Negative FeelingOne thing I wanted to ask about is your answer to a question about the part feelings play.
One thing I wanted to ask about is your answer to a question about the part feelings play. This is pages 240-242 in The Transparency of Things.
I went back to this a few times because I found it extremely helpful. I find that I have a lot of energy and feelings coming up since I started to look and just allow myself to be more, without the same constancy of thinking and concepts. Sometimes this is uncomfortable and the manifestation of the feelings is quite physical too, tingling and general feelings of discomfort. This is what I have always escaped from in my life, in various ways and now I am escaping less, it is more noticeable. You also speak of layers being revealed rather than it being new feelings. This makes perfect sense to me.
I wonder if you could say some more on this subject.
Thank you for your wonderful book and for your time here.
You say, “I find that I have a lot of energy and feelings coming up since I started to look…...” and then, “This is what I have always escaped from in my life…...” and, “the feelings (are) quite physical too….”
Let us be clear to begin with that we are talking about negative feelings here, such as boredom, anxiety, fear etc.
All such feelings comprise a bodily sensation plus a psychological element, a thought in which the separate ‘I’ entity is always present as a belief, either implicitly or explicitly.
These two elements, the ‘I’ thought in the mind and the ‘I’ feeling in the body, are the two aspects of ignorance….the belief that I am separate and the feeling that I am separate.
Of these two, the feeling that I am separate is by far the larger component. It manifests as uncomfortable feelings and, more subtly, as the apparently innocuous sense of being located here in and/or as a body, sitting in a chair, looking out through the eyes etc.
In this approach we investigate the beliefs, at the level of the mind, that we harbour about being a separate individual and we explore the feelings at the level of the body, that seem to confirm and substantiate such beliefs.
Yes, the feelings you refer to are uncomfortable and therefore we try to escape them. In this way we avoid having to feel them fully. And for this reason the feeling of separation usually remains in tact long after we have some intellectual understanding of our true nature. We may know that we are unlimited (or at least we are open to that possibility) and yet we feel limited and separate.
The two main avenues of escape from uncomfortable feelings are thinking and doing, and by reverting to these activities when faced with unpleasant feelings, the sense of separation at the feeling or bodily level remains unexplored and therefore in tact.
Therefore the body is a safe refuge for the sense of ‘me.’ It is rarely discovered there.
However, at some point in our desire for the truth, and this is obviously your case, we have the courage and the honesty to face these feelings without wanting to escape, change or manipulate them.
The first thing we notice is that there are a lot of them! But we should not be discouraged. It is in fact only because we are no longer suppressing or avoiding them that there seem to be so many. We are in fact just becoming aware of this dark, undifferentiated mass of previously avoided feelings.
See clearly that these feelings comprise a bodily sensation plus a thought or story that revolves around ‘I’ as a separate entity.
At some point this belief that we are a separate entity has to be fully investigated until it becomes completely clear that there is no experiential evidence to suggest that what we are is either personal or limited.
However, we are dealing with the feeling aspect of ignorance here…..I’m sure we will return to the belief aspect in due course.
For the time being, simply be open at the level of the mind to the possibility that what we are is not limited and separate, and leave that aspect on one side for further investigation.
Return to the uncomfortable feelings and see that without their accompanying support system of beliefs, these feelings are simply bodily sensations.
See clearly that these bodily sensations are completely neutral. By themselves they are neither pleasant nor unpleasant. They are just little vibrations of sensation appearing in you, not ‘you’ a body, but rather ‘you’ the Awareness or Consciousness that is seeing these words and experiencing whatever else is being experienced at this and every moment.
Completely welcome these neutral sensations. They appear in you just like the sound of the rain or the traffic appears in you. They do not affect in any way the Awareness or Consciousness in which they appear. That is, they do not affect you in any way. They have absolutely no power over you.
Make this clear experiential distinction between the open, welcoming space of Awareness or Consciousness that you are and all that arises within it. Once this is clear there is no longer any agenda with these sensations. They are allowed to appear, evolve, remain and disappear as and when they will.
We simply take our stand knowingly as the Presence in which all bodily sensations appear. We are completely free and independent of all these sensations, although they are utterly dependent on us, that is, on Awareness or Consciousness, for their existence.
Once this clear distinction has been made, not just in theory but rather experientially, we can then look again at the relationship between the appearances of the body, mind and world and the Awareness or Consciousness in which they appear. More of that later…..