I am sitting in an office with the owner and his son of 2.5/3 years and a cat.
The owner tells about personal developments in recent times.
I'm listening. In the meantime, his son plays with the cat.
"You must come here," the young child says to the cat, "come here."
He commands the cat several times (as his father commands him), but the cat just goes its own way. At a certain moment the child picks up the cat. He holds the cat between his arm and his side. The cat tries to break free, she is not in a panic, she doesn't scratch or meow, but she wants her freedom of movement back. The father intervenes. He says: "The cat doesn't like that, you shouldn't do that, let go of the kitty, come here" (the commands).
Jim lets go of the cat and goes to his father.
The father takes the child on his lap and says: 'I will let you feel what you are doing with the pussy..., you hurt the pussycat, the cat doesn't like it when you grab her like that'.
The father clasps his hands around the flanks of his son, around the rib cage and presses forcefully on the rib cage of his son, who starts to cry loudly and says: "That hurts, don't hurt, Daddy." The father continues the movement and says: "Yes, that's how it is for the cat, that's what you do to that kitty, never do that again, have you understood that?"
The child cries even more violently and in the meantime nods 'yes'. And then Daddy lets go of his son's rib cage. The child pushes the father away and on the other hand he also moves towards the father (mixed feelings). The father puts his arms around his son's waist and comforts him: no more, huh?
When the child stops crying, he leaves his father's lap and the father continues to talk about his experiences to me. Then the phone rings. Father answers the phone. In the meantime I look at the boy and the cat. And then I see the following scene: the boy grabs the cat and puts both hands around the rib cage of the cat and starts squeezing firmly. This time it is serious.
Where the first time there is an unintentional holding of the cat, now a conscious act is taking place: what does it do to you, kitty, if I press your rib cage together like my father did with me? I see it happen..., and jump up to free the pussy from his hands. The child lets go of the pussycat, because of my unexpected movement and at that moment the telephone conversation of the father also ends.
Yes, that's how it goes. From an early age, we unconsciously copy the behavior, habits and beliefs of our caregivers. As parents, we often don't realize how much impact our actions have on our children. We don't realize that what our children show us (openness, closedness, helpfulness, distrust, violence, etc.) is a mirror we give them by the way we live.
The father commands the child; that is the example he gives the child and the child commands the cat. The father wants to teach the child that it should lovingly interact with other living things (the cat) and uses violence (the opposite) to make this clear. The child copies the behavior of the father and treats the cat with violence. And possibly, at a different time in time, the "child" uses violence against his father or other people. And the father wonders why his son has become so aggressive.
Like father Like Son.
Patterns, customs, beliefs that are passed on from one generation to the next, without us being aware of that. Well, that's how it goes... until our heart opens and a wakening up from our unconscious state of being takes place. Then we can rewrite our history, then we are aware of that what is taking place in us and around us; we see through the beliefs on which our actions are based. Then it is possible to transform patterns and deep imprints of beliefs. Everything starts with 'awareness', with 'seeing'.
Until that time...
Forgive them, for they don't know what they do.
Forgive us, for we don't know what we do.
To see is to be free.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes
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?
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: //www.vipassana.nl/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
Isabel comes for a second session after she has canceled twice. She immediately starts to share what bothers her.
I don't know if I want this session. It wrenches in me, I feel resistance. Our previous session gave a lot of insight and at that moment I felt the value of it very strongly, but after a while it ebbed away and I fell back into my pattern.
In the last few months I have read several blogs of you and I went tree times through your notes of my previous consultation with you..., but I can't convert it into practice.
Okay, I say, awesome that you came, I feel your energy. I'm going to ask you something..., just look what's coming up... Is there a desire for growth in you, for liberation from patterns? Yes, Isabel says, I do long for 'something', but I don't know what... It is quiet for a moment and then Isabel says: "I would like to take a little more distance, want to choose more for myself and take less account of others."
Okay, so there is a desire in you for growth? Yes, says Isabel, but there is also something that keeps me from coming here. And that is? Fear..., that I don't have enough courage to really make that change. Because? I have to disappoint people, I am afraid that people get angry if I don't meet their expectations. How bad is that? May people be disappointed or angry? That is a human reaction, isn't it? You could also see it as a sign that they appreciate your presence otherwise it didn't mean anything to them.
Yes, that is true, but still...
I can't decide for you whether you want to grow or not. It is up to you to consider what is more important: devotion to yourself and liberation from suffocating patterns or maintaining the patterns, because it feels familiar, certain and safe, although it is oppresive. If you choose the latter, you will continue to invest a lot of time in others at the expense of yourself, you will continue to hoard what is bothering you, not expressing what is going on in you, adapting to others while they annoying you, keep everyone happy. Yes, says Isabel, that is the core..., keep everyone happy. And all that causes stress. Yes, says Isabel, it cost a lot of energy.
