Causeless joy/peace is revealed to already be present when the belief in the idea of a separate “me” is seen through. Is the thought of a “you” the same as an actual separate, independent entity? No. It’s just a thought. There is no substance behind it. The thought is the full sum of the entire experience! There is nothing more to it. Have a look! Same for feelings. It will come as the biggest and most wonderful surprise when you realize that the cause of all your suffering never actually existed!
“The deeper in I go, so to speak, the more obvious it becomes that all meaning is merely a present appearance.”
MICHAEL: Whatever is happening is simply what’s happening, including whatever meaning seems to be presently running… for no one. It’s simply what’s happening, including the sense that it’s happening to ‘me.’ (Look directly in this moment and see if you can actually find this ‘me’… it’s like grasping water.)
ARJANEKKE: Even if identification comes up? Or defending of the ego? I tend to feel like i ‘failed’ when that happens..
MICHAEL: Yes Arjanneke. So if a feeling arises, “I reacted to something, I guess that means I am not ‘there’ (wherever the hell that is!?) yet.” can also arise! It’s just what’s happening and is never personal simply because no actual “person” can be found. It doesn’t belong to any ‘one,” as that requires division, separation. If you take a look, you can never find anything separate from THIS, even the sense of “you.”
Ironically, if we just ‘pay it no mind’ it simply, like a passing cloud, moves on by itself. However, it’s our very fixation/ruminating on it that feeds it and appears to keep it running. Fortunately the suffering can become so painful, that you simply no longer care and it’s in that moment of not knowing anything that freedom is revealed to already be the case. It doesn’t require any figuring out, but rather a letting go. It sounds funny, but in a way it’s simply seeing ‘resistance is futile’ and so you stop fighting and just relax into being.
One thing I can share that I have noticed that’s different in me and has made a big difference in ending unnecessary suffering: I no longer believe whatever is happening should not be happening.
So, for example, in the past if my neighbors played loud music or video games, thoughts (conditioning) would come, “Oh, that is not being a good neighbor, I would never do that… now I can’t get any work done, blah, blah, blah…” and now, it’s barely noticed.
The difference is, now, the idea that what’s actually happening should not be happening seems insane.
It’s simply what is and so the thought that “it should not be” is seen as an invitation to suffer.
Comment/Question from my Facebook Awakening Community
TOM: So from the quiet mind that doesn’t see it as a problem, the thought may arise, “let’s get some noise reduction headphones.”
Any idea where that thought and the subsequent steps in that direction may come from?
MICHAEL: And then THAT will be what’s happening. And you either will get some n/c headphones or you won’t. You can never escape what IS… but if you believe a thought that claims otherwise, you may eventually find yourself suffering. And then, that will be what’s happening… you cannot both truly accept the moment as it is AND try to control it… and yet, that too can seemingly happen! It’s a living paradox.
TOM: I see. However the moment when I actually get the headphones has not arrived yet. There is only the thought. And then as you say the headphones either will or won’t be procured — there is no “me” to decide or make it happen. It just seems so clear that a result or future event that has me getting the headphones was “caused” or influenced by the earlier thought. And if it wasn’t, or it was unrelated, why would that thought arise? Thought is such an obviously significant occurrence in certain ways that even if I disregard it in some instances as you describe–to avoid what IS happening and think that it shouldn’t be–that when it emanates from presence or quiet it certainly seems to lead to an “improvement” in circumstances. Even Eckhart says that the Ego evolved with a purpose (survival) but we have distorted its importance. And you say that seeing the mind as a “servant” is of value — so I guess I am wondering whether we can cut the mind some slack and admit that it can “lead to” positive results which may not have occurred absent the prior thought?
MICHAEL: “It just seems so clear that a result or future event that has me getting the headphones was “caused” or influenced by the earlier thought.”
That may or may not be so, but you didn’t create that thought either, which is what you have to believe if you believe in cause and effect. The “you” you imagine yourself to be is the cause or source of what is presently happening. This needs to be deeply investigated… and if you in fact cannot find a separate entity, then you have to be honest with your findings (rather than beholden to your worldly, learned conditioning/beliefs).
I did something today I haven’t done in years… set foot in a real live, honest to goodness, brick and mortar bookstore! I road my bicycle to Barnes & Noble at the 3rd st. promenade in Santa Monica to A) get some exercise, and B) pick up Sam Harris’ books, “Free Will” and “Waking Up.”
I could have downloaded them on kindle, which I have done the last few years, like with Joey Lott’s books, and which I like as it makes cutting and pasting excerpts for posting easy. But I found myself missing holding a real book that I could actually write in, make notes in, highlight to my heart’s content, and of course, sniff that great new book smell! :)
While I was there, this book, “Does Santa Exist?” by Eric Kaplan caught my eye in the philosophical section. Both Joey Lott and myself have used the example that just because Santa is a fictional character, doesn’t stop many from believing (at least to some degree) that he really exists. (The analogy being that our very own “self” is also unfindable, but it doesn’t stop most from believing it’s what they are). Eric raises the interesting question: is it possible for a person’s mind to BOTH believe something AND not believe it??
After reading the first chapter in the bookstore, and really enjoying the clear, conversational, and at times humorous yet profound writing style, I ended up getting it too. Well, I COULD say that’s why I bought it… but actually it’s just what happened. :)
p.s. Here’s an excerpt from the book which I too have noticed: some concepts can be linked to the thing it is pointing to (meaning it can found in our direct experience) and some can’t:
“A switch flipped in me and I became my own authority.” -Art Ticknor
This is what happened to me. At some point a while back, I suddenly lost interest in ANY “outside authority” (after all, who can know YOU better than YOU!??) and have come to trust something at my core, “an inner knower” if you will. It can’t really be explained, but it can be lived from/as. Since you already are IT, words will always fall short.
In order to take something personally, there has to be a separate, real individual or “person” inside you. But take a direct look within… can you actually find a separate person inside you? Or do you only ever find unbidden thoughts, feelings, and sensations arising spontaneously for whatever duration they appear to stay for, of which you are aware of?
What is the difference in your experience when you identify with these arisings versus when you let them go on their way unimpeded?
During a private session with a couple at their house today, I said:
THIS moment is perfect not because you or I say it is…
It’s perfect because it’s ALL there is. This has nothing to do with right or wrong, good or bad or liking or not liking. It has to do with the fact that there is no other moment that is presently arising except the one that is presently arising! And so, IT perfectly IS because it’s ALL that can truly be said to be!
The mind may try to argue, try to claim there is some other better moment in the future, but this “future moment” is a concept, and can never actually be found in your presently arising direct experience.
You can never escape what is. When this is seen clearly, the futility of trying to escape from the only thing that is becomes obvious, and the compulsion to try may fall away all by itself revealing only causeless emptiness/peace.