Thanks for a valuable website. (I see this has become a long question, and I might call you for an appointment face to face).
I'll get right to it:
I am stuck, both with resisting life in general for 25 years, and then, after becoming familiar with "presence/awareness/enlightenment" for 2 years, now stuck in wanting to feel presence more than anything. I have been feeling there is something I need to fix about my life for all those years.
Watching a Noah Elkrief video I once had an experience where my mind stopped, was thought-less more or less for 14 days, which of course was amazing. I then tried practicing his "disbelieving of thoughts", which can make you present when you actually manage to do it, which feels great (see his website on how to do that), but new thoughts come every day, it never ends, so this is no permanent solution, so I have abandoned it more or less.
On a rational level, I know I need to let go of the idea that there is something I need to fix. That this is the thing that make me suffer, i.e. resistance. But I don't actually BELIEVE it. I tried as a "game", but don't believe then either. My ego may say: “What if I can’t stop believing I need to fix something? Then I will still have a belief that I have to fix something, and so, I need to fix _THAT_ (on level 2)”.
I have read almost all your posts and Q&As and you have said:
- "... if there is still an unavoidably strong sense of doership, then perhaps, if possible, do not condemn anything at all within you".
"... The quickest way to feel at ease, is to fully allow yourself to not feel at ease".
I do condemn and resist. I tried allowing resistance, but I couldn't. I even tried allowing resistance to resistance, but couldn't. Is there anything else I can do?
- "... But as long as it enlightenment is seen as a future event, something that you are striving or waiting for, then it will always feel like that - a future event that you are waiting for. ... If possible, if this is the case, let that idea go. It is only another concept".
I do feel this way, but can't seem to let go of that idea. Is there anything else I can do?
- “... 'Ok, so unless I surrender, my life will not improve. I must become friendly with my life and accept it as it is, or else nothing will change.' - This kind of thing is just another 'ego-trick' claiming that there is a separate entity responsible for the whole of life. Give the responsibility for yourself back to universe".
How can I believe and trust in this?
My belief is 100% that I am the one who needs to fix it. I want a beautiful woman, great self-confidence, great skills in life to be successful with people and also have inner peace. My belief is that it IS up to me to find the way to do that, I just haven't in the last 25 years. I believe if I stop trying, I will be feeling exactly like this for the rest of my life. How can I see this differently?
Other questions on this topic:
- How many people do you know who have actually GRADUALLY become present?
Eckhart Tolle happened with extreme suffering but then "instantly", Noah Elkrief was not suffering, but also lost his self-image "instantly", although maybe after years of studying it I believe. How was your awakening - was it gradually?
I want to hear a number of how many benefitted from reading and practicing present moment awareness and how they got past "sticking points" like mine. It's incredible how much info there is on the internet on theory, but so little on "I did it, and here is how". THAT would be the real value, not theory that does not make a change in our lives.
- Eckhart says "... Trust the suffering in your life".
For how long? 10 or 20 more years? Then I'll be 60, and if studying awareness/presence does not actually shorten that time, we all just have to wait till we're actually fed up. As in it's not in our hands. If that is so, I might as well do something in my outer life instead of studying this topic.
- Related to the one above, there seems to be such a fine line to stop suffering.
1. We can't "do" anything" because then it becomes time-based and an event in the future, and egoic desire, and egoic trick, or like you say, "by doing you'll feel on duty to observe every thought, emotion ...".
2. So won't get there by doing, but by allowing as I understand.
What if I can't allow/accept/not resist, nor the situation or the resistance itself?
I can't stop wanting presence unless I have presence. And I can't be present until I stop wanting/caring if I am present or not. It seems like an impossible "good circle" to get into.
Allowing/accepting/non-resisting seems like something you just either can or can't. For those who can't, does it happen faster reading, practicing, or does it not matter?
Yes, that was quite a long question, so I may miss things or not address everything that you said. The whole thing has basically been taken on as another idea, as something that you have to do or get. You keep asking if there is anything else you can “do” - no, not really.
There is an identification with “the doer”, the one trying to fix life. It feels impossible for this energy to stop “trying”, because that is its very nature. But if you take yourself to be this energy who is trying so hard, then it may just continue until it becomes absolutely intolerable, so that nothing, no goal, no achievement is worth the constant strain.
Do you think you are looking for some kind of mind-shift, where you no longer have thoughts? What do you think it is that you are looking for? Whatever you think it will be, it is not that. It is nothing to do with mind in the way we speak about mind. It is nothing to do with thoughts. It is as simple as being, as simple as feeling the aliveness, the presence, in the body, as Eckhart often advises. There is no need to wait for your mind to disappear, or your sense of self.
So perhaps you know all of this already, on some level, but you can’t help but “wait” or “try”. So then try, keep trying. You have said yourself that you current method of living has not worked for 25 years, but you think that all your efforts are keeping things together? It is all so much more simple than all of this, all of these words from you or me. It is not something else.
If you are expecting no new thoughts to come, you will always feel frustrated. Thoughts inevitably come. You don’t have to be so fascinated by thoughts that if they don’t come that’s good and if they do come that’s bad. See that all thought is only one point of view, one interpretation, one fragment of the whole. See its limitation, then it is not taken so seriously, not seen as something so big in your consciousness.
“I do condemn and resist. I tried allowing resistance, but I couldn't. I even tried allowing resistance to resistance, but couldn't. Is there anything else I can do?”
Are you sure it is you doing it? Are you sure you are the one who wrote that entire question?
An ego-energy can not help but condemn and resist. It will say “I can’t allow this to be.” Notice that if there is resistance, the whole universe, the greater space, already allows it. “You” in the middle of it all is just another sensation.
As far as things being gradual or sudden, it varies. I’d say my own was more gradual, but even to say that doesn’t feel true. Don’t worry about anyone else. There is nothing to study. I don’t know what else to say. Don’t hold any word inside you as truth, don’t hold advice or instructions inside you as if they are the truth of things. These are all just words, just sounds. If they don’t hit your heart, then just forget them. Leave all words alone. If they do hit your heart, then leave them as well.
All words and advice can have their place, but they can be grossly misleading, because it can sound like there is a separate person who still has to do something about all of this mess. But is there a separate person living inside you?
To answer your final question, I don’t even know what to say. I feel as if you just need a break from it all, all the reading and studying.
If there is something you feel moved to do in life, of course go with that. This “inner” stuff is not in conflict with “outer” stuff. Really they are both the same. Be in touch with life rather than with someone else’s words. Words can be great guides, but to give them so much value means you are always looking to someone else to tell you what is true. Rather than believing some things, not believing other things, is it possible to not believe anything for a moment?