Author Archives: Jay Cutts

Protecting Myself

What does it mean to protect myself? Most people probably do feel strongly that it’s important to protect myself. How does this relate to vulnerability, which we also yearn for?

As I look at it, there is so much stored in our memory that comes from past painful situations. As tiny babies, our nervous system was often overwhelmed by what would seem to an adult to be small things. As we have gone through life, there have been moments of almost overwhelming stress, anxiety, and pain. Sometimes these episodes have eroded the health of the body and nervous system.

What’s left over from these episodes is a deep guardedness to make sure we never go through that kind of experience again. This guardedness is on a deep neurological level. It feels like it resides firmly in the bones, muscles, nerves. When it is triggered by something that reminds the body/nervous system of a past traumatic event, it instantly comes into play faster than we can consciously react.

One difficulty with this build-up of traumatic reaction patterns, in my observation, is that it continually expands. If I was once afraid of a supervisor speaking angrily, I may now be afraid of supervisors in general. It seems to be part of how the nervous system functions that it tries to continually cast a wider net to watch out for danger. It also seems to reinforce itself, digging in deeper. The next time a supervisor speaks critically, the traumatic patterns says, “See! I knew there was danger here,” and the pattern becomes even stronger.

Eventually, as we have more years of experience, the fear of so many things can make our lives very limited. It can become difficult to be flexible with friends and family. Our options become limited and we can find ourselves living an unsatisfactory life in some or many ways. But there is nothing we can do about it because these fear patterns feel like they are saving our life.

Is there a way to work with past fears that is not restrictive and increasingly debilitating?

Naturally, it is helpful to start to become aware of the reaction patterns – how they manifest in the body, what seems to trigger them, what the thoughts and emotions and feelings are that are wrapped up in the reaction. I’m not sure what it takes to start becoming interested in this. If someone else suggests it to me when I’m in a triggered state, I’m likely to resent it. I don’t want to see what’s going on. I want to protect myself. Which seems to mean I want to react, to do what I think I need to do to protect myself. Maybe I feel like I need to get back at my supervisor. Maybe I feel like I need to quit my job. Maybe I feel like I have to move out of town. Whatever it is, all of the energy seems to want to go into the reaction.

Unfortunately, my habitual reactions may also become sources of anxiety. When I get even with a supervisor, I get fired. When I quit my job, I can’t pay my bills. When I move, I have to start all over again.

So it leaves me not really knowing any more what to do. Instead of doing something, I may start listening more closely to these reactions. Why? Because on some level, knowing myself, knowing what is going on inside, becomes more important than defending myself in the same not-very-functional ways.

So I begin to have a new relationship with myself. I want to know what’s going on inside. I’m interested in seeing things freshly.

Along with this may come the possibility of relating to the outside world – the supervisors, the unreliable friends, the dangerous people – of relating to them in a new way too. Out of this, when a supervisor speaks angrily, something new and different might happen, unpredictably. The new interaction might not be pleasant. Or it might be! But it is new. It doesn’t add to the old pattern. And it comes from simply being interested, open to something new.

In this way one’s life may shift dramatically from protecting oneself from the “known” dangers of the past to being interested in what is going on inside and among the people and situations of my life. Along with this, even in a challenging situation, there might be the realization that we are all in this together.

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How Do I Relate to Thinking

This dialogue is in response to a post:

While meditating, we are bound to find ourselves carried away by trains of thought. When we recognize this has happened, we may react with frustration, disappointment, or restlessness. All such responses are a waste of time.

Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhism From The Ground Up

D:  Oh I love Alan’s response..its just a “waste of time”…I am going to try and remember that when I those thoughts start proliferating

Jay: I can relate to that too! The way it feels to me is that suddenly there is a moment of waking up and in that moment it’s somehow instantly clear that there had been nothing but daydreaming for a while. Now the daydreaming is over for this moment and there is an interest in staying in this presence without daydreaming. It’s not too hard to notice that there can also be a powerful movement for the thinking to take over this spaciousness. It’s detectable! And often it’s a negative thought pattern trying to take hold – “Why did I let myself get lost in daydreaming again? I have to do something to prevent it. I have to practice something or remember something!” But it is also noticeable that these thoughts of doing something to stay present are actually thinking trying to move back into the daydream realm. How ironic!!

What is really interesting and vital and passionate for me is wondering about the possibility of finding out what it is to live in this presence.