So, it is up to you to make the choice. I have no opinion about that. If you want to continue with your life as it is now..., it's okey. Only you can answer the question if you are ready to move, to start an inner growth that supports your well-being..., or not.
Let's look at a situation where the above is happening. Are you in for that? Yes, says Isabel, that's good. It concerns my mother. She is 86 years old and recently, at her request, she lives close to me. That was her wish. And I helped her with that. My mother is not an easy woman, she is someone who always thinks negatively, judges quickly and lives fairly selfishly. My father is no longer alive. The world of my mother has always been very small, she has no friends and almost no contacts. I actually supported my mother for a big part of her life, and still do.
I visit or call her everyday since she lives close to us. She indicates now that she is so alone, that she misses her neighbors, while she always told me that she had no contact with anyone in her previous home. So I don't understand her statement..., it is simply not true what she says. She says that she has nothing to do, but I don't see that. When I come I see that she is enjoying herself, doing all kind of things. Then, in my presence, she speaks to a new neighbor on the street and she says that it was my choice to move: "Isabel wanted it so much, so I moved for her." And that is not at all how it went..., she indicated that she wanted to live near me, because she is becoming more needy. I annoy myself immensely to those kinds of statements, which simply are not true.
And what do you say when you are confronted with such situations? Nothing, I close my mouth, I walk away or go to the toilet, it gives a lot of stress inside, because it is not true what she says. And if I ever say something about it, she says, "Oh, but I don't know that anymore."
Well, what can you say..., then you are spoken out.
Okay, I say, this is a situation that lends itself well to self-inquiry. Do you ever do self-examination? That you sit down and write down what is happening in you, what convictions exist in you? No. I would recommend that. Let's take a look. What lives in you when your mother tells the neighbor: "My daughter wanted me to live near her, I miss my neighborhood, my contacts." What is the interpretation you give to this statement from your mother? After some research Isabel comes to the core: that my mother is not happy with the move, that she has been put under pressure by me to come and live here.
Oh, interesting, I say..., how you look at it..., I had a completely different interpretation..., and that's so valuable from self-inquiry..., that you suddenly get a very clear picture what you stick to your mother's statement..., that is not the truth..., but that is what you see... That doesn't mean that your mother meant it that way..., you see this becasue you coloring it that way. Perhaps it is the other way around: that you felt pressured to move your mother your way through her statements about loneliness?
Do you know how I interpret her statement to the neighbour? No. That your mother indirectly want to say that she would like to have some contact with the neighbour. That is a very different coloring than you gave it. Not to say that this interpretation is correct..., it is more that I want to show you that everyone has their own view. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you realize that it is only a view, no more and no less, but if you assume that what you see is the truth, then there is friction and conflict within you and outside you.
Do you already feel that the identification with this view is coming off a bit? She nods. You can compare it with what is happening between you and me: we both look at the same situation, but you see something different then me. So you don't know from which intention your mother spoke to the neighbor in this way. I see that it resonates what we exchange with each other.
A next step may be that you start the conversation with your mother, not from accusation (what you say is wrong, you are lying), but from openness and understanding: everyone has his/her own coloring in of a situation. You share your interpretation ánd you ask about her experience. If you can see that it is your coloring in, then the load falls away, then you understand that it is not the truth, but an interpretation on your part. Then you can share that interpretation: Mom, I want to come back to the conversation you had with the neighbor... I felt irritated when you said you moved to this place because of me, I don't recognize that, I understood that you wanted to live closer to me, because you became more needy and yes..., you are right that it would be easier for me..., that's true, the knife cuts on two sides, but if you tell the neighbor that you moved because I wanted it so badly..., it just doen't feel true for me..., it gives me the feeling that you are not happy with the move and that you have felt pressured by me to move over here. I don't know if that is the case, that's how I see it, this is what I make of it, maybe you meant it very differently... So, I'm curious what's in you ma ...,
And then it may very well be that your mother says: Did I say that? I don't know it anymore. Or that she says: I have to get used to it, on this moment I don't feel really happy here, but that can change, I miss my house, my neighborhood, even though I felt lonely there, I still had my contact moments with the neighbors, it was not much, but I liked that, I just need a little more time before I feel at home again. Or: I also felt pressured, maybe you didn't meant that..., but I felt that I had no choice, I depend on you, so it was easier for you if I moved closer to you.
And then it's all about whether you can hear any answer from your mother, receive it without making it personal, without involving yourself (I didn't do it well, mom is not happy with it).
