Addiction: It's such a fight in me to stay away from the alcohol ...

A woman comes into practice, around the age of 40. She experiences an alcohol addiction. 
For years she is involved in a fight with 'alcohol'. Her partner is often gone, he is very active in club life, so she is alone for many evenings. 
If he is there, she says, I know how to hold back, I drink two glasses in the weekend and I don't drink during the week. But if he isn't there..., there is nobody watching me, there is no outside break. Then it goes well for a few evenings, but after a few evenings, when I am in the supermarket, I can't resist buying a bottle of wine. Then I say to myself: okay, one glass of wine..., you deserve it, but at the end of the evening the bottle is empty. 
I'm just stunning myself. 
If I listen to you, then I hear/feel that dealing with alcohol is based on 'willpower' and then it becomes a fight with the alcohol: you have to be strong of yourself, you have to persevere, you aren't allowed to drink. Is that right? 
Yes, that's right and I'm so tired of always forcing myself to the edge. 
I can imagine..., you never get out of this pattern when you follow this strategy of the mind, it remains a fight. Willpower doesn't bring you home, it keeps you trapped in alcohol addiction. And it is precisely that same willpower that makes you drink..., how crazy that may sound to you... Just before this, you said in our exchange that your husband irritates you... 
You have a few days off, vacation... and then your husband comes with a plan for some jobs that needs to be done at home.
Yes, she says, those eternal lists of him of what needs to be done in and around the house, I just want nothing, just REST... 
Do you recognize yourself in it? 
What do you mean, she asks? 
Could it be that you don't have an external list of assignments and jobs that have to be done as your husband has, but that you have an inner list? That you are always in the 'to do' mode, you just keep going on with all kind of tasks that you impose on yourself? 
Yes, she says, that's right, the line is always taut with me..., I am always running and flying. Sometimes my son says:'Go sit on your ass'. Then I react:'Yes, you have easy talk, I would like that too, but I still have to do everything and someone else doesn't do it for me' 
That sounds pretty 'victimized', 'poor me', I say to the client. 
Yes, that is true, she says. 
Okay, what happens in you when you drink those glasses of alcohol? 
I experience that a load of tension falls away from me, finally no 'have to do'.
That is interesting..., that you use the word 'must' and 'have to do' so often. 
Yes, she says, I long for REST... 
Yes, I say, I can understand that. Can you see that you are in the grip of the slavedriver in you, the doer? If you are constantly under stress of the internal lists in you that you must follow up, then compensation is needed..., there is no other way..., no man will keep it full if the bow is always tight. And that compensation looks to you in such a way that you long for relaxation and you think you will find it in alcohol, while it is actually sedation. And sedation is something different than relaxation from within. Another person will watch series or eat to numb themselves, you use the alcohol to experience a sensation of 'loose', 'rest' and 'relaxation'. So you can be in a fight with alcohol, but that is not the solution. The solution lies in seeing through the 'doer', in letting out the personal will power, which is equal to tension and overstrain. That peace that you long for, can only arise if you recognize the slave driver in yourself and don't act on it anymore. That is not a simple process, because 'not acting' can also be used again from the mind, from the same level of the slavedriver: I have to relax, I must relax. That doer is completely interwoven with your personality structure, so the pitfall is that you want to tackle the slavedriver by the mind, which is doomed to fail in advance. But it is possible to let the transformation take place if you are really fed up with this pattern of numbness. If you want to live from relaxation, then there is a way out, but it does require total effort... 
Do I have a choice? she says, the alternative is that I still go on with this issue, year in, year out, that's not what I want. Because? I ask. 
Because life is just not nice, you live from one job to another job, everything is 'work'.
Okay, well to realize that..., if you really want to break with the slavedriver, then give your total commitment to see through the 'doer'. Break through the addiction of 'must' and 'go on'. Live from relaxation. There is everything on your internal list, but that doesn't mean that it has to happen all today... Feel, experience what is right on this moment, which indicates the flow of Life. Release the helm, let yourself be guided instead of living that 'me' that is always tensed and stressed, because it isn't connected to Life itself. 
I will give an example. Suppose the thought comes to up that the shed can use a turn, organize everything again, sort it out, clean up etc. Previously the job was planned, according to how you and your husband act. The date was fixed and whether it felt good that day or not: the barn had to be done. Often this meant a certain tension, because the action didn't match the current that was going on in me or my partner at that moment. Now, that process is very different. The thought blows through me at some point and I wait... until the impulse comes by itself to tackle the shed. This impulse doesn't come from tension, from 'it has to happen now', from the 'me' that puts itself under pressure, from the voice that says: if I do it today, then it's done, then I can rest (which is of course an illusion, because from the point of view of the slavedriver, the 'I', there is always another job that still has to be done). 
If you live from the energy of the 'doer', then everything is 'work' and 'duty', then compensation is needed, then you need a vacation or a bottle of alcohol to silence the doer. 
If you act from inner relaxation, from Life itself, then there is no longer a dichotomy between 'jobs/work' and 'free time'. 
Listen to the voice of Life itself: what is right for you at the moment? There are also tasks that come back every day, or there is a job you have to 'go' to. Here too: do you work out of stress, out of the slavedriver or from presence and relaxation? You can't enforce that relaxation. If only there was a button that would bring you home, from one moment to the next, in Life itself (what you are), beyond the slavedriver and the "I" who wants and needs everything…, that would be great, but unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Sit down on the couch, as your son indicates, be present at the resistance which then arises from the slavedriver. Don't listen to the voices that wants you to take action at that moment..., let the adrenalinerush cease raging. Be open to the impulses of Life itself, take the time to lie down, to walk or sit in the sun..., so in time the wheel of the doer can come to a standstill. 
See when you get back in the grip of the 'doer', take a step back, breathe a bit deeper... and consider the following questions: What am I doing? Is this what I want? Do I want to live like this? See through the automatic pattern of the doer. And one day you notice that something has shifted, you experience relaxation, you enjoy life..., everything is good as it is..., you discover that no slavedriver is needed to accomplish that what should be done. Your job hasn't changed, but you are changed. And a glass of wine in time..., delicious, but not a must to come to a feeling of relaxation (which is actually sedation). What a liberation... 
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes

