Grow To The Point Where Your Whole Attention Is Off You And On Others
(This the 12th essay in the series of many in which I share my experience of reading Lester Levenson and Hale Dwoskin’s Happiness Is Free: And It’s Easier Than You Think, Books 1 through 5, The Greatest Secret Edition. Sedona Press. Kindle Edition.)
Grow to the point where your whole attention is off you and on others.
The degree to which I find other people infuriating and exhausting is the degree to which I am trying to get something from them: approval, control, security, separation and oneness. Competing with them? Being offended? More of the same.
Oppose me? Thank-you!
Having peace under ideal conditions isn’t indicative of spiritual growth, it is escape. When people are not growing, they are going in the opposite direction. You should thank those who oppose you, because they give you an unusual opportunity for growth.
This is exactly what Caroline Myss is saying in her book Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can. Could I see my own ‘catastrophe’ in these terms? If were to vigorously hold truth/freedom as my highest goal, above all else, then facing my limits of existential comfort should be celebrated. I discovered yesterday that this edge is represented by the choice to step towards love or roll back into cynicism, and it scares the living daylight out of me.
Shame, shame, blame
Why the shame? I feel ashamed to the degree that I am resistant and averse to this situation, it has nothing to do with anyone else. The people who are looking down on me exist only in my imagination — they are my creations. To feel ashamed, you need to create more characters for your mental vignette. But since it’s your mind they appear in, they represent only your mind’s aversion to what is and it’s ideas about the characters who say ‘you should have …. ‘
You cannot fix shame by trying to get approval because that will dig you in deeper. He says below that while you are focused on what they are doing, you are not focused on what you are doing. You will never get free from yourself while you insist on trying to solve the problem of through creating imaginary characters in consciousness.
Adversity is a prod to growth.
So keep grabbing it as an opportunity. All my early morning horrors don’t need me to jump on the ‘see, this proves that this doesn’t work!’ train of thought. Not at all, they are an invitation to release. But it’s so hard to do because I like to suffer so much.
The theatre of your mind
To be in pain, you must have created one or more objects, imaginary people or organizations, who are telling you that you should not feel like you do, that this is the wrong path and that you have made a serious error. Paying attention to these objects for any purpose other than releasing them will bring you more pain.
This is where IFS (internal family systems) therapy is a very useful adjunct to the more usual releasing processes. You can dive right into the part of you that loves to suffer and ask it what it needs, what its function is in your psyche. With tricky, destructive parts, that have very sophisticated disguises, this is much easier than normal releasing.
The greater the crisis, the greater the opportunity for growth. The more you resist the crisis by avoidance, denial or attacking it, the slower the growth. Grab it with both hands, give it a big kiss and say ‘crisis! You are welcome here!’ This appears to be hard because we don’t like change, even if we claim that we do. Just like that expensive item of clothing you bought, never wear, but can’t bring yourself to throw away, we hold our ideas about ourselves and the world very close, even when they wrong, destructive or just dull and limiting.
Who or what is it happening to?
It would be so fast if people would, with constant, intense effort ask, “What am I?” When you get that answer, then you have control over your body and mind.
However awful you might feel, it is still appearing in or on something and that ‘thing’ is always at peace. It may feel completely subsumed by emotion, but it can never be destroyed by it. If releasing were to be constant, this question would be constant.
If there is anything you don’t like out there, there is a need to change yourself.
All suffering is resistance and resistance is ‘I don’t like that!’ ‘That is wrong!’ ‘Things should go my way!’. Who cares what you want? Why should anyone give a rat’s arse about what you have and how you think the world should be? This sounds like a joke, but it’s a deadly serious question. I came close to ruin because I believed that it should care about ME. Actions taken in hubris generally don’t turn out too well in the long run.
Each time we do it, we scorch more of the mind, until finally we have scorched the entire mind.
The ‘it’ he is referring to here is releasing, letting go, having these wonderful experiences but then returning to heaviness once the mind comes back.
As long as you know you are not the mind and the body, both of them can go on to their heart’s content, and you know that they cannot touch you.
This is the ultimate goal.
Take an inventory of your desires and you will see what your deepest desires are. If there are external desires, allow yourself to honor and fulfill them and / or just let them go. If you deny what you truly desire, it has you.
This is how we get tied up in knots trying to be ‘spiritual’ and denying desire. It is a fruitless exercise and one steeped in self-delusion and repression. Or it’s an exercise in trying to manipulate the world to make it give you what you want — maybe to favour you above all the ‘ignorant’ and ‘non-spiritual’ people. This will bring no end of trouble because these emotions and strategies are driven by a sense of lack and betray the persistent ‘it’s not fair’ childish mind — if I am good, can I have some sweets?
If you get attached to or take ego credit for any of your growth, you will find that it can become a sticking point.
Oh yes! Take even the tiniest example: the crapy, 80 Euro tablet I am writing this on. When it freezes I think, ‘it should not be like this! I am reading spiritual books! To help people! Poor me! Other people who are not as good as I am have ipads and it’s not fair. But note! I am so spiritual that I can make this OK — I am above such trivial desires!’
Go through each item on the list and ask yourself, “Can I allow myself to turn this desire into a desire for freedom?”
Yes or no. Not, I will try that later.
The others are seeking it blindly through seeking happiness in the world and never really getting the full happiness that they’re striving for. We go after it directly. We seek for it where it is. We seek it within.
I still don’t believe this so again, take it for checking. If I did believe it whole-heartedly, the job would be done. Rupert Spira says that there is nothing to be believed, it simply is. IN my mind, I still have an idea that I have to convince myself of something. Sometimes I feel like I am trying to brainwash myself. What do I get out of this polarity — of obsessing over non-duality and then demanding that it makes my world better and gets me the approval I crave? What is the advantage of making my world real? Of believing the voices in my head?
Every time we attribute this happiness to something external — to a person or a thing external — we get more pain with it than we do pleasure.
Just consider this for a while. Is it true? If it is, and I can easily find the pain that resulted from attributing happiness to objects. It must also be true that happiness doesn’t come from objects — if it really did, then getting stuff and having stuff would always equal happiness and visa versa and this clearly isn’t the case.
You can find the introduction to this essay series here: Happiness is Free: And It’s Easier Than You Think
I am an experienced facilitator in the Sedona Method — which is based on Lester’s teachings and by far the easiest and fastest route to discover for yourself the freedom, happiness and peace he describes in this book.
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