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!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Awareness held hostage




This morning I am struck by some words from Huang Po:

"There is only one reality, neither to be realized nor attained.  To say 'I am able to realize something' or 'I am able to attain something' is to place yourself among the arrogant.  The men who flapped their garments and left the meeting as mentioned in the Lotus Sutra were just such people.  (These people THOUGHT they had understood and were smugly self-satisfied.)  Therefore the Buddha said:  'I truly obtained nothing from Enlightenment.'  There is just a mysterious tacit understanding and no more."

This knocks the wind out of my seeking- it is recognized as a self-fueled obsession that enhances the false notion of separate self-hood, digging deeper the pit of suffering and delusion.

Freedom from the obsession with grasping opens awareness to what is already here.

This breath.

This silence, permeating all the noise, all the thoughts.

Awareness had been held hostage to ideas of more, to ideas of getting free, ideas of being a better me, a happier me, an enlightened me.

The hostage is no longer held hostage when these ideas lose their allure... their falsity is recognized.  No ransom to be gained, the 'kidnapper' (believed delusions) lets the 'hostage' (awareness) go.

It's an ordinary day.  Sunday mass at 11:30, and then all five of us will go see the new movie, Karate Kid.

Awareness opens outside of the mind and into the fullness of no-thing.  Awareness is untethered from the torture machine of external seeking as the futility of the machine is recognized.

Freedom from seeking doesn't mean stagnation.  It means movement toward goals is unhindered by anxiety.

THIS floods awareness, this life in this moment.

May we all enjoy the abundance of no-mind.  The vastness and real-ness of nonverbal consciousness is here, free for the noticing, whenever attention opens wider than the TV-in-the-head.


(Note: Gratitude to Jan Frazier, author of When Fear Falls Away, for the phrase "awareness held hostage." Here is a link for Jan's website:http://www.janfrazierteachings.com/. The essays on Jan's website are highly recommended.)
(Quote is from The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, translated by John Blofield, p. 45.)
(Gratitude for image available at this link: tomsteel.wordpress.com/ post dated Feb 13, 2008)

~

27 comments:

tom sullivan said...

Thanks for the great Huang Po quote...and the pointing to "the abundance of no-mind."

Susannah said...

I love the lines - "The vastness and real-ness of nonverbal consciousness is here, free for the noticing, whenever attention opens wider than the TV-in-the-head."

Yes, oh yes! :-)

In my life one of the most profound things was realising that there was nothing to seek - that it was already there, I just had to let go all the things that were covering and blocking my awareness and ALLOW life/consciousness/me to just be, without following the dance of the mind propelling me on a time wasting wild goose chase of things I have to do/be/become.

Our essence is timeless and at one and just as it should be, so I relax, let go, allow, trust.

I always enjoy your posts Colleen, thank you. :-)

Love to you all. x

Alton said...

Born a seeker, I am now
seeking having nothing to seek.

Aloha from a sunny paradise
that can cause cataracts
and does for old folks like me. Alton

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Tom,

No-thing is big enough for every-thing. I'm happy to see you here, thank you for your comment.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Susannah,

I read your comment out loud to my husband Greg and we both agree that your comment would be a great post in itself- beautifully written from direct experience.

The mind does seem to propel us on many pointless and pain-producing chases...Yet when this is seen, part of consciousness is no longer caught up in the conditioning. There is consciousness of essence, which is the fount of genuine fulfillment, as you point out.

It's a joy to communicate with you, thank you.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Alton,

I am also a born seeker, we all are. Not seeking is finding...It's something like a Dr. Seuss tale...Always good to see you Alton, thank you for your comment.

Diane AZ said...

Your post is quite an eye opener. I didn't realize seeking itself could be so painful. For me it seemed suffering was tied to believing I was a separate entity.

I had not noticed that Buddha quote before. I especially like the part, "There is just a mysterious tacit understanding and no more."

