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, July 4, 2010

What is here.

Listening to the sound of the dishwasher and looking at the cat napping on the blue chair, something is suddenly clear (it becomes visible as if  floating up to the surface of water).  It is this:  The mind will never be able to tell me who I am.  I've searched long and hard in the mind to discover my identity and it is not there.  I won't find myself in any thought or story or experience, not even in the experience or story of awakening, enlightenment, or self-realization.  Identifying with mind-objects (i.e. seeking my identity in objects such as thoughts, stories, experiences) is the basic confusion that I have suffered from. It's the basic confusion we all suffer from.

Even though I am myself always (it cannot be otherwise), there can be a sense of not knowing who I am, of being strangely lost and disconnected from the reality of my being.  Of being out of touch with what is most vital and real within me.

There is a longing to know directly who I am apart from any mental ideas.

What I want is some kind of fundamental, conscious contact with the being, the actuality of the life that I am in this moment.

What is prior to any mental idea of who I am?  What is here in the absence of thought?  What am I apart from ego, apart from any personal history? What is here right now?

The awareness or being that everything shows up in is prior to any appearance.

In seeing this, sensing this, there is a plunge into immediacy, a wake-up slap of reality.

Attention had been locked on the clouds (thoughts, appearances) and now opens to the sky (presence/essence).

This sky of awareness or presence is here at all times; inseparable from the experiences that arise but not confined to them.

I am in no way separate from my experience, but my experiences are not who I am. There is great freedom in this fact.  The sky is not confined by the clouds within it, and no human being is defined by thought.

The sky is not diminished when the clouds dissolve. If anything, the sky is even more present, or more apparent, when there are no clouds. A sky naked of clouds is not less of a sky. Without all the buzz of experience and thought, what I am is not diminished, but unveiled or more readily apparent. Without a big pile of accomplishments and failures and ideas and experiences (without all these clouds in the sky), the true essence of the reality that I am- the sky of awareness- is more readily apparent.  The very things I sought to define myself did just the opposite: they obscured "my" reality- the wide open sky.  All the things I thought defined me were more like a mask that alienated me from my reality.

What I want to know is not so much what I am but that I am.  I want to feel/sense/know my reality, that indeed I am very much alive, aware, in this instant, un-separated from life itself.

I am.

I am!

What could be more astonishing than the am-ness of anything at all, the am-ness that is typing these words, reading these words, the am-ness that is ubiquitous in the single sky that is everything?

There is a sensing/feeling/knowing that I am.  I can't wrap it up in a neat little mental package, but I can be what I am- effortlessly, unceasingly, like the space of the sky.

The joy of being is something real and present and accessible, and it is more satisfying than any passing experience.  Why pine after a cloud when the wealth of the sky is here?

What I want, it turns out, is what I've got:  Life.  Life as it is in this moment.

Not a single movement of the mind is needed to be what I am.

Not a single thing needs to be different in order for me to be fully who I am.  There is no circumstance that can block the fullness of being.

The dishwasher is quiet and the cat is still napping on the blue chair.  The presence that is here is alive and a great wave of benevolence moves through.  Thank you for being here and sharing this space.

Gratitude to Annette Nibley for pointing out that "without a single movement of the mind" being is known. Annette's extremely lucid writing can be accessed here:  http://www.whatneverchanges.com/

Thanks also to the video of Stuart Schwartz on Never Not Here TV, which powerfully points attention to the obvious. Video can be accessed here:  http://www.nevernothere.com/stuart-schwartz


Diane AZ said...

Hi Colleen, I enjoyed reading about your experiences. I like your analogy of the clouds in the sky for the thoughts and things that arise in awareness. I don't recall a yearning to find out who I was. It was more like a curiosity of the nature of reality. Maybe it was just so satisfying to realize who I was not (neti neti) then it was clear that "what is here" (whatever it is) has always been enough.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Diane,
My sense is that the yearning to find out who we truly are and the curiosity about the nature of reality both come from the same place. We humans are blessed with an inborn love of a deeper experience of life, and this love draws us into these explorations.

'"What is here" (whatever it is) has always been enough.'...That definitely strikes the chord of truth! Living out of "enough-ness" is radically different than living out of "not enough." Even though I fall back into the old habit of feeling "something missing" and "not enough" (that conditioned pattern of perception is strong), once the clarity of 'whatever is here is always enough' has been realized, it always remains on some level.

Thank you so much for your comments Diane.

Val said...

Hi Colleen! I am at work and struggling with emotions - I "know" not to judge them, etc., but I still don't like them. :) Thanks for reminding me that life is who I am and that my inner angst is just clouds in the sky. Hope your day is good!
Love, your long lost sister, Val

Val said...

Hi Colleen! I am at work and struggling with emotions - I "know" not to judge them, etc., but I still don't like them. :) Thanks for reminding me that life is who I am and that my inner angst is just clouds in the sky. Hope your day is good!
Love, your long lost sister, Val

Colleen Loehr said...

Hello my long lost sister! I'm so glad to see you that it's a bonus your message posted twice :). Yes- it's good to be honest about our emotions and it's fine and sane not to like painful feelings! I tend to tell myself that I shouldn't have aversion and judgment toward my "yukky" feelings- but hey- it feels bad to feel bad! Not liking painful feelings is not a problem- I think the only "problem" is getting tangled in a whole mess of thoughts about the feelings. Such as "Why am I feeling this? It's so-and-so's fault that I'm feeling this way. I'm never going to get out of these feelings. I'm such a spiritual failure and so unenlightened because I feel depressed and irritated and judgmental." You know what I mean- the ruminations fueled by feelings can spin on and on ad nauseum...So I'm trying to "catch" all this thought-noise tangled up with feelings...and to shift attention from the head-stuff to the pure, raw, energy sensations associated with the feelings. It's kind of like a game, sorta fun, like learning to ride a bike, and I fall off a lot. Okay, I'm gonna press "publish your comment" before I chicken out and lose my nerve...Love you Val!

Val said...

I'm glad you pushed send!! Yes, falling off the bike, wobbling around, trying to stay balanced!


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