Thoughts - some are mine, some are not. Most recent (April 2021) at the top

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )

         

The Absolute.  

These words aim to liberate you from the illusionary Self and reveal that you are the stillness beneath - the one ocean that embraces all. If successful, you will no longer be a slave to your thoughts, in fact you will be open to see and hear for the first time; you will be free to experience the world as it is, as opposed to how it has been created through your conditioning and sustained by the illusion of your Self. This is, in the truest sense of the word, freedom. Freedom from your ingrained thought patterns, freedom from the defensive ego, freedom from the constraint of being what you think you should be, and freedom from anger, guilt, depression and sadness. You are not a separate Self - you are the pure presence before separation. You are not a separate person experiencing consciousness; you are consciousness experiencing a separate person.

This is not about positive thinking or about choosing positive thoughts over negative ones or about dropping thoughts. It is about recognising an underlying stillness that can notice thoughts rather than becoming them; it is about realising your true nature has little to do with your thoughts or the Self that is born from them. You are not born out of thought, you are the pure presence before thought. By noticing how the Self reacts to the world we can come to realise it is our attachment to thoughts – not the thoughts themselves - that creates the Self and leads to our suffering. Moreover, just as it is not about choosing positive thoughts over negative ones, neither is it about stopping or controlling your thoughts.

 

It is quite obvious that we cannot stop the thoughts that wash over us, any more than we can stop the waves that break on the shore, however, we can look beneath those thoughts to the ocean they are held within. I refer to this ocean of pure conscious awareness as the Absolute. I invite you to discover that truth. All that is required is an open mind and a willingness to enquire within. The illusion of the Self is the belief that you are your thoughts – the personal identification with the voice in your head, when in reality you are the awareness beneath that constant mind chatter.

 

Noticing the thoughts rather than attaching to them may seem a subtle change in perspective, but in fact, it is a huge paradigm shift. Once you have taken a step back from your thoughts by not attaching to them, they become like clouds passing across a clear sky. You will notice the interesting patterns and shapes they form as they float by – coming from nothing and returning to nothing, but they cannot touch the background perfection of the azure blue stillness - the Absolute that holds all.

 

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )

         

Acceptance

   

Acceptance when it is practiced as a means to an end is not acceptance.

When you want to accept the thing that’s causing you to suffer in order for that thing to disappear and relieve your suffering, you are not accepting the thing. In other words, acceptance is accepting the suffering. So for instance waking up with early morning anxiety about the day ahead causes you to suffer, acceptance is not a way of overcoming the anxiety so that you don’t suffer, acceptance is accepting the anxiety in the moment that it arises and accepting the suffering it brings. You want to control the feeling of anxiety and rationalise that accepting it may make it go away – again, this is not acceptance, this is a strategy to try and control it, which will only ensure that its grip tightens – it’s the exact opposite of acceptance. True acceptance is welcoming the early morning anxiety – embracing it as a part of your living experience. 

If there’s a way to avoid suffering then clearly you should take it, for instance using painkillers for a headache; the suffering I am discussing here is psychological and brought about through the circumstances of your life. Again, if you can change the circumstances causing the anxiety then this should be considered. When you feel you have no control over the cause of your suffering, when all other avenues to relieve it have been explored, there is then an opportunity to practice the acceptance I am discussing.

The idea that our lives are filled with pain and suffering can lead to an overall acceptance of how things are, along with the assumption that to fight against it is pointless. However, I suggest that there is distinction to be made here between accepting ‘what is’, and giving up. Accepting ‘what is’ recognises that a deeper consciousness is acting through us. The idea that we can end our struggles by simply allowing life to take us where it wishes, often described as‘going with the flow’, is misguided; the struggles each of us face in our daily lives – all the frustrations, heartache, failures and setbacks are part of life. We cannot sanitise that life by choosing to give up and go with the flow. Such a decision is meaningless anyway because we are not in the flow - the flow is in us, - or, more precisely, we are the flow. Choosing to ‘go with the flow’ falsely assumes that, firstly, there is a Self that can choose, and secondly, there is a separate flow it can ‘go’ with.

Acceptance when it is practiced as a means to an end is not acceptance.

Colin McMorran ( from 'No Path to Enlightenment' )

         

You are not what you think.      

 

Imagine a large transparent plastic box filled with hundreds of multi-coloured marbles, its high sides contain the marbles ten deep. It rests on an even bigger glass topped table in a dark windowless room and a powerful up light is placed under the table. As the light shines through the glass it is filtered through the box of marbles sending up multi-coloured rays – reds, blues, greens, yellows and purples. The colours are eye-catching, however, you want to experience the pure light source, therefore in order for the light to shine through unfiltered you part the marbles with your hands so that the bottom of the box is exposed and the rays of light can shine through. However, as soon as you take your hands away the marbles rush to fill the gap and the light is once again filtered through them.

The multi-coloured marbles are your thoughts filtering the light of pure awareness and catching your attention with their bright colours; the act of parting them allows the pure light beneath to shine through. Continuing with the analogy, initially, it is quite tricky parting the marbles because they overrun your hands and backfill the space as quickly as you create it, however, with practice you are able to perfect your technique and can spread the marbles and hold the space for longer periods. Over time, something else begins to happen: the plastic box begins to expand – its sides start to stretch and its surface area increases. As the box grows, the marbles thin out until their density reduces to the point where they are no longer ten deep, but are now single marbles rolling around the bottom of the spacious box. There are just as many marbles but the space they were contained within has expanded and the light now shines through unfiltered. The expanding box is the stillness increasing within you; thoughts remain but they no longer filter the light into colours that grab your attention.

