you flourished in childhood – and what got bruised or wounded? What sort of kid were you – especially deep down? When did the best parts of you come out? What’s become of them?

As much as you can, try to hold a sense of caring toward yourself while you engage these questions. Stay with your actual experience as a child, not critiquing it or justifying it, and definitely not shaming yourself for it. The vulnerable child inside everyone usually expects rejection, so it’s afraid to show its teary, sniffly, snotty, whiny, needy, frightened, or angry face. Please don’t push this child away. It wants to show itself but is afraid to. Make it safe for it to show itself to you.

Look for ways to bring the child inside you out to play. For example, my friend Leslie told me about moving to Wyoming and wandering in its extraordinary wilderness like a big kid, not trying to accomplish anything, feeling free and delighted. Take different routes to work; pick up (or return to) gardening, crafts, art, music, or a sport; quit being so darned serious and significant (this one’s for me, too); goof off; play with your own kids; make messes; ask your inner child what he or she really wants to do. Don’t be so constrained by routines and presumed limitations; remember what it felt like to be a kid on the first day of summer vacation; in the same way, the whole rest of your life stretches out before you: have fun with it!

Accept that you will never have a better childhood. Yes, assert yourself skillfully to get appropriate caring in your relationships. But also know the hard truth that it’s on you, no one else, to be the main advocate, cheerleader, protector, and nurturer of the child inside – and the adult that kid has become. Keep both of them close to your heart.

This comes from Rick Hanson, Ph.D., psychologist, New York Times best-selling author, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and invited lecturer at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard universities. See Rick’s workshops and lectures.

 

Advertisements

Mantra from Jack Kornfield

“May I see the arising and passing of all things with equanimity and balance. May I be open and balanced and peaceful. May I see this circumstance and the arising and passing of this as well with equanimity and balance. In this circumstance, may I remain open and balanced and peaceful. Your happiness and suffering depend on your actions and not my wishes for you.”

Jack Kornfield

Getting Older

Getting older is a fine occupation……I see why it can be called the Golden Years. So many old, limiting beliefs and thoughts about how it should be or will be or must be begin falling by the wayside. They are just too heavy to carry. We grow tired of living in a box of limits….with the requisite anxiety, depression, controlling behaviors, etc. We think we are in control of life but thankfully, we are not. There can be a greater freedom when we choose to live in that zone of mystery…….living in our hearts, on the edge of creative potential, open and accepting of whatever our own energy brings to us. We don’t have to like it but when we open our hearts and accept the experience…..whatever it is…….when we say…yes…..then we are open to what learning the experience can bring to our growth.

This process requires a level of trust in that energy of grace….that love is the presence of all that is, that our highest good is always served by the experiences of our life. It does no good to compare our life experiences to another’s life. Each life is perfectly attuned to the energy of the individual by the energy of love. A plethora of blocking behaviors in our psyche can disrupt that growing trust. They all stem from fear. Our life experiences can be seen to reinforce the energy of love that always surrounds us and that we are. Our life experiences may seem challenging at times but they are specially designed to help us transform our fears into a deeper level of love. If we are open to this process, we are able to develop a deeper trust of life in our hearts…….for that is where our truth resides.

Becoming older is a blessing in many ways…..not the least of which is a sense of liberation, a decrease of anxiety, a welcome resting in the arms of the energy of LOVE. It is always our choice to fuel our fears or our love…. no matter what our situation.

© 2014 Andrea Avari Stevens

Our Inner Voice

Human Nature, Buddha Nature…..interview with John Welwood

In the 1980s, John Welwood emerged as a pioneer in illuminating the relationship between Western psychotherapy and Buddhist practice. The former director of the East/West psychology program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, he is currently associate editor of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Welwood has published numerous articles and books on the subjects of relationship, psychotherapy, consciousness, and personal change, including the bestselling Journey of the Heart. His idea of “spiritual bypassing” has become a key concept in how many understand the pitfalls of long-term spiritual practice. Psychotherapist Tina Fossella spoke with Welwood about how the concept has developed since he introduced it 30 years ago.