Why do others view me so differently than I do myself?

Why do others view me so differently than I do myself?

We have all been given the option (potential) to awaken, to come to Love, to Consciousness. A divine gift, a possibility. Some of us feel a strong call, from the inside, for total liberation: they follow a spiritual path with a master who has awoken, and they practice Vipassana meditation (1), because they realize that Pure Consciousness is the gate to total liberation.

Others do not feel that call, but they do long for liberation from deep, painful basic convictions, which stem from the psychological mind (the "I", the ego). The suffering that comes from those deep imprints can also serve to awaken from the dream state. 

Often liberation does not happen, because Pure Consciousness has not yet been recognized, so the identification with convictions (and the resultant suffering) is so strong that we simply avoid challenging the convictions and allowing the connected pain to melt. It simply feels too painful to enter into, too painful from the perspective: what I feel and think is true (identification with the psychological mind).

Nevertheless, we all do our levels best, we are all on our way and one tulip is blooming in May, the other in July. 

Those who want to come to Love long for liberation from the yoke called "I"  which gives humanity, deep down, such a strong sense of loneliness and alienation. The ‘I’ (ego) which applies everything to itself.
‘I’ means tension and a self-centered attitude, which stems from the fear: Am I welcome?  Do they like me? Am I really a part of the group? Am I good enough? Everything happening around us, in interaction with others, leads to this self-centered attitude, to self-talk. We think about ourselves for hours, because we apply everything to ourselves: he isn’t looking at me is translated to ‘he doesn’t like me’; and if we don’t receive a reply to our e-mail, we are afraid we may have said something wrong etc.

In essence, the psychological mind knows two modes: attraction or rejection. Attraction means: getting what you think you need or deserve, often through manipulation, from neediness. In other words: life or the other person ought to give us what we can’t give ourselves, because we are not at home in our Heart. 

Rejection means: everything we want to get rid of, everything we perceive as unwanted, everything that inhibits our alleged happiness or sense of well-being, actually everything we say 'no' to: I don’t want to experience, feel, face or acknowledge this. 

And it is these two modes of the psychological mind (attraction and rejection), resulting from identification with an ‘I’, with all convictions connected to that, that make people suffer. The basic tenor of the ‘I’ is fear, in contrast to the basic tenor of Life itself, which is Love.

Some time ago, a client visited my practice with the following question: I feel such a massive difference between the way others view me and the way I feel inside, how is that possible? People see me as an independent and strong person, who can help others with advice and wisdom, but I feel insecure and afraid of rejection, especially falling short and not belonging, and I often feel that way…, like I’m not a part of the group, excluded (for the reader: this is the ‘I’ and the self-centered approach to life, the self-talk, the psychological mind; a collective inclination based on age-old conditioning).

I ask her whether she can show others this insecurity and vulnerability. In many cases, no, she shows the outer world a self-confident attitude.
Then it is not strange that the outer world views you that way, isn’t it? Yes, that is true, she says.
What scares you about showing your vulnerability and insecurity? I ask.
Well, she says, when I show that, I feel like I disappear or dissolve.
What do you mean, disappear or dissolve?
Well…, I have the feeling that I don’t belong, and then I see this image of myself, standing outside the circle.
Do you recognize this from the past? It seems to refer to a family in which there was no room for vulnerability, softness, insecurity…, did you feel like an outsider in your family?