         

This is not suggesting that you deny your feelings or try to change or control your thinking. It is not about changing attitudes or beliefs nor is it about altering behaviour - although that may be a side effect; it is simply watching these manifestations and recognising and becoming aware that the vast majority of your thoughts are negative, unhelpful and untrue and that you are the ground of being beneath them. They are nothing more than brightly coloured collections of past memories and unreal future projections that grab your attention and collectively become your story, they have little to do with this present moment of being alive – in fact they kill the beauty of the present moment. 

Abraham Maslow 

Transcenders, I suspect, find it easier to transcend the ego, the self, the identity, to go beyond self-actualization. … Perhaps we could say that the description of the healthy ones is more exhausted by describing them primarily as strong identities, people who know who they are, where they are going, what they want, what they are good for, in a word, as strong Selves… And this of course does not sufficiently describe the transcenders. They are certainly this; but they are also more than this.

Going much further, Transpersonal Psychology is interested to explore extreme wellness or optimal well-being. It is interested in those cases of persons who have often or perhaps permanently expanded their "normal sense of identity" to include the supra- or trans-personal, the Self of all selves, the One underlying the Many. Transpersonal Psychology explicitly acknowledges and makes use of the profound spiritual psychologies of the Great Traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystic Christianity, Judaism and Muslim Sufism), as well as new insights and methods in the human potential and consciousness-expanding movements.

Maslow articulated such key concepts as “self-actualization” (development of one’s capacities) for Humanistic Psychology, then exceeded it with his Transpersonal Psychology ideal of “self-transcendence” (full spiritual awakening or liberation from egocentricity), along with the notion of “peak experiences” (and “plateau living”).

Carl Jung

Until you bring what’s unconscious into consciousness it will control your life and you’ll call it fate. The more you deny what’s inside of you the stronger it will come after you – from inside, it also comes from outside like the people who come into your life just at the right time; they are your fate.

Kena Upanishad

The eye does not go there, nor speech, nor mind. We do ... 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, because its Atman is also the Brahman.

Jordan Peterson - on his youthful dilema

I don’t know how these things where causally related, I guess it was because I was trying to figure out who I was and how that could be fixed – something like that. I started to pay very careful attention to what I was saying. I don’t know whether that happened voluntarily or involuntarily but I could feel a sort of split developing in my psyche – a split into two let’s say, and one was let’s say the ‘old me’ that was talking a lot and that liked to argue and that liked ideas.

 

And there was another part that was watching that part, like just with its eyes open and neutrally judging, and the part that was neutrally judging was watching the part that was talking and going that isn’t your idea, you don’t really believe that, you don’t really know what you’re talking about, that isn’t true. And I thought, hmm, that’s really interesting – and that was happening to 95% of what I was saying, and so then I didn’t really know what to do. So I thought okay this is strange, maybe I’ve fragmented and that’s just not a good thing at all – I mean it wasn’t like I was hearing voices or anything like that, it wasn’t like that. People have multiple parts.

 

So then I had this weird conundrum – it was like, well which of these two things are me? Is it the part that’s listening and saying no that’s rubbish, that’s a lie, you’re doing that to impress people, you’re just trying to win the argument. Was that me or was the part that was going about my normal verbal business me, and I didn’t know but I decided I would go with the critic. And then what I tried to do, what I learned to do I think, was to stop saying things that made me weak, and I’m still trying to do that because I’m always feeling when I talk whether or not the words that I am saying are either making me align or making me come apart. And I really do think the alignment -  I think alignment is really is the right way of conceptualising it because if you say things that are as true as you can say them, let’s say, then they come up out of the depths inside of you.

 

Because we don’t know where thoughts come from, we don’t know how far down into your sub-structure thoughts emerge, we don’t know what process of physiological alignment are necessary for you to speak from the core of your being. We don’t understand any of that, we don’t even conceptualise that. I believe you can feel that and I learnt some of that from reading Carl Rogers who’s a great clinician because he talked about mental health in part as the coherence between the spiritual or the abstract and the physical and that the two things were aligned. And there’s a lot of idea of alignment in psychoanalytic and clinical thinking.

 

But anyway I decided I would start practicing not saying things that would make me weak and what happened was that I had to stop saying almost everything that I was saying - I would say 95% of it. It’s a hell of a shock to wake up and realise you’re mostly dead wood! It’s a shock, and you know you might think do you really want all that to burn off? Well there’s nothing left but a little husk – 5% of you, its like well if that 5% is solid then maybe that’s exactly what you want to have happen.

 

This Thing Called You - Ernest Holmes

The greatest minds of the ages have accepted that such a pattern exists. Socrates called it his spirit, Jesus his Father in Heaven. Some ancient mystics called it Atman. Why don't you call it just you, your complete self? For surely this is what they all have meant.

Just try to catch the larger vision and realize that there have been and are people, many of them, who have wooed and wed some invisible Presence until Its atmosphere and essence have become wo­ven into the fabric of their own existence. Every man is a doorway, as Emerson said, through which the Infinite passes into the finite, through which God becomes man, through which the Universal becomes individual.

You are to believe with utmost simplicity and with complete faith that there is a pattern of your be­ing, or a real spirit of you, which is as eternal as God, as indestructible as Reality, and as changeless as Truth. This pattern is seeking to manifest through you. Back of it is all the will and purpose of the uni­verse, all the irresistible laws of being.  Finally it will win.

It is because it is there that you have these irre­sistible urges—the longing to live more fully, the feeling that life belongs to you. There is something within you beyond all doubt and fear, something which has never been limited by your acts or de­stroyed by your feeling. This is the only something that can make you whole.

Counselling in Present Moment Awareness