You introduced the term “spiritual bypassing” 30 years ago. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, could you explain what it is? “Spiritual bypassing” is a term I coined to describe a process I saw happening in the Buddhist community I was in, and also in myself. Although most of us were sincerely trying to work on ourselves, I noticed a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks. When we are spiritually bypassing, we often use the goal of awakening or liberation to try to rise above the raw and messy side of our humanness before we have fully faced and made peace with it. We may also use our notion of absolute truth to disparage or dismiss relative human needs, feelings, psychological problems, relational difficulties, and developmental deficits. I see this as a basic hazard of the spiritual path, in that spirituality does involve a vision of going beyond our current karmic situation.

What sort of hazard does this present? Trying to move beyond our psychological and emotional issues by sidestepping them is dangerous. It sets up a debilitating split between the buddha and the human within us. And it leads to a conceptual, one-sided kind of spirituality where one pole of life is elevated at the expense of its opposite: absolute truth is favored over relative truth, the impersonal over the personal, emptiness over form, transcendence over embodiment, and detachment over feeling. One might, for example, try to practice nonattachment by dismissing one’s need for love, but this only drives the need underground, where it is likely to become acted out in covert, unconscious, and possibly harmful ways.

What interests you most about spiritual bypassing these days? I’m interested in how it plays out in relationships, where spiritual bypassing often wreaks its worst havoc. If you were a yogi in a cave doing years of solo retreat, your psychological wounding might not show up so much, because your focus would be entirely on your practice. It’s in relationships that our unresolved psychological issues show up most intensely. That’s because psychological wounds are always relational—they form in and through our relationships with our early caretakers.

The core psychological wound, so prevalent in the modern world, forms out of not feeling loved or intrinsically lovable as we are. Inadequate love or attunement is shocking and traumatic for a child’s developing and highly sensitive nervous system. It damages our capacity to value ourselves, which is also the basis for valuing others. I call this the “relational wound“ or “wound of the heart.”

There is a whole body of study and research in Western psychology showing how close bonding and loving attunement—what is known as “secure attachment”—have powerful impacts on every aspect of human development. Secure attachment has a tremendous effect on many dimensions of our health, wellbeing, and capacity to function effectively in the world: how our brains form, how well our endocrine and immune systems function, how we handle emotions, how subject we are to depression, how our nervous system functions and handles stress, and how we relate to others.

Modern culture and child raising leave most people suffering from symptoms of insecure attachment: self-hatred, disembodiment, lack of grounding, ongoing insecurity and anxiety, overactive minds, inability to deeply trust, and a deep sense of inner deficiency. So most of us suffer from an extreme degree of alienation and disconnection that was unknown in earlier times—from society, community, family, older generations, nature, religion, tradition, our body, our feelings, and our humanity itself.

How is this relevant for how we practice the dharma? Many of us originally turn to the dharma at least in part as a way of trying to overcome the pain of our psychological and relational wounding. Yet we are often in denial about or unconscious of the nature or extent of this wounding. As a result, being a “good” spiritual practitioner can become acompensatory identity that covers up and defends against an underlying deficient identity, where we feel bad about ourselves, not good enough, or basically lacking. Then, although we may be practicing diligently, our spiritual practice can be used in the service of denial and defense. And when spiritual practice is used to bypass our real-life human issues, it becomes compartmentalized in a separate zone of our life that remains unintegrated with our overall functioning.

Can you give some more examples of how spiritual bypassing takes shape in Western practitioners? In my psychotherapy practice, I often work with dharma students who have practiced for decades. Often they have developed some kindness and compassion for others but are hard on themselves for falling short of their spiritual ideals, and their spiritual practice has become dry and solemn. Or being of benefit to others has become a duty, or a way of trying to feel good about themselves. Others may unconsciously use their spiritual brilliance to feed their narcissistic inflation and treat others in manipulative ways.

People with depressive tendencies who grew up with a lack of loving attunement in childhood have a hard time valuing themselves, and they may use teachings on no-self to reinforce their deflation. Not only do they feel bad about themselves but they regard their insecurity about whether they’re okay as a further fault—a form of me-fixation, the very antithesis of the dharma—which further fuels their shame or guilt.

Meditation is also commonly used to avoid uncomfortable feelings and unresolved life situations. For those who are in denial about their personal feelings or wounds and who have a hard time expressing themselves in a personally transparent way, meditation practice can reinforce a tendency toward disconnection and disengagement. It can be quite threatening when those of us on a spiritual path have to face our woundedness, or emotional dependency, or primal need for love.

I’ve often seen how attempts to be nonattached are used in the service of sealing people off from their human and emotional vulnerabilities. It’s painful to see someone maintaining a stance of detachment when underneath they are starving for positive experiences of bonding and connection.

