Self-inquiry: 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

Transforming beliefs, the direct way.

There is an experience. The experience leads to a conviction and that conviction then determines our behavior. We are aware of some beliefs, but at the same time there are many convictions of which we are unaware that also determine our (avoidance) behavior. And whether or not we are aware of the conviction, the conviction travels with us for a large part of our lives (sometimes a whole life), unless we wake up - then the conviction(s) can extinguish.

It is actually too bizarre for words that one traumatic experience from the past can have such far-reaching consequences for the rest of our life. And yet, that’s how it is…

The fear that we could not fully bear and feel at that time gives an imprint in the nervous system. Example: An unpleasant experience with a horse in the past makes my body automatically react with fear when I get close to a horse. One painful experience led to the conviction: I am afraid of horses, horses are unpredictable and dangerous. Behavior: from puberty on I avoid horses. I would rather take a detour, out of fear, than drive past the horse. Unbelievable..., but true, because the experience of that time was stored unprocessed in the nervous system.

Well you can easily avoid horses in your life..., I don't meet them every day and when I meet them, it requires little effort to take a detour. Time passes, and before I know it 40 years have passed without an incentive to investigate the conviction that horses are scary, as I rarely meet any. On the contrary, I would be crazy..., you're not going to encounter something you're afraid of, right? What we are afraid of, we prefer to avoid, right?

So, many convictions travel with us for a lifetime..., and these convictions determine our behavior even though we often don't know that ourselves.

There are also convictions that you can't avoid, because you are faced with them every day. I will give some examples of such beliefs: people are not trustworthy, I am not good enough, my work has to be perfect, I am a egoist, life has to be nice and cozy, everyone makes demands on me, you have to be useful, doing nothing is not done, be successful etc.

All these convictions determine how we 'look' at the outside world, what 'vision' we have. The outside world reflects our inner world, our 'view'. If you are convinced that people are not trustworthy, then you look at other people through those glasses. In other words, you interpret the behavior of other people from the belief that lives in you.
What you believe is what you see.

What do you believe? What do you see? What are your convictions? Time and again we 'search' unconsciously for confirmation of our convictions, because we can not 'see' nothing else as long as we are still a prisoner of a certain conviction. You don't see the other person as he or she is, because, for example, the belief runs through your veins that the other person behaves irresponsibly and always will (can you look into the future?).

Time after time, we interpret the behavior of the other person from the beliefs that exist in us, beliefs that we picked up from childhood.

Another example. You look through the glasses 'I'm not good enough' and from those glasses you believe that every form of feedback is critical, any form of feedback is interpreted as 'not good enough'. You can't actually hear or meet the person that gives you feedback, because that conviction stands in between.

Until there comes a moment in our existence that we wake up. That we come apart from all those beliefs that prevent us from Living. Not by fighting the convictions or by eliminating them one by one (nothing needs to be done), but by recognizing the beliefs and challenging them when they are active.

If you are scared to open up your mouth in front of a group: go for it and experience, be aware what it brings about in your body without denying anything, be vulnerable, share with those who are present what goes through you (I find it very exciting to share something about myself, I notice that my heart beats faster and I don't know what I want to share etc.). You don't have to pretend otherwise than you are.

In addition to challenging beliefs, there is another approach that I want to bring to your attention: the direct path to the Self, to the eternal principle in us that doesn't come and doesn't go, is not born and doesn't die. It is our Divinity, our Nature.

Okay, there we go. Everything begins with 'seeing': becoming aware that convictions influence our perception. The consequence of this influence is: distortion of our perception, we do not see reality as it.

I can tell you, out of my own experience, recognizing beliefs isn't easy, because we are simply blind. The beliefs are printed so deeply in our nervous system..., it demands a lot of 'attention' to see them at all.

And the next step is: perceiving the conviction (for example: I am guilty) when it is activated in you. To see is to be free. A statement that I first heard years ago: to see is to be free. Everything begins with: seeing. Look..., just watch..., be witness to what the mind conjures up. That is all: look and if looking is really 'looking', then you become free from what the mind reflects (thoughts and emotions). You discover that you are not the emotions and thoughts, but THAT which watches the emotions and thoughts.

In other words: You are not guilty or stupid (conviction) unless you believe that. Look at this belief, don't go with it. Don't identify with it. Or do you think you were born guilty or stupid (or whatever...)? Guilty and stupid are labels stuck on us by parents, school, culture, religion. We have received all these beliefs from an early age and pass this package of convictions on to the next generation. An endless cycle of suffering.

And because we live in a collective field where we believe that we are our thoughts and emotions, we massively believe what we think and feel. We don't know better. We are en masse under hypnosis, asleep. We really think that thoughts and emotions determine our sense of Being. We fully identify with it (this is me). And yes..., many thoughts and emotions are painful, so we start looking for therapies that can deliver us from all sorts of psychological obstacles in the hope of getting happiness in return. Therapy has its place in life, especially when someone is very fragmented, but the concept of 'seeing' is something completly different than therapy or analyzing your problems based on past experiences. Analyzing and therapy will keep you identified with the level of the psyche. 'Seeing' is meant to transcend the level of the mind/the psyche (you are not your emotions and thoughts).

Okay, but if I'm not those emotions and thoughts (convictions), what am I? You are Consciousness. You are THAT what perceives the guilt or stupidity, but is completely separate from it: Witness Consciousness.

Witness Consciousness records everything that passes. I sometimes give clients the following picture: imagine a theater room. Within the theater there is a hall and a stage. The hall is the Witness Consciousness and the stage is the theater where life itself takes place. On the stage all experiences appear: the roles we play in life as mother, father, child, partner, teacher, politician, the critic, the adventurer, the child in us etc. and all convictions that are connected to those roles. All experiences that take place on stage are temporary; they come and go. And there is something that doesn't come and goes: that is you. And you (Consciousness, Buddha nature) are sitting in the hall and watching. You watch the movie of your life that takes place on stage. "You" stands for Witness Consciousness (awareness).

