CHAPTER SEV EN: FROM A DDICTIVE TO ENLIGHTENED RELATIONSHIPS
Unless a n d until y o u access t h e consciousness fre quency of presence, all relationships, and particularly intimate relationships, are deeply flawed and ultimately dysfunctional. They may seem perfect for a while, such as when you are "in love," but invariably that apparent perfection gets disrupted as arguments.
It seems that most "love relationships" become love/hate relationships before long. Love can then turn into savage attack.
You can not love your partner one moment and attack him or her the next. True love has no opposite. If your "love" has an opposite, then it is not love but a strong ego need for a more complete and deeper sense of self, a need that the other person temporarily meets. It is the ego's substitute for salvation, and for a short time it almost does feel like salvation.
But there comes a point when your partner behaves in ways that fail to meet your needs, or rather those of your ego.
Every addic tion starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to - alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person - you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain.
That is why, after the initial euphoria has passed, there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in inti mate relationships. They do not cause pain and unhap piness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you. Every addiction does that. Every addiction reaches a point where it does not work for you anymore, and then you feel the pain more intensely than ever.
FROM ADDICTIVE TO ENLIGHTENED RELATIONSHIPS
WHETHER YOU ARE LIVING ALONE OR WITH A PARTNER, this remains the key: being present and intensifying your presence by taking your attention ever more deeply into the Now.
For love to flourish, the light of your pres ence needs to be strong enough so that you no longer get taken over by the thinker or the pain-body and mistake them for who you are.
To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.
the moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.
FIRST YOU STOP JUDGING YOURSELF; then you stop judging your partner. The greatest cata lyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way.
That immediately takes you beyond ego. All mind games and all addictive clinging are then over.There are no victims and no perpe trators anymore, no accuser and accused.
RELATIONSHIPS AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
As humans have become increasingly identified with their mind, most relationships are not rooted in Being and so turn into a source of pain and become domi nated by problems and conflict.
whenever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out the "madness" in you and in your partner, be glad. What was unconscious is being brought up to the light. It is an opportunity for salvation.
EVERY MOMENT, HOLD THE KNOWING OF THAT MOMENT, particularly of your inner state. If there is anger, know that there is anger.
The relationship then becomes your sadhana, your spiritual practice. If you observe unconscious behavior in your partner, hold it in the loving embrace of your knowing so that you won't react.
Unconsciousness and knowing cannot coexist for long - even if the knowing is only in the other per son and not in the one who is acting out the uncon sciousness. The energy form that lies behind hostility and attack finds the presence of love absolutely intol erable. If you react at all to your partner's uncon sciousness, you become unconscious yourself But if you then remember to know your reaction, nothing is lost.
if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born into this world.
The moment you start to argue, you have identified with a mental position.
At times, it may be appropriate to point out certain aspects of your partner's behavior. If you are very alert, very present, you can do so without ego involvement - without blaming, accusing, or making the other wrong.
When your partner behaves unconsciously, relinquish all judgment. Judgment is either to confuse someone's unconscious behavior with who they are or to project your own unconsciousness onto another person and mistake that for who they are.
To relinquish judgment does not mean that you do not recognize dysfunction and unconsciousness when you see it. It means "being the knowing" rather than "being the reaction" and the judge.
Instead of fighting the darkness, you bring in the light. Instead of reacting to delusion, you see the delusion yet at the same time look through it.
No greater catalyst for transformation exists. If you practice this, your partner cannot stay with you and remain unconscious.
when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions - and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfYing your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is.
GIVE UP THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF
Enlightened or not, you are either a man or a woman, so on the level of your form identity you are not complete. You are one-half of the whole. This incompleteness is felt as male-female attraction, the pull toward the opposite energy polarity.
Your form may continue to have certain needs, but Being has none. It is already complete and whole.
So it is perfectly possible for an enlightened person, if the need for the male or female polarity is not met, to feel a sense of lack or incompleteness on the outer level of his or her being, yet at the same time be totally complete, fulfilled, and at peace within.
If you cannot be at ease with yourself when you are alone, you will seek a relationship to cover up your unease. You can be sure that the unease will then reap pear in some other form within the relationship, and you will probably hold your partner responsible for it.
But do you need to have a relationship with yourself at all? Why can't you just be yourself? When you have a relationship with yoursel£ you have split yourself into twO: ''1'' and "myself," subject and object. That mind created duality is the root cause of all unnecessary com plexity, of all problems and conflict in your life.
In the state of enlightenment, the split caused by self-reflective consciousness is healed, its curse removed. There is no "self" that you need to protect, defend, or feed anymore.
PART THREE: ACCEPTANCE AND SURRENDER
When you surrender to what is
and so become fully present,
the past ceases to have any power.
The realm of Being which had been obscured by the mind, then open up.
Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, an unfathomable sense of peace.
And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love.
And at the innermost core, there is the sacred, the immeasurable, That which cannot be named.
CHAPTER EIGHT: ACCEPTANCE OF THE NOW
IMPERMANENCE AND THE CYCLES DF LIFE
The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realization. You must have failed deeply on some level or experienced some deep loss or pain to be drawn to the spiritual dimension. Or perhaps your very success became empty and meaningless and so turned out to be failure.
Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure.
All forms are impermanent.
the intelligence of the organism may take over as a self-protective measure and create an illness in order to force you to stop, so that the necessary regeneration can take place.
It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them.
All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.
The happiness that is derived from some secondary source is never very deep. It is only a pale reflection of the joy of Being, the vibrant peace that you find within as you enter the state of resistance. Being takes you beyond the polar opposites of the mind and frees you from dependency on form. Even if everything were to collapse and crumble all around you, you would still feel a deep inner core of peace. You may not be happy, but you will be at peace.
USING AND RELINQUISHING NEGATIVITY
All negativity is resistance.
The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve an undesirable one.
If "you" - the mind - did not believe that unhappiness works, why would you create it? The fact is, of course, that negativity does not work.
Its only "useful" function is that it strengthens the ego, and that is why the ego loves it.
WATCH ANY PLANT OR ANIMAL AND LET IT TEACH YOU acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity - which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.
When you have reached a certain degree of presence, you don't need negativity anymore to tell you what is needed in your life situation.
But as long as negativity is there, use it. Use it as a kind of signal that reminds you to be more present.
WHENEVER YOU FEEL NEGATIVITY ARISING WITHIN YOU, whether caused by an external fac tor, a thought, or even nothing in particular that you are aware of, look on it as a voice say ing, ''Attention. Here and Now. Wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present."
Even the slightest irritation is significant and needs to be acknowledged and looked at; otherwise, there will be a cumulative buildup of unobserved reactions.
Let's say that you are sitting quietly at home. Suddenly, there is the penetrating sound of a car alarm from across the street. Irritation arises. What is the purpose of the irritation? None whatsoever. Why did you create it? You didn't. The mind did. It was totally automatic, totally unconscious.
Why did the mind create it? Because it holds the unconscious belief that its resistance, which you expe rience as negativity or unhappiness in some form, will somehow dissolve the undesirable condition. This, of course, is a delusion. The resistance that it creates, the irritation or anger in this case, is far more disturbing than the original cause that it is attempting to dissolve.
FEEL YOURSELF BECOMING TRANSPARENT, as it were, without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the noise, or whatever causes a negative reaction, to pass right through you. It is no longer hitting a solid "wall" inside you.
Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable.
Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.
When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment.That is enlightenment.
THE NATURE OF COMPASSION
HAVING GONE BEYOND THE MIND-MADE OPPO SITES, you become like a deep lake.The outer situation of your life, whatever happens there, is the surface of the lake.
Deep down, however, the lake is always undisturbed. You are the whole lake, not just the surface, and you are in touch with your own depth, which remains absolutely still.
you are no longer dependent for fulfillment or happiness on the outer world of constantly fluctuating forms. You can enjoy them, play with them, create new forms, appreciate the beauty of it all. But there will be no need to attach yourself to any of it.
As long as you are unaware of Being, the reality of other humans will elude you, because you have not found your own.
True relationship becomes possible only when there is an awareness of Being.
Coming from Being, you will perceive another person's body and mind as just a screen, as it were, behind which you can feel their true reality, as you feel yours. So, when confronted with someone else's suffering or unconscious behavior, you stay present and in touch with Being and are thus able to look beyond the form and feel the other person's radiant and pure Being through your own.
Compassion is the awareness of a deep bond between yourself and all creatures. Next time you say, "I have nothing in common with this person,)) remem ber that you have a great deal in common: A few years from now - two years or seventy years, it doesn't make much difference - both of you will have become rot ting corpses, then piles of dust, then nothing at all. This is a sobering and humbling realization that leaves little room for pride.
Die before you die.
Go into it deeply. Your physical form is dis solving, is no more. Then a moment comes when all mind-forms or thoughts also die. Yet you are still there - the divine presence that you are. Radiant, fully awake.
Nothing that was real ever died, only names, forms, and illusions.
At this deep level, compassion becomes healing in the widest sense. In that state, your healing influence is primarily based not on doing but on being. Everybody you come in contact with will be touched by your presence and affected by the peace that you emanate, whether they are conscious of it or not.
When you are fully present and people around you manifest unconscious behavior, you won't feel the need to react to it, so you don't give it any reality.Your peace is so vast and deep that anything that is not peace dis appears into it as if it had never existed.This breaks the karmic cycle of action and reaction.