And then the stories start to flow:
She graduated, and some family members were there but her father was absent. After the graduation ceremony they get home, and the family members confront her father: your daughter graduated, shouldn’t you congratulate her? Her father answers: it was no more than her duty. He turns around and walks away.

She goes to gymnastics, it is evening, she has a nasty fall, the teacher calls home and asks her father to pick her up. He tells the teacher: she should just work out a way to get home. That night, she sleeps in the house of her teacher and his wife. When she gets home the following day, her father walks away without greeting her or looking at her.

She falls off her bike in front of the kitchen window. There is blood, grazes, the bike is damaged. Her father says nothing, except: you will pay the damage to the bike yourself.

And there are many similar experiences to share, she says quite composedly (an attitude that relates to her question: showing no vulnerability).

Imagine, I tell her, that mankind incarnates here on earth with a package of convictions that the soul took on to resolve during this lifetime. And the circumstances in which a person is born matches completly with these convictions so that the soul has the possibility to resolve these beliefs…, to reach liberation, to clean up that facet of the diamond. And existence is merciful…, you can take as long as is needed…, one life or hundreds of lives…, it is up to you, existence makes no demands, it is eternally patient and compassionate.

And if we look from the perspective I just outlined: the soul who brings along a package of convictions to work out during this life (or a next one); the soul who attracts those circumstances that match these convictions…, then what is the conviction that ‘your’ soul wants to resolve, I ask?
What is the conviction, that has a deep imprint in you?

I can’t be vulnerable. Showing softness, vulnerability, pain and insecurity leads to lovelessness, rejection and exclusion.
Yes, I say…,  and that is exactly what your soul wants to solve in this life. Do you see the perfection of existence in this? Do you see how these circumstances match with what 'your' soul wants to experience and heal?

And can you see that vulnerability is a great power, which is very disarming, unlike your conviction that showing vulnerability only leads to rejection and lovelessness?

You live on one side of the spectrum, but like light and dark can’t exist without each other, vulnerability can’t exist without the other side of the spectrum: inner strength and independence. Existence is challenging you to unite or outgrow this seeming contradiction. Strength is only truly strength when it carries softness and relaxation within it (and vice versa).

It is up to you whether you face the resolution of this conviction, but if you continue to act (or avoid action) based on this conviction then nothing will change, you will remain the captive of this conviction and you will leave life with unresolved convictions.

Thankfully, existence is merciful and simply gives us another round to work out what has not yet been resolved. The question is whether this is what you want? No, she says, if possible I’d like to heal all in this life, but how?

See (Be Aware) how this pain shapes your actions. See the movements of the mind. The principle of attraction based on neediness/pain: searching for confirmation ‘I belong’ or doubting whether you belong. And the principle of rejection, i.e. avoidance: I don’t want to show vulnerability, because I don’t want to feel the pain of exclusion and lovelessness.

Break the pattern of avoidance: show your insecurity and vulnerability. Realize that you interpret others behavior based on this deep conviction: they will not like me if I am myself, if I also show my vulnerability and insecurity.

If your daughter-in-law doesn’t return a call, take responsibility for the way you interpret this, do a reality check: is it true that you don’t want to have contact with me? Yes that’s true, she may say, I know that you empathize, but I haven’t recovered from the concussion yet and I need rest. Feel the pain of exclusion when it is triggered, while realizing that the pain says nothing about your daughter-in-law, but everything about the interpretation that you attach to it; it is old pain (exclusion), a residue from this life and others, that is being triggered, that hasn’t healed yet.

What is going on in me, but what I don't say outloud to her: go meditate (Vipassana), so that Pure Awareness can sprout and then the convictions are seen through and gradually extinguish. 

From Pure Awareness it is much easier to clean up your history, because identification with the psychological mind (e.g. convictions) loosen up (or dissolve completly), so that the pattern of avoidance is seen through and the pain can melt, without much effort: it no longer feels so ‘real’ or ‘true’. 

From Pure Awareness rises the possibility of total liberation. 

Liberation is the light of the diamond in its totality and not merely one or a few facets like specific convictions based on karma that you (the 'I', ego) try to change in this life. If you only focus on solving all kind of issues of the psychological mind (the facets), total liberation is not possible, because the psychological mind, the 'I', the ego, stays in charge, you are the one who is working hard to improve your state of being, but it is the identification with the 'I' that causes the suffering in the first place. And the psychological mind will continue to bring up a new problem after you have resolved the previous one. So meditation is a strong medicine to provoke Pure Awareness, to break down the identification with the psychological mind (the 'I'). 

Pure consciousness means transcending the mind; the light is 'on' and it shines: all convictions/problems gradually extinguish naturally in the Light of Awareness; no strong effort or hard work (= the 'I') is necessary. Yes, sometimes we have to descend deeper into certain resistances, but from Pure Awareness it's a totally different experience (less painful) than going deeper into the resistance from the mind. 

So, meditation enables you to break free from the wheel of reincarnation and karma, because you transcend the mind = it is the highway. 

If Pure Awareness is not recognized, you will remain a prisoner of the mind, a prisoner of the 'I' throughout your life, you are working hard on all kind of issues, but liberation will not reviel and then rebirth is a fact.

Time and time again, I am amazed by the strong influence of these deep convictions, which shape the lifespan of a person without their awareness. I listen and hear the strong identification, which goes hand in hand with the thoughts and emotions (that they firmly believe), which emanate from these convictions. And I feel/hear/see the perfection of existence throughout this lifespan: the potential for liberation, for which the soul is longing, liberation from the deep imprints from this life and others, which is the force behind this birth in these circumstances. 

It is this suffering, which is caused by the 'I' with these convictions, that pushes people to start searching for healing. What a beautiful design of existence. 

And I also see the other side: the massive power of maya, the total identification with these convictions which people continue to repeat, an entire life until death follows… and the next life… from which I say: look for a living master, practice self-inquiry, practice Vipassana meditation (1), in order to escape from the hold that the psychological mind has over you (including what I feel and think is ‘true’). 

(1): for more information and an introduction to Vipassana, have a look at http: // 

Boeddha: the best way to stay in samsara is to resist it. Samsara is the wheel of endless birth and death under the influence of delusion and karma which causes suffering. 
Linked-In: Caroline Ootes

Love your mind, don't make it your enemy.

You have to go through your suffering, through your own hell. No one else can do it for you. 

A client comes for a coaching consult. She indicates that she wants peace in her head, that she is very much in her head. "I want an answer on everything, a explanation where it comes from," she says.
And then..., I ask, what does it yield you? Does the question then disappear or does a new question come in its place?
She laughs, from recognition: "Yes, those questions go on and on... that never stops, but I can’t stop it, it is a compulsive tendency." And what does it bring you? I ask. "Well, if I have a explanation, I can steer it or let it go.... I just have an issue with control and I can't stand it if I have no grip on anything. And this all started when I became unemployed a few years ago. And then I feel pressure that I have to go after work, that I have to apply, but there is no movement in me to do so, and I just don't understand what is happening in me..., I've never been like that..., I feel so frustrated ..., I don't recognize myself anymore. Before I became unemployed I was a completely different woman: independent, powerful, self-reliant, I was an entrepreneurial woman. But now I make a drama of everything. I just don't know myself anymore... And then I wonder if I should start to feel more or if I think too much... or too little. And my head goes on and on. Eventually I go outside to ride or walk very mindfull, just to get out of my head. I say to myself: now it must be over with that compulsive tendency to think..., but as soon as I get home, the head takes it over again. I didn't had that before I became unemployed. I don't get it, I don't understand myself anymore."

Recognizable to the reader? The tendency to float around in the head? The tendency to formulate an explanation or answer on every question in your life? The tendency to psychologize and analyze from an underlying need for control: if I understand what is happening in me, then I can steer it or let it go (if there would be a button to let go, you would already have done it, or not?). Recognizable that it keeps going on and you can't stop the inclination?

I feel her fear..., she loses grip on her life..., a grip that no one ever has, even though we think so... Nothing is clear and predictable for her anymore, she no longer has her life in her hand (what she never had). Since she has been unemployed, her personal will-power is extinguishing, she doesn't recognizes herself no more... and the mechanism (willpower) with which she could sweep tensions under the rug, which worked so well before she became unemployed, no longer functions. The ego is in a degradation process and the mind pulls out all the stops to survive: analyze, psychologize, fear, doubt, confusion.  Well, how do you find peace in your head then? 

I feel compassion for her and share with her what I perceive: there is a dying process going on, the personal will power goes out. Not easy..., but it eventually brings you home, it takes you to surrender to existence.  Everything is at the right place and time (a statement she used before she became unemployed) and serves you to wake up from the grip of the ego, from the grip of the mind, who wants to control, grasp, hold on, be secure and clear (this is me, my identity). That is not Life itself, because Life itself ..., what you essentially are..., flows... and lives in surrender with what is. I see the perfection of existence working through her: the suffering that serves to come home to the Self. I have gone through it myself and recognize what she describes: the personal will doesn't work anymore..., the image you had about yourself..., all the qualities with which you identified yourself..., it all collapses..., you don't recognize yourself anymore.  And to surrender to that..., to that demolition process..., to the fact that you have nothing in hand anymore (which was always the case), is not easy, the mind rebels, everything has to stay the way it was... Well, and then you come to a point in your life that everything that was solidified (job/image about yourself/your identity) is being turned upside down...

