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, May 27, 2010

Seeing through the veil of the mind

The mind is a wondrous instrument, like a glass to focus the rays of consciousness.  But when the mind is seen not as an instrument but as "self", then confusion and suffering result.  This was brought home to me today as I read  a wonderful book, Only That: the life and teaching of Sailor Bob Adamson, by Kalayani Lawry.

Bob had spent 17 years as an alcoholic, frequently getting into brawls, and, by his own admission,  filled with feelings of resentment and self-pity.  Bob spent time with Nisargadatta in 1976-77.

Here is a passage from the book:

" 'What Nisargadatta was saying and continually pointing out was that...the images, ideas and imaginings that I had about myself weren't the truth.'

"Bob realized the essence of what Nisargadatta was saying...He understood the mind was the problem and in clearly seeing it he thought he'd never get hooked in again.  Then at the end of the session, when he walked out the door and into the street, he immediately got caught up in the mind.  It was different, though, because having seen that the problem was the mind, when he'd seemingly get hooked in, he'd say to himself, 'Hey, wait a minute.  This was seen through the other day; what's this about?'  It would pull him up and he'd have another look and see that it was 'just more of the same old mind crap.'

" 'Those old habit patterns had been there for years and did not immediately stop,' he said. 'When the chatter of self-pity and resentment started up again, there was a remembering that actually there was nothing there and so it wouldn't last.'  Each time Bob saw the falsity, it would lose its intensity and the suffering began to ease off."  (p.41)

Everyday I find there is a continual process of getting lost in mind stories, and then waking up from those mind stories.  Little stories like, "I wish I were somewhere else right now."  That's a kind of story based on an unquestioned assumption that something is lacking in this moment.  All the little grumblings of the mind are an invitation to awareness to see through the thought-stories.  The density of thought is thinned by the energy of awareness.  There's an influx of consciousness as the stories of the mind are seen to be thoughts and not reality.

The mind is a wondrous instrument, but the capacity to see the mind is even more wondrous.

What sees the mind, what is aware of thoughts?  Who knows?  Call it presence, call it higher consciousness, call it Timbuktu...There is a capacity to see through the veil of thought, and to rest in this seeing/being.

Mary, Jack, and I are running out the door to attend an end-of-the-school year party at Chris's school.  Whoever you are, wherever you are, I send you all good will, as we together enjoy seeing through the veil of mind.

The book Only That is available here:
Nisargadatta website is here:
Sailor Bob Adamson website is here:


Diane AZ said...

Really enjoyed your post. I agree that suffering happens when we see the mind as "self" or assume that all of our thoughts are reality. But as you point out the mind is also a useful tool. I love your post title, seeing through those little "me" stories can be so helpful.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Diane,
Thanks so much for your comments. I appreciate your feedback!

Danangib said...

I presume there is a difference between what you dream and what's the reality you live in, but nothing stops you to try to change the coordinates of your life, instead of spending your time in confusion. I know it's not as simple,but it's possible.
Have a nice weekend!

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Danangib,
Yes, there is a difference between what we dream and the reality we live in. But often, in my experience, the dream has been mistakenly believed to be reality. Seeing that much of the mind-chatter is untrue doesn't mean we can't change the coordinates of our life. We can still make active changes in our life, and work toward goals, and live with powerful intentionality. Distinguishing dreams or stories from reality doesn't mean living a passive life, but just the opposite. We tend to spin in circles when we get caught up in believing that the dreams/stories are reality. Freedom from illusion is empowering and opens up a fuller experience of life.
Thank you for writing from Gibraltar, I am delighted to meet you! Warm wishes, Colleen

Triza said...

Thank you for posting Bob's experience.
I feel a deep resonance in what he says especially about getting caught up in the mind again...
Its always the same mind story evolving between past future.
So much clear pointing.Thank you.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Triza,
I'm happy to see you! It's interesting how the repetitive stories can sometimes call forth consciousness, or an increase in alert awareness. Reminds me of birthing pains. I get stuck in a painful story and notice I'm miserable. Then Katie's questions appear in the mind, and it's as if the pain of the story has triggered an influx of presence. It doesn't always work this way- sometimes it goes the other way!- and then I become even more attached to my story as "not a story!"
I agree with you that Bob's experience is so encouraging- he had been stuck in repetitive painful stories for decades- and he woke up out of them. He is a light in so many ways, and I am heartened to truly recognize my reality as presence-awareness, free from mind.
Thank you Triza for being here, and for your valuable comments.

SKIZO said...


Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Skizo! Thanks for your comment and I'm happy to meet you. I enjoyed looking at the original, beautiful art that you have created that is on your website.

Penelope said...

Hi Colleen - Looking back at some of your older posts. Have you read "Living Reality" by James Braha? It is about a summer he spent with Sailor Bob. What I like about it (tho still not quite finished) is that it takes the reader along on Braha's experience of interacting with Sailor Bob. The book allows you to come to the understanding/ awareness as Braha does.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Penelope,
So glad to see your comment. Yes, I do have "Living Reality" by James Braha, and I love the book- You and I are on the same "wavelength." Just yesterday (or the day before) I thanked James Braha for bringing Bob to America through a message I left for him on his Facebook page, and he responded kindly to my message. I never had much interest in Facebook until I discovered it is a community of many teachers and blogopshere friends. I'm now Facebook friends with Ram Dass, Scott Kiloby, Jerry Katz, Andrew Harvey, Roger Housden, Gina Lake, Katie Davis, Alice Gardner, Julian Noyce, Arjuna Ardagh, and many others. It's interesting to see the you tube videos, books, quotes, events that they recommend. Let me know if you happen to have a Facebook account Penelope and I'll send you a friend request. Thanks for your comment!


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