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, June 21, 2010

"No need for concern"



"What is being spoken of here is not any kind of freedom or emancipation in the life of the character- rather it's about this that already is, regardless of any circumstances.  No need for concern then about whether there's an 'I' or not, nor for whether any process is underway, finished or not even started.  Your true nature is always Being, and the play will take its own course."
(Nathan Gill, Being, p. 95)

There's a relaxing that occurs when I read these words.  All the endless attempts to improve life are abandoned, and it is clear that life needs no improvement.  There is still a natural flow towards the good, towards "improvement", but it is not fueled by notions of deficit.

If you are not used to reading books on nonduality, the word "character" in the context of the above passage refers to the limited personal sense of self as a separated mind/body.  There is more to us than the "character,"  there is more to any human being than meets the eye.

"No need for concern" does not mean apathy but equanimity, which is lack of excessive anxiety over the ever-changing circumstances of life.  The presence of awareness is something real and alive as the "container" of all the changing content of each moment.  The presence of awareness itself is the heart of being alive, and it is inherently peaceful.

The image is from Flickr.  Gratitude to Nathan Gill, here is a link to his website:http://www.nathangill.com/
Gratitude to Jan Frazier for her writing about the "container" and the contents in her essay Remembering to Notice, available here:http://www.janfrazierteachings.com/blog/?p=1981#more-1981

~

34 comments:

Leslie said...

Hmmmm....You and the One :) Thank you for this compassionate, beautiful response. This message strikes such a deep cord and the sound is OM.
XOXO
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

We are the One, thanks for your comment Leslie :)
XOXO
Colleen

Stephanie said...

Beauty, pure beauty! Thank you.

MeANderi said...

Beautiful! Beautiful. I am breathing deeper already! :)
Christine

No One In Particular said...

Nathan ROCKS.

Colleen Loehr said...

Thanks everyone for the comments, it is a joy to share this space with you...

Joop Zand said...

It's a wonderful picture, my compliments.

greetings, Joop ( Holland )

http://jfotograaf.blogspot.com

Doreen said...

"The presence of awareness itself is the heart of being alive, and it is inherently peaceful."
Nice line, nice pic!

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Joop Zand,

I'm happy to meet you, thank you for visiting.

Hi Doreen,

I have received the cards I ordered from your website and they are beyond beautiful! Thank you.

Diane AZ said...

Awesome image! I like the quote by Nathan Gill, especially when he says "...the play will take its own course."

Colleen Loehr said...

It's lovely to just let life live, "the play take its course." Then it's more of a ride than an obstacle course. Thanks for stopping by Diane.

roseduncan said...

And I love the image too. Finding peace is really such a struggle. But then, so is life, right?

Colleen Loehr said...

Peace is the cessation of struggle, which occurs spontaneously for all of us at times. Peace can't be found through struggle; in a way it can't be found at all, because finding implies seeking, and seeking is a kind of agitation, and agitation does not lead to or produce peace.

But it need not be depressing or dis-empowering that peace can't be successfully sought. In seeing that there is no point in seeking peace, there may be a spontaneous relaxation. Ironically, peace tends to come to me when I am not struggling to attain it. Struggle, for me and for most of us, is a habit. And a socially sanctioned habit; there is often a cultural assumption that struggle is sort of virtuous and noble; and that if you're not struggling, you're a slacker wasting your life.

Is life a struggle? That is often my experience. But I'm beginning to see that it is really my mind that is struggling, or my mind that is seeing life as a struggle, when in fact life itself often has an effortless quality. The heart beats, the hair grows, the clouds move across the sky, and a billion other life processes occur without a seeming sense of struggle.

On the other hand, I often experience what you describe- that finding peace is a struggle, and that life is a struggle. Just yesterday I had quite a blow-out with my sweet daughter- I can get really reactive when my conditioning gets triggered.

Hope you don't mind this somewhat long and meandering response Naomi. Thank you very much for your comments, I am happy to "see" you.

Leslie said...

Hi Colleen,
Thankj you got your last comment here. Every now and then...even seeping out from utter freaked-outness and concern -- there is a (momentary) falling into a relaxation, a rest, that reveals this peace and this 'just-this-ness' of life...without the veil, or at least without as thick of a veil. Even if it doesn't spill into this one Existence it is still a step in the right direction. And there is a feeling that everything is okay...even a joy in not knowing. Just a tad more transparency. And everything in the world can see it. The world 'likes it' :) The world likes it when we let go!!
XOXO
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

"just-this-ness"...mmm, can't be lost, can't be found, just-this-ness...thank you Leslie. Your words bring me home to just this...

Alton said...

Hi Colleen:
Your topics are always thought provoking.
Mahalo,
Alton

Colleen Loehr said...

Thanks Alton, sending good will to you in Hawaii.

Triza said...