A follow-up appointment is made a month later. The evening before the consultation I come across a satsang of Osho on you tube with the title: How to stop thinking? After writing the latest blogs about self-inquiry, I wonder how Osho would answer this question. I listen to the satsang and enjoy his wisdom: Love your mind, don't make it an enemy. What a wonderful statement..., so true. Everything is at the right place and time: a coincidence - listening to the satsang - fits seamlessly with the client's request. I share the essence of the satsang with her, it comes in. And I share the metaphor described in my blog 'transforming beliefs, the direct way'. I see that something energetically happens during the transfer. 

Another month later she comes back. She says: something has really shifted in me and I blame you, she looks at me and gives a wink. A huge burden has fallen away from me. From one day to the next a load of stress fell away from me. I just don't understand what I've been so worried about all these years ..., all that stress was not necessary at all ..., I can see that now.

Well, it is so true what she is saying: all that stress was not necessary at all. But if you are in the middle of it, if you are being held hostage by the mind, if you believe all your thoughts/emotions, if you come from the mind (now I must be mindful) and battle with the mind, then life is a hell...,  until you discover the door that has always been open: witness consciousness.

Amazing how life can run... Yes, witness consciousness, that's what it's all about: getting out of the mind. Not by battleling the mind, but through love of the mind: see without judgment what takes place in the mind.  Louise indicates that my explanation about the metaphor of the hall of a theather (consciousness) and the stage (the mind) was very helpful to her (see blog: transforming beliefs, the direct way).

Love your mind, don't make it your enemy.
For those who like, hereby the link to Osho 'How to stop thinking?': LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes

What is the meaning of Life?

 What is the meaning of Life?

During a meeting where I offer support as a volunteer, I listen to a speech about the meaning of life.

The following questions are offered to the participants:
Why is this happening to me? Why do I have to experience this?

These are questions, says the trainer, which we ask ourselves when everything that seems certain becomes uncertain. The naturalness of the world as it was before, falls away. Illness, war, a loved one who dies, bankruptcy, a relationship that break... It can all be times when you ask yourself:'Why? Why is this happening to me?'

On the way back, in the car, I ponder a bit about the meeting and realize that I didn't ask these questions (why?) after the death of our daughter (July 2016). They didn't rise up in me.

And if I now let the questions go through me (why?),then my answer is: I don't know, I really don't know, the event takes place, that is all I can say. She is dead, that is all I know, she is no longer there, no longer in earthly form.

And why is it happening to me/us? A counter question: Why is it not happening to me/us? Everyone is confronted with death at some point, with crisis, with loss. There is no explanation, no why or what.

What is..., is the experience itself: in my case the death of a loved one.

I can indicate what the effect of this event is, seen from the perspective that every challenge or crisis is an opportunity for inner growth, but that doesn't mean that the meaning behind the event itself is answered.

I can think of a explanation (besides the medical statement), but that doesn't say anything about the truth itself (the why of her death), because I don't not know. And I am in peace with the fact that I don't know...,  that her death is a mystery (the mystery of Life itself).

And what about you? Can you live in limbo with regard to your life?

You can map out everything or think about the meaning you want to give to your life, but that doesn't give you any guarantee about the outcome. On the contrary, Life often differs from what you had or thought up for yourself, right?

And how easy or difficult is it for you to be in limbo about events that you experience as a crisis?

Your partner indicates that he/she wants to divorce..., your company is almost bankrupt..., your child is being bullied at school..., you have heard that you are incurably ill..., the country is preparing for a war etc.
You don't know how the next  moment will look like..., the naturalness of things falls away, total uncertainty. How is that for you? Can you be with that uncertainty?

Deep inside, because we start from a separate self, an 'I' that is separate from Life itself, we are deeply afraid to trust Life itself.

If we can't live in the openness of Life itself, then there is always the mind that can help us out by formulating a meaning, purpose, explanation and conviction.

Beliefs such as:

The course of things is fixed, I have no influence, it's just your destiny, sometimes you're lucky and sometimes unlucky.

Or:My life is in the hands of God, I am at the service of my religion and I fight for it.
Or: I have influence, I am at the helm, I give direction, everything is possible if you give your bet.

Or: If life doesn't make sense: pick the day, don't think about tomorrow, enjoy.

Or: Life makes sense, it is important to do good, you are here to give and to leave the world a little better.

Or: fill in..., what is your philosophy of life, which meaning do you give to your existence?

And everything we think about the meaning of life is not what life itself is. Life itself can't be thought of.

