Q & A

(MB) How are we connected to the stillness?

We are the stillness; 'connected' implies separation.

(MB) So the stillness is the nothing we are?

Yes, we are the emptiness out of which all things are born. The Self is an illusion - the egoic construct (who we believe we are, our story) - it's both real and unreal.

True self-enquiry is going deep within and seeing 'what' we are rather than believing the illusionary story of 'who' we are.

The idea of the Self being both real and unreal is best described through analogy. I believe you have my book - in the appendix you will find 'the ocean wave', (video extract from my book here). This attempts to show how the idea of being a separate Self is both real and unreal.

(MB) Emptiness and nothing can be seen as negative, it makes accepting this truth sound quite scary, is it? 

Because my Self is trying to attach to something, feels like I belong to something I suppose. Which would be the Ocean. How do you find a balance between what we know to be true and functioning in the illusion?

They are great questions MB. Let me consider. I will take your questions in order . . . 

(MB) Emptiness and nothing can be seen as negative, it makes accepting this truth sound quite scary, is it? 

It's very scary to the ego, the ego sees this message as a threat to it's Self. Asking who you would be without your story is scary - it's unknown territory.

(MB) Because my Self is trying to attach to something, feels like I belong to something I suppose. Which would be the Ocean.

The Self is all about 'attachment'  - this message is about non-attachment, being enough - needing nothing else, being fulfilled. Feeling like you belong to something is possibly the sense that there is something greater than your Self.

But don't fall into the trap of wanting that. This is about less - not more; stripping back the layers of Self - not adding another layer. The book attempts to do this.

(MB) How do you find a balance between what we know to be true and functioning in the illusion?

I will ponder this question and get back to you. Is this dialogue helpful?

(MB) Yes it is thank you. Is there a recommended way to read your book? I'm shuffling around a bit and re-read it in different orders as it helps me understand some parts better.

One chapter at a time. My readers say that they re-read each chapter and don't attempt more than one at a time. The chapters can be read out of sequence to a degree. I'm actually reading the book to some of my clients, slowly - one chapter at a time. Then we go over the meaning and how they interpret it. I find this useful. 

(MB) How do you find a balance between what we know to be true and functioning in the illusion?

Finding that balance is what we call 'life', I see it as a process, a way of being - I'm still working to find that balance. 

 

(MB) So not attaching to thoughts is not allowing them to affect you or take away from the now? But you can still feel them.

What's the difference between watching thoughts and not feeling them?

What does the stillness feel like?

Regarding your first question - Yes. Feelings originate in thoughts. However, we often consciously repeat negative thoughts that result in anxiety and stressful feelings. Here we have a choice - whether to continue to actively become those thoughts and the resulting negative feelings or to begin a process of separation from those thoughts. I often see people actively seeking the misery that negative thoughts and 'personal stories' create.

(MB) What's the difference between watching thoughts and not feeling them?

You can’t separate the thought from the feeling until you have transcended the belief that you are your thoughts. Once you realise that you are not your thoughts the associated feelings begin to have less effect

(MB) What does the stillness feel like?

Lightness- life is far simpler, less complicated.

You are meeting life in the present, without the added stress of your personal story and it’s ideas of how you should be.
The ‘filter’ of you drops away.

(MB) And is that different from happiness?

Yes.
It’s not happiness.
Happiness is a pleasant by product.

But should never be the goal.

(MB) But lightness is not unpleasant?
Lightness is different to numbness?

Yes. Numbness is the opposite of this. This is aliveness.
There’s a freedom from not being imprisoned by ones own ‘story’ - of not being constricted by how one believes they should react or behave.

(MB) Okay,  thank you :)

You’re welcome - I like your questions :)

(MB) Is everyday consciousness like ego consciousness and heightened consciousness like Oneness consciousness?

Yes

(MB) When I'm reading Tolle for I know that what he says is the truth, I don't believe it I know it, I can feel it. I don't know how I know it I just do. Is that the dualistic subject/object sense or the indescribable, effortless being-ness?

That which ‘knows’ can’t be known - so yes that’s the indescribable being-ness.
The source that manifests the known can not itself be known because it isn’t a ‘thing’ - for it to be know it would have to ‘know’ itself and that would mean a subject/object split and we are back in the world of duality.

(MB) I'm confused :)

 

Shankara's commentary from part of the Kena Upanishad sums it up (this may be confusing too - sorry).
“Just as fire that burns and enlightens things does not either enlighten or burn itself, so the mind, which wills and determines in respect of external objects, cannot will or determine in respect of its self”.
You can spend days contemplating that sentence - I have.

(MB) Ah okay, I think I've got it.

I contemplate that sentence at least once a week.

(MB) Why do some people begin to awaken when they are in times of drama? When they are the deepest in the ego?

I would suggest it’s about loss and change. People who go through intense drama and have change forced upon them ( often loss of one kind or another ) are forced to question their life and themselves. So a relationship breakdown, the death of a loved one, financial loss, the loss of a job or career, moving away from the family home. Sometimes middle age forces people to assess their own lives and their mortality. These events can sometimes be the catalyst for awakening.

(MB) Is there a difference between knowing and experiencing?

Yes, knowing is restrictive and limiting; experiencing doesn’t need ‘knowing’, in fact knowing can often deaden the experience.

(MB) So then ego drama can help to awaken? 
Got it thank you :)

Yes it can, but it’s often painful (for the ego).

. . .  Of course, not all drama leads to awakening; more often than not, drama leads to more drama as the ego cycles through repetitive and unhelpful patterns of behaviour

(MB) What is the difference between the Jungian Shadow and Tolle's Pain-body?

I use them interchangeably, however I'm more au fait with the Jungian Shadow

(MB) Okay thank you

Counselling in Present Moment Awareness

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