So how do we reconcile the ideal of nonattachment with the need for human attachment? Good question. We need a larger perspective that can recognize and include two different tracks of human development—which we might call growing up and waking up, healing and awakening, or becoming a genuine human person and going beyond the person altogether. We are not just humans learning to become buddhas, but also buddhas waking up in human form, learning to become fully human. And these two tracks of development can mutually enrich each other.

If we hold a perspective that includes the two developmental tracks, then we will not use our notions of absolute truth to belittle relative, personal feelings and needs for connection. Even though personal feelings and needs may have no solid or ultimate reality, shunting them aside is likely to cause major psychological problems.

The great paradox of being both human and buddha is that we are both dependent and not dependent. Part of us is completely dependent on people for everything—from food and clothing to love, connectedness, inspiration, and help with our development. Though our buddhanature is not dependent—that’s absolute truth—our human embodiment is; that’s relative truth.

So we can be both attached and nonattached? Yes. Nonattachment is a teaching about our ultimate nature. Yet to grow into a healthy human being, we need a base of secure attachment in the positive, psychological sense, meaning close emotional ties to other people that promote connectedness, grounded embodiment, and well-being. As the naturalist John Muir wrote: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” Similarly, the hand cannot function unless it is attached to the arm—that’s attachment in the positive sense. We’re interconnected, interwoven, and interdependent with everything in the universe. On the human level we can’t help feeling somewhat attached to people we are close to.

So it’s natural to grieve deeply when we lose someone we’re close to. I’ve heard that when Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche attended the memorial service for his dear friend and colleague Shunryu Suzuki, he let out a piercing cry and wept openly. He was acknowledging his close ties to Suzuki Roshi, and it was beautiful that he could let his feeling show like that.

Since we cannot avoid some kind of attachment to others, the question is, “Are we engaging in healthy or unhealthy attachment?” What is unhealthy in psychological terms is insecure attachment, for it leads either to fear of close personal contact or else to obsession with it. Interestingly, people growing up with secure attachment are more trusting, which makes them much less likely to cling to others. Maybe we could call that “nonattached attachment.”

Unfortunately, we can easily confuse nonattachment with avoidance of attachment. Avoidance of attachment, however, is not freedom from attachment. It’s another form of clinging—clinging to the denial of your human attachment needs, out of distrust that love is reliable.

So avoidance of attachment needs is another form of attachment. Yes. In the field of developmental psychology known as attachment theory, one form of insecure attachment is called “avoidant attachment.” The avoidant attachment style develops in children whose parents are consistently unavailable emotionally. These children learn to take care of themselves and to not need anything from others. That’s their adaptive strategy, and it’s an intelligent and useful one. Obviously, if your needs aren’t going to be met, it’s too painful to keep feeling them. It’s better to turn away from them and develop a do-it-yourself, detached compensatory identity.

What happens in a sangha community if a lot of members have an avoidant attachment style of relating?
Avoidant types tend to be dismissive of other people’s needs because they’re dismissive of their own needs.

Might this account for some of the relational problems in our sangha communities? Definitely. It causes people to feel justified in not respecting each other’s feelings and needs. Not surprisingly, “need” often becomes a dirty word in spiritual communities.

People don’t feel free to say what they want.
Right. You don’t say what you want because you don’t want to be seen as needy. You’re trying to be nonattached. But that is like an unripe fruit trying to detach itself from a branch instead of receiving what it needs—which will allow it to naturally ripen and let go. When our spiritual practice is way ahead of our human development, we don’t fully ripen. Our practice may have ripened, but our life hasn’t. And there’s a certain point when that gap becomes very painful.

So you’re saying that spiritual bypassing not only corrupts our dharma practice, it also blocks our ripening into whole and integrated individuals. Yes. One way it blocks development is through making spiritual teachings into prescriptions about what youshould do, how you should think, how you should speak, how you should feel. Then our spiritual practice becomes taken over by a kind of spiritual superego—the voice that whispers “shoulds” in our ear. This is a big obstacle to ripening, because it feeds our sense of deficiency.

One Indian teacher, Swami Prajnanpad, whose work I admire, said that “idealism is an act of violence.” Trying to live up to an ideal instead of being authentically where you are can become a form of inner violence if it splits you in two and pits one side against the other. When we use spiritual practice to “be good” and to ward off an underlying sense of deficiency or unworthiness, then it turns into a sort of crusade.