Another aspect of this is that sometimes the thinking goes on in Presence. In other words, the way it feels to me is that now there is awareness that includes some thoughts going around. This feels very different from being lost in daydream.

I’ve learned over the years that this kind of thinking has a life of its own and it’s important for me not to try to get rid of it or change it. I find that it’s very revealing to allow the thoughts to unfold in the space of awareness. It may be that some processing just needs to happen and when given that chance, it will finish on its own. Or it may be that some pattern of thinking that is a deep habit is coming to light. For example, maybe it becomes noticeable that the thinking is centered around a fear of angry people.

The miraculous thing is that all of this revealing and unfolding of thoughts happens on its own. I don’t need to know how to do it. I don’t need to have any guidelines or words of wisdom or practices to manage it. It all unfolds on its own if I don’t try to change it.

And along with the unfolding of thoughts that might be happening, the sound of birds, the feel of the air, the sensing of other people, the feel of the body, and the vast unknowable space in which it all takes place are all also revealed. It doesn’t matter whether or not there are thoughts. What matters is this wide world of Presence.

D: Oh yes…long retreats are so helpful…… and I have noticed now that I can more quickly settle into those places starting early in the retreat.  I remember in the early days it took 2-3 days to get over drowsiness (sloth and torper)…and restlessness. Oh the fruits of practice. I am looking forward to living here where I have easy access to long term retreats in Taos. I would love any recommendations as most of my experience is from IMS on the east coast.

In response to your comment about experiencing all at the same time..I need to think about that …. that may be what I refer to as an extended gap.  I have only experienced that for a long period once on a concentration retreat.  It was amazing..and as often described I find myself wanting to experience it like that again….and of course that doesn’t work.

Jay:  Thanks for responding.

The kind of perception I was referring to is, in my experience, a natural, whole way of perceiving that functions when something drops away. I can’t say what that “something” is but in my experience when wholeness and agendaless presence is functioning, perception is whole. Hearing, seeing, feeling, all happen in the same space without a sense of division. And one doesn’t feel like they are separate from the rest of life. It is just wholeness that encompasses everything, including this body and mind.

To me when this is functioning, it is clear that it is the natural state of things. Whatever was going on before that chopped experience up into separate things has dropped away in such moments. And this very definitely affects the sense of being a separate entity.

D: Sounds like a very deep and lovely experience – the absense of all boundaries 🙂

Jay: Yes. This is our true nature – just one vast still space of being. We’ve all lived in this at moments. We lived in this all the time when we were babies! Animals live in it all the time, it seems.

To me, our work is to uncover together the habits in the human mind that create this very strong impression of being separate. Once uncovered and brought to light, there is a chance of these habits opening. There is a chance of the one who feels it needs to be separate to discover that what it really wants is to return home to wholeness.

We do this work together because in reality we aren’t separate! That’s amazing. And all of life helps us do it because we aren’t separate from that. It’s amazing to see that truth unfold as we come together to listen and speak in dialogue, learning to trust that we are all in this together, along with the wind, the sky, the sun, and the darkness.

Thanks for engaging in this wonderful conversation.

What does “no self” mean?

This dialogue was in response to a quote to the effect that suffering doesn’t end. The sufferer ends.

LL: What is your take on all these issues? Frankly, the hardest part of the teachings for me to grasp is no self. i still feel pretty much like me after decades of practice.

S: I think, for me, the concept of no fixed or reified idea of self makes the most sense in the teachings of non self. It’s always in flux, in response to conditions, and when I am attached to a fixed version of what is “me,” or perhaps my own interests, it can create a lack of ease.

Jay: I feel as S does that “self” is not a fixed thing. Going back to the original quote, it said something like “suffering doesn’t end. The sufferer ends.” I can relate this easily to physical pain. When I’m in pain, there may be a moment when something drops away and suddenly the pain is more bearable. What drops away is, I would say, a resistance. Some part of me didn’t want the pain and was physically doing something to try to block the pain out. This actually increases the pain – at least speaking for myself. Another way to say it is that there is less space for the pain to “spread out”. When the resistance ends, the additional pain that it was causing also ends. The original physical pain is still there. But there is more space. Actually there seems to be infinite space.

We can probably agree that at least one definition of “suffering” refers to the extra pain that is caused by resisting what is happening. So suffering is not exactly the same as pain.

