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
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
I have an appointment with Lisa, she comes for the first time. Recently someone said to me: "Maybe you are not of meditation, maybe meditation as an entrance is not suitable for you." I wonder if that is the case. She continues: "I now read a book where meditation is recommended and I notice that I keep myself from it. I would like to look at this subject with you."
Okay, I say, tell me something more. I am not afraid of silence, says Lisa, I have also done some retreats including a 7-day vipassana retreat and yet I feel quite a bit of resistance at the thought that I have to spend time, every day, to meditate. I wonder what that is. Is it that I don't allow it myself? Don't I think it's worth it? Or is there something else going on? I know that I am a huge doer, she says. When I sit still, the thought soon comes up that it is a waste of my time.
Okay, I say, I hear you, would you like to share something about the 7-day silence retreat? What was the state of affairs and what did you encounter in that?
We meditated many hours a day and the meals were also in silence. We also did chores like washing dishes etc. The first days of the retreat I looked at the other participants with astonishment/admiration and thought: "What are you doing all your very best..., well, I can't do that." I just pulled my own plan, I did what I needed, sometimes I lay down during the meditation while everyone sat. Later the other participants indicated that they found me so strong that I state with myself, doing what I needed, but I thought it was very strong of them that they meditated hour after hour on their cushion or chair. My experience: the days were terribly long..., and I just missed out on contact with people..., a weekend in silence..., oke..., you can do that, but longer than a weekend..., it's really hard, I also need contact with others to grow and to mirror and if I sit or lie like that, then it just stagnates in me, then I get stuck in my own thoughts. Well, after 4 days I stopped, I had enough of it.
Okay, so you pulled your own plan..., you didn't surrender to the program as it was, but you did your own thing. That is already a remarkable fact, right? To see that through that behavior you create an escape route for what was going on in you during meditation. And that the mind then comes up with a explanation for your behavior: "I need other people to flip, without contact with people nothing happens, no insight, nothing, meditation just doesn't work for me." Interesting to watch all this, right?
Yes, says Lisa, I didn't look at it that way, I was actually proud of myself that I went my own way. Too bad the teacher didn't mirror this back to me.
And if you had completed the 7 days, what would you meet in yourself?
I would be bored to death, says Lisa sincere. I also often had thoughts like: "What am I doing here?, What is the use of this?, What a waste of my time." In my daily life I always arrive just in time at an appointment, never too early. Because I don't want to waste my time. I have to spend my time well and doing nothing, meditate, is not useful.
Interesting. So this is what you encounter during a 7-day vipassana. Every one meets his/her own pieces. And this is it for you: you go your own way, you miss the contact with others ..., you think you need others to meet yourself on a deeper level ..., you seek the fulfillment outside of you ..., without the exchange with the other you are thrown back on yourself and you feel that you are stagnating in your thinking, you discover that you are bored to death and you now realize that there is a conviction at basis: doing nothing is a waste of my time, I have to spend my time useful. Silent sitting and stagnating in your own thoughts is not useful, it does not yield anything, you decide to stop after 4 days.
Yes, Lisa says, I realize this now on a deeper level, I have not looked at it this way before. But how do I get rid of that conviction? And from that doer?
To see is to be free.
You see it now. You see the beliefs that determine your actions. That's where it starts. With 'seeing'. See what is happening, what is touched, just look at it, without judgement. Let the lamp of Consciousness shine on it, that's all. Don't fight with boredom or with lack of contact, don't get away, don't hook on, don't go with it, stay spectator of what the mind conjures up when you meditate: the boredom, the senseless and useless, the lack of contact and the explanation that the mind gives you after those 4 days.
When we want to get rid of anything, it just stick to us longer. If you are fighting with the mind, who in you is fighting? That is also the mind. Then you remain a prisoner of the mind, of the beliefs, so that is not the solution. Look at the resistance, the boredom..., and at some point it goes out automatically. Going inwards, slow down, is a first step to get out of the doer's addiction, to kick off the pattern in you that constantly thunders from one project to another.
If you understand what we are talking about, then you realize that there is a conditioned pattern: the doer (you can't do nothing, you have to be useful, you can't waste your time). Realize that the doer is driven by adrenaline. And that adrenaline ensures that your system is always 'active'. So a de-conditioning process is needed.
Sit or lie down on the couch, with calm music or without music, be relaxed, want nothing, don't expect a result, just be present at what passes by in body and mind on the moment you don't give in to the doer. Maybe you start to feel agitated when you are laying on the cough, all kinds of thoughts are passing by like: I have to hang up the laundry, do the shopping, I am wasting my time, etc. Something to that effect... do you recognize that?
Very recognizable, says Lisa.
Follow the process, that's all. Look. That is meditation: Being present at what is happening in you, without wanting to change anything. You allow yourself every day to be for half an hour (or longer), total relaxation for half an hour. And you will see that the adrenaline rush, which always wants to incite you to activity, decreases over time. You then experience more and more that you can rest in existence, can be ordinary, which is very healing, fulfilling and nourishing.
And if you still want to be useful, to use that term again... start with yourself. When you come home to yourself, at the source of love and wisdom that you are, you can assist the other on a deeper level. Now you give all kind of advice out of your mind (as you say yourself), but you don't incorporate the wisdom, you don't live it. So, to what extent can you really be of use to others when you are not living what you are talking about? Start with yourself. And if you see deep through a pattern (the doer) for long enough (when it is active again), from Consciousness, then a change process automatically takes place.
In the beginning it requires some effort to spend half an hour on yourself (kicking off the doer), but at a certain moment you discover and experience the power of 'doing' nothing: just be.