So we regularly have to adjust our beliefs, because what was believed today can be, will be, different tomorrow. Opinions and beliefs changes, it's just how it goes in life. And it would not be a problem when we don't hang our life on a purpose, a meaning, a religion, but that isn't the case. So it can be very painful to let go of a conviction or religion. Why? Because the religion or conviction has become part of our identity (this is me, this is my view, my life as I see it).
For example: you belief that you have to kill people for your religion. Imagine the situation that you are firmly convinced that you are doing the right thing for a higher purpose..., and then one day doubt is coming up..., you don't want to admit the doubt..., because then your whole world is falling apart... Who am I if I give up what I strongly believed in?
Another example: Your belief is that you are at the helm of your life, everything is possible if you give your best effort for it. And then, one day, you get a heavy car accident and everything that you thought up collapsed.

And then I haven't yet talked about the gaping gap that exists between a belief and reality itself: we often don't live what we have thought up. Just think of the many intentions/goals that we don't realize. What does that say about the 'me', who is in control and at the helm? Or is that 'I' just a dream?

And there's another point to make: all that attention about the meaning of life, all those explanations we give to events, all those goals we set ourselves..., it keeps us trapped in the mind instead of experiencing Life in the here and now, in this moment where everything just unfolds as it unfolds.

Convictions, goals and explanations... versus ... Life itself.

And Life itself, which we essentially are, can't be squeezed into a mold. Life itself flows, is subject to change, is uncertain, knows no anchors, no future and past than the moment itself, no support in the form of answers.

I wonder from which, as humanity, we feel the need to ask ourselves these questions of meaning (why/what)? From which is not the experience of life itself sufficient enough and do we want to philosophize about the meaning of life or the meaning of a certain event? Any idea? Stop here for a moment before reading on ...

Does it offer consolation to give an explanation to an event? Does it give reassurance to know what you are living for and what the purpose of your existence is? Does the handhold provide certainty that there is a god or that there is no life after death?

Or do we protect ourselves from feeling pain (for example the grief/loss of a loved one), by dealing with the why and what (the explanations)?

The answer could just be affirmative: yes, those answers provide guidance and protection, that's right. We all want something to hold on to and security? We all want to know what the day of tomorrow brings. We want to feel protected and safe..., right?

Even if that protection is only a very thin, fragile layer of varnish that can crack at any moment? Your partner runs away, a war breaks out, you get sick, get fired, someone dies, etc.

In the end... what we deep down already know... we can't hold onto anything..., we really don't know what the next minute brings, but that given, that we know somewhere that there is nothing to cling on..., that given is to hard to let in..., that is too scary..., no soil under our feet..., no anchors..., uncertainty triumphs... In other words: you are being handed over to Life itself. Yes, that is how it feels for the 'I' but if that 'I' is part of Life itself, if there is no separation between you and existence, because you and existence are one, can you than still talk of 'being handed over to existence'?

From where do we feel the need to protect ourselves through false certainties and handholds? What conviction lies beneath that? Is the world not a safe place and is Life not good enough for us (conviction)? Do we look at Life from fear of poverty and shortage?

What if we let us realize that life is insecure and vulnerable? What does that evoke? What is it then that we don't want to feel? What is it that we don't want to realize?

Without meaning, without goals to live for...
Without a purpose...
Without religions, that provide stability and security...
Without a future, because you really don't know what life will bring
Without a past, without explanations, without why, without a story
Life just IS.

Is there then no certainty?

Yes, the only certainty there is... is... that we all die... one day... which day and which hour is not known...

And Life itself is ultimately nothing but a preparation for death, the uncertainty. Death is: the big unknown. Just like Life, which is also uncertain (even though we believe we control life).

Do we dare to surrender to the great unknown: Death and Life itself? Do we dare to live from not-knowing, from trust and surrender? Surrender to the course of things, because we are part of the whole, because we are one with Life itself?

Life (birth) and death happen to us, even though we like to hold on to the conviction that we live Life, that we, as a director, direct our lives and determine the course. But is that so? Do we have Life in hand? Is there an 'I' that sets a course? Or is the direction, the course of Life and Life itself..., one?
And therefore uncertain and insecure?

Okay, but what is then the meaning of existence?

Life itself is the meaning of existence. And because life has no goals and destiny than the experience itself, it is so beautiful. Hindus calls life Lila, which means 'play', life is a play.

When there is no goal, no meaning, no destination..., when nothing needs to be achieved..., when there is no striving..., then there is nothing to do..., nothing at all...

Relax, sink deeper and deeper into existence, in the moment itself, live life totally, experience Life in its fullness..., as it unfolds..., from there follows the significance automatically..., then surrender to existence follows and barriers and fears disappear.