"is life a struggle? That is often my experience. But I'm beginning to see that it is really my mind that is struggling, or my mind that is seeing life as a struggle, when in fact life itself often has an effortless quality."
seeking for me was really about finding a way to end life's struggles and problems.I never really looked into who was having a problem with life and why?
To question mind concepts brings the realization that there is more to life than what i think of it.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Triza,

It's always a joy to see you. I came across some words today that struck me, and come to mind when I read your comments. Here are the words:

"Life is not a task. There is absolutely nothing to attain except the realization that there is absolutely nothing to attain." (Tony Parsons)

On one level, there is wholeness, completion, and nothing whatsoever to be attained, because nothing is lacking.

Yet there is still an unfolding of oneness, the expression of joy, the dance of the universe. The brain superimposes a story of finality and "progress", but actually there is only perfection in each unique moment, perfection in a zillion disguises.

Seeing this doesn't mean to neglect the time-line aspect of life...Life is not a task, and each day there is a moving through many tasks. There's nothing to attain because nothing is lacking; and someone can still "attain" a college degree or a healed relationship or a deeper understanding of life or any of a million other things. But on the level of being there is nothing to be attained because completion is everpresent.

Thanks so much for your comments Triza, and for the recent post on your blog. There is indeed more to life than what we think of it...this fact is so humbling and refreshing.

Doreen said...

Cool that You got some cards! Thanks!!

Colleen Loehr said...

I especially love the Morning Glory card "Open to Receive." I have a
5X7 card and may have it matted and framed to hang up. Beauty is a magnet to the moment- thank you Doreen.

Penelope said...

With regard to "seeking" Peace.... I did that for years too. I love what you are are saying in this post and also in the comment above. I sense Peace just reading it.

As you said, looking for or finding Peace implies seeking.

What I'll share is that, in my experience, any desire for this moment to be other than it is takes one out of the Present moment and into the future. A future moment where hopefully, there will be Peace.

But the catch is that the only moment one can find Peace is NOW.... so my experience is that seeking it will always take one further from Peace!

Colleen Loehr said...

It seems ironic that seeking peace stirs agitation and distracts awareness from present peace.

I read somewhere that the horizon always recedes as we approach it. No matter how we strive to reach the horizon, it always remains the same distance from us. Running after the horizon doesn't bring us nearer to it; it only wears us out.

Maybe "future peace" is like the horizon: unattainable. When we tire of looking for something where it cannot be found, then maybe we fall back into the arms of what is here all along.

I have looked in mind, and I have looked in time, and I have not found lasting satisfaction, for which every heart yearns.

Somehow slipping out of mind, slipping out of time, is so easy and simple that there is a strange reluctance to allow this to occur.

Thank you so much for your perceptive and clear comments Penelope, I love this dialogue.

Penelope said...

Thank you Colleen for providing a place to have these dialogues!

I love your analogy of the horizon.... I've heard it said this way....

Where are you?
Here
When?
Now

Since the horizon is "over there" but never "here" one can never reach it in the NOW either! One can only look at it and long to be "there." Just as one might long for Peace in the future. Great analogy!

That is what the Buddah did - gave up or fall back into what was here all along!! Leonard Jacobson says that it is almost TOO simple.... so simple that we miss it.

Colleen Loehr said...

Yes, I like Leonard Jacobsen too. Just a few days ago my husband and I watched a DVD of his one-man-play "Liberating Jesus", and we enjoyed it very much. It's great that Leonard is now moving to your area- Minnesota- as you mentioned in a comment on your blog. I hope you post some blogs about attending his satsangs. Thanks for your comments Penelope.

Leslie said...

"When we tire of looking for something where it cannot be found, then maybe we fall back into the arms of what is here all along."
Colleen...those words are so(oooo:) beautiful. The other night, as I was sitting, there was this resting and in that resting there was this silence or something that was seeing...no way can I describe it but it sure was nice. The only vacation I've had in a decade.
XOXO

Colleen Loehr said...

"Resting in the seeing"...aahhh, that is the true vacation. It's funny how it's a kind of a falling back (rather than our usual mode of straining forward away from the vague discomfort we seem pickled in much of the time- or maybe I should say the vague discomfort that I feel pickled in much of the time). Lately there's just this flooding of awareness onto all those inner feelings of static...and this effortless flooding of consciousness, light, onto the whole brew of feelings works some kind of magic. Maybe that's similar to the vacation you had recently...Thanks so much for this dialogue Leslie.

Lelsie said...

"...and this effortless flooding of consciousness, light, onto the whole brew of feelings works some kind of magic." By 'magic' do you mean that with a certain amount of that light the whole panorama of suffering is done away with without having to 'delve into' the thoughts... so they can be 'released'? I keep thinking I have to go 'deep into' the pain, or whatever, to see it so it's released. There is not much (or any, to be exact)confidence in 'my' ability to do that.
XOXO
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

It's uncharted territory and the mind wants a map, a recipe, an instruction booklet- and that's fine- that is what minds are built to want.

Something about the silent light of consciousness mingling with the feelings seems effortlessly transformative. The heat in the oven transforms batter to cake, and the heat of conscious awareness transforms suffering to freedom. You don't need to know how the heat of the oven turns the batter to cake, and you don't need to know how the light of consciousness transforms whatever it meets... but you do need to put the cake in the oven, and you do need to have that energy of conscious presence arise to meet whatever feelings happen to come up in the present moment. I watched a You Tube video of Jan Frazier interviewed by Reality TV the other day and some things she said especially toward the end of the 30 minute interview really struck me. You might enjoy checking it out sometime...She talks about "seeing in an unflinching way how the mind blocks the light." Thanks for continuing this dialogue Leslie, I find it very helpful and enjoyable.

I hope you will flood the light of silent awareness onto the thoughts that doubt your ability to delve into thoughts, and also the idea that this something that needs to be done. It gets to be great fun to watch that trouble-maker mind try to stir up trouble and invent one imaginary problem after the next- the mind is so ingenious- even almost endearing in it's tenacity in inventing ways to suffer. It's truly the greatest show on earth...to watch that is...but being "in" the show is torture...

Leslie said...

Hi Colleen,
Thanks...I look forward to watching the Jan Frazier interview.
"I hope you will flood the light of silent awareness onto the thoughts that doubt your ability to delve into thoughts, I hope you will flood the light of silent awareness onto the thoughts that doubt your ability to delve into thoughts, and also the idea that this something that needs to be done.
Me too! I'm not sure what is meant by this part..."I hope you will flood the light of silent awareness onto the thoughts that doubt your ability to delve into thoughts, and also the idea that this something that needs to be done."
XOXO
-Leslie

Leslie said...

Oh dear...so much for 'copy and paste'...I am not sure what is meant by this part ..."and also the idea that this something that needs to be done."
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Leslie,

I made a typo- I had meant to type- flood the light of awareness onto the notion communicated in your comment here: "I keep thinking I have to go 'deep into' the pain, or whatever, to see it so it's released."

I have had the same belief that I needed to delve "deep into" the pain in order for it to be released, and in a sense that is true, at least in the way I see things. What I mean is: I sense there are deep wells of "unfelt" pain in myself, and in most people; and these feelings need to be fully felt, or they will continue to "run my life" from "behind the scenes", so to speak. But I in no way need to delve into this well- that would in fact be counterproductive and futile. I don't need to delve into the "pain well" because the pain comes up on its own, at its own pace, in its own perfect timing and quantity (it needs no "help" from me to do this). Sometimes it comes up as a vague sense of unease, sometimes as full blown agony, and sometimes there isn't the slightest trace of pain in the moment. So it runs the full gamut from zero pain to almost unendurable pain. That's fine, and the pace and depth of the "unpacking" of the pain is none of my business, so to speak; it's nothing I need to worry about, and nothing I need to delve into or dredge up from within (since it happens spontaneously).

But here's my "job": to let the flood of awareness that I naturally and effortlessly am- mingle deeply and wordlessly and fully and nonjudgmentally with whatever pain happens to be present in this moment. So in that sense you could say you need to delve into the pain- the pain comes up on its own (we don't need to delve for it)- but when it's here- we can feel it deeply and fully and silently (i.e. be aware of it, bring the light of consciousness to it)...Or we can NOT feel it deeply and fully- we can THINK about it- and thinking is basically a shield against feeling feelings. Thinking is the great defense, the great barrier, the great curtain we hide behind to avoid direct contact with life, with feelings.

Thinking is not the only way we hide from feelings- I am astonished to see how the effort to escape unpleasant feelings propels so many of the activities of life- from the hunt for success and accomplishment and enlightenment to the hunt for something yummy to eat in the refrigerator. Even reading endless books and websites can be a way to avoid direct contact with pain in this moment. I am speaking from my own experience in avoiding pain, and I think the "personal is universal" and that the human race is in a mad dash to avoid painful feelings, and that is the dance of samsara.

Of course it's natural to want to avoid painful feelings, and there is nothing to condemn in that universal human tendency. It's just that avoidance doesn't "work". What does work is honestly, deeply being with what is- the good, the bad, and the ugly. What it means to truly have contact with what is- to actually be present with what is- without all the mental barriers and judgments- is something I am just getting a feel for recently. That is the "magic" of transforming awareness. Thanks so much for this conversation Leslie- it is waking up silent awareness here.

Leslie said...

Thanks so much for adding such clarity to this... "But I in no way need to delve into this well- that would in fact be counterproductive and futile. I don't need to delve into the "pain well" because the pain comes up on its own, at its own pace, in its own perfect timing and quantity (it needs no "help" from me to do this)." After reading several sites I realize that I completely misunderstood about this looking into pain. No wonder there was resistance...for Pete's sake, I am naturally being presented with platter fulls of pain already... so much so that my heart was splintering at the thought of having to dive for even more.
I can see the 'mechanism' of choiceless looking at painful thoughts and what 'ensues' -- or more accurately -- what gets revealed. That really clears this up a lot. Thank you so much Colleen.
XOXO
-Leslie

Colleen Loehr said...

You're welcome Leslie, and my gratitude is with you as well.

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