Yes, thank you, says Lisa, I am glad that it is clear now what stops me to meditate. I need some time to digest what we spoke about, but I will experience and discover it.
When you are not doing anything at all, bodily, mentally…, on no level…, when all activity has ceased and you simple are, just being, that is what meditation is.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes
From what perspective are you looking?
A client comes into practice. Louise tells about a relative, let's call him Jos, who is incurably ill. Jos is still able to do the necessary in the home and outdoors, besides the rest he needs in connection with his illness. Louise is visiting them. She would like to offer her help. According to Louise, Jos makes use of his illness by expecting everyone to be ready for him, day and night, and to serve him at his best. His behavior is not much different than for the moment he became incurably ill: everything revolves around him, he manipulates everyone around him to satisfy his desires, everyone has to follow up his orders. Louise indicates that she would like to do something for Hilde, the wife of Jos, but she doesn't know what.
After having gone out with them, a conversation arose between Louise and Hilde. Jos is in bed at that moment. Hilde indicates that she feels exhausted. She would also like to lie down on the couch, just like her husband. Or go out the door to run fast, but then she has to arrange so much for the children and her husband: it's too difficult... Besides that, Jos gives ongoing assignments, because he is ill, he needs attention and care. I ask Louise if she offered her help at that moment in the conversation, now that Hilde clearly indicates her wish. No, says Louise, I didn't offer any help, it went through me, but I thought that would not change the situation, actually most of the time I just thought one thing: 'He may also do something for her'.
Well, that's how it goes... Apparently Louise has been triggered, so she can't be 'present', in alignment with Hilde, the energy is in her head (judgments) instead of being in her heart.
The conversation between Louise and Hilde continues. Louise asks Hilde if she can give Jos small assignments to spare herself a little. No, says Hilde, I don't want to give Jos the feeling that he is not doing enough. Louise gives an example, Jos can prepare some fruit for the children, but Hilde keeps it off: she is afraid that Jos will get angry (as it has been until then in their marriage), then the atmosphere is negative and that is what she don't want. Louise feels the impotence of Hilde and feels herself powerless too. She doesn't know how she can handle this situation and what kind of help she can offer. I ask Louise what triggers her: What is your perspective on this situation? Which pictures/convictions are set in motion? From which glasses do you look? Louise says: he treats her as a slave, I would like to wake her up..., you are also a person who needs care and attention. Recognizable? I ask. Until recently you also lived a similar scenario, right? Do you see the mirrors you look at? That you, not too long ago, also felt exhausted and powerless..., you just kept running and taking care of the others and you also wanted to keep the sweet peace: if they don't talk about difficult subjects, then I also keep my mouth... Louise recognizes the mirrors. Besides powerlessness she also feels frustration. Whose frustration is that? I ask. Is that about Hilde and Jos or is it your frustration? Frustration, because you went through so long in an unhealthy situation? Frustration, because you continued to give care and attention, while you yourself needed that care and attention, but could not ask... She recognizes what I give back. Apparently there is still a lot of frustration in you over the past years and that frustration is triggered by this situation of Hilde and Jos. Yes, says Louise, I have put a lot of frustration away..., I didn't want to feel that feeling of helplessness and impotence. When I feel it, I push it away as soon as possible. Yes, I say, and that's what you want with Jos and Hilde: pushing away their powerlessness and frustration... May she feel powerless and frustrated? Yes, I see what you mean, says Louise.
And further..., I ask, what else is there in you? Well, says Louise, I would really like Hilde to get a cup of coffee from him. It isn't that everything is only about Jos and that he can afford to ruin the atmosphere if Hilde doesn't do what he says.
Is that so: that it can't be that everything revolves around Jos? I see something else. What I see is that the situation is as it is: everything revolves around Jos, and Hilde is willing to do everything she can to prevent him from being angry or completely ignoring her. That is the reality, those are the facts. Yes, says Louise, that is true.
Can you be with that?
Hard, says Louise. If Hilde indicates that she wants to continue with this man in the same way as she did before, who are you to want something different? If you would like to offer help, out of compassion with her situation, then it would be without any conditions? Or should she speak out to her partner because you are still frustrated from your situation, from all those times that you have not spoken? If you really want to give your support, then I can imagine that you are offering her to visit her and that she has, so to speak, two hours for herself to do what she would like to do at that moment (running/rest/looking for a friend). And then you also say to her that you will take good care of her husband... Louise looks at me with big eyes. Yes, I say, that is exactly what her care is about..., it is too complicated, too big to arrange a babysitter for the children and for this man in particular. She realizes very well that he is a tyrant, which she doesn't oppose..., and certainly not now that he is incurably ill... She has her motives to do it the way she does..., is that allowed? Or should she and Jos change before you can step into the boat to give them help? Can you be with what is? And this is it: a woman who maintains a destructive pattern to keep the sweet peace, because her husband will die in not too long time. That is the reality. See that your frustration and impotence runs through, so you can't feel and can give what is needed for Hilde. That is not bad..., it's not about right or wrong..., but about the motives that make you react like you react. If you see through it, there will be freedom of movement and you can offer the help that is appropriate. Can you feel compassion for her and for the situation she is in? Because you yourself have experienced that you were not in a position to step out of a destructive pattern? Because you have personally experienced that you had your motives to maintain an unhealthy situation? Because you yourself have experienced that it requires a lot of courage to revolt? Yes, Louise says, I feel what you are saying, it comes in. I could share this with her, from person to person, that I understand that she is in a difficult situation, that I recognize it... and that I would like to assist her in the way it feels good to her. Yes, that's the way..., now I feel your heart.
LinkedIn: 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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