Very busy time, much happening, so writing after a break… :)
How is life now, now that this carefully constructed structure of ‘me’ that has been lovingly added to over the years has come crumbling down? Now that the beliefs of a lifetime, the concepts formed over decades, the identification with thoughts and emotions, has been seen to be nothing more than an illusion? How does one live in this world with nothing to hold on to? How does one describe the indescribable?
The utter simplicity of the truth was downright astounding. The, the, what shall I say… directness, the unfussiness of life as it is, is so surprising. So simple, in fact, that the mind does not want to accept it. It WANTS the complications, the drama, the ‘add-ons’ that we’re used to living with all our lives. That is why we hang on to stuff without letting go, and in fact, at times create ever subtler forms of identification that is harder and harder to see.
But I’m moving too far ahead. The basics first. Life after seeing through the illusion of self is sweet. That is not to say that bad things stop happening, or that you live in a state of permanent bliss. Life continues to move, to flow, through experiences which are labeled ‘bad’ or ‘good’, through times which can be unpleasant or joyful. But there remains an inherent sweetness to life, a foundation of love and a positive energy, and an increasing equanimity inside. The seeking and quest for answers just drops. Experiences are seen as just that, experiences, and the mind does its job of labeling those very experiences. But the power of those thoughts loses its hold more and more. Like clouds passing through a sky, thoughts come and go. The judgments, comparisons, labeling is seen to be just a function of the mind, and in this seeing, the glue which keeps us identifying with our thought or be carried along with them, gets less and less. As time passes, I find that there are less thoughts than before too, but this is not a deliberate ‘controlling of thoughts as in focused meditation. It is a natural by product. The increase or decrease of thoughts is equally a happening in life. Naturally, the mind becomes quieter, at rest. Increasingly, one uses the mind as a tool when needed. Obviously, to function in the world, you cannot do without the mind, it is a wonderful tool, but it stops being our master. That I found to be a major immediate shift - the non-identification with thoughts.
I had so much anxiety about the future, regrets about the past. But then, when the main heroine in my life (me!) was seen to be just that, an illusory character, the past and future were seen to be nothing but a story in my head, and the anxiety and regrets, more thoughts which brought nothing but pain. By all means, we need to do necessary planning and thinking, but the obsessive useless thinking part, well, just didn’t make sense anymore.
Emotional reactions, for me, are taking time to wind down. I still find myself reacting illogically at times, caught up in my emotions. But the flavor of it has changed. Emotions pass more quickly, usually seen pretty quickly for being arisings in the body, triggered by thoughts or outside stimuli. I think it is helpful to look at the emotional reaction arising without the story attached to it. Feel it in the body, and that lets it pass through
After seeing the illusory nature of self, one realizes that everything, EVERYTHING one believed in, ALL the concepts, ALL the identifications, all that one so carefully holds on to, has been a lie of sorts. As I said before, I did not find this happening immediately, but over a period of time, after passing through the ‘gateless gate’. Some stuff dropped instantly, some not so quickly. Your life, as you knew it, becomes unraveled. This is the point where subtler forms of identifications can take place without you realizing it. For example the bit about ‘Oh, now I am enlightened’ or ‘Other people are inferior because they haven’t woken up yet’ were thoughts which ‘hooked’ me, until I saw through them. Or even ‘Life is all there is, so I don’t need to do anything’ is another concept to hide behind. I found that there are thoughts, concepts, identifications which I have to at times consciously bring into the light of awareness to see through them, and then they get uprooted. Honesty and a willingness to look inside is important at this point to clear out all the crap one has built up over so many years of conditioning.
This is getting to be rather a long post. Guess I’ll write more in my next one, talk a little about doubts that arise, and some other aspects.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! :)