A Window is Where the Wall is Absent

The life impulse to express and to connect arises in me and in all of us. This blog is a celebration of these life impulses. Please feel free to join in the conversation or to just visit. There is a Family Photo Album beneath the posts so you can "meet" my family and I. Welcome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Alienation

I was sitting in the car this morning looking at a tree when all of a sudden, like a sheet of cracked glass, I saw veins of alienation running every which way throughout my life. Alienation from nature, alienation from myself, and from others, and from emotions, alienation from my body, and from the present moment, and from reality. In seeing the alienation there was a peculiar shock of feeling rejoined with that from which I have never been truly separated; namely, myself, and all that is.

As I sat there looking at the tree, I realized that the word "tree" is not a tree, and somehow the mental label "tree" blinds me to a full and real experience of the phenomenon called "tree." What is a tree without the word "tree"? Somehow the word becomes a dead-end, the word "tree" gives me a false sense that I know what this tree-phenomenon is, and my curiosity is cut off. "Tree. Big deal." says the mind.

In my interpretaton of the tree, I lose the tree. The mind creates a barrier between me and the tree where none exists.

Exactly the same process occurs when I label this mysterious energy that I am as "Colleen," as an image and story in the head. Suddenly an artificial barrier is imposed where none exists. But I don't know this. I think the image and mental interpretations and past history and stories are in fact who I am- or at least a huge and important aspect of who I am.

Unwittingly, I have become alienated from myself, from my reality, in the same way that I became alienated from the tree. I don't realize this however. I don't think I'm alienated from myself, to the contrary, I think I am obsessed with myself, drenched in myself, entangled in myself from sun up till sun down every day of my life. I don't know that in fact I am alienated from myself. All I know is a pervasive malaise permeates my days. I'm baffled by it and I seek endless explanations and remedies. Never do I realize the true ailment is a mind-imposed alienation from myself, from my very being, and from others, from nature, and from life.

Now what?

What is it that perceives this alienation? Instead of trying to answer the question with words, which would only lead to an infinite regression of further division and alienation, I simply looked and felt the awareness that perceives this mind-concocted alienation, and as I type I feel the awareness that is now seeing this sentence appear. For practical suggestions for seeing through mind-made reality to true reality, I looked through pages 248 to 256 of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. It's possible to have a little fun jumping off the diving board of the known into the unknown. There are some moments when I have absolutely no idea who or what I am, and those moments are exhilirating, those moments I feel more myself than when I have come up with the latest theory for who I am and what life is. I like skinny dipping without any theories at all, skinny dipping in the unspeakable fact of what is. Living without self-definition, it turns out, is the greatest possible adventure.

It's staggering what is seen in looking at a tree without calling it anything, what is seen when looking at oneself or another human being without labels, with a silent mind of full awareness. Last night I came across a passage from Nisargadatta that was like a slap of cold water in the face, and today I am taking it to heart:

"Fight with all the strength at your disposal against the idea that you are nameable and describable. You are not." (I Am That, p. 204)

Blogs are a great antidote to our collective dream of alienation, thanks for joining me here.

5 comments:

Todd Wright said...

Great post, Colleen. I'm providing a link to it on my blog as well. Great writing and it's clear that your connection with Tolle is deep and insightful.

Val said...

I (obviously) share your struggles! I have been stuck in malaise today, but reading your post reminds me to see what it's like to feel what I'm feeling and not interpret it: "I'm bad, unworthy, and will always be that way." How's about - here is this moment - I feel the energy stuck - open and relax to it. That feels much better. Can't fix it so might as well open to it. Thanks!

Cindy said...

Yea, I really enjoyed the feeling this post unlocked.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi- Thanks so much for your comments!

Anonymous said...

You forgot Andrew Jackson’s Big Block of Cheese with nary a macaroni in sight.

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