Satsang

Last Sunday I attended another Satsang with Fred Davis. I have access as part of the student program but anyone can attend these. The fee for a single Satsang is $25.
You can sign up here , try it!
The sessions are each Sunday evening 20:00 – 22:00 CET.

Last Sunday the session was very interesting. I have two takeaways that I remember and would like to share:

Firstly, a one-liner:
Value experience over thought
This means giving more importance to What Is (which is directly perceived), in contrast to our opinions about What Is.

Secondly the subject of manifesting came up, which I found interesting because there seems to be a disparity there. Many people believe they can manifest things using mind by positive affirmations and other methods, but this seems in conflict with the given that everything Just Happens, there is no do-er or controller so how would we be able to manifest anything? The Universe does all the manifesting for us and we’re here to observe as Awakeness. Maybe this is one of the many paradoxes in non-duality that cannot be understood with our limited brains, but Fred’s comment was very good. In summary he said that manifesting seems to work but one has to be very careful because what you’re really thinking then is that you know better what’s good for you than the Universe.
You’re most likely better off letting go of the urge to control and just go with What Is – As It Is.

Mood-o-meter

What am I doing all this for? It’s bringing me nothing. Am I doing it right? Why can’t I just be happy? Why does it all have to be so complicated? What do I want in this life? I’m never going to ‘get it’. Lethargy. Depression. Playing ‘all is okay’. What is the POINT of all this? Feeling a hole that cannot be filled.
Etcetera etcetera.
These were the dominating moods the past weeks, and they still are. I don’t know what’s ‘in the air’ but it seems that other people are struggling too.

I’m oscillating between being consumed by these thoughts\emotions and the strong suspicion that true happiness does not depend on external factors – it is found within.

So I’m trying to get out of that and for that I need energy. Yesterday I searched Netflix for something spiritual and it returned Goop Acedemy, a docuseries. The second episode was about Wim Hof and how he uses cold to energize himself. This made me remember my old habit of taking cold showers that I did for a while and then I stopped doing that again. This morning I decided to re-try that and after cycling to work I did some deep breathing and stepped straight into the cold shower. The trick is to maintain deep breaths because the body wants to cramp up and gasp. I took my deep breaths and after about 10-15 seconds my body started to adjust and it was not so challenging anymore. After 30 seconds the water wasn’t uncomfortable anymore and I was able to go on and wash my bdy and hair. It didn’t matter anymore. Amazing how body\mind can adapt.

Growth vs. suffering

Someone told me recently that I seemed different and had grown in a spiritual sense. It got me thinking a bit.

For starters, it’s a comparison. A comparison of past to present , but also of self to other. I don’t remember which sage said it, but the saying was that ‘All suffering starts with comparison’. This is because in essence we are all One, and in One there can be no comparing. Once we believe the illusion of duality there are the two things , then the 10.000 things and the comparing begins accompanied by suffering.
But that notion doesn’t help much unless you’re enlightened – which I’m not.

On a more practical note :I notice we are often blind to our own growth because as we grow, life seems to present us with challenges to apply what we’ve learned hence the suffering doesn’t seem to deminish. So in my experience not much has changed, I certainly don’t feel any happier than say, a year ago.

🙏🌺

Rage

I’m sitting in my meditation room reflection on what just happened.

We (my son, wife and me) were sitting at a table in the garden as we had just finished a meal. I was cleaning up the table when my 17-year old son, apparently agitated for some reason, banged his fist on the table. I asked why he did that and instead of answering my question he punched an empty water bottle from the table. At that point I got instantly enraged, it was so quick I had no chance to stop it. Rage filled me and I pulled him out of his chair onto the grass. I felt like punching him but managed to limit my action to yelling I was fed up with him . I regained some control and angrily continued cleaning up the table. Inside the house I stopped for a moment and felt my heart pounding, breath fast and shallow, the whole body trembling, filled with adrenaline. I took a couple of deep breaths and went outside. I told them I didn’t approve of my action and I was going to sit for a moment. I was actually baffled by what happened and didn’t know I had that rage in me. So I sat down and as soon as I closed my eyes mind was playing its games, launching fantasy dialogs with my son in which I yelled at him about all the things he did wrong. Mind was obviously trying to justify the action. I noticed this and told myself ‘ this is not True, it is just thought, that moment has passed.’ Immediately a part of the anger flowed away. Not that I was pushing anything down but it just dissolved. It felt like a fire in my chest/stomach. Mind started again a few times in slightly different ways but I was clear enough to recognize it and stop believing that thought stream before the anger came back. I calmed down within 20 minutes. I went to my son and we exchanged apologies.

I wonder why this happened and where it came from, but if it was a test to see if I could apply what I’ve learned then I guess I did good enough. At least it was a powerful example of how much influence our belief in our thoughts influence our experience.

The voice of the stranger

My main focus lately is nonduality and in particular the role of thought. Thought is important because in daily life we are focused on our opinion of ‘What Is’ instead of What Is itself. What is ‘What Is’ anyway? This is my definition: ‘What Is’ is all that is directly perceived. Now the word ‘directly’ is key here. I say ‘directly’ because normally we are focused on our opinion of what we perceive or the storyline around it instead of the bare perception itself. So being with What Is means just being in the moment with attention resting on the experience of that moment, instead of our judgment of that experience. If you can keep your attention with direct perception and away from thoughts, you will notice that problems disappear and a deep peace and calm can be found because when we do that égo’ is at the sideline and we are in contact with our true nature, which is pure awareness. So, our relation to thoughts is very important here. But what to do with them?

For a long time I thought that the purpose of meditating was learning to focus the mind in order to stop thoughts from arising. As I’ve noticed and also learned from many other sources, stopping thoughts from arising is impossible. The brain produces thoughts just like your kidneys produce urine. They just happen and it’s not a problem! The problem is that we believe thought. Since we identify with thought we blindly believe thoughts without checking what they are actually saying. If you start to observe thoughts you will notice that they contradict themselves and many times they are just plain bullshit. Try it. (The work of Byron Katie is very useful in this context.) Your thoughts are not you anyway so you might as well view your thoughts as the voice of a stranger. See what the stranger has to say about you and your experience and then decide if you want to keep believing him or her.

So, this is what I’m practicing at the moment. It’s not easy, but I’ve already had some interesting moments where it was very evident that the thoughts I had about myself were contradicting themselves and this undermines the belief in the thoughts which is a good thing.

be well 🌺