In reality, nobody is in the room. Witness consciousness is not a 'someone', it is a form of Consciousness: neutral, without judgment. From the perspective of the room you look at everything that happens on stage. That's all..., look...

It seems so simple, but the phenomenon of 'looking' has a solid pitfall, because we have such a strong identification with everything the mind mirrors us. What is the pitfall? If you watch and condemn yourself for what you see on stage, then you are a prisoner of what happens on stage, you are not in the hall at that moment, but on stage: a part of the ego appears on stage that provides criticism, compares and judges.

That is not the Witness Consciousness. Witness Consciousness has no opinions. It is like an eye that looks lovingly from the hall to the antics that take place on stage. By 'witnessing' (it grows from within, you can't 'do’ it and at the same time it does require some effort on our part), we get rid of all the dramas that take place on the stage, we get rid of all convictions that cause the feeling of drama, they extinguish by looking at it.

That is why this road is also called the direct way. No efforts by the psychological way, but again and again you take place in the hall and watch what happens on the stage, without identification. And also challenge the beliefs in real life.

From my own experience I can tell you that these last sentences meant a developmental path of several years for me. You can't enforce Witness Consciousness, it occurs from within. By being present in the hall, space is created around the experiences on stage, we are no longer (completely) involved, so we are no longer (completely) occupied with what happens to us on the stage: we can look at it (Witness Consciousness). It is then possible to gradually (or suddenly) separate from identification with the beliefs themselves, because we gradually (or suddenly) come home to our Self (Consciousness, Being). Your point of perception change: first the structure (mind/ego) is at the forefront and we believe that we are our thoughts and emotions, then the focus shifts to Witness Consciousness and we experience on a deeper level that that is our actual home.

Collectively, there is no form of support for our Buddha nature, because in real life no one is at home in the Self. That makes it difficult, because everything and everyone around us confirms the old concept of humanity (we are the mind). We are our emotions and thoughts, we think. So it takes a lot to wake up against the current stream of the dream state (the dramas on stage). We simply don't know the way, we have never had education in meditation, in self-examination, in awareness.

In addition, we also haven't learned to deal with pain, to be fully present at a painful event. We prefer to close our eyes and avoid pain; we don't know what to do with feelings like loneliness, desolation, anxiety and the like. But there is a way out, thank God, there is a way out of suffering, for everyone... Witness Consciousness is the first step, besides investigating and challenging your convictions. Once at home in the hall, a big reward awaits us: Liberation.

But how does it work? Does this mean that the beliefs disappear like snow in the sun when they are observed? That is possible, but usually it takes more time before the Witness Consciousness unfolds fully.

In order to sketch a possible course of development for the release of the beliefs, I give an example of how a belief can change over time: 'I feel so guilty' (you are the emotion, you believe the emotion) changes into 'I feel guilty' (there is identification, but it doesn't feel so heavy anymore). This changes into: 'I notice that a sense of guilt is triggered' (the identification on the belief is released) and from there it changes into 'a (slight) touch in your body of guilt without any identification with the guilt itself (the energy of guilt is still tapped into the body, from the imprint in the nervous system, but there is no identification with the emotion). And that changes into: the guilt goes out, it disappears from the system. The identification on 'guilt' (or any other emotion/belief) gradually extinguishes by staying deeper and deeper in Witness Consciousness.

And sometimes some extra work is needed, especially in those situations where Witness Consciousness was not 'on', because the trigger, the pain, the conviction took us over completely. I have written about that in other blogs. Pain/suffering is caused by identification. Identification means that you believe what you see: it is really true what I see. Examples: he is not an reliable person; it is really true that I am not good enough; it is really true that I am lonely etc. If we are identified, we don't see that we are a prisoner of the beliefs, we just don't know, there is no awareness.

The way out is Witness Consciousness. The deeper the Witness Consciousness is 'on' (so to speak), the more we realize that we are not the puppets on the stage, but THAT  which sees the puppets: the loving eye, which is without judgment. And then the identification with the puppets on the stage comes apart. We are no longer dragged along by a conviction, we can investigate the conviction and experience the pain associated with it and we can take steps to challenge the conviction (very important). When there is Witness Consciousness, pain is experienced very differently (no longer as a phenomenon that has to be avoided). It then becomes possible to totally experience the pain that has never been felt, causing it to dissolve. Then feeling 'loneliness', without psychology, without a story around it, purely experiencing the emotion in the root, is a 'gift'.

For many this sounds unbelievable, until Witness Consciousness is in the foreground. Then we realize that everything is..., nothing has to go, preference or rejection of certain emotions and thoughts ceases to exist. Then there is room in us to fully experience those difficult, painful emotions. And then the beliefs fade. We are more and more at home in our Self.

If this appeals to you, the way to liberation, and you want to reflect on your convictions/triggers and how you can challenge the beliefs in daily life, then you are most welcome.

Which convictions do you see? And which convictions do you not see because you are still blind? Ask someone for feedback and be prepared to examine it: from love and attention of the heart. And experiment with 'attention', with Witness Consciousness. Take a step back and look from the hall... from the loving eye. Everything that you give attention... grows. What do you pay attention to? To the mind? The ego? You are guilty, not good enough etc.?  Or do you feed the essence that you are: Consciousness & Love.
So that you become free from the 'dramas' of life. It feels like 'drama', because you see it like this. You don't know better. Go beyond that. Come home in your Heart.
Come home in your Self.

For beautiful explanation about witnessconsciousness is given by Mooji:
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes