Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Take a Dive

Sitting in a pub garden in beautiful countryside on a sunny June day and there's a group of elderly women.  They're sitting in the same garden, seeing the same view under the same cloudless, sunny, blue sky and what are they talking about?  Illness.  Infirmity.  How awful everything is.  They're sitting there eating freshly prepared, delicious food, drinking a glass of cold wine under the summer sun on a walled patio surrounded by green-ness and fecundity.  And what arises for them? How awful it is.

On the face of it, it sounded like they were suffering.  If you'd just been listening to a recording of their conversation you would have been forgiven for believing that they were sitting in some dreary, dingy room in pain and discomfort.

But they weren't.  Now, perhaps, once you've done the 'ooooh, isn't that a lovely view, what fabulous weather, isn't this food lovely' conversation - then people start to come up with other topics.  And you could ask why there seems to be such a heavy focus on the negative.

Are we wired to see the negative?  In the absence of real drama and action, do people naturally manufacture and whip-up scenarios?  Do we prefer an involvement in a dramatic story as opposed to peace and contentment? 

Does it matter why?  Is that going to change anything?  Why not, instead, look at the mechanism.  Dispassionately observe what is going on when people seem to suffer.

Next time, there's a thought that says "Oh, God, this is terrible.".  STOP.  Look at the thought.  It's a concept. It appears to say something about something else.

If you look at the thought and see it as a label, and then look at the actual happening in reality, does it match up with the thought?  Does it?  

Look.  Look at what the thought is saying is true/happening and then look at what is actually the reality of what is happening.  Everything that we label as something is a concept - it's never the thing ......obviously.  So what actually is there?  

When we say "I am depressed".  How do we know?  One person's despair is another's depression is another's ennui.  It depends on your categorisation; where the concept was picked up from, how you learnt what 'depressed' is.    

So first, there is sensation and a thought that labels the sensation as  'I'm depressed'.  If you were to throw a blanket over that thought - effectively see it as a blanked-out signpost, what would be left?  Feelings, emotions, sensations.  

Then look at those. What actually are THEY?

The next time (and that may be in the next few minutes), when a feeling or emotion emerges and a thought comments on it, throw a blanket over the thought and focus on the feeling. Actually experience it, don't attend to the thought label, but the actual sensation.

Look at it - can you actually find it?  Can you pin it down to being anyTHING at all?

It's the same as seeing no-self. Looking at something that is labelled 'depression', or 'grief', or 'happiness' is just looking at the label; the thought; the concept  - and taking it to be some THING that actually exists.

It's all in the looking.

And when you look and see that it's only a label and look at the actual reality, what is there in reality?

All that there is, is a vibrant, aliveness that is NOT the label or the concept or the idea.

In the same way that you can look at the idea of a self and see that it doesn't exist, so you can look at any emotional condition and see that it's just a concept.  

It isn't real, it isn't true.

It's just not there. That 'thing' that is labelled depression... isn't.  It's a belief. A thought. 

I'm not saying it isn't intense sensation WHILST it appears to exists, but there isn't a thing called depression; there isn't a condition of grief, or anxiety, or contentment, or joy, or boredom. 

Listen, I know that sounds dismissive to anyone who says that they have been depressed or grieved or been content or bored.  So test it.

The next time you get the thought, for instance: "I am anxious".  See what it links to.  Have a look at the existing sensation that the thought labels 'anxious'.  Really get a good look at it - dive into it as you would into the ocean and see what happens.  Watch the movement of it and see where it goes; what happens to the actual raw sensation. 

Where does it go to?

Then look to see whether the reason that thought attributes to the causing of the sensation, did actually cause it; i.e. "I feel anxious because I've got no money".  Why would having no money create a condition of anxiousness?  It's just having no money and then out of that reality of not having money, action happens - you beg, borrow, steal, look under the sofa or earn some.  

The thought story tags a sensation of constriction in one place and fluttering in another as "Anxiousness"; and bingo, bango, bongo: there's the suffering.

Whilst there is immersion in the actual, real, raw sensation then that's all there is, but when you look and see that it doesn't come from anything and isn't created by any thing, then it's just what it is, only what it is.
Look in reality for depression, anxiety, suffering, grief - there's no such thing.  No such thing as a condition OF anything.  There is a story that is attached to the belief in a self. i.e. that there is some THING that is happening to a 'me'.  But it's only a story, a moving process that ever changes, like the belief and the sense and the feeling of there being a self.  

It's not enough to see that there's no actual self, because there are still labels that say 'depression', 'grief', 'anxiety',  and whilst those are taken to be actual things, then there is belief in an experience of suffering. 

Look at the actual reality of 'I am suffering'.  Drop the thought-label and have a look and see what is really happening - are you sitting in a country pub garden in the  middle of Summer, eating and drinking (or the current actual version of it) and believing the thought that says:
a)  There is a you, and 
b)  There is suffering.

There isn't any such thing as suffering.  Look at the thought 'suffering', see it as a label and then look at the experience that is labelled and watch as it moves and goes back into nothing.

Take a dive in to the frothing movement of the surface and watch as it is re-absorbed and dis-appears into the fathomless depths of nothing, taking it with it the story that it threw up about a someone who suffered from a non-existent concept.  

The concept that is nothing.  Absolutely nothing. Because there's nothing for it to hold onto.  It just ... well, it doesn't even go away - it doesn't exist in the first place; it can't even disappear or fade away or weaken. 

The fathomless depth froths up and even as it's frothing it's no more. Not even sound and fury, just empty bubbles of nothing, gone before they can be said to exist.