THE WISDOM OF SURRENDER
It is the quality of your consciousness at this momen.t that is the main determinant of what kind of future you will experience, so to surrender is the most important thing you can do to bring about positive change. Any action you take is secondary. No truly positive action can arise out ofan unsurrendered state ofconsciousness.
To some people, surrender may have negative con notations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely differ ent. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it.
Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action.
to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation.
Inner resistance is to say "no" to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity.
Not easy if there is a gap between the demands (your mind) and what is. That is the pain gap.
If you have lived long enough, you will know that things "go wrong" quite often. It is precisely at those times that surrender needs to be practiced if you want to eliminate pain and sorrow from your life. Acceptance of what is immediately frees you from mind identifica tion and thus reconnects you with Being. Resistance is the mind.
if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn't say: "Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud." Resignation is not surrender.
You accept the "isness" of this moment.
Then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the situation.
Non-surrender hardens your psychological form, the shell of the ego, and so creates a strong sense of separateness. The world around you and people in particular come to be perceived as threatening.
Surrender is perfectly compatible with taking action, initiating change, or achieving goals. But in the surrendered state a totally different energy, a different quality, flows into your doing. Surrender reconnects you with the source-energy of Being, and if your doing is infused with Being, it becomes a joyful celebration.
Learn from nature: See how everything gets accomplished and how the miracle of life unfolds without dissatisfaction or unhappiness.
If inner factors such as fear, guilt, or inertia prevented you from taking action, they will dissolve in the light of your conscious presence.
Do not confuse surrender with an attitude of "I can't be bothered anymore" or "I just don't care any more." If you look at it closely, you win find that such an attitude is tainted with negativity in the form of hid den resentment and so is not surrender at all but masked resistance.
AI, you surrender, direct your attention inward to check if there is any trace of resistance left inside you. Be very alert when you do so; otherwise, a pocket of resistance may continue to hide in some dark corner in the form of a thought or an unacknowledged emotion.
FROM MIND ENERGY TO SPIRITUAL ENERGY
Be there when it happens, when the resistance arises. Observe how your mind creates it, how it labels the situation, yoursel£ or others. Look at the thought process involved. Feel the energy of the emotion.
By witnessing the resistance, you will see that it serves no purpose. By focusing all your attention on the Now, the unconscious resist ance is made conscious, and that is the end of it.
Would you choose unhappiness? If you did not choose it, how did it arise? What is its purpose? Who is keeping it alive?
Even if you are conscious of your unhappy feel ings, the truth is that you are identified with them and keep the process alive through compulsive thinking. All that is unconscious. If you were conscious, that is to say totally present in the Now, all negativity would dissolve almost instantly. It could not survive in your presence. It can only survive in your absence.
SURRENDER IN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
It is true that only an unconscious person will try to use or manipulate others, but it is equally true that only an unconscious person can be used and manipulated.
It is per fectly possible to say "no" firmly and clearly to a person or to walk away from a situation and be in a state of complete inner nonresistance at the same time.
WHEN YOU SAY "NO" to a person or a situation, let it come not from reaction but from insight, from a clear realization of what is right or not right for you at that moment.
Let it be a nonreactive "no," a high-quality "no," a "no" that is free of all negativity and so creates no further suffering.
Do not give unhappiness in any form whatsoever a dwelling place inside you.
Observe the attachment to your views and opinions. Feel the mental-emotional energy behind your need to be right and make the other person wrong. That's the energy of the egoic mind.You make it conscious by acknowledging it, by feeling it as fully as possible.
Then one day, in the middle of an argument, you will suddenly realize that you have a choice, and you may decide to drop your own reaction - just to see what happens. You surrender.
1 am speaking of letting go of the entire mental-emotional energy field inside you that was fighting for power.
The ego is cunning, so you have to be very alert, very present, and totally honest with yourself to see whether you have truly relinquished your identification with a mental position and so freed yourself from your mind.
IF YOU SUDDENLY FEEL VERY LIGHT, CLEAR, AND DEEPLY AT PEACE, that is an unmistakable sign that you have truly surrendered. Then observe what happens to the other person's mental posi tion as you no longer energize it through resist ance. When identification with mental positions is out of the way, true communication begins.
Nonresistance doesn't necessarily mean doing noth ing. All it means is that any "doing" becomes nonreac tive. Remember the deep wisdom underlying the practice of Eastern martial arts: Don't resist the oppo nent's force.Yield to overcome.
Having said that, "doing nothing" when you are in a state of intense presence is a very powerful trans former and healer of situations and people.
It is radically different from inactivity in the ordi nary state of consciousness, or rather unconsciousness, which stems from fear, inertia, or indecision. The real "doing nothing" implies inner nonresistance and intense alertness.
On the other hand, if action is required, you will no longer react from your conditioned mind, but you will respond to the situation out of your conscious presence. In that state, your mind is free of concepts, including the concept of nonviolence.So who can pre dict what you will do?
The ego believes that in your resistance lies your strength, whereas in truth resistance cuts you off from Being, the only place of true power. Resistance is weak ness and fear masquerading as strength. What the ego sees as weakness is your Being in its purity, innocence, and power.What it sees as strength is weakness.
CHAPTER NINE: TRANSFORMING ILLNESS AND SUFFERING
TRANSFORMING ILLNESS INTO ENLIGHTENMENT
Surrender is inner acceptance of what is without any reservations. We are talking about your life - this instant - not the conditions or circumstances of your life, not what I call your life situation.
Illness is part of your life situation. As such, it has a past and a future.
your Life, your very Being is in the Timeless Now.
BY FOCUSING ON THIS INSTANT and refraining from labeling it mentally, illness is reduced to one or several of these factors: physical pain, weakness, discomfort, or disability. That is what you surrender to - now. You do not sur render to the idea of "illness."
Allow the suffering to force you into the present moment, into a state of intense con scious presence. Use it for enlightenment.
Surrender does not transform what is, at least not directly.Surrender transforms you.When you are trans formed, your whole world is transformed, because the world is only a reflection.
Illness is not the problem. You are the problem - as long as the egoic mind is in control.
WHEN YOU ARE ILL OR DISABLED, do not feel that you have failed in some way, do not feel guilty. Do not blame life for treating you unfairly, but do not blame yourself either. All that is resistance.
If you have a major illness, use it for enlightenment. Anything "bad" that happens in your life - use it for enlightenment.
Withdraw time from the illness. Do not give it any past or future. Let it force you into intense present-moment awareness - and see what happens.
TRANSFORMING SUFFERING INTO PEACE
It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so - your resistance is.
NOW HERE IS YOUR SECOND CHANCE AT SUR RENDER: Ifyou cannot accept what is outside, then accept what is inside. If you cannot accept the external condition, accept the internal con dition.
This means: Do not resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labeling it mentally. Embrace it.
Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace. This is your crucifixion. Let it become your resur rection and ascension.
There are many pseudo escapes - work, drink, drugs, anger, projection, suppression, and so on - but they don't free you from the pain. Suffering does not diminish in intensity when you make it unconscious. When you deny emotional pain, everything you do or think as well as your relationships become contami nated with it. You broadcast it, so to speak, as the energy you emanate, and others will pick it up sublim inally.
SO don't turn away from the pain. Face it. Feel it fully. Feel it - don't think about it! Express it if necessary, but don't create a script in your mind around it. Give all your attention to the feeling, not to the person, event, or situation that seems to have caused it.
At first, it may seem like a dark and terrify ing place, and when the urge to turn away from it comes, observe it but don't act on it. Keep putting your attention on the pain, keep feeling the grief, the fear, the dread, the loneliness, whatever it is.
Stay alert, stay present - present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. As you do so, you are bringing a light into this darkness. This is the flame of your conSCIOusness.
Full attention is full acceptance, is surrender. By giving full attention, you use the power of the Now, which is the power of your presence.
THE ACCEPTANCE OF SUFFERING IS a Journey into death. Facing deep pain, allowing it to be, taking your attention into it, is to enter death consciously. When you have died this death, you realize that there is no death - and there is nothing to fear. Only the ego dies.
die to the past every moment, and let the light of your presence shine away the heavy, time bound self you thought of as "you."
THE WAY OF THE CROSS - ENLIGHTENMENT THROUGH SUFFERING
The way of the cross is the old way to enlightenment, and until recently it was the only way. But don't dismiss it or underestimate its efficacy. It still works.
The way of the cross is a complete reversal. It means that the worst thing in your life, your cross, turns into the best thing that ever happened to you, by forcing you into surrender, into "death," forcing you to become as nothing, to become as God - because God, too, is no-thing.
Enlightenment through suffering - the way of the cross - means to be forced into the kingdom of heaven kicking and screaming. You finally surrender because you can't stand the pain anymore, but the pain could go on for a long time until this happens.
How much more time do you think you will need before you are able to say, "I will create no more pain, no more suffering?" How much more pain do you need before you can make that choice?
If you think that you need more time, you will get more time - and more pain. Time and pain are inseparable.
THE POWER TO CHOOSE
Choice implies consciousness.
Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present.
Until you reach that point, you are unconscious, spiritually speaking. This means that you are com pelled to think, feel, and act in certain ways according to the conditioning of your mind.
Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity.They happen because there is not enough presence in you to dissolve the past, not enough light to dispel the darkness. You are not fully here. You have not quite woken up yet. In the mean time, the conditioned mind is running your life.
It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there. The mind identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity.
Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees.The moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone's illness? The only appropriate response is compassion.