That is what I experience more and more..., surrender to existence...

Surrender to the flow of Life... and experience how easy life is when you are not in control.

Then the resistance melt. Then Life unfolds without a story made up out of your mind, without any expectation or desire. Then every meaning or non-meaning around the question whether Life makes sense or not, just falls away. In resonance with existence, in the experience itself, the significance of the events unfold naturally.

You live... that's all. And the next moment you don't know. You are. Period.

And occasionally a philosophical debate among us..., delicious right? That is also Life.

Life is a purposeless play, drop the future completly, only this moment exists, only this life is all. Live from moment to moment.

A bit of relaxation after this matter: a great video on you tube, fascinating, especially the first 3 minutes, the meaning of life, a boy of 9 years explains the finer.

Attention: scroll downwards when you have opened the link below.
Linked-in: Caroline Ootes

Everything in my life is a 'must'... and I am so tired already.

Self-inquiry: The wires.
What do I mean by 'wires'? Sometimes we are placed before a situation and we experience different thoughts/emotions (the mind/the ego) from which we find it difficult to make a choice or to be completely open to ourselves and to others. In the latter case (open to ourselves and to others) there is a tendency to share some wires (thoughts/emotions) and omit other threads. Why is that? Do you have any idea?

Before you read on, examine this question: what keeps me away from revealing all wires (emotions/thoughts) about myself and in relation to the other person? See if you can answer the question. What is it why I don't want to reveal myself totally?

This is the answer I have discovered: we have a judgement about the wires. We label some wires as good and condemn other wires: I don't want to acknowledge these emotions/thoughts about myself, I'm not like that (jealous etc.) and certainly I'm not going to reveal all what I think or feel to someone close to me, I am afraid they will reject me, because I reject this emotions and thought in myself.

We prefer to suppress all nasty, annoying thoughts and emotions (or eat away, or drink away etc.), because we have labeled them. It is the mind/ego that judges and condemns.

Our essence, our true nature is free, knows no judgments, can't be hurt and doesn't hurt either..., because it IS..., like the sun that IS: always and always shining. It doesn't have an opinion or feeling like the mind: today I don't feel like shining, I am in a bad mood, I feel rejected, so I don't shine today. No, the sun, our essence shines always. Our nature is non-judgmental and compassionate. Out of the heart it looks at what appears on the scene. It has no opinions about the wires, no label in the sense of good or bad emotions/thoughts, it looks at the wires for what they are, nothing more, nothing less.

The suffering we experience in our lives has to do with the fact that we believe what the mind is telling us. We believe all those wires and therefore we don't want to acknowledge the 'bad' wires: we feel blamed, but we don't share it; we feel jealous or not good enough, but suppress those emotions etc. Who wants to feel jealous? Nobody, right?

There is nothing wrong with all those judgments and convictions were it not that we value it so much. We believe  what the mind mirrows us and that is the cause of our suffering: the identification with the mind. We are not at home in the sun, in our heart, but a prisoner of our mind, a prisoner of our emotions and thoughts, which we accept as true. And if we accept them as true, then we don't want to look to all those nasty emotions. It is just too painful.

If we want to escape from the prison of mind (suffering), then self-inquiry is an important tool, an instrument that is regularly used during the sessions of awareness coaching. And self-examination is only possible if we allow ourselves to bring everything to light: to observe without judgment (sun) what happens in us. And if there are judgments... (and there are plenty of them), then that is what we observe. It's about loosening faith in all those judgments, getting out of the mind, you're not the mind, but the light (sun) where the thoughts and emotions appear in.

At some point I discovered in my process and in my work with clients how important it is to reveil and investigate all the threads: the so-called 'beautiful', 'pleasant','horrible','ugly' thoughts and emotions.
Even though the critical voice labels the wires as good or bad, realize that the wires are only wires, they are not true or false or contradictory: they are. In other words, shift the attention of the mind to Awareness (our essence), to the space that you are in which the wires (emotions and thoughts) appear.

Okay..., after the theory, now an example: a while ago a client came in where the research of the wires stood central. The client, I call her for the readability Yvon, had agreed with girlfriend Tineke to participate in a certain contest, because 'we do this every year' (= pattern). She noticed that during the making of the appointment a movement in her body was going on, indicating that she didn't really felt like it, so tired, but yes, the actual date was a bit further away, and who knows…, maybe by then she would like to go, because it is nice to be outside, the race would take place in the nature what she loves, and they went together every year, so she had said 'yes' to her friend. 