What are the consequences of dismissing how you feel? From my perspective as an existential psychologist, feeling is a form of intelligence. It’s the body’s direct, holistic, intuitive way of knowing and responding, which is highly attuned and intelligent. Unlike emotionality, which is a reactivity that sweeps you away, feeling helps you go within and connect with where you are. Unfortunately, traditional Buddhism doesn’t make a clear distinction between feeling and emotion, so they both often tend to be lumped together as something egoic to overcome.

What kinds of tools or methods have you found effective for working with difficult feelings and relational issues? I’ve developed a process called “unconditional presence,” which involves contacting, allowing, opening to, and even surrendering to whatever we’re experiencing. During this process I help people inquire deeply into their felt experience and let it gradually reveal itself and unfold, step by step. I call this “tracking and unpacking.” You track the process of present experiencing, following it closely and seeing where it leads. And you unpack the beliefs, identities, and feelings that are subconscious or implicit in what you’re experiencing. When we bring awareness to our experience in this way, it’s like unraveling a tangled ball of yarn: different knots are gradually revealed and untangled one by one.

As a result, we find that we’re able to be present in places where we’ve been absent or disconnected from our experience. Through reaching out to parts of ourselves that need our help, we develop an intimate, grounded kind of inner attunement with ourselves, which can help us more easily relate to others where they are stuck as well.

I’ve found that when people engage in both psychological and meditative practice, the two can complement each other in mutually beneficial, synergistic ways. Together they provide a journey that includes both healing and awakening. Sometimes one way of working is more appropriate for dealing with a given situation in our lives, sometimes the other is.

How does compassion factor into this approach? The word compassion literally means “feeling with.” You can’t have compassion unless you’re first willing to feel what you feel. Opening to what you feel reveals a certain rawness and tenderness—what Trungpa Rinpoche spoke of as the “soft spot,” which is the seed of bodhicitta [kindheartedness].

It’s vulnerable.
Yes. That’s the sign that you’re getting close to bodhicitta. That rawness is also quite humbling. Even if we’ve been doing spiritual practice for decades, we still find these big, raw, messy feelings coming up—maybe a deep reservoir of sorrow or helplessness. But if we can acknowledge these feelings and open ourselves nakedly to them, we’re moving toward greater openness, in a way that is grounded in our humanness. We ripen into a genuine person through learning to make room for the full range of experiences we go through.

How do you know when you’re indulging or wallowing in feelings? That question always comes up. Wallowing in feelings is being stuck in fixation fed by going over and over familiar stories in your mind. Unconditional presence, on the other hand, is about opening nakedly to a feeling instead of becoming caught up in stories about the feeling. For example, if the feeling is sadness, wallowing might involve fixating on a story like “poor me,” instead of directly relating to the actual sadness itself. So delving into feelings might sound like indulgence, but I would say that the willingness to meet your experience nakedly is a form of fearlessness. Trungpa Rinpoche taught that fearlessness is the willingness to meet and feel your fear. We could expand that to say fearlessness is the willingness to meet, face, include, make room for, welcome, allow, open to, and even surrender to whatever we’re experiencing. It’s actually quite brave to acknowledge, feel, and open to your need for healthy attachment and connectedness, for example, especially if you’re relationally wounded. Indulgence, on the other hand, means fixating on the need and being run by it.

What would help our sangha communities develop better communication and greater emotional transparency?
We need to work on relationships. I see relationship as the leading edge of human evolution at this time. It’s the arena where it’s hardest to remain conscious and awake.

We could start by recognizing the fact that spiritual communities are subject to the same unconscious group dynamics that every group is subject to. People in groups inevitably trigger each other’s relational wounds and reactivity. It’s important to see that everything we react to in others is a mirror of something we’re not acknowledging in ourselves. Clearly recognizing this could help us work more skillfully with communication problems in the sangha.

So people need to be doing their own personal work? In conjunction with their spiritual practice. Maybe we need to develop some simple ways in Western dharma communities to help people work with their psychological material.

We also need to learn how to speak with each other personally and honestly, from present experience, instead of parroting teachings about what we think we should be experiencing. And there needs to be what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “deep listening,” based on learning to listen to our own experience. Attuned listening is a sacred activity—a form of surrendering, receiving, letting in. We need to recognize this as part of our spiritual work.

