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
What is happiness?
And is there a key to happiness? If so, what is the key?
Is there such a thing as permanent happiness or is happiness just temporary: it comes and it goes.
Is happiness feasible? Can you do or create 'happiness' or 'being happy'?
Does 'happiness' demand effort from our side, because it isn't there in advance, it can only be obtained through endeavor?
Or is 'happiness' something that happens to you?
What does the word 'happiness' or 'be happy' mean to you? Take the time to examine this... Go inside and ask yourself what 'happiness' means for you in your daily life.
Is happiness in the little things: a sunset, a rose, a look, a smile? So in something outside of us? Or in a state of Being that gives shine to everything that is?
And what do we do with 'being unhappy'? The opposite of 'happiness'.
Happiness can only exist by the grace of its opposite: 'suffering' or 'being unhappy'.
Are we giving ourself permission to be 'unhappy' in the rat race to 'happiness'?
Is happiness possible if we realize that every 'happiness' carries the seed of 'unhappiness', because it is temporary: happiness comes and goes, today you have a great day and tomorrow it is over.
And every 'unhappiness' carries the seed of 'happiness': after rain comes sunshine.
Would the pursuit of happiness be related to the fact that we often feel unhappy?
Could it be that the desire for 'happiness' (fill in: a partner, the right job, a child, peace in the world, recognition, appreciation, harmony, enlightenment) is precisely the cause of our suffering?
Could it be that these same desires cause us to feel unhappy in the here and now, because our attention is elsewhere, focused on realizing a desire somewhere in the future? Because we believe that life as it is, is not fulfilling, is not sufficient...
Not satisfactory? To what? To the image that the mind creates about reality: how it should be. Recognizable? It always has to be different than it is. We don't know a full 'yes'.
'Yes' in the sense that life is good as it is, with all the trimmings.
We 'live' from a 'no'. Because we believe that something is wrong with us, the other person, the world, the circumstances as they are: it has to be different..., says the mind.
Are you happy'? Stop a moment before reading on.
What is your answer to this question: Are you 'happy'?
Where do you say 'no' to? What doesn't meet your expectations?
And can the 'I' be happy?
The 'I' that strives for..., the 'I' that doesn't want this, but that (something else), the 'I' that disapproves and approves, the 'I' that sets so many conditions on life itself, the 'I' that has so many opinions and judgments?
If being happy is not possible for the 'I', then the question arises whether permanent happiness exists at all? Or is permanent happiness a fairytale?
The only way that I know to true happiness is 'awakening'. Being at home in the Self. Get get rid of all the demands we place on life (on ourselves, the other and the world).
Live Life as it comes and goes, without assumptions.
In the heart, out of the head which has all kind of ideas about 'happiness'.
And then I listen to the words of Osho:
'Life moves from perfection to perfection. Not from imperfection to perfection. No, life moves from perfection to perfection. '
Nothing needs to be improved or changed: all is well. Precisely all those efforts that it must be different than it is, is the cause of 'suffering'.
Awakening is about happiness that doesn't come and goes, happiness that is permanent. Call it Pure Awareness, Consciousness, Love, Light, the Buddha Nature. Then you are at home, at home in the Self that transcends light and darkness, the Self that knows no polarities (happiness/unhappiness), the Self that doesn't set conditions and makes nog demands on existence. The Self which is neutral, full of love.
Does that mean that there is no emotion or experience of sadness or pain anymore?
No, emotions appear and there can be pain. And that is it: there is an emotion or there is pain. If you don't have an opinion about that, then there is what there is: an emotion/pain. But at the moment that identification takes place with the emotion or the thought, then there is charge, then you are a prisoner of the mind, you believe the thought (I am worthless), in your mind it is really true (you are rejected), you are convinced that something is being done to you by someone else or by certain circumstances (you are fired), you make it personal (I am not good enough), a 'story' arises..., yes..., then there is 'suffering'.
As awareness goes deeper, identification with the mind dissolves, which doesn't mean that you can't get caught now and then, but the identification is superficial and short-lived.
And yes..., coming home to the Self is a gift, then life is fulfilling and a deep sense of gratitude arises from the heart..., for everything that is..., as it is.
PS I lie on the massage table and listen to mantras. A thought appears: you have just written a blog about 'happiness', but how do you see the death of your daughter that took place in the summer of 2016? That is a great suffering? That is a big loss? That is terrible, isn't it? Yes, that is a big loss. Certainly... And yes, there were tears and strong feelings of loss...