I hope you enjoyed watching the movie with your family. :)

MeANderi said...

How beautiful! ..."seeking is recognized as a self-fueled obsession that enhances the false notion of separate self..." Amazing when that realization hits home... Wonderful awareness :) When the penny dropped for me on this one it was a real "awakener" :) LOL... So much I resonate with here! Thank you...
Christine

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Diane,

We loved the movie The Karate Kid, and I would recommend it if you'd like to see a worthwhile film. It definitely had a spiritual dimension, and I liked what was said about "chi."

We all seek and it distracts us from presence. Seeking tends to be future oriented and based on a sense of "something missing." But the "something missing" feeling is the ache or "hole" we feel from not being fully present...So it's a vicious circle, and the seeking itself causes a growing sense of lack (like scratching an itch makes it itch more). At least that is my experience. It's helpful to see this, because when the momentum of perpetual seeking is broken (and seeing that seeking doesn't work breaks its momentum), suddenly all that energy is free to enter present reality- and the voltage of present awareness goes up some notches. And that after all is what we were seeking- a keener sense of being alive. Being fully here and at one with life.

This shift happens for me, and for all of us, sometimes. Non-seeking doesn't mean sitting around doing nothing, it means being lived fully by life. Non-seeking is a more dynamic and creative energy stream than the repetitive seeking-circles of the me-who-wants-to-get-somewhere.

I still get caught up in seeking everyday, but at least there are moments of non-striving, and there is more noticing of what future thoughts are holding awareness hostage.

I agree with you that the separate self notion is the basis of our pain. Belief in being a separate entity and the compulsion to seek are two sides of a coin. Where is seeking without the notion of the separate self? Ideas of deficiency that compel seeking are the bread-and-butter of the mirage of separate ego identity.

Thanks for visiting and your comments have triggered some seeing here, I am grateful to you.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Christine,

I'm happy to see you, and I really loved your post today, which, if my memory is right, has the lovely title "Symphony of Silence." I'm glad you resonate with this post and I wish you a good day in beautiful Colorado.

MeANderi said...

Colleen ~ I love your response comment to Diane! It articulates it all so well! I too keep getting caught in the seeking, distracted from Presence, even though I know there's no-thing to seek. I seem to still be captured by this sense of "separation" - the mirage, as you so beautifully put it. And I love this: "being lived fully by life...a dynamic and energetic energy stream."

Thank for this beautiful articulation! Christine

Leslie said...

Thank you Colleen and for all the posts here. Susannah's line "Our essence is timeless and at one and just as it should be, so I relax, let go, allow, trust." Beautiful and direct. Seeking a mirage -- boy am I bound with a ball and chain -- with light occasionally seeping in. That may be a mirage but ya'll are such beautiful mirrors. Thank youto all of you. And Huang Po...one of the all-time rug-yanker-outers :)
XOXO
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Christine and Leslie,
I am so much enjoying all this lively dialogue.

Today it occurs to me that "seeking" is just an energy pattern, just a habit that has been deeply conditioned. As an energy pattern it seems less daunting. I get caught up in the energy pattern called seeking, maybe it's just hurrying to get through the current chore and onto the "next thing"- that's typically the form that "seeking" takes in my life- the rush to get past this moment and onto the next thing. Eckhart describes this universal human compulsion beautifully in his books.

The wonderful thing is that "that which is aware" of the pattern is no longer in the pattern. Seeing is freeing. If if the pattern continues, I'm no longer 100% lost in it...

Leslie I like your vivid description of being "bound with a ball and chain" to seeking (this definitely describes my experience as well). And I like your description of Huang Po as one of the "all-time rug-yanker-outers"- a very apt description!

Thank you both so much for visiting.

Triza said...

Thank you for the post.What comes to mind more and more lately is how i have lived from the conditioned assumption that there was something to achieve and realize.This moment was just never good enough.
seeking started with the hope of ultimately getting it!
But now there is questioning of these assumptions that i had put in place and if there is ever a getting it!or realizing!
Susannah explained it really well..There is the mind wanting to become to change but within that there is an inner stillness that just is.
For me it feels a change from viewing life through the conditioned mind to something even deeper.

Leslie said...

Hi Colleen,
Where in Eckhart?!?! If Tolle took Eckhart's name than I am Tolle's sister :)
Jan Frazier puts it great..."Stop trying to wake up. Let go of effort. Trying has to do with time, with the desire to bring about change. You’re awake, you’re awake. You just don’t know it. Know it. That’s all. Stop trying to become what you already are. Relax. Relax yourself into a piece of cooked spaghetti." Anything with spaghetti is fine by me.
Yesterday there was a deep sense of what 'rest' is...what 'relax' is. There is something very profound in that, that allows for a laser-like focus.
xoxo
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

I love your comments Triza. As I read what you write I also see and question my long-held assumption that the present moment isn't good enough. It seems to be the human condition to be blinded by unquestioned assumptions without even realizing it- at least this has been the case for me, and continues to be the case- yet clarity can expand past all the conceptual barriers.

I share with you what feels like "a change from viewing life through the conditioned mind to something even deeper." What could be more wonderful? Thank you!

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Leslie- Love the quotes from Jan, I also feel anything with spaghetti is fine by me! Will get back to you later with the references in Eckhart's books...thanks for asking, I'm glad for any excuse to look at Eckhart's books.

Remember Be Here Now said...

"This silence, permeating all the noise, all the thoughts". What peace this sentence emanates, it's enough to stop me seeking for a moment and look up. With Love.

Leslie said...

Hi Colleen,
LOL...thought you were referring to Meister Eckhart! No need to look up the reference in Tolle...I think I have those books memorized. If anyone saw the tags I have in those books it would be darned embarrassing.
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Susanne,

Thank goodness that noise cannot obliterate silence, and motion does not disturb stillness, and true nature is at peace with ego. I'm always glad to see you here- peace and love be with you.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Leslie-
It is easy to mix up Meister Eckhart and Eckhart Tolle- like you, I love both these mystics. From your earlier comment I meant to say I'm glad to hear that you are having a deep sense of rest and relaxation- that seems to be the open window through which awareness of our true self enters. I appreciate hearing about your experience.

Leslie said...

The deep felt sense of that rest or relaxed quality 'is' the open window...you are right! How do I forget that natural ease that, in itself, 'is' the letting go of all that is not-self??!?!?! Someone explain that to me...puleeeze. :)I'm going to tatoo that to my forehead...plaster the walls...e-mail it to myself...shout it from the mountain top...and then probably fall down in a heap. Given up for dead but maybe resurrected :-O
XOXO
-L.

Colleen Loehr said...

Natural ease is the letting go of all that is not-self...now that puts a little light bulb over my head. Thanks Leslie :-) XOXO

Diane said...

Love, compassion, joy......no other thing to say.

Colleen Loehr said...

Thank you Diane. The quote from Adyashanti from your blog today defintely has the "jolt" of the live wire of the Tao.

roseduncan said...

A belated response. I love that you are going through all this and then you say in the middle, an ordinary day, mass and The Karate Kid. Isn't that just the way it goes, all the intense external and internal pressures and then wait. . . another day, another ordinary day.

Colleen Loehr said...

So true Naomi, the brass tacks of ordinary living is the scaffolding that is always here- brush your teeth, get your meals, do what you have to do to flow through the day, it's a river that never stops moving. Today Greg had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and I have been with him all day, and soon I dash out to required meeting for my job, and so it goes. It's good to ground all the head-stuff and philosophical/spiritual insights in the brick and mortar of actual living. Some days I'm falling in love with the ordinariness of life, and other days the ordinary seems inescapably boring...Go figure. Thanks for visiting, and now I'm off to see your blog...

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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.

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