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!
Monday, May 17, 2010
I took Jack to school then came home. I'm lucky I've been able to cut back to working three days a week and today is a free day. These days when I have free time I'm eager to just hang out and pay attention to the fact of being alive.
I'm interested when feelings of restlessness and craving arise. The ancient energies of vague dissatisfaction and boredom have propelled me like a motor through the days of my life. This morning they seem fascinating, and I look at these mind patterns that have been running my life. I love to belt out the words with Mick Jagger, "Can't get no satisfaction!"
The sense of seeking has remained an undercurrent in life even as the object sought has morphed into new forms over time. As a kid it was maybe a toy, as a teenager, romance, as an adult, adventure, meaningful service, fame, enlightenment, whatever. I've even sought for freedom from seeking! Which is just more seeking of course. Different people seek different things, but the energy of seeking is the same.
The seeking is glorified in society as a sign of zest, ambition, drive. To be free of the seeking compulsion would be wimpy, according to some. Without seeking one goal after the next, we'd be rudderless and stagnant, we'd waste our lives, whispers one voice of fear in my ear.
Would I stagnate if I were not in the "seeking" mode? Or is the energy of seeking, which runs me around the same circle of futility again and again, the real stagnation?
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with seeking. Seeking is an inevitable and valid aspect of every human life- we all seek to survive, to care for our loved ones, to be happy- and that's great. I want to do the best I can on the level of seeking. I'm just wondering what else there is besides seeking.
Seeking arises from a sense of lack, a sense of something missing, and in the end it tends to reinforce the sense of lack, the sense of something missing. Seeking leads to brief gratification followed by an intensified sense of deficiency and a renewed compulsion to seek, and so turns the hamster wheel of samsara.
The compulsion to seek need not be fought or resisted, but simply looked at. To fight the compulsion to seek is just more seeking. It only tightens the knot.
So I'm just looking: What is this restless energy of needing to get somewhere? What is this restless of energy of needing to get away from here? What is the restless energy of needing to be somebody? What is this restless energy of needing to get away from being the deficient person I am now? What is this restlessness and agitation that drives so much unnecessary and misery-producing activity (such as, in my case, overeating)? Only awareness can answer these questions, not thinking.
Have you ever glimpsed that the mind-pattern of seeking is like a big decoy that diverts awareness from present being?
To stop seeking even for an instant feels like falling off a cliff edge. I am undefended. I have no agenda to protect me from contact with the rawness and spontaneity of life in this moment. No goal means there is nothing to distract me from the fullness of here. If I'm not seeking I'm not thinking, the mind is quiet, the flame of attention illuminates this moment.
It is possible to step off the seeking merry-go-round for a moment.
All the energy that had been consumed in seeking is suddenly freed. It's disorienting. The energy that had been on a mission to save the world and change others, etc., is unplugged from the imaginary false self. What's left is nothing out of the ordinary. But when the energy that had been consumed in seeking is suddenly freed to flood the present moment, the voltage of consciousness ratchets up: The ordinary is revealed to be a stunning field of aliveness.
When the energy pattern called seeking comes back into view today I may get absorbed into it and become the seeker, that's what happens most days and it's fine. But sometimes I am not completely lost in the mind-pattern/identity of seeker/doer.
Then I am the awareness that sees the mind-pattern of seeking but is not trapped in that mind-pattern, even when activities of seeking are taking place. There is a moving through goal-directed activities without losing touch with the plenitude of being in this moment. Concurrent with goal-directed activity there is a sense of completion. This is living in two dimensions, as Eckhart Tolle says. The dimensions of becoming and being are simultaneous and need not be in conflict.
Sometimes there is doing without any sense of being the doer- such a weightless, free feeling! And sometimes there is doing that is encumbered with a heavy sense of "me doing it, me being the doer, me working very hard and feeling very sorry for myself, etc." Both are fine, it's just interesting to notice the shift from imagining myself as the doer, to dropping that imagined sense of being the doer. It's interesting that doing carries on very well even when the notion of personal doer-ship is absent.
Being has nothing to do with seeking. Being is what is here now. In this moment there is a cessation of seeking. There is a vacuum-like openness. Into this openness there is a gentle burst of sheer aliveness. The aliveness that is always here but rarely fully felt. It's another cosmic joke: not seeking is finding.
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- ▼ May (18)
- Colleen Loehr, M.D.
- Greetings. I am a psychiatrist working at a state hospital, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at University of Missouri Medical School. I am also a wife and mother of three grown children. Qigong has profoundly changed my life for the better. I am interested in connecting with other people interested in qigong.