Thich Nhat Hahn said that to love is to listen. Yes. We also need to develop a tremendous tolerance and appreciation for different personal styles of embodying the dharma. Otherwise, if we settle for a one-size-fits-all dharma, we are doomed to endless holier-than-thou competition and one-upmanship. While we all venerate the dharma, we each have different ways of embodying and expressing it. So vive la différence, it’s a beautiful thing. Fully honoring individual differences could go a long way toward reducing sangha in-fighting.

One last question about attachment in relationships: Are you saying that to be truly nonattached, one has to be attached first?
In terms of human evolution, nonattachment is an advanced teaching. I’m suggesting that we need to be able to form satisfying human attachments before genuine nonattachment is possible. Otherwise, someone suffering from insecure attachment is likely to confuse nonattachment with avoidant attachment behavior. For avoidant types, attachment is actually threatening and scary. So healing for avoidant types would involve becoming willing and able to feel their needs for human connectedness, instead of spiritually bypassing them. Once that happens, then nonattachment starts to make some sense.

The late Dzogchen master Chagdud Tulku made a powerful statement about the relationship between attachment and nonattachment. He said, “People often ask me, do lamas have attachments? I don’t know how other lamas might answer this, but I must say yes. I recognize that my students, my family, my country have no inherent reality…. Yet I remain deeply attached to them. I recognize that my attachment has no inherent reality. Yet I cannot deny the experience of it.” And he ends by saying, “Still, knowing the empty nature of attachment, I know my motivation to benefit sentient beings must supersede it.”

I find this a beautiful articulation of nonattached attachment. Including human nature alongside buddhanature in this way, while situating them both in the largest possible context, is tremendously powerful.

Tina Fossella is a contemplative psychotherapist in San Francisco. She has been a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche since 1999 and serves on the National Executive Committee of his organization, Nalandabodhi.

Human Nature, Buddha Nature http://www.tricycle.com/interview/human-nature-buddha-nature #Tricycle #Buddhism #Dharma

Osho on Seven Bodies and their Tensions

Osho on Seven Bodies and their Tensions

Question – Please Tell us some thing about the Tensions and Relaxation of the Seven Bodies
Osho – The original source of all tension is becoming. One is always trying to be something; no one is at ease with himself as he is. The being is not accepted, the being is denied, and something else is taken as an ideal to become. So the basic tension is always between that which you are and that which you long to become.

You desire to become something. Tension means that you are not pleased with what you are, and you long to be what you are not. Tension is created between these two. What you desire to become is irrelevant. If you want to become wealthy, famous, powerful, or even if you want to be free, liberated, to be divine, immortal, even if you long for salvation, moksha, then too the tension will be there.

Anything that is desired as something to be fulfilled in the future, against you as you are, creates tension. The more impossible the ideal is, the more tension there is bound to be. So a person who is a materialist is ordinarily not so tense as one who is religious, because the religious person is longing for the impossible, for the far-off. The distance is so great that only a great tension can fill the gap.


Tension means a gap between what you are and what you want to be. If the gap is great, the tension will be great. If the gap is small, the tension will be small. And if there is no gap at all, it means you are satisfied with what you are. In other words, you do not long to be anything other than what you are. Then your mind exists in the moment. There is nothing to be tense about; you are at ease with yourself. You are in the Tao.

To me, if there is no gap you are religious; you are in the dharma. The gap can have many layers. If the longing is physical, the tension will be physical. When you seek a particular body, a particular shape – if you long for something other than what you are on a physical level – then there is tension in your physical body. One wants to be more beautiful.

Now your body becomes tense. This tension begins at your first body, the physiological, but if it is insistent, constant, it may go deeper and spread to the other layers of your being. If you are longing for psychic powers, then the tension begins at the psychic level and spreads. The spreading is just like when you throw a stone in the lake. It drops at a particular point, but the vibrations created by it will go on spreading into the infinite.

So tension may start from any one of your seven bodies, but the original source is always the same: the gap between a state that is and a state that is longed for. If you have a particular type of mind and you want to change it, transform it – if you want to be more clever, more intelligent – then tension is created. Only if we accept ourselves totally is there no tension. This total acceptance is the miracle, the only miracle. To find a person who has accepted himself totally is the only surprising thing.