Realize that it's not about getting you right or defending your point of view, but that you have said what's bothering you... (instead of suppressing everything), and that the other person can share his/her experience. There is no right or wrong..., it is not that your perspective is correct and that of your mother is wrong, or the other way around: that the perspective of your mother is right and yours is not. We all create our own stories (interpretations) about reality. It's about sharing everyone's experience: "Oh, that's the way you look at the situation, that lives in you..., good to hear, I have another view."
Your mother and you don't differ from each other: you are both a prisoner of the mind. She sees everything negative and distorts facts according to your experience (that's her pattern) and you want to please everyone and hoard everything (that's your pattern). You would like her to change, but as difficult as it is for her, it is for you too, right? Do you see that? Maybe it softens your perspective about her when you let that in: it is not easy to change, you need courage to take steps outside the comfort zone.
So the question is: 'Do you want to grow?' And if the answer is 'yes', then you take the resistance for granted, then you use every situation for your liberation, you go for it.
A week later I send her this blog to approve.
This is her reaction: I think it is very beautiful and clearly written and it has been very helpfull already. So clear to read it again and I can fully agree with the story. When I read it like this I am sure: yes, I want to grow and I can tell you that I am really working on it. I also had a good conversation with my mother and it was exactly as you described it... that it is indeed everyone's interpretation. Thank you for this beautiful blog.
Linked-in: Caroline Ootes
I meet a woman in practice. For the sake of convenience I call her Silvia.
A conversation unfolds. Silvia indicates that in her life she always has a tendency to be 20 steps further than she is now. She finds it difficult to live in the here and now. She actually lives from one dot on the horizon to the next dot on the horizon. And this doesn't only take place in the field of her work (the next step on the career ladder), but also in relation to relationships.
She says: "I just can't stop it ..., I am always busy with the next step, I constantly make pictures in my head about my work and about a new relationship that started some time ago. My coaching question is how I can be in the here and now."
I invite her to share more. She talks about a new relationship. From the start they went straight into the depths: a totally new experience for her. She indicates that she wants him to come closer, but that she is also afraid of it. Like him. He has let her know that he has fear of commitment through an earlier stifling relationship in his life. At some point she jokingly invites him to join her family on a family weekend. She knows in advance the answer he will give, so she says: "I don't ask you, but I share with you that my brother joked around that this weekend is perhaps the moment to get to know each other." The invitation from the brother of Silvia immediately triggers a feeling of suffocation in Silvia's friend: there is tension on his throat, he feels pressured. "You really don't have to come along, says Silvia to him, I didn't ask you anyway..., I just shared what my brother have said."
After this meeting, she notices that she is in the grip of her mind. All sorts of thoughts haunted her mind, which makes her doubt whether she should continue the relationship with this man: "Is there a future for us? Not only does he keep the relationship at a distance, me too."
I ask Silvia what her pictures (thoughts) are: bring them all into the light, what is haunting through you? "Well, Silvia says, first and foremost, I imagine what this fear of intimity means for our relationship in the nearby future..." Then I think: "Gee, this man is very damaged..., and I don't want to be his therapist..., but we do have deep exchanges, that is very nice..., and it also comes to me well that he has a form of fear of commitment..., then I don't have to cross the bridge myself..., and... if I'm very honest..., it feels safe that he keeps distance, then it can't go wrong..., because there is a strong thought in me that it will go wrong again."
She continues: "Yes, I see that the thinking machine is going on, I see that I am completely absorbed by all those pictures, all those thoughts, but I can't resist, the mind just goes on. I would love to live in the here and now. Actually, I myself break what is there now (nice exchanges) by constantly anticipating the nearby future."
"Yes, I say, I feel your energy..., it lacks confidence..., I feel that you want guidance, certainty, clarity... and that isn't possible, because the situation is as it is. And besides that..., life itself is also insecure by nature: you don't know what the next moment brings, so no answer is possible."
It resonates: there is no trust. She bursts out crying: "If I start to trust now, I'm so afraid to get the lid on my nose." She is crying. I give her the time to feel her grief. After some time I ask her what she means when she says she is so afraid to get the lid on her nose. "That I can be hurt," says Silvia. What does that look like? What are you afraid of? I ask. "I'm afraid he'll pull out the plug." What would be his story to pull out the plug? "Well, I am afraid that he thinks that I am not good enough, that I am not worthy of his love." And then? What are you afraid of? "That I'll stay behind alone." Yes, that's what I feel, I say, you closed your heart at some point in your life, like him, you are so afraid of being hurt..., I feel that you are led by a conviction: love is not there for me, no one who really wants me, I just stay behind.
This remark triggers a flood of grief. I feel compassion for her and invite her to fully allow the old pain. After a while I ask: "Do you realize this is child pain? It seems that in your childhood you picked up the message from your parents that they didn't really love you, which you have translated into: I am not good enough, I am not worth it."
