Difficulties Remaining Present

by Gabriel
(Brazil)

Question:

Hello, Adam.

This is my first question to you on your site, and I am writing because I could really use some more pointers about the "practice" of staying aware of your thoughts and the present moment.

You see, what happens with me is that, whenever I remember to not be caught up in my thoughts and simply let them be, I invariably try to execute it in some way with my mind, which only ends up making me feel really frustrated with myself for not being able to stay aware of my thoughts and not lost in them. Even though I understand the nonsense in this, I don't seem to be able to let go of it.

Whenever I sit to be in present moment awareness, the mind immediately goes "how do I do it?" and "you were able to rest as awareness that time, what did you do that time that you can’t repeat now in order to achieve the same result?” and a million other variations of this thought, and I end up getting frustrated for not being able to reach the state of inner peace, as crazy as this seems. I also judge and beat myself up, for not being able to do it now, even though I was able to "do" it in the past, even if just for a couple of moments.

Am I too focused on a goal oriented mentality that is preventing me of reaching the unreachable? 

Whatever it is, I apparently can't simply sit and relax anymore and let my thoughts be without making it into a rigid practice to execute perfectly :/

Could you help me with some pointers?

Response:

Hi Gabriel. I could say a few things...

Take all of it as part of the present moment, including the effort, including the strain or the struggle or the judgement or the frustration. Sometimes it can feel as if the frustrated energy is trying to do something, like accept or allow, but the frustrated energy is ALREADY allowed by the space of life, or the present moment. The furniture in the room is already allowed to be as it is by the space in the room. The space of life is already allowing the confusion/thought/frustration/problem-making to arise.

That is probably the best thing I can say. everything else is just a watered down or supplemental version of that...

Resistance and frustration and goal-orientated mind happens by itself, but it happens in the space of life. "Space of life" could also be "presence", "emptiness", "the universe", or whatever word you may have. Life already allows it, by itself, impersonally.

No need to condemn the frustration or the judgement. It is just an energy that arises by itself, but pretends that it is the responsibility of a personal self. If you feel as if you can change it or alter it, then you will feel stuck and attached to it. Notice that you did not decide it to be there. If you did not create it intentionally, it is not your responsibility to remove it intentionally.

Remember all content is transient. No experience lasts. Let there be a let-go of the form of the moment, including the frustration, by seeing that it itself is transient, it comes an goes like everything else, so is naturally not so important.

A recent quote I read by Osho was this:

"So I am the white cloud, and the whole effort is to make you also white clouds drifting in the sky. Nowhere to go, coming from nowhere, just being there this very moment — perfect. I don't teach you any ideals, I don't teach you any oughts. I don't say to you be this, become that. My whole teaching is simply this: Whatsoever you are, accept it so totally that nothing is left to be achieved, and you will become a white cloud."

So, as strange and unnatural as it may seem, do not call frustration "frustration" do not call thoughts "thoughts", or the mind "mind". They are all neutral in themselves, fluctuations of energy without stories attached to them. Then there is no next experience to reach, no thing that must be dissolved. Everything is simply as it is, and a sense of perfection underlying it may be there. But if not, no need to expect it.

A part of you sees the mind's play as madness, but yet it remains, feeling stuck, because another part of your attention wishes to control it, to fix it or sort it out so that you may enjoy relaxation again. When you want to control something, naturally the attention will stick to it, since it feels it must be responsible for making a change. If the whole drama is fully allowed, without trying to change it, it may become clear, without resentment, that it is a futile game. Then naturally it will drop. But if there is still resentment towards the frustration (which also arises by itself as part of the moment), then it will feel more and more frustrating that you can’t let go of it, but know it to be pointless.

Hope that helps somehow, feel free to comment or follow-up below.

Thanks for your question,

Adam