But when that resistance is going on, for me there is usually a very strong sense that it is ME that is suffering. There is a strong sense of being the sufferer. And with that is a sense that I need to protect the me that is suffering. And this can lead to a huge effort to build a story, a plan, in which I eventually protect myself from suffering. The story can involve making strong efforts and engaging in strenuous practices and learning wise teachings. But all of this is built on the desire of me to protect me.

When the resistance drops away, this sense is completely gone. It is clear that the resistance, with all of its fantasies of me protecting me, causes unnecessary pain. It turns the attention away from what was actually happening and into a fantasy world, which might include the fantasy world of spiritual progress.

When the resistance drops away, the sufferer is no longer active. The story of what I can do to protect me has been replaced with direct intouchness with what is going on. At the same time, the physical body is here, aching. My mind, my history, my personality, have not been somehow swept away or vanquished or spiritually healed or overthrown. They are just quiet, not interfering, but available if needed.

We could say, as LL mentions, I am still me. But there is no complicated story about what I am. Fantasy is not operating. It has been replaced by simple presence and sensitivity to what is here. I am still me but I don’t really know what that is, other than the cool air on the skin, the sensations in the belly, the feel of someone’s presence nearby, the quietness in which all of this rests.

So we’re talking about the fantasy-story of me and where I’ve been and what I need and want and how I plan to protect myself with valiant efforts – we’re talking about this whole fantasy-ing process of the mind dropping into silence and being replaced with simple presence, sensitive awareness, without an agenda.

I’ve noticed that the dropping away of the me-concern happens on its own. It is mysterious. It doesn’t happen as a result of intention or of practicing something. Intention and practices are aspects of our story-mind. When there is presence functioning, intention and practices are unnecessary. Instead we respond creatively and spontaneously to what is actually taking place, with an intelligence and compassion that function on their own.

This is my experience. We can all examine and watch this in our own lives to find out for ourselves.

Meditation and Therapy

[This post was written in response to a link to an article about meditation and therapy.

The article]

On Meditation and Therapy

To me, meditative work is very much about healing of trauma. It’s also about wholeness in this moment. Does that seem contradictory?

Peter Levine is a therapist who works with trauma. In his book Waking the Tiger, he describes how most of our efforts to resolve trauma tend to make changes in how the trauma is managed but reinforce the core of the trauma itself. Then he describes how there are rare moments in which the entire trauma pattern opens up and there is nothing left to reinforce. He describes this as the healing of trauma.

I can relate to what he says from my own experience with personal trauma. In meditative terms I would say that the moments he describes are moments in which all resistance has dropped away. It is total vulnerability and total openness. It is a moment when all agendas have dropped away. In such moments wholeness blazes forth.

I often feel that too much emphasis on meditation practices very much stands in the way of this happening. It is all too likely that behind an emphasis on a meditation practice is a “practicer.” I mean that there is an identity and an agenda that becomes fixed to the practice and is reinforced more and more deeply with each moment of “practice”. After all, a practice implies that I hope to get something from it.

To me, Life always wants to sweep away all my intentions. It wants to knock out from under me all my plans for improvement and healing. When Life blazes through in this way, all resistance is blown away. It’s not that I stop resisting so that I can heal. Healing/wholeness – when it is able to move through this organism – redirects the energy that was going into a knot of resistance so that that energy goes into healing and being.

Once this possibility of being swept wide open by Life becomes greater in us, I think there is more awareness of our traumas and we can get much more out of working with a therapist. I used to expect this kind of help from my meditation teachers, but that’s not really their training.

I do question the view of the author of the article that somehow Siddhartha didn’t have traumas and that made his path easier. I’m not sure that makes sense to me. From what I see, it is the nature of our delicate nervous systems to be continually susceptible to traumas – old ones and new ones. Wholeness doesn’t require an absence of “issues.” It reveals issues in wide open space and the space of wholeness seems to naturally lead to healing (which is accelerated by working with a skillful therapist.)

A moment of wholeness is a moment in which it is clear that all life is one undivided energy unfolding as it needs to and grounded in stillness. Awakening to this has nothing to do with whether we have a broken leg, arthritis, anxieties, a bad eye or are perfect, beautiful beings. It only has to do with seeing if it is possible for Life to open through us in this moment, which can only happen when our dreams and goals for becoming a better person get swept away.

I don’t mean to say that we somehow shouldn’t deal with traumas and issues. It is quite clear in a quiet moment that a pattern of severe anxiety isn’t helpful. I’m just trying to share that what fundamentally allows trauma to open and heal is the discovery of this energy of Life that sweeps away my resistances in this moment. And I’m raising the issue of examining whether spiritual practices become part of the resistance to what is happening right now.

It is not too hard to look, during a meditation period, at what I am actually doing. Am I focused on something – the breath, a sound, a vision? Is that helping me right now to be in touch with everything that is around me right here – the air, the feel of the body, the sound of the fan, the presence of other people? I personally find that I’m often blocking out a lot for some reason. What reason? Someone told me it would help me become a Buddha in the future? Or that if I do something long enough I would heal? But what has become most important to me is my relationship to everything in this moment. To sacrifice that now for some “wholeness” in the future doesn’t make sense to me any more.

Where Does Peace Come From?

The reflection below was in response to a discussion on finding peace in the middle of non-peace. Some people referred to practices that they have used that they hope will bring more peace. The inquiry below examines and questions how this really works in us.

When I consider this careful, here’s what seems to happen for me. So something triggers me and I’m angry and defensive. That means my teeth are grinding, my stomach is tight, my back hurts, and I want to lash out at someone. My mind is going over options for doing that.

In this state practicing “peace” is impossible, really. I guess that means that the idea comes up of getting back to a state in which the body is relaxed and the world feels spacious. But at that point it’s an idea that is in complete conflict with what is actually going on.

If someone suggested I try to do that, I’d probably glare at them!!!

What IS real for me is that tight, painful, angry, hurtful state that is manifesting itself. No space at all. Just tight, gnashing teeth and guts. Something keeps me from acting out on the impulses, though. Something, somewhere out of my sight knows that the impulse that wants to act out leads to trouble. So there is the pain of this state, the emotional pain and the physical pain of it but it doesn’t go anywhere. It stays right here, burning, hurting.

Of course many times it doesn’t stay right here and I say something angry to someone.

But when it does stay right here, it is noticeable that there is a tremendous urge to get away from the pain and tightness. One channel for getting away is yelling at someone or hitting them. Another might be to channel that energy into punishing myself. And another big channel is to try to do some practice to become more peaceful in the future. A huge urge for someone to give me something to do that will get me out of this pain, even if it is lifetimes later!

So for me, no practices to become better for the future. Just not running away from the states of no-space, no-compassion, no-peace. Just not moving away from how this all manifests in the body, the thoughts, the feelings. No idea of how this will all come out in the near or distant future. Just burning right here with what has manifested in this body/mind, as it does through almost every other human being, with, for once, someone not moving away from it into a discharge of pain, which causes more pain, or a plan for getting away from the current pain.

In not running away, in burning right here in this place of no-space and no-peace, the sound of a bird might suddenly come through. Or the smile of a person. Or an insight into the suffering of the person I’m angry at. It becomes clear if such a moment happens that this tight, painful, suffering, burning state is not all there is. It is happening in vast space, whether that space is felt or not.

The Distinction Between Teachings and Presence (Awakened Mind or Buddha Mind)

A lovely person recently commented with perhaps some disappointment that the dialogue that took place in our group didn’t contain any teachings. What was meaningful for this person was the Buddhist teachings (and possibly other teachings, I imagine.)

I’ve been reflecting on what this person said. Here is what has come up for me.

There are many beautiful and powerful teachings in meditation traditions. There is no doubt about that. Some people may take teachings as sayings to be internalized and in difficult situations you should try to live according to the sayings, rather than according to one’s impulses in the other direction.

This is actually interesting to consider. If I get irritated with someone, I may be tempted to treat them unkindly, maybe complaining to them or speaking with a harsh voice. But something else may suddenly come into the mind, maybe the saying, “Do unto others…” or maybe a Buddhist teaching on practicing compassion. The amazing thing is that there was a gap between the impulse to act unkindly and the physical action of doing it. That gap is the miracle! The memory of “Do unto others…” or the memory of someone scolding me for being mean – those memories come afterwards, after the gap has occurred. Those memories come up into the space that comes along with the gap.

Another amazing thing about this is that before the gap there was just a concern with my own personal gain. When the gap has occurred, the mind is now aware of how others might feel or maybe we can say the mind is aware of the bigger picture.

What happens then could go either way. I speak unkindly anyway. Or I might do something different.

I think what happens for many of us is that those “teachings” that come into the mind when there is an opening can end up doing battle with the difficult impulse that originally arose. “I should try to be a nicer person.” And then there is a sort of compulsive application of will power to follow the “good” instead of the “bad.” I suppose it’s probably better if a violent person has learned to do this rather than punching or shooting people. But for myself I’m not satisfied with a battle between one way and another way, even if one way is the more “enlightened” way.

So how can it be that there is not a battle between the original impulse and the feeling that there is a different way (maybe through a teaching)?

First we have to really look and see if there is a battle going on in us. Maybe it’s a very small or gentle battle. For some of us it may be a more compulsive battle. It seems very helpful to look at this carefully. The mind seems to be almost continually in battle with itself in my experience. This is the root of conflict and separation, so it’s really good to look at this freshly.

It strikes me that one kind of “peaceful” battle is to think “Well, I’m going to practice being kinder right now and maybe in the future these impulses to be unkind to others may go away.” Wow. That’s feels to me like side-stepping the brewing battle. Maybe it avoids the battle at the moment but it also avoids really dealing with the essence of the conflict between acting unkindly and acting kindly. It puts “dealing with it” into the future.

What does “dealing with it” mean? It might mean really listening to that voice that wants to be mean to someone else. Really listening to it!! Really feeling what comes up when that voice is finally given the chance to speak (internally. I don’t mean speaking meanly to the other person.) Really listening to what is behind that voice. Is that voice afraid of something? Not knowing what to say to that voice. Not having a “teaching” for it. Just listening and feeling.

Let’s back up a minute and go back to that moment when there is the impulse to be unkind and then the gap and then a larger awareness that includes others. We could say there is a voice of unkindness and a voice or mind of compassion both operating. At times it might seem like these are in conflict (the battle) but in reality, at least in my experience, it is exactly that voice of compassion that does not want to do battle and instead wants to hear that voice of unkindness. It is the Big Mind that allows the voice of unkindness to unfold, to be heard, to open up. In this activity there is a complete interpenetration of wisdom mind and ignorant mind. Another way of saying this is that it is Love itself that allows the battle to end and the unfolding of difficult patterns to happen. Love is big enough to hold and feel and support the expression of violence and anguish of that voice of unkindness.

How does this work when we are in dialogue with each other? One person may bring up that they have a habit of being unkind to others sometimes. What happens then in the group? Someone might give a teaching about practicing compassion. That’s one approach. Another approach is to allow the mind of compassion to do its work right here together in the heat of the moment. To me that means inviting the voice of unkindness to speak, to open. Inviting the person who brought this up to allow the unkindness and everything that is behind it to open up right here in this gap, this space, that we are in together. It may be possible for others in the group to open up to this as well, together, because it is something that is in all of us.

As this happens together in dialogue, unexpected things come up. Unexpected responses to each other. Explorations of what one person is experiencing. And the whole time this fresh unfolding is happening. This is the end of the battle between difficult impulses and wisdom. It is difficulty opening in the embrace of wisdom. It is wisdom washed in the pain and difficulty but not tainted by it. It is the end of separation and the live functioning of Love and healing.

A person observing this might well say, “I didn’t hear anyone give any teachings.” A Buddhist teaching, to me, isn’t really a prescription of how to try to live in order to become better. It is a description of how a person functions when the mind is not at battle, when there is personal agenda is not narrowing the mind, when there is a spaciousness functioning. At best, such a teaching is a reminder. It points to something. It points to how we function when we are open, without agenda, vulnerable, having put aside the battle and having allowed ourselves to directly and intimately experience what is happening in us that has not wanted to be experienced. Teachings point to the functioning of the Wisdom mind, of Love.

When we are together, immersed in this functioning, exploring together, not afraid of what might be seen, then we are, in that moment, living in the mind and heart that teachings point to. We are alive. We are not separate.

Beyond Teachings

L.: [I was disappointed that] the group [dialogue] for the most part did not focus on Buddhist teachings, which I have found in my life to be very useful.

Jay: I understand what you’re saying and it’s something I’ve considered carefully.

I feel that what we are trying to do in the group gets at the core of Buddhist work. When someone brings something up, it is sort of like finding the teaching that goes with their situation. I don’t really think of it as a teaching but since that’s the term you used, we can say that as an approximation.

For example in talking about severe chronic pain, we could say “We are all heirs to pain. It is inevitable. It can’t be avoided.” That may be of some help. However, to me it goes much deeper into dharma to open up the whole situation together as we did in dialogue. Each person bringing a situation to the group is coming to it from a different place so it is important, I find, to give the person a chance to unfold what is happening for them and for me to listen and open to it carefully.