Existence itself is non-tense. Tension is always because of hypothetical, non-existential possibilities. In the present there is no tension; tension is always future-oriented. It comes from the imagination. You can imagine yourself as something other than you are. This potential that has been imagined will create tension. So the more imaginative a person is, the more tension is a possibility. Then the imagination has become destructive.

Imagination can also become constructive, creative. If your whole capacity to imagine is focused in the present, in the moment, not in the future, then you can begin to see your existence as poetry. Your imagination is not creating a longing; it is being used in living. This living in the present is beyond tension.

Animals are not tense, trees are not tense, because they do not have the capacity to imagine. They are below tension, not beyond it. Their tension is just a potentiality; it has not become actual. They are evolving. A moment will come when tension will explode in their beings and they will begin to long for the future. It is bound to happen. The imagination becomes active.

The first thing the imagination becomes active about is the future. You create images and because there are no corresponding realities, you go on creating more and more images. But as far as the present is concerned, you cannot ordinarily conceive of the imagination in relation to it. How can you be imaginative in the present? There seems to be no need. This point must be understood. If you can be consciously present in the present, you will not be living in your imagination. Then the imagination will be free to create within the present itself.

Only the right focus is needed. If the imagination is focused on the real, it begins to create. The creation may take any form. If you are a poet, it becomes an explosion of poetry. The poetry will not be a longing for the future, but an expression of the present. Or if you are a painter, the explosion will be of painting. The painting will not be of something as you have imagined it, but as you have known it and lived it. When you are not living in the imagination, the present moment is given to you. You can express it, or you can go into silence.

But the silence, now, is not a dead silence that is practiced. This silence too is an expression of the present moment. The moment is so deep that now it can be expressed only through silence. Not even poetry is adequate; painting is not adequate. No expression is possible. Silence is the only expression. This silence is not something negative but, rather, a positive flowering. Something has flowered within you, the flower of silence, and through this silence all that you are living is expressed.

A second point is also to be understood. This expression of the present through the imagination is neither an imagination of the future nor a reaction against the past. It is not an expression of any experience that has been known. It is the experience of experiencing – as you are living it, as it is happening in you. Not a lived experience, but a living process of experiencing. Then your experience and experiencing are not two things. They are one and the same. Then there is no painter. The experiencing itself has become the painting; the experiencing itself has expressed itself.

You are not a creator. You are creativity, a living energy. You are not a poet; you are poetry. The experience is neither for the future nor for the past; it is neither from the future nor from the past. The moment itself has become eternity, and everything comes from it. It is a flowering. This flowering will have seven layers, just like tension has seven layers. It will exist in every body. For example, if it happens on the physiological level, you will become beautiful in quite a new sense. This beauty is not of form but of the formless, not of the visible but of the invisible. And if you can feel this non-tense moment in your body, you will know a well-being that you have not known before, a positive well-being.

We have known states of well-being that are negative: negative in the sense that when we are not ill we say we are healthy. This health is simply a negation of disease. It has nothing positive about it; it is just that disease is not there. The medical definition of health is that if you are not ill then you are healthy. But health has a positive dimension also. It is not just the absence of illness; it is the presence of health.

Your body can be non-tense only when you are living a moment-to-moment existence. If you are eating and the moment has become eternity, then there is no past and no future. The very process of eating is all that is. You are not doing something; you have become the doing. There will be no tension; your body will feel fulfilled. Or if you are in sexual communion and the sex is not just a relief from sexual tension but, rather, a positive expression of love – if the moment has become total, whole, and you are in it completely – then you will know a positive well-being in your body.

If you are running, and the running has become the totality of your existence; if you are the sensations that are coming to you, not something apart from them but one with them; if there is no future, no goal to this running, running itself is the goal – then you know a positive well-being. Then your body is non-tense. On the physiological level, you have known a moment of non-tense living. And the same is true with each of the seven bodies. To understand a non-tense moment in the first body is easy because we already know two things that are possible in the body: disease, a positive illness; negatively defined well-being, an absence of illness. This much we have already known, so we can conceive of a third possibility, that of positive well-being, health. But to understand what non-tension is in the second body, the etheric, is a bit more difficult, because you have not known anything about it. Still, certain things can be understood.

Dreams are basically concerned with the second body, the etheric. So ordinarily when we talk about dreams what we are talking about are dreams of the etheric body. But if your physical body has been living in tension, then many dreams will be created by it. For example, if you have been hungry or on a fast, then a particular type of dream is created. This is physiological dreaming. It is not concerned with the etheric body.

