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, April 22, 2010


   "Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. "  (Alan Watts)

   "The most significant thing that can happen to a human being [is] the separation process of thinking and awareness."    (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, p. 261-2)

    Muddy water is cleared by leaving it alone. Awareness is separated from thought by leaving thought alone.

    Whenever there is awareness of a thought, there is a separation between that thought and awareness.  This separation is clarity,  it is freedom from entanglement in thought.

     The separation process between thinking and awareness occurs when the muddy waters of the mind are left alone.  Simple rest clears the water.

    Water is always equally clear, whether mud particles are dispersed in it or settled at the bottom.  Awareness is always clear, whether it is filled with thought or whether thought is absent.

    However, when water and mud particles are mixed together, the clarity of the water is obscured.  When water and mud particles are separated, the clarity of water is easier to see.  There is no fundamental change, but the clear water that was always there is more evident when the mud particles settle to the bottom and are separated from the water.  Similarly, the clarity of awareness is unobscured when the mind is left alone and the process of separation between thought and awareness is allowed to occur.

    Why is the separation process of thinking and awareness the most significant thing that can happen to a human being?

    Our true nature as awareness is unrecognized when it is mixed up with thinking.  When the two are separated the clarity that has always been present shines forth unobscured.  There is recognition of essence.

   There is an art to leaving muddy water alone, to not resisting what is.  There is an art to true resting and non-interference.  Leaving things alone, letting thoughts settle down, requires a high-frequency energy of alertness.  Leaving things alone doesn't mean inactivity; it means yielding to the life flow instead of resisting it.

   Leaving muddy water alone means giving up the fight against what is.

   There is a natural attraction to the ease and effortlessness in which freedom is recognized and the sense of being a separate self dissolves.

    We are all one with the unfolding of reality in this instant, every instant, whether we are consciously aware of this fact or not.  We can't do it wrong.  Only thought says we can be wrong.

    In the ease of leaving thought alone, in the ease of not arguing with thought, there is the clearing of  muddy water and there is a separation of awareness from thinking. There is a separation of identity from the thought stream.  In this separation is the clarity of freedom, the freedom that has always been here and is now enjoyed.




Susannah said...

Wow, wow, wow! As soon as I saw the picture of the glass and read the wonderful quote by Alan Watts the significance and truth of all that it symbolised had already began to tumble through me! The rest of this post just added to its effect.

Thank you Colleen for your pure clear vision and wisdom, I so appreciate your clarity.

Love to you. x

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Susannah,

I love your presence in this space and a sense of our parallel journeys as expressed on our blogs. You are clarity! Thanks for your warm comments and for visiting.

Alton said...

"The separation process between thinking and awareness occurs when the muddy waters of the mind are left alone"

This is strange or maybe not so strange Coleen.
I told you about the change in my practice from a very intense activist to one that is now surrendering and giving it all up to the Seer, the Self or Awareness.


roseduncan said...

I think it's so hard to leave it alone as you say. To let things be. It is a constant struggle. I look forward to hearing more.

Perfect Awareness said...

It can also be said a bit differently—thoughts are not separate from awareness. You can recognize awareness right in the midst of even a raging thought because thought itself is an appearance of awareness. It is just the flavor of awareness in the moment of its appearance. To separate awareness and thoughts means the seer-seeing-the seen. To recognize thought as awareness itself is non-dual. :-)

Colleen Loehr said...

I am very grateful to receive your comments.

Alton I'm glad to hear your practice is evolving from being an intense activist to surrender, and I really enjoyed your recent blog post on surrender.

Naomi I also find it hard to leave the churning waters of conditioned thinking and emotions alone. Just noticing the constant struggle is in a way flooding the old patterns with non-interfering awareness. I have a great CD about this I could send you if you'd like.

Sal, You make a really great point, and even as I was typing the post I was thinking- awareness and thought are not really two, they are one, and this approach of allowing awareness and thought to "separate" can actually strengthen a sense of duality. If you have a glass of water and the mud particles settle to the bottom, the mud particles and the water are still "one" in the glass, but the dimension of water is more apparent.

This is similar to the analogy of ripples on the surface of being, they are all analogies for form and formlessness, which are one. The ripple on the surface of the ocean is not separate or different than the underlying water, but it seems to have a temporary form or appearance. In the depths of stillness beneath the surface waves of appearance and thought, it may be easier to discern the nature of being/water, even though water/being are equally present in all the surface ripples/forms/mud particles/thoughts. I really appreciate your comment Sal.

Perfect Awareness said...

That's great Colleen. I was going to use the ocean/wave analogy, but I figured you got that. I like your water/mud analogy too. Very well said.

Good stuff and thank you!

nothing profound said...

Colleen, thanks for visiting my blog earlier and leaving a comment. I love your blog. I can see we have a lot in common. I love the Watt's quote. One of the problems in Western thinking is confusing thought with awareness, so ideas become a substitute for experience. I'll be back to visit often. By the way, check out my other blog "Out of Context." It contains lots more of my aphorisms. I think a few here and there will resonate with you.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Nothing Profound,
I am delighted to meet you, and I agree that confusing thought with awareness leads us to substitute ideas for experience. That's the nub of the whole mix up: thank you for nailing it with such lucidity!

I just clicked over to "Out of Context" and here are the lines you wrote that hit me between the eyes:

"You either love what's broken or you don't love."

"Nobody wants to be nothing. But that's the greatest thing in the world to be."

What we least want to be is where our greatest happiness lies...we are broken creatures in our distorted views...and love flows.

Thank you for visiting and I will be sure to enjoy visiting your blog too, as we are kindred spirits.

Cindy said...

Hi Colleen, I'm reading an interesting book that equates what we are doing to the earth with the robbing frenzy behavior of the honey bees. They are sustainable creatures until one finds an alternate entrance into another's hive and then they go berserk and everyone robs that hive till all the honey is gone or the door is closed. Our robbing frenzy is for oil (and natural gas) and things in the earth. I'd like to think that sometime, before the unearthing of earth's buried energy we were honeybees who left our internal muddy waters alone naturally.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Cindy,
That sounds like an interesting book, what is it called? We can learn so much from nature, and maybe this fascinating behavior of honey bees holds some valuable learning for us.
As you say, perhaps before our frenzy of greed and pillaging the earth we were like honeybees who "left our internal muddy waters alone naturally." There's a wonderful history book called "The Fall" by Steve Taylor that proposes this very idea, and gives lots of evidence to support this theory.
There are moments where I am at peace with myself, even at peace with my un-peace, so to speak. Then I don't further agitate the waters of self-doubt and confusion. And there are plenty of times when I'm completely caught up and lost in the thought stream...
Thanks so much for visiting Cindy and for leaving a valuable and interesting comment.

Cindy said...

That book sounds interesting, Colleen, I have written down a note to myself to get out of the library. My book came with a humanure toilet I ordered (I was in too much of a rush and too inept to build one myself - they are simple enough for anyone to build), called "Balance Point" by Joe Jenkins. I believe it is self-published. I like learning that our mode of existence is not inevitable. I have found so many things are not at all "just the way things are" (meaning the way they have to be). So, yea... !

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