Back in the ’60’s, one of the “mantras”, along with ‘peace, man’, was ‘Be Here Now’. But most of us didn’t really ‘get it’. The agenda was anti-: anti-war, anti-establishment. It was the ego talking. When Maharishi first came to North America, he spoke about enlightenment and God realization but found people wanted to hear about sleeping better, basically the opposite state. (laughs)
Gradually, more people came out with the message, including more westerners. Neelam and Gangaji talk of being present. Eckhart Tolle talks about being with what is. Being. There is only now. And so forth.
This is about stepping back into the observer or witness, of being pure awareness, watching. Then you are only now and life plays out like a movie or dream. All the worlds a stage. This is what Eckhart is talking about.
At first this observer thing can be pretty abstract and vague. Thats pretty funny when you realize its who you are. But we have so long been absorbed in the experience, we have forgotten who is experiencing.
Another way to see this is that everything is either fullness or resistance to fullness. Very simple. You know fullness as a sense of peace or freedom, moving as love or bliss. You know resistance as everything else. (laughs) If you can recognize this, you’re doing very well. Awareness is the key. Yet we live in a culture that has come to see much of life in suffering as normal. It is suffused with escapism and denial of what is. Our attention is drawn to what we might have or do (future) and back into what might have been or futile attempts to explain why (past). All of this takes us away from now. Yet what is, is the only escape.
You can explore this very simply. You may find, for example, that your body has certain places that get sore or stiff. Many hold their burdens in their neck and shoulders. The lower back is another spot. If we take the simple approach, we know that this discomfort is, barring an actual (recent) injury, resistance. Tension we’re holding in our muscles. The healing for that (and any injury) is simple awareness and allowing. Putting the attention on the discomfort and allowing it to be what it is. To just experience it. No judging, no looking for reasons for it. Just experiencing it. Just allowing the experience fully. Awareness in its simplicity is the seed of all power, all peace, all healing, all happiness.
Getting this idea of innocent allowing can be tricky in our culture of Type A, shop ’til you drop, and force. If I said it was surrender, you would probably have a negative response to the word. It is not giving up, it is simply letting. Not fighting. Faith is another winning word we often associate with blind faith, but true faith is just letting be what is. Really, allowing is also the seed idea of the ’70’s fad of “I’m OK, you’re OK”. To really get this, you just have to pay attention and see the difference between just having an experience and having the mind all over it, judging every detail. Its much like Oprah described on the first of the Eckhart series, of just being with the garden and trees, without labeling and discounting them. Much easier to do this with nature and animals at first.
Allowing the experience is the key. Once it is fully experienced, it is no longer required. Even physical pain itself. One moment of experience, and it passes. The signal has been received. The resistance is unnecessary. The burden is lifted.
When you do this body awareness, you may find the attention is drawn to some other area of the body. The root resistance may be stored somewhere else, with ‘distractor’ resistances to keep it hidden. You may also find occasional “knots” release with a wave of emotion. It may not thus be a physical resistance but an emotional resistance stored physically. In the same way, just experience what comes up and it will pass, vanish in a brief burst of smoke.
The mind doesn’t like to have emotions on their own, so if a feeling come up, it may try to associate it with some random thought. Unexpectedly, you find anger associated with your coworker or some other thing. Again, just see it as it is and allow it and it will leave. Just some noise.
There are many combinations. But in every case, it is a resistance to an experience. Just allowing the experience is all it takes to release it.
We may fear this baggage, fear its experience. But this is the ego talking. The ego controls with resistance so does not want its “camouflage armor” released. Release of resistances will expose the ego for what it is – nothing but a bad idea. So it has a fear of release that is always greater than the root resistance. Just allow.
Emotional discomfort is the same way. It is a sign of resistance. We are resisting some experience, some shadow. But like the boogey men under the bed, they are just shadows of our dream. Stories of the ego to keep us afraid. Kind of like “terrorists”.
These come up as irrational responses to what comes up in our life. The key thing to watch for, as Eckhart observes, is the discomfort. That is the marker of resistance. All it needs is awareness. Just a moment to stop and see. A look at what this resistance, this discomfort is. Not analysis or judging – thats the mind. Just observing.
Until now, we have not seen. It has stayed a shadow. But if we bring light to the shadow, it will vanish. When you “pop” what Bob Scheinfeld calls an ‘egg’ in “Busting Loose”, you may find a wave of emotion washes over you for a moment. It will feel like a big release, and relief.
This does not mean reliving the experience or going digging in the mud. Just experiencing the feelings that come up. Seeing them for what they are and allowing them. We are dismantling the scaffolding of the story, of the mesh of illusion.
You may find certain areas of your life are smooth and open, but other areas you struggle with. Perhaps relationships, or with money. Everyone has a different blend. It may be like peeling back the layers of an onion, slowly resolving it. You will find blind spots in these areas, our greatest illusions. This is where “karma” plays out. Karma means action but how its typically understood in the west is baggage, the resistance to action or flow. This is where we are holding our primary resistances that cause the flow to cycle back over and over again, waiting for the full experience. We are here to experience the full range of expression so when we resist, we thwart the flow. When we let go, we stop producing repeaters, stop the nonsense and life then gradually plays out the ends of the stories and the panorama opens up remarkably.
The mind also works the same way. We have habits of thinking and ideas about “the way it is” that can be pretty off-base. Sometimes based on our experience, but some core ones can be pretty outrageous, founded perhaps in some primitive reaction. Occasionally, we may catch ourselves with a really odd response. Same thing. Just a moment of awareness, a what is this? Not judging it and putting everything in a box. In clarity and being seen, the thought form or idea is seen for what it is and dissolves. This may also release associated feelings. But again, just be the observer, like watching a TV show. In a moment, the commercial will be over.
This also raises another point. Innocent awareness is just an observer. It is not focused or involved. When stuff comes up, the idea is to give them allowing attention but not dwell. Enough attention to resolve but not so much attention you give the feelings or ideas power of their own. This is the difference between letting go and holding on. It highlights the role of allowing.
Maharishi described it like sleeping elephants. Sometimes they wake up and make a fuss and kick up the dust on their way out. Just let them go and the dust will settle shortly. The dust in itself has no meaning.
Don’t sweat it if you keep getting caught back up in the process. As Eckhart discusses, its a gradual process. At first, we realize we’ve done it again. We have become aware of the dynamic – very important – but we’re realizing it after the fact. We gradually notice it closer to the event, then right after, then during and finally we see it as it arises. Each of these is step closer to full experience. Indeed, even the recollection of the experience after can allow it and resolve the issue, never to play that “tape” again.
They speak of this process in great detail as the release attachment in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita (Song of God). They also mention another stage, a release of expectation, before even intention. Then even the seed is released.
Keep in mind that this is about allowing. It is not about pushing against or stopping these feelings or thoughts. That is quite simply resistance of resistance. This is why the onion has layers. We have buried some of it in a maze of avoidance. All we need is innocent awareness. Just seeing it how it is. Now. Just ignore thoughts of what might happen or finding excuses for why you are this way. This is future and past talking, not now.
A key tool in this process is meditation. Meditation gives you the clear experience of pure awareness, of just being. It helps us establish some clarity of the witness we are within. Through meditation we also gain the experience of just allowing the experience, not trying to control it. (some meditation practices are focused on an outcome. I am referring to effortless meditation) These experiences in the practice spill out into our daily lives, making the observation and allowing a much simpler process.
Patanjali wrote something called the Yoga Sutras some 2,000 years ago. It is one of the cornerstone works of much of what we call Yoga and meditation in the west. In the 2nd ‘book’ he describes the symptoms of correct meditation (not the practice – they always taught that in person) and in the 3rd book something called Samyama. When you have mastered meditation, you have cultured quiet alertness with sharp focus, undistracted by mental noise. Not through effort, through experience. This is 2 of the 3 aspects of Samyama. The third is a specific intention. Patanjali then goes on to define about 54 example intentions, including walking through fire, knowledge of the past and future, bilocation, and various other “powers”. This is the true art of intention. The true process of manifestation. Awareness, with intention, undistracted. This is how everything becomes. Everything.
This ability to have open awareness and simply allow what is is the key to our whole experience. It is the greatest healer. It is the key to fulfillment of desires. It is the doorway to raising consciousness.
Growth takes place in a spiral cycle. First we have balance or homeostasis. Then there is a stage of disorder or disintegration, then a new level of integration is achieved and we return to balance. That stage of disintegration requires allowing. If we cannot allow, we get stuck in the disintegration stage, out of balance but unable to step up. This is the key role of allowing, of just being with what is. It is the key to stepping up and out.
Just be patient and treat yourself with care. There is no fault here. Even ‘mistake’ is an illusion. (laughs)