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

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

Meditation..., just wasting time

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.

Delicious right?
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think she has decided?

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

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

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

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


Go where the wind takes you..., not my will will be done, but Your will.

I do voluntary work for half a day per week (2015-2018). 
I support a trainer in his work on a frequent basis, together with another volunteer(s).
Last week, the trainer told me that he had asked several volunteers to support a colleague at another location. His colleague has no volunteers at all, so she has no support in her work. 
The trainer let me know that all the volunteers he had asked reacted in a negative way. Then he asks me if I want to assist his colleague. 
My first impulsive reaction is: 'No, I'm enjoying myself here with the other volunteers, and with one in particular (we have a lot of fun together), and I also just started again after a short period of absence after my daughter died.'

The following day I receive an email from the trainer:
Ha Caroline, 
I understand that you enjoy working with X. But I would like to invite you once again to help my colleague on Friday. Just for once, without obligation, then you can meet each other. Something (intuition?) tells me that it will click well between you two.
With kind regards, 
Well, what do you do in such a situation?
What do you let yourself be led by?

Do you let yourself be guided by your own need, your personal will: 
I like it, fine cooperation with other volunteers and I also contribute in supporting the meeting. 

Or do you allow yourself to be guided by existence itself, by the current that existence takes in the form of a question by the trainer? 

Are you moving where the wind is taking you or do you respond to personal desires, expectations and needs? 
Everything is possible..., nothing is right or wrong. See from which you move, that is what matters.
I recently listened to an awesome satsang by Adyashanti: Beyond the Personal Will (to be found at and read his book 'Jesus, the mystic', a book in which Adyashanti shows how important events in the life of Jesus run parallel with different phases of spiritual awakening.
Adyashanti indicates in the satsang that after awakening there are years to follow where the personal will gradually dies out... until nothing is left and complete realization takes place. 
He also indicates that this extinction of personal will (the ego) generally takes years..., so strong is the power of personal will and the illusion of a separate self (identity).

I give you an explanatory quotation from his book (Jesus, the mystic) about awakening itself (page 235): 
'We rise above the identification with the ego and the mind, we realize our true nature of being divine. But when you transcend something, this doesn't mean that what you transcended has gone somewhere. 
And so we come into the time of trials, when life gives us (...) situations that help us (…) to embody what we have realized. 
When we have gone through many trials that teaches us to embody spirit (Divine being) - and this stage often takes a few years - we come to a deep and intense sense of calmness, of well-being.'

And that is where I am (autumn 2016): in the years of trials and the extinguishing of personal will. A very big ordeal occurred this summer (2016) when our daughter unexpectedly died at the age of 28.
I will write about that at a different time. 

A very small 'ordeal', I would rather call it a small 'test', is the question that the trainer presented to me. 

I wrote an e-mail to my fellow volunteer, which I enjoy working with every Friday. Below you will read a part of the mail: 
Well..., a great pity that we no longer see each other on a frequent basis, but I can also look at it from the perspective that existence triggers this flow (this explicit request from the trainer), besides the fact that we naturally every now and then can drink a cup of coffee after our meetings that will take place at the same time, only at another location which is close by..., and I also want to contribute where I am needed..., from the heart..., what is beyond personal interests and needs. 
Well, X, I didn't expect that it would unfold the way it unfolds..., talking about expectations... what my previous blog was about..., but I'm flexible enough to move with the flow of life... So I'm going to assist the other trainer next week..., which way it goes..., no idea..., but I'll keep you informed.

And then the time has come. I meet the other trainer on Friday at a new location. And again some small challenges arises: it is initially freezing cold in the room (the air conditioning couldn't be switched of) and the windows are covered with sturdy net curtains so that there is no distraction for the participants, and also no contact with the outside world (with nature) and the lighting of the space leaves much to be desired. In other words: I clearly don't improve on space and atmosphere.

Okay, I say to myself: that's the way it is. Next time I dress on it..., this is where existence brings me. 
I give the support to the trainer that is needed and I clearly feel that the request for help didn't come out of the blue: I am needed here and I feel that I want to give her the back up that she needs. 
The next day I mail the trainer, who asked me to support his colleague, that from now on I will help his colleague.

And so it goes..., if you no longer allow yourself to be led by your personal will, but by the heart, by existence itself…

That's the flow of life..., if you voluntarily hand over the helm..., then you go where the wind takes you... 

For some time there is almost no resistance anymore when life invites me to move with the flow of Life itself.
Yes, I notice the tails of personal will and also the tendency to attach (I liked it to work with the other volunteer, because we had so much fun together), but there isn't much needed to let it go. 

The key is the heart: the heart is open and is touched when the trainer asked me once again to go along with his colleague and that made the movement possible.

In all other cases (if the heart is not open) the 'choice', whether or not to move, comes from the mind or from personal will: let them find another volunteer, I will not leave. 

Or we move along, because religious currents asks us to practice certain virtues such as servitude, charity, calmness. 
Then the movement also doesn't come from the heart, but from the head, the ego: I have to do well, I have to be friendly, I will practice unconditional kindness (as if it can be practiced, who is practicing it: personal will?).

Or we say 'yes', we can't say 'no' because we want to be liked. 
Even then the movement doesn't come from the heart, but from a learned program from our youth. In other words, the personal will remains intact. 

It is therefore not possible to make a project of dismantling the personal will, because the motive from which you then move is the personal will itself (I am now going to break down the slave driver in me, the personal will with all its desires and needs).
Who is the 'I' who intends to do this? 

The only solution I see for the extinguishment of personal will is the opening of the heart. And that is what consciousness coaching is about and is meant for: the transformation from head to heart.

Not my will happens, but Your will..., the will of Life itself, beyond the ego, beyond the imaginary "I" who thinks that she/he can control life (personal will).
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes