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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Claiming Reflex

Watching satsangs with Paul Hedderman on ustream and reading the wonderful wealth of communications here on the internet, there is a noticing of something that has previously been unnoticed.

At lightning speed, there is an automatic claiming mechanism for feelings and thoughts that arise.  The possessive personal pronoun "my" is inserted into every arising, and this creates the illusion of egoic identity.  The feeling of anger arises and it is immediately clutched onto with the possessive identification of the thought "I am angry."  It seems too obvious to question that this anger, misery, excitement, whatever, is happening to "me."

Looking closely reveals that the "my" is tacked on after the thought or feeling arises.  It's not really "my" thought or feeling, it's just thoughts and feelings.  It's unbelievable what a difference there is between "I am miserable" and "sensations of misery are present here."  Without the automatic, unconscious ownership of mind stuff, it becomes quite benign.

The ownership reflex happens so quickly here that it can't be stopped - but that is actually not a problem. What is so astonishing is the simple seeing of this whole process!  Now that the seeing is happening, it is simple, effortless, and unstoppable.  The ownership or claiming reflex doesn't even need to be stopped-- because in just seeing this process occurring as it occurs- the gig is up! For example, as I'm typing these words, the claiming-reflex may come up. What this looks like in this instant is  maybe the ego wanting to claim this note as having something interesting to say....so, okay claiming reflex--- claim away- churn up the usual brew of guilty pride and painful doubt- go right ahead and have a party! It's not a problem, it's just a magic trick, a sleight of hand where the grasping reflex of ownership applied to thoughts and feelings creates the illusion of a personal entity.  Watch the whole spectacle- and remain unfooled by it.

Ramana Maharshi said if you are standing on a train there is no point in carrying your luggage on your head. Put your luggage down and let the train carry the load, for the train is carrying the luggage whether you set it down or burden yourself with carrying it. In claiming to carry the luggage myself I may feel very important as an exhausted and dutiful burden-carrier (my whole personal history, etc.).  I may love making myself miserable by carrying all this mind-stuff. But the fact is that the train-- life- is really carrying what is.

Carrying the luggage is to clamp onto every thought and feeling and experience as more evidence of "me."  Putting the luggage down is to see that there is no "my" story- there are only stories- arisings and passings in awareness.  Even when that automatic claw machine of possessiveness claims this experience as "mine", it can be seen for what it is (i.e. as not mine, not evidence of a personal entity), and no longer cause distress.  The neuroses, the conditioned patterns of mind, the reactivity, are still here, but they are no longer a huge burden called "me and my life"- they are just part of the dance, and "I" am no longer possessed by them...

Gratitude to Paul Hedderman, satsang can be watched at this link: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/9143973


No One In Particular said...

Hi Colleen, nice post. There are some nonduality police who object to not using the personal pronoun, labeling it a contrived affectation. (Dropping personal pronouns is also known as Lucknow's syndrome.) However, it's a nice device for battering the poor, overworked, underpaid, conditioned-to-be-possessive mind into submission! Taking a step farther back, it's just the story of the mind realising that the identity is a construct. Just another bundle of concepts; not important at all.

MeANderi said...

Hi Colleen ~ What a wonderful *Seeing*. Very helpful to read this too.

Several years ago "I" realized that the "me" is just a fabrication - and yet - there continues to be varying degrees of claiming and identification that still go on. But as you said:"that is actually not a problem"..."the ownership and claiming reflex doesn't need to be stopped" AMEN! Just as this "me" doesn't need to be gotten rid of. It just seems to be a part of the package, if you will. The totality that we are.

I love Maharshi's luggage story! Such a wonderful image to remember to put it all down, as "I" am also a burden carrier :) oops there's that "me" again. LOL You are right that it is no longer a burden, it's just all part of the dance. That's freedom! :) I mean who cares what it's called! And, it's hard not to refer to the "me" and if you spend a lot of time and words trying not to refer to it, then you're back in duality again - creating the separation that isn't really there.

Thank you for this insightful post!


Leslie said...

What is REALLY heartening is seeing this sweet-wisdom-blog-posting-troika right here...in this one page. Hugs to all three of you as each of you and together have given me such warm and inspiring hope and wise pointing. When there is clarity I love the outlaw feeling of using any word one wants to.
And now...down with the luggage. Down.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Suzanne,

"Realising that the identity is a construct, another bundle of concepts, not important at all" is a relief. Attention is effortlessly unchained from the constant obsession with self-centered thinking. The spell has been broken. It's funny, once upon a time being important seemed like a desirable thing...now seeing the un-importance of who-thought-thinks-I-am is actually exhilirating...
I have heard of Lucknow's syndrome, from Papaji's crowd of many wonderful teachers. Free associating here...there are "dissociative disorders" when there is an un-hitching from the self-sense as a desperate ploy to cope with terrible stressors. And then there is realization or clarity where the insubstantial nature of the ego identity is seen...Maybe dissociation and the bubble-popping of illusion are two sides of a coin?...Too much thinking...
Thanks much for your comments Suzanne.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Christine,
Yes, all this time I've felt like the me was a problem that had to be solved or woken up from...Now I feel like it's actually not bad company! It's a relief to see it "form" through what Hedderman calls "selfing". The gig is up- it's fine for the ego to be what it is- a miraculous dance of mind-stuff. I don't have to stop the selfing- just see it in action for what it is. It's not an enemy or an obstacle- it's just a fabrication, as you point out.
I also feel less compelled to look for myself with the mind- that is a pointless and impossible task. It's fun actually being here without the slightest idea what I am!
It's always a joy to see you Christine, and your comments resonate strongly with me.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Leslie,
I also love the "outlaw feeling" of using any word one wants to- and that's a great way to describe it. It's been a joy seeing you here and there around Facebook too- we seem to gravitate to a lot of the same posts. Your warmth and encouragement are sunshine to me Leslie, thank you.

Triza said...

Thank you as always for such clear pointing...
Love the Luggage story...Truth of our true nature is so clear and warm heartening.This reminds me of the teachings of jesus when he mentions about casting our burdens.
And yet with all this,All is one as susan puts it so well,just concepts arising."This" is eternal never ending,fresh every moment,not important,important.

Colleen Loehr said...

Beautifully said Triza! BTW, I'd like to send you a friend invitation on Facebook if you are on FB. I am finding there is a wonderful wealth of sharing on FB and a sense of community as well. Thanks for being here Triza, your comments are truly appreciated.

Triza said...

No Problem Coleen,I'l send you an invitation.

Colleen Loehr said...

Great- thanks Triza.

Anonymous said...

When I heard someone say that whether the sense of a separate self was present or absent made no difference to awareness I was so relieved. I had put a lot of effort into waiting for the sense of a separate self to drop off. Now I just let it arise and fall like any other appearance.

Colleen Loehr said...

Fighting appearances energizes the illusion and makes it seem real. What a relief to give up the fight against appearances! Then the identification with form eases...and the reality of formlessness floats into view. Thank you so much for your 'spot on' comments anonymous.

DirectSpirit said...

It's all about ME!

Colleen Loehr said...

Exactly Aliman! :-)

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