It struck me that Tineke (her friend) had not asked her, but that she automatically assumed that they would go together again this year (conditioned pattern), and yes, according to Yvon...Tineke had it not so easy..., so to say 'no' to her..., that was a bit too far..., because I am still that support for her to train... When I am going, then she goes and that motivates her to train..., and yes, appointment is appointment, I have said 'yes' to Tineke, so I have to fulfill my appointment with her (= conviction/rule), I just push myself to do what we have agreed. This is a learned pattern of the family: come on, don't complain, do it for her, give her the support she needs, it's not a big problem, don't worry about it... and you know that the match gives you energy and it is in nature, so just turn the knob. 

Recognizable to the reader? This kind of stories (wires) that go through us? 

I asked the client the following questions: Can you come back to an appointment? What would it be like if you were to wait for the moment itself (for example, one day before the race) to check how the flag stands for you internally? How is it for you to communicate all the wires with Tineke in all openness? And why is it not oké for you when Tineke may react disappointed? It is a normal reaction, right?

During our exchange it became clear to Yvon that she had to call Tineke to indicate that she didn't want to participate in this contest at the moment, that she would rather cancel the appointment, because she was so tired…, maybe her mood and energylevel changed during the coming period and possibly she would still participate in the competition, but at the moment she didn't know if that would be the case. 
Yvon also indicated that she was worried that Tineke would be disappointed and that she felt she couldn't say 'no', because Yvon was a support for her to train, but she also had to be honest with herself: I am so tired and I find it difficult to take care for myself.

Initially, Yvon was afraid to enter into this conversation with Tineke. Very understandable, because it also requires a lot: breaking several patterns and learned behavior: we do this match every year, the other needs my support, I can't abandon her like that, I am not used to be open and vulnerable to others. 

And it also meant that she had to break with several convictions: an appointment is an appointment, be nice and supportive to others, don't make a problem out of nothing. Yvon didn't want to disappoint Tineke, because Tineke counts on her (that is what Yvon thinks = conviction) and Tineke 'needs' her support (conviction). This is the way Yvon looks at her friend..., that is not the reality..., but her coloring of the reality caused by all the programs of the mind/ego based on childhoodexperiences, society etc. It is a picture Yvon puts on Tineke: she needs me. The picture vanished on the moment that Yvon discovers that she herself has missed that support in her childhood and that she transfers that pain (no one to support me) on her friend. She doesn't want her friend to come across the same pain: that she had to figure it out all alone.

So an unconscious belief determines her behavior (taking care for her friend) without knowing it (blind spot): she can't share all the wires in all openness with Tineke, she is afraid that Tineke will feel abandoned (what is the unknown pain of Yvon herself). 

The next consultation I asked about the exchange with Tineke. Yvon indicate that Tineke had responded positively, not according to the wires of Yvon (that she needed her support, that she would be disappointed). Then I asked how the flag actually stood for a few days prior to the match and which decision she had finally taken? 

She indicated that the following wires had gone through her: Shall I cancel..., I really don't feel like it..., I get already tired at the thought, but yes, it's nice outside, in nature, I get energy from it and Tineke appreciates it so much, and once I'm in the contest, it will work out well for me etc.

What do you think she has decided?

She decided to go running. 
I asked Yvon if she sometimes responded to another important wire she had mentioned several times: that she didn't feel like it, that she is often so tired. Yvon said: No, I always go on. 
Then I asked the following question: And what would it be like to listen to that first voice, which indicates that you really don't feel like it, that you are tired? Yvon said: If I give in to that, then I am actually afraid that I will sink deep, that I will lose control of myself, that I will come to nothing, that I will become depressed…
My answer: Interesting..., and is that true? How do you know that? Have you ever tried it out? No, Yvon said.

How would it be for you to take this experiment? To listen to the voice that says: I really don't feel like it, I'm tired.
And could it also give you something if you would respond to that voice? Yvon: Yes, rest..., relaxation..., which I really long for..., everything in my life is 'work', is 'must' and I always anticipate what has to be done, I can't just sit still on the couch.

Yvon started the experiment. We have walked together for a while. After an x-number of sessions she indicates what a relief it is that the eternal must and care for others (instead of care for herself) is out of her system. She now recognizes the inner voice (instead of the voice of parents/society), she doesn't always act on it, but experiences it as a gift that she sees from where she moves, that there is consciousness, because without consciousness (awareness) you are simply lived by your patterns and beliefs. 
She is happy that she has learned to speak out and show vulnerability to others and experiences it as a blessing that so many learned patterns and beliefs evaporate. 
She thanks me for the transformation that has taken place. She says: 'If I hadn't come to you, I was now in the sick-law with a burn-out..., I have learned, felt and discovered so much through our exchanges and the 'homework assignments' that I received, I am extremely grateful to you.'

And I am grateful to Yvon for having given me the trust and that we were allowed to make this trip together. There is nothing more fulfilling than 'going open'... and coming home to your-Self.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes