Experience is like a piece of cloth, woven with strands of coloured yarn. Thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions are like the strandsseparate and distinct when we look at the colours but one indivisible whole when we look at the cloth.

Does Doing Imply A Doer?

I still experience the pain and depression and suffer tremendously no matter what 'I do.'

Dear Tommy,

Tommy: I have a question about experiencing long periods of “negative” emotions such as depression and with self critical thoughts and pain and tension in body.

Rupert: First I would like to say that physical pain and psychological suffering are two different things, although they may seem to be related.

If you are hit accidentally by a falling object, the resulting injury and subsequent pain cannot be said to have a psychological cause. Such pain needs to be dealt with appropriately at a physical level, such as resting, going to the doctor, taking an aspirin or whatever.

However, psychological suffering may cause contractions in the body which over a long period of time may turn into chronic pain. In this case, although steps may be taken to alleviate the physical pain, its real cause will be whatever it is that is causing the psychological suffering that is at its origin.

If we trace psychological suffering back to its origin we find that it is always caused by the belief and feeling that what we are is a limited and located entity that resides in the body and that is the body.

Tommy:  I have been struggling a lot with the idea of “taking ones stand as awareness” or “surrender to Beingness” or “knowing yourself to be the awareness” ..... I have spent a lot of time trying to do these things in relation to the intense pain I feel in my chest, and of course, “trying” implies a doing, which implies a separate person doing something, and that separate person doesn’t exist in the first place. So I’ve found myself stuck. I still experience the pain and depression and suffer tremendously no matter what “I” “do”. It seems to be only a matter of grace for surrender or acceptance to occur. Any “trying” just seems to make it hurt more. Yet trying just continues to happen.

Rupert: If we are suffering then the apparent ‘I’ is very much present. This apparent ‘I’ is the cause of the suffering.

However, if as this apparent ‘I’ we superimpose ideas upon our self such as “trying implies a doing, which implies a separate person doing something, and that separate person doesn’t exist in the first place” we deprive ourselves of the one thing we can do in relation to our suffering which is to explore it.

In other words, if we know that ‘that separate person doesn’t exist’ we would not be suffering. We cannot be suffering and claim to know that the ‘separate person doesn’t exist.’ These two positions are mutually exclusive.

In this case the belief that the ‘separate person doesn’t exist,’ is simply a belief and non-duality is simply a new religion to which we have ascribed.

However, suffering is much stronger than the belief that ‘the separate person doesn’t exist’ and, as a result, we end up frustrated at best or, in more extreme cases, angry and despairing.

We are suffering and we have denied ourselves the way out.

So my first suggestion would be to see clearly that the suffering you feel is based on a deep belief and feeling that what you are is a personal, limited, located entity.

You say, ‘trying implies a doing, which implies a separate person doing something.’ This is a very common misunderstanding.

Making a cup of tea, walking up a mountain, brushing one’s teeth, driving a car, going for a jog, learning to play a musical instrument, etc. etc. are all activities (doing) many of which require effort (trying) but it is quite possible to undertake all such activities, in fact all activities period, without there being any sense of being a separate entity.

The reason you feel stuck is because you are suffering and you have deprived yourself of the possibility of alleviating this suffering by a superficial belief in non-duality. Having said that, you have asked this question, which shows that fortunately you do not really believe that there is nothing to do.

You say, “It seems to be only a matter of grace for surrender or acceptance to occur.” It is true that everything is a matter of grace. Your impulse to ask this question is grace. Your desire to do something is grace. This response is grace. Why dictate that grace should only come in the form of surrender or acceptance?

I would suggest that you ask yourself very simply and honestly who is this one that is suffering? This one that we consider ourselves to be is the one that is seeing these words. It is ‘I’ that is seeing these words and experiencing whatever else is appearing in the mind, body and world.

Turn your attention towards this one. Try to find it. Do you find it in the body, in the head, behind the eyes seeing, in the chest feeling? No! Although it is undeniably present and knowing, that one that we call ‘I’ cannot be located anywhere as an object.

You are that one whether you know it or not. Is is not obvious to you that you are whatever it is that is seeing these words? See clearly that you are always that. No effort is required to be that. Only an effort could be made not to be that. Another name for that effort is ‘suffering.’

If we try to take a look at whatever it is that is seeing these words, we will find that we can say nothing about it other than that it is present and aware. Simply allow all the other qualities that we project onto it to disappear, by seeing that they are simply not true.

The pain in your chest appears in this knowing space of Awareness. Let it be. Welcome it along with everything else. Allow it all to arise and take place within you.

To ‘take your stand as Awareness’ simply means to notice that you are already that and to think, feel and act from that knowing. To ‘surrender to Beingness’ simply means to see that you already are.

There is no way that ‘taking your stand as Awareness’ could ‘hurt more.’ However, it could be that previously suppressed feelings may come to the surface if we no longer try the usual strategies of denial and avoidance and it may seem, as a result, that the suffering is more intense. This is not the case. We are simply no longer avoiding it.

As you ‘take your stand as Awareness’ or simply ‘abide as you are’ there may well be times when all kinds of fear and unhappiness arise. Let them be. They are working their way through the system. Be the loving space in which they arise. Have no agenda with them.

Be patient and firm. See that this pain in your chest is just a neutral bodily sensation. Allow it to be. If it is no longer supported by the belief that you are a separate entity, it will be deprived of the one thing it needs to survive, that is, your resistance, and in time it will diminish.

Please come back to me if anything that is said here is not understood or if you have further doubts.

With love,

Rupert