To solve the problem of fear it is necessary to not assume that we know what fear is. In fact this is the problem, we start by assuming we know what fear is. We tell ourselves all the things we are afraid of and exactly how afraid we are of those things. This I think of as knowing too much. It could be said that we know what we do not know. All thinking is knowing what we do not know. A word or a thought can only have meaning when we decide what that meaning is. Language works because of this principle, the words of a language are given meaning and we all agree on the meaning given. This can be useful but it is also possible to forget that the meaning given to words was made up and agreed upon. Words have enormous power when they are believed. This power can be used for great good or great evil. Fear is always the result of believing something to be true that is not true. To be free of fear it is necessary to conceive that this is possible and also to find out precisely what it is we believe that is not true. If we are told as a child that we are not good enough then it is likely we will grow up with this belief and it will rarely be questioned. In fact rather than question this belief we are more likely to reinforce it by repeating it to ourselves and proving to ourselves that it is true. Nothing can be assumed to be true, and if what we believe to be true is in any way negative then that negative is the proof that it is not true. Fear is obviously a negative feeling and so you can be sure it is based on a belief that is not true. Physical feelings I take to be true so long as there is no meaning attached to those feelings. When physical feeling is divested of meaning its true meaning appears. In the case of physical feelings that we usually associate with fear we may find that without meaning these feelings naturally dissipate. We may also find that without meaning what we take to be fearful may be a source of great learning. The difficult part of this process is just the ability to look at these feelings without attaching meaning to them. This usually takes time and practice, it will take less time when the principle is clearly understood. This understanding is very simple - we are the creators of meaning and whatever meaning we create we have to live with. This is optional, we can create meaning or we can-not create meaning. By keeping our attention only on physical feeling we begin to free ourselves of all unnecessary and negative meaning. We are addicted to meaning because this is the mechanism whereby the ego creates the illusion that it exists. The ego does not wish to know that it does not exist and yet because the ego tries so hard to create the illusion that it does exist suggests that the ego itself is not convinced.The problem is circular in that the ego creates fear as a means to prove that it exists and then becomes trapped by that same fear so that living is equated with fear. Fearing that the ego does not exist is the same as the fear of death or non-existence. We get so caught up in this illusory fear that we do not notice what it is we really are. What we really are is consciousness, consciousness comes before fear; fear arises in consciousness and without consciousness fear could not exist. Everything arises in consciousness even the universe but all the things that arise in consciousness are secondary to consciousness itself. The things that arise in consciousness are attractive or they are fearful but either of these are illusory in comparison to consciousness. Consciousness is subtle but what we are attracted to or afraid of is not, so we take the easy road and focus on what is obvious and ignore what is subtle. Free of the obvious we live in the subtle but wondrous world of consciousness.
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
When all negative thinking has been identified as nothing more than false belief what is left is naturally positive. Free of beliefs the mind is naturally loving and compassionate it is only the negative aspects of ego that obscure this fact. On a retreat a woman told me that she thought it very important to be humble and loving I replied that when we try to be humble and loving it is because we feel we are not. The ego is not able to be loving and compassionate but it is able to mimic the appearance of what it thinks is loving and compassionate. The spiritual world of all religions is full of those who think that mimicking love and compassion is the same as being loving and compassionate. It is usually a screen the ego hides behind. Many seekers take it as a sure sign that someone is enlightened if they smile a lot. Love and compassion are natural aspects of consciousness but consciousness has no need to prove that it is loving and compassionate. It is only the ego being deficient of these qualities that needs to prove how loving and compassionate it is. Consciousness is free of all negatives, once this is understood it becomes clear what needs to happen. We need to see clearly every trace of negative thinking, this thinking cannot be removed it can only be seen clearly for what it is – something that is not true or has no basis in reality. When this is seen on a very deep level (not the level of ego) that which obscures consciousness becomes redundant. Negatives obscure consciousness because they carry a negative charge or feeling, this feeling then occupies our attention causing neurosis (thinking about things that are not worth thinking about) while we are doing this consciousness is obscured, it is still there and even the neurotic thinking could not be there without it but our attention is fixated on the negativity and associated physical feeling produced by the ego. We do not need to concern ourselves as to whether or not we are loving and compassionate we just need to identify the negatives. It is helpful to separate the meaning from physical feeling. When we are able to feel what we feel without the usual attached meaning the feeling will naturally fall away as it is in the meaning that the feeling comes to exist in the first place. There is no meaning in consciousness that is to say consciousness is free of meaning. The important principle here is that nothing can be changed except through seeing that which does not exist. If we remove meaning from our minds nothing can be said to exist. I am not suggesting we do this, what is required is only to remove the negatives as it is in the negatives that we find the aspects of the ego that are not practical or useful. The aspects of the ego that are useful do not need thinking about, they are naturally there without the negatives. The ego has a place and could never be removed, it can only be seen for what it is. When we see what the ego is we see the place of the ego and most importantly we see what has no place in the ego. Seeing the ego is possibly the most difficult thing we may ever attempt this is because the ego does not wish to be seen, this is understandable because contained in the ego are all the things we would rather not know about. The ego’s mission is to keep our attention away from these things we would rather not know about. Knowing the things we would rather not know about the ego would lose all of its power, to the ego this is the same as death and it will do anything to preserve itself. The best way for the ego to do this is in neurotic or unnecessary thinking and especially in negative thinking as in negative thinking physical feelings are stirred up that cause us to think more rather than less. The ego does not exist but acts as though it does and to sustain this illusion requires us to think in neurotic and unnecessary ways, it also requires us to create negative stories or drama’s that in turn cause physical feeling to become attached to our stories that then become harder and harder to disentangle.