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!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"When you see the rope, the snake vanishes."



"When you see the rope, the snake vanishes." Ashtavakra Gita, Chap. 2, verse 7

I've tried running from the snake and I've tried fighting the snake and I've tried pretending the snake wasn't there and I've tried affirming to myself, "It's not a snake, it's just a rope." Running, fighting, denying, and lying do not make the snake vanish. What vanishes the snake?"When you SEE the rope, the snake vanishes." Seeing (inquiry, awareness) is an innate power, it is the Ruby Shoes.

Mistaken identity as an isolated "me" is the snake in the rope of thought. Stories are the snake in the rope of thought. Problems are the snake in the rope of thought. Thought (mind) is a harmless rope, and wonderfully useful; but when it's mistaken for a snake there is a lot of fear and distress. No need to fight the mind or thoughts, only see clearly that they are no more than innocent vibrations in awareness.

"It is a key point to see that all problems are just created in thought and nowhere else. Your living awareness, who you really are, is utterly present and not affected in the least by thoughts. You are utterly free of thought. There is a fundamental difference between direct awareness and thought, which is just words and labels. We take the words and labels to be real. Can you drink the word 'water'?...Try to see the difference between awareness (direct knowing) and the labelling activity of the mind. ... You can know your real nature for certain at any moment because you know you are aware, you know you exist, even without taking a thought about it. Normally, this is overlooked because it is so simple. The mind is apt to minimize this pointing, but it is utterly profound." John Wheeler, Awakening to the Natural State, p. 26-7 (excerpt)

Seeing (silent, nonverbal awareness) is a gentle, natural power that does not require struggle or effort; it's happening all the time by itself, and when it's attended to there is a shift from the trance-of-thought to being simple, spacious, open presence. This space of consciousness-without-thought is a space of great intelligence. This space of consciousness-without-thought is fully present and unmarred even when the mind is seething with a billion thoughts. The shift from thought to awareness is as easy as noticing the Ruby Shoes on your feet.

11 comments:

Cindy said...

Having spent so much time alone in recent years I've dipped into awareness naturally on many occasions and sort of felt guilty about it. I felt like a secret joy that I'm privileged to have because I'm not bogged down in a relationship or overly social life. And I'd want to give it to Val, but you can't give it to someone else. And then the little guilt of being too happy in the thrilling childlike glee of feeling life itself - shouldn't I be serious and start worrying about something or solve some problem? It's nice to read what you say and feel encouraged to be happy more, a rare message. :)

Colleen Loehr said...

It's wonderful to "dip into awareness" as you say, the peace beneath the mind, the still water beneath the surface waves. I know what you mean too about feeling a bit guilty for being happy with the "thrilling childlike glee of feeling life itself" (I love that phrase Cyn, why don't you start a blog too to post more of your reflections?). The guilt about feeling happy is an odd thing- and there's this weird sense that feeling at least a little bit miserable is a duty, the only mature and decent and responsible way to feel given the state of the world. So we feel guilty when we're happy and proud when we're miserable- we homo sapiens are amusing creatures...

Cindy said...

:) Indeed! (Me blog?! That's very nice, but I like posting on your blog, you give such food for thought, wait, not thought! I mean awareness! :)) )

Colleen Loehr said...

You're a pioneer in the courageous and uncharted new realms of downsizing in income, stuff, and conventional status, and instead increasing in genuine well-being, quality of life, and true meaning (as opposed to the false meaning of climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder). You have something very interesting to blog about and it takes about 20 seconds to set up a blog...so don't rule it out. I so much appreciate your comments on this blog!

Val said...

Howdy guys! I have been busy and seeing snakes everywhere! But I keep remembering your blog and wanting to "visit." Hi!

I was reading Michael Singer today and he talks about stopping engaging with the psyche is akin to stopping smoking - just stop. He says, start with little things and relax and soften behind the thoughts. We can't get rid of the little gremlins, but we can stop believing in them.

Colleen Loehr said...

Val your words to "relax and soften behind the thoughts" are helping me to feel unglued and unstuck from the never ending drama-in-the-head. Even the little dramas of "so much to do, oh dear, oh dear" lose their suction-cup like hold over my attention when I remember to relax and soften into this space behind the thought-dramas. Ahhh...there's actually quite a bit of space back here...thanks so much for your post.

roseduncan said...

Okay, I hate to say it but the snake is definitely winning today.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Naomi, I'm glad you say it and the snake wins every day in my life, so we are all in the same boat. Every day there are plenty of thoughts I get hooked into that make me miserable, "I weigh too much", "So-and-so shouldn't have done such-and-such" (how many times has my brain played THAT tune?), and on and on. But every once in a while some thought that seems so real and important and disturbing is suddenly seen to be an innocent and harmless mind pattern...aahhh, the rope is seen and the snake has vanished. Then I get caught up in some drama in my head... until I wake up again.

Greg Loehr said...

"When you see the rope, the snake vanishes" can work both ways. Sometimes when you see the snake, the rope vanishes. Once I was reaching for some coiled hose tubing in a shed and was shocked when it turned out to be a huge black snake!

Cindy said...

Ack!

Colleen Loehr said...

Greg- You are taking the whole snake - rope metaphor quite literally...And grabbing for a rope only to find a live snake would scare the bejibbes out of me! It's interesting to look at the metaphor both ways...

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