And then Lao Tse (a philosopher from the 6th century BC) blows through me: 'Don't go that far to say that the death of your daughter brings bad luck (suffering). All you can say is that she is dead. That's a fact. Whether it brings misfortune or a blessing, you don't know, because this is only one fragment of reality. Who knows what else will follow?'
Yes, I don't know. And I don't need to know either. I can share what I experience now, six months after her death: total neutrality concerning her death, a neutrality that is loving, a neutrality that transcends attachment. Every now and then Simone blows through me, a warm wave, there is a heart connection, a connection that transcends death and life. Of course it is a great loss, a pity that she is no longer here on earth, we had a deep connection... And it is what it is: she is dead. And that's it.
What I also know is that Lao Tse speaks from the Source, the Source of Love that is neutral, the Source that knows no judgments. Is the death of our daughter a blessing or a curse? Who will say it? Everyone will be inclined to say that it is a curse. But what if you are at home in the Source? In the Self... where no form of polarity (unhappiness/ happiness) is present, because it is neutral. Not neutral in the sense of 'lifeless, death', but neutral in the sense of an unconditional 'yes'. Is it then still a blessing or a curse?
Discover it, meditate, find a living master who can guide you, who sees through your structure, who rattles your foundations. It takes a lot to defrost, to dismantle the structure (the ego/mind/conditioning/ convictions/beliefs/attachment/security/safety). The transformation process to Light, through all layers (physical, emotional, mental layer) is an enormous transformation. Years of fatigue, various physical complaints, the recognition of the black swan in me (which I experienced as a painful process)..., it wasn't easy but more than anything in life - worth it. Meditation and self-examination and a living master are the keys to 'happiness' for me.
Wake up, wake up.
That is the path to true happiness.
'Life moves from perfection to perfection. Not from imperfection to perfection. No, life moves from perfection to perfection.'
Linked-In: Caroline Ootes
A young client comes into practice.
A few years ago she also visited the practice a few times and now she is back again, I'm curious how she's doing, nice to meet her again.
She indicates that she has been afraid to fly for several years and that she has recently experienced the same fear as she gets into the car.
She comprehends on a deeper level than before that death is a real given. When she gets into the car, she realizes that a traffic accident is possible and that a violent collision can result in death. And the thought of a possible death evokes fear.
She also had a dream about a crashing plane. In her dream, she saw a plane from the beach lifelike above the sea. The moment the plane was at altitude and ended up in the stabilization phase, it suddenly plunged down, deep into the ocean, and then it rose again above the water. She saw that the plane was split in two: everyone at the front of the plane was still alive and everyone at the back of the plane was dead.
Her last aircraft experience was recently, a skiing holiday. Three days in advance, she felt the tension rising in her and it continued until the plane had entered the stabilization phase.
She says: 'I am afraid to die, and I also often have the idea that I will die when I am physically ill'.
How did you deal with the fear of flying the last time?
Well, I reassured myself that it would all be okay and I just let the fear be there, I squeezed my friend's hand and slowly the fear subsided. Great, I say, and how did it go then?
At a certain moment it was quiet again…
Okay, so the fear went out... because you did not fight against it, but just stayed with it.
Yes, but I find it a very annoying feeling, I never had a fear of flying in the past. It is strange that it suddenly comes up. I think that the explanation is...
And then she talks about a plane experience 2 years ago, that she was shocked by the turbulence, grabbed her sister's arm, who reacted in a negative way to it.
It is certainly possible that that experience had a specific impact, but you aren't sure if that is the explanation for what is going on in you. Before that experience, two years ago, were you always calm during turbulence with other flights? No, she says, I could also be a little anxious, but not as bad as the flights of the past two years.
How bad is it really? I ask.
Well, she says, if you're nervous three days in advance…, the last time I even had to cry at the thought that I was going to fly…, I just want it to go away..., that it's doesn't bother me any longer.
She is crying a few tears. Allow it, I say, do you feel the fear now? Yes. Okay, I say, just go with your attention to the pain, just look where that fear is in your body... and stay right there..., breathe into the fear..., feel your feet on the ground... and observe the energy of the fear..., let the energy be there without fighting it..., you are so afraid of dying…
She sobs… For a moment she allows her anxiety/grief to melt, but soon I see that something takes place internally which stops the grief. What is happening to you now? You felt the fear, there were tears and then? Then comes the thought: 'don't make an issue of nothing, don't be childish'. Okay, I say. Do you recognize those voices?
What do you mean? she says.
That these messages were given to you, that this is not your Nature, but your structure? Structure is all that has been learned: how you should behave, how to (not) deal with pain..., the whole package of beliefs that you get from upbringing and society etc.
Nature is your essence which incidentally is not yours, as if there are two: you and nature... No, you yourself are nature. The structure later emerges as a layer over your Nature. The structure is also a part of your nature, but a tight, restricted version of it.
You indicated earlier in the conversation that you wanted to e-mail me for an appointment and that it took a while before you actually sent the e-mail, because these voices (you can do it on your own, there is not really a problem, be strong, don't be childish) initially prevented you from making an appointment.
Yes that's right.
Is it nature or structure that you wanted to mail me for an appointment? Nature, she says. Exactly, I say, and the voices that said 'nothing is wrong, don't make an issue of it', is that nature or structure? Structure, she says.
Yes, the structure is everything that is supposedly poured into you by parents, family, school and culture. Not that your parents are to blame..., that's not what it's all about, it's just a collective fact that hardly anyone has learned to deal with pain and everyone received messages like 'don't be childish, be strong', and above that we haven't learned at all to deal with uncertainty, to deal with the great unknown factor of existence: death. Existence by itself is unknown, uncertain, you never know what will happen the next moment.
We are afraid of Life, we don't want to feel insecure, we want to have control, we want to know what the next moment brings, what is not possible, because existence, Life itself, is by nature uncertain.
Humanity is massively focused on pleasure, life has to be fun.
The dark may not be there, the dark isn't allowed. Fear, hatred, loneliness, impotence, insecurity and so on, have to leave. We suppress everything that is painful, because we don't want to feel vulnerable, impotent and insecure.
Massively we avoid pain by stunning ourselves with anything and everything (alcohol, candy, watching series, drugs).
And what people don't understand is that suffering is caused by the suppression of all those painful emotions.
Do you understand? If you only want to drink from the cup that presents 'light' and avoid the cup that presents 'darkness', then suffering is the result, because the dark also wants to be seen, so that it can melt or evaporate.
There is light and there is darkness, day and night, cold and heat. It is like the two sides of a coin. They belong together. Dark can't exist without light and light can't exist without darkness. By allowing pain, by being present in fear, by bringing light to that which appears dark, the pain melts, the fear melts, the fear extinguishes. But that isn't what we have been given. We have often learned to suppress and avoid pain by seeking distraction.
And it seems that existence is knocking on your door: see me (face death, the great unknown, uncertainty, look at the dark sight), meet me. Existence invites you to overcome the fear of death... so that you can live to the full, so that you no longer have to cling to anything and everything, to false certainties. Do not forget who you are. You are Nature, the Light, Life itself. And life is uncertain, because Life flows... and you never know where it is going… (although you think you know it).
'Your' soul wants to make a growth spurt and it puts 'mortal fear' on your plate. Yes, and then of course there is resistance from the structure (I don't want to feel this, it has to go away), because that is what we have learned: suppress anxiety or swallow it away with medication. Which doesn't mean that medication is not a solution for some people, it really is, because not everyone is able to turn inwards and endure the oppressed pain.
Embrace the fear of death from the Light, from awareness, from attentiveness, so that the fear of death can melt. You are not the fear. The fear takes place in you, but you (Nature, Beingness) are free of fear. Stay fully present with the fear, realizing that you are not the fear, but that the energy of fear is passing through you. You look, as it were, at the movement and experience of mortal fear. When it provokes sadness or certain images..., stay with it, look at it..., but don't go into a story..., be with it until it goes out and it becomes quiet in you. Experience what it is like to be totally insecure and vulnerable. Experience what it is like to have no control over Life (even if you think so). If you dare to look at Death, you discover Life.
Over time you increasingly come home to yourself, your Nature, then you can see through the layer called structure, which has been laid over your Nature, you don't act on it anymore.
So don't honor those voices (your pain is nothing, don't be childish) when the fear or sadness is there. Stay with your full attention and experience the pain. Give up your resistance. That's all...
At the end of the consultation, the client is thanking me for the insights. She feels relieved, she now understands what is going on.
Three quarters of a year later she e-mails, after a few flights with the plane, that the fear has largely been extinguished by presence, by looking at fear instead of surpressing the fear.
It is good that we don't have a full choise. If we had full choice, we would not choose any experience who is painful; if you would only go for the sugar flavor experience, you would not grow. So life, out of love for all of its forms, brings you what you need, but you often don't like.(Mooji)
Linked-In: Caroline Ootes