Out of that listening we may shed light on assumed patterns that are not helpful. On Saturday we discovered two such patterns – the assumption that a state of painlessness in the midst of pain is a goal that should be achieved, and that a state of flow is a goal that should be achieved. It is clear to me from my experience that both of these states are temporary states that are powerful and healing when they happen but it is not their nature to be permanent.

This deep listening without a personal agenda, hearing other people’s experience as not separate from mine, and with willingness to let deeply guarded patterns come into awareness is, to me, the direct functioning of Buddha Mind, of Presence. Teachings point to this kind of functioning and can be wonderfully helpful but to me the important thing is this functioning itself.

I realize this is not the usual approach at many centers. I’ve been to a number and usually the focus is on teachings. This can be wonderful but I’ve also noticed that where this happens, people are sometimes reluctant to open up to what is more personal together. It is “safer” to stick with teachings, which usually feel inspiring.

The work of actually opening together may seem less “safe” until one really opens to opening! Then it feels like the work that very much needs to be done and I am grateful that it can be done with others.

Sometimes some people say, “You’re just getting bogged down in psychology or therapy.” To me this work of being vulnerably and intimately open sheds light on the psychological and the emotional, as well as the neurological, the physical, and the great vastness of being. All of this is visible and functioning – one seemless energy – in agendaless Presence. But there seems to be a great deal of resistance in us to allowing this to function. So we have to learn together and experiment together with entering directly into our life/Life.

It is certainly more challenging to enter into this kind of work/being together.

We could have stayed with reminding A. that life is pain but I feel that stopping there would have missed a beautiful opportunity to enter more deeply together into the healing power of Presence.

I hope this makes some sense.

I very much respect what you have told me and would love to have more chance to understand each other. I don’t expect you to see things exactly the same way I do and I may not see things exactly the same way you do, but I do feel that we are all in this together and can deepen through learning to communicate together and inquire together and listen together, wherever that may lead.

L.: I feel that the traditional teachings are about applying the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and the ‘Eightfold Path’ – it is a process of watching the mind not just while meditating but then in daily life and how we interact with ourselves, each other and situations.  Over and over again we do this and for me little by little some progress is made—this is the work.  The Sangha is important because being in study and dialogue in a safe environment we can help each other and hopefully we can find good teachers who can shed even more light on the teachings.  It is in ongoing and at times an extremely difficult journey, but I feel I have no choice, this is what I am called to do.  When Nisargardatta (a great Indian sage) was asked by a devotee, “what is the difference between you and me, he responded, “everything is happening, I let it, you don’t. I think this is at the core of Buddhist practice—we ultimately cannot control what happens to us, only how we respond to it.  To me that is liberation!

Personally I think that there is no right or wrong way to approach spiritual practice, we are so fortunate here in the US to be able to choose from so many different spiritual traditions and how wonderful that we can choose what we feel is a good fit for us.  I am happy that you have found something that works for you, and I am always open to listening to other people’s process, and feel fortunate to have found one that fits for me.
Jay: Thanks for taking the time to express your view. I believe I understand what you’re saying.

 

I like the response by Nisagardatta. In my experience working with myself and other people, the issue is that there is much in us that does not want to let things happen. This goes much deeper than the conscious mind or the mind that intends to practice teachings.

So to me a big part of this work together is to find our way into uncovering these deep assumptions and deep “not-lettings” and to begin to let light shine on them. This works best, I feel, in working together. When one works alone, it is much more difficult for assumptions to be seen. We take our assumptions for granted! They are held blindly.

This is why a question like “Who is it that is letting everything happen?” can be very powerful if taken to heart. It begins to turn the attention to “me,” the doer, the practicer, experiencer. These are, in my experience, deep blind spots – deep sets of assumptions.

The teachings for me are wonderful pointers. They describe how we can live when deep patterns of separation and enclosure are not functioning. But for me it always comes down to the work of allowing the energy, the interest, to touch more and more deeply into my being and to allow those things that I don’t want to see to come to light!

In my experience, when something has come to light thoroughly, it no longer causes problems. Then it doesn’t take effort, practice or teachings to avoid it.

I’m grateful to all the people that participate together in this work of looking into ourselves, through silent sitting and through dialogue. They help me see the things I sometimes don’t want to see 🙂