Again she bursts out crying. She says: "It resonates 100%. As a child I sometimes thought that I had been adopted, despite my birth pictures as proof." Stay with your grief, I say, feel where it is in your body, bring all your attention to this pain and let it melt, don't go to your head, to stories. After the necessary shocks of intense grief, it is quiet again in Silvia.
Yes, I say, this is the pain you have been carrying with you for a lifetime. And where you act from. This pain has never fully seen the light. And existence is very gracious to you, by bringing this man on your path, giving you the opportunity to melt the pain of the child you were. This pain makes you always take refuge to your head: there is no trust. At some point in your life you have closed yourself: you long for intimacy and openness, that is your heart. Everyone's heart longs for connection, for proximity and contact, but the pain of not being loved is still there."
I will now return to the question you came in with: "How can I be in the here and now?" There are several ways. First of all: let this pain melt, which has become clear today. Every time when fear and doubt is triggered and a compulsive tendency arises to make pictures (thoughts) about this relationship, turn inside and feel the pain that lies beneath the pictures: everything is uncertain (that's right: life is uncertain), I don't know what to do (that is true, you can't know, the flow of life is not predictable), shall I go on with this relationship (that will naturally become clear in time), I am so afraid that it goes wrong, that no one will be there for me, that I stay behind (the pain of the child and existential pain: a deep sense of loneliness). When you have felt the pain to the root, it evaporates. Then the tendency to make pictures (the thinking machine) can still be triggered, but you will no longer be held hostage by the mind, it is then possible to be present: you see what takes place in the mind. The Self (Consciousness) looks at the self (the mind). You see the story that takes place in your head. And then look total: view everything that is being performed by the mind, from the beginning to the end..., be present..., look at the whole movie that your mind produces..., realizing that you are not the story, but the lamp of awareness, who sees the story. By fully consciously observing the antics of the mind, the pattern is completely illuminated and at a certain moment it goes out. Is it a new situation that triggers you, a situation that you can't let go of (it keeps you busy): look, observe what happens, what do you say, do... and research on a quiet moment what is touched, what convictions (pictures) have been triggered. Don't concern yourself with what the other person did right or wrong. Don't concern yourself with what you did or didn't do well: that is not self-research, that is the mind, that wants to declare the other guilty and/or yourself. Don't go to psychological analysis and explanations. Simply bring everything into the light, that is self-inquiry: let the lamp of Conscious Being shine on the convictions and fears until you reach the pit, the pain point (see previous blog).
Sometimes seeing through the trigger is enough to see reality as it is, sometimes more work is needed: feeling the original pain as it happened in you today. How does that pain feel? The pain of not being loved, the pain of loneliness. Don't go to statements and stories about your youth. Go to the pain that lies behind the thought that you often feel that you were adopted: no one who loves me, loneliness. Let that pain melt. And then your heart opens and it is possible to really enter into an intimate relationship.
And realize the impact of your process on your partner: everything you clean up has a healing effect on him and on everyone you connect with. That is great, isn't it?
Another way to get out of the head is: being present in the here and now. And I see/feel that the lamp of awareness is no longer completely veiled by identification with the mind: you see, you notice that you always take refuge in your head, to explanations, to doubts, distrust. Don't judge this tendency, it is not personal, it is collective, we have all been raised in this field of fear and shortage. And it's already a lot that you see the inclination. The majority of mankind doesn't realize that they live continuously from this field, from the mind: in the past or in the future, but not here and now. They are fully identified with the mind, with their thoughts and emotions, which they consider appropriate (my story).
And change begins with seeing, with awareness. So great that you see the inclination. The exercise I want to give you is: return to the here and now. Every time you notice that you are in your head, bring attention to this moment. This is not easy, because it is a deeply ingrained groove: the head as a survival strategy to prevent hurt, the head that wants grip on a situation (relationship) to prevent disappointment and pain, the head that wants clarity and certainty what is impossible, because life is uncertain and open, so it is not predictable.
And that reminds me of Nisargadatta, a spiritual teacher who died in 1981. Do you know him? No. He came to liberation by consistently applying a simple instruction from his master. Every time there was identification with the mind (I am the world, this personality, the body, my faith, culture, my thoughts etc.) he brought the attention back to the original principle, to the 'being' principle, the 'I am'. To that which is..., beyond the mind..., beyond all assumptions and beliefs that are claimed by the ego (I am so and so). If that falls away from us..., the identification with the mind..., what is left? That what is: I am. And after I am... it is quiet, no interpretation, no hold on anything: openness, no identification with the mind, that is Life. I am..., there is no more to say. Every time there is a tendency to go into a story, a story about yourself or about the other, a story about the past or about the future: return to I am, to Beingness, to just being. This ends the session. She is very grateful to me. "How is it possible that we came to the core in such a short time," she says. Yes... sometimes it goes like that..., you're a ripe apple.
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