Thank you so much for your response.
Are these feelings and thoughts instincts?
When for the odd minute or so I am able to detach myself from the drama, I find myself searching for the feeling of awareness so that I can have something to refer to when the drama really starts to wind up, but I find it doesn't have a easily definable feeling. I find it difficult to maintain this odd feelinglessness. I sometimes have trouble finding awareness when my mind gets noisy. Does this make sense to you? Do you think I might be on the right track? This is exhausting in a way.
The spell check tells me that 'feelinglessness' is not a word, but I think it is effective so I will use it.
I would not call them natural instincts, no. They are more like dysfunctions, if we have to label them, since they are forms of self-created suffering. If you look at any other animal, loneliness and jealousy is uncommon. Perhaps they are more common in domesticated animals such as dogs, but that is likely because they are so close to humans, they pick up on their energies and behaviours, and become dependent on human attention.
They may pretend to be instincts, and in a way, on reflection, perhaps they are. They are ways that the mind-made identity can survive. Self-preserving mechanisms of the ego. So if we were to call them instincts, they are not yours, and they do not serve you, they only serve the falsity of the personal identity. They are not instincts necessary for the survival of the body, such as ducking if something is thrown at the head, or emergence of intuitive spontaneous action.
Things like loneliness and jealousy are based on a mistaken identity. You can only feel lonely when you feel you are a separate person. You can only feel jealous when you feel you are a separate person. The separate person is a thought/energy form that arises IN you, rather than being what you really are.
Awareness is actually beyond effort. It is what you already are, but it is overlooked. We can already see that your nature is awareness by the way you speak. You describe “I find myself searching for the feeling of awareness”, so the feeling of searching for awareness, happens in your awareness. The only difficulty comes when you identify with what arises in awareness. The mind wants to search, find and grasp what awareness is. This searching of the mind, carries the identity of “I”, and so it seems you are searching for it. But the mind is searching, not you. The searching, and any need to understand, all arises in your awareness, or to be more specific – arises in the awareness that you are. Do not identify with whatever you are aware of. You are already aware of everything, naturally, without effort.
Efforts to reach awareness, arise in awareness.
This may be enough for you, but I will respond to the other point you raise….
I understand what you mean by the “feelinglessness” of awareness. The awareness can not be located or grasped, it is not an object or a person and so is beyond words. It is also not a particular experience or state, since all states and experiences naturally appear in it. A useful tool to stabilise the attention somewhat, is the feeling that you exist. Not you as a person, but the feeling of existence itself, prior to labels of being a particular person. This feeling is synonymous with other words you may here such as “presence”, “beingness”, “I AM” or “inner space”. This feeling that you are conscious, that you exist, may be subtle at first, but if you simply FEEL what it is like to be, to exist, prior to concepts and labels, then this can be a helpful tool. It may seem difficult at first, since the mind will hate it, but as the heavy energies in the body start to burn up, the feeling of being becomes more obvious. Since it is formless, you may wish to use the simple awareness of the breath as another re-director of attention away from the habitual thought streams, and deeper into your Self.
The only obstacle to feeling this sense of being and allowing your mind to merge in it, is the habit of giving objects more importance than the foundation of being. Objects can be anything including thoughts, emotions, sensations or external objects. Everything can be as it is, but don’t give objects such respect. Everything reports to you, everything you can perceive depends on your existence, rather than the other way around. Therefore, give attention to yourself, as the feeling of being, of pure existence. And don’t worry about achieving anything in this regard, there is nothing to achieve.
The mind may say that if you give objects less respect, then your Life may be less efficient. The opposite is true. Through simply being aware of your own existence, you become aware of the source of everything else, and natural, non-conceptual intelligence can emerge more fully into ones Life, influencing both the “inner” and “outer” worlds.
Be grateful if it seems exhausting. It means the personal efforts can more easily be relinquished. Feel free to give up your efforts, to not pick and choose what thoughts or emotions come or go. Lose your interest in whatever makes you suffer, let it sort itself out. See that the person that seeks to reach anything or find anything, is another movement that arises IN you.
All the best,