The etheric body has its own tension. We know the etheric body only in dreams, so if the etheric body is tense, the dream becomes a nightmare. Even in your dream you will be tense now; the tension will follow you. The first tension in the etheric body is concerned with the fulfillment of your desires. We  all have dreams about love. Sex is physiological; love is not. Love has nothing to do with the physical body, it is concerned with the etheric body; but if it is not fulfilled, then even your physical body may suffer because of it. Not only does your physical body have needs that have to be fulfilled, but your etheric
body also has needs. It has its own hungers; it also needs food. Love is that food.

We all go on dreaming about love, but we are never in love. Everybody dreams about love – how it should be, with whom it should be – and everyone is frustrated in it. Either we are dreaming about the future or, in frustration, about the past; but we are never loving. There are other tensions in the etheric body as well, but love is the one that can be most easily understood. If you can love in the moment, then a non-tense situation is created in the etheric body. But you cannot love in the moment if you have demands, expectations, conditions for your love, because demands, expectations and conditions are concerned with the future.

The present is beyond our specifications. It is as it is. But you can have expectations about the future: how it should be. Love too has become a ”should”; it is always about what ”should be.” You can be loving in the present only if your love is not an expectation, a demand, only if it is unconditional. Also, if you are loving only to one person and not to someone else, then you can never love in the present. If your love is a relationship and not a state of mind, you cannot love in the present because, very subtly, that too is a condition. If I say I can be loving only to you, then when you are not there I will not be loving. For twenty-three hours I will be in a state of not-loving and only for one hour, when I am with you, will I be loving. This is impossible! You cannot be in a state of love one moment and not be in love another moment.

If I am healthy, I am healthy for twenty-four hours. It is impossible to be healthy for one hour and unhealthy for the other twenty-three hours. Health is not a relationship; it is a state of being. Love is not a relationship between two persons. It is a state of mind within yourself. If you are loving, you are loving to everybody – not only to persons, but to things as well. Love moves from you to objects also. Even when you are alone, when no  one is there, you are loving. It is just like breathing.

If I take an oath that I will breathe only when I am with you, only death can follow. Breathing is not relationship; it is not tied to any relationship. And for the etheric body, love is just like breathing. It is its breath. So either you are loving, or you are not loving. The type of love that humanity has created is very dangerous. Even disease has not created as much nonsense as this so-called love has created. The whole humanity is diseased because of this wrong notion of love.

If you can love and be loving, irrespective of whom, then your second body can have a sense of well-being, a positive at-easeness. Then there are no nightmares. Dreams become a poetry. Then something happens in your second body, and the perfume of it not only pervades you but others also. Wherever you are, the perfume of your love spreads. And of course it has its own response, its own echoing.

Real love is not a function of the ego. The ego is always asking for power, so even when you love – because your love is not real, because it is just a part of the ego – it is bound to be violent. Whenever we love it is a violence, a type of war. Father and son, mother and daughter, husband and wife – they are not lovers; we have converted them into enemies. They are constantly fighting, and only when they are not fighting do we say it is love. The definition is negative. Between two battles there is a gap, a period of peace.

But really, between two wars there is no possibility of peace. The so-called peace is only a preparation for the coming war. There is no peace between husband and wife, no love. The gap that we call love is only a preparation for the coming fight. We think that there is health when we are between two illnesses, and we think that there is love when we are between two fights. It is not love. It is only a gap between fights. You cannot go on fighting for twenty-four hours, so at some point you begin to love your enemy.

Love is never possible as a relationship but only as a state of mind. If love comes to you as a state of mind, then your second body – the etheric body – becomes at ease, non-tense. It is relaxed. There are other reasons for tension in the second body, but I am talking about the one that can be most easily understood. Because we think we know love, it can be talked about.

 

Tending Our Light at Home

How often are we having an out-of-body experience?  We are busy fussing over whether someone likes us, is annoying us, is doing what we want them to do, fearful of what they might or might not do, what has happened in the past, OMG, what could happen in the future.  Just generally off in space in our minds, projecting our hopes and fears onto someone else’s evolutionary process.

We need to tend our light at Home.  We could be busy for the rest of our lives observing our feelings, behaviors, healing and clearing what is blocking us from the pure Joy of living  the ever-changing, ever-creating life that is our mysterious gift of Being.  Do you know where your mind is?  Bring it back Home.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: