Here is an example of inquiry into presence. In this example, Neelam refers to the Okayness that already is.
“Questioner: I can’t get my mind around the okayness of war and torture.
Neelam: That’s a beautiful example of how we take that okayness and we make it into a concept immediately. It’s not that war and torture are supposed to conform to some idea of okayness.
Questioner: So are you saying that okayness is not of the mind?
Neelam: Yes and I’m also saying we cannot ever use the actual experience of okayness to justify anything that is happening. If we do that, then we are just creating a belief. That’s not what I am speaking about. If you don’t try to make it okay, what do you experience?
Questioner: I experience a lot of fear and horror and I feel it in my gut.
Neelam: Beautiful! And now let’s put everything else aside – right or wrong, just or not just – and let’s allow that fear and horror to be present in your experience. Would you be willing to do that sweetheart? What happens when you do that?
Questioner: I feel great sorrow. It shakes my world view that people can do things like that to other people.
Neelam: Right, and I really want you to let yourself be shaken by that. Because that is how we come to reality, when we allow what is to really be present. Not what we want it to be, not what we expected or imagined or hoped, but we want the reality of what is to be present.
Questioner: I feel helpless, vulnerable. I feel like I want to curl up in a ball. I don’t want to deal with it.
Neelam: You just want to protect yourself from that experience. That’s natural. Is helplessness okay?
Neelam: Beautiful! That’s where the misunderstanding is.
Questioner: Oh, you mean the resistance!
Neelam: Right! When there is movement away from presence and helplessness is not okay, suffering is present.
Questioner: So my suffering is coming from the resistance I’m feeling about experiencing my feelings.
Neelam: Exactly! In consciousness, there is a resistance to being fully at rest in the face of this. And again, we are never going to deny or justify or make war and torture irrelevant or deny the real suffering of people involved. But peace begins where you are.
Questioner: Yes, it’s not okay for me to be present with helplessness. It has nothing to do with war and torture.
Neelam: Beautiful! For now this is a trigger, a catalyst for you to see the suffering that is still present within you. We want to begin with that.
Questioner: I’m feeling relief now! I’m feeling empowered as opposed to helpless.
Neelam: Exactly! That’s the power of presence. And you know, that’s where compassion arises from. Compassion arises in that place where we stop resisting and we are actually willing to be here the way we are. Compassion is a feeling that happens when we are at rest. It is not some idea that we can generate on top of our resistance.
Questioner: If I can be present with my feelings, I might be able to be more useful.
Neelam: That’s what arises from the natural state. Now we can really participate! Now we can really be present. We don’t have to be in denial, reactivity or rejection. We can move from the okayness that already is.”