Suffering

What I am finding is that when I settle back into emptiness, tension in the physical and emotional body decreases, and that this can be done in the middle of a tense personal interaction. That is, when I find myself getting upset or uptight, the unpleasantness of that becomes a sort of Pavlovian trigger reminding me of the dimension of inwardness. I'm not sure I even have a choice at that moment. I just find myself back here. The disagreement may continue, but I am not nearly as compelled to defend or assert "my" side of it.

I realize I'm talking about very mild forms of disharmony. There are obviously nightmares that won't be dissipated by a shift of perspective. But being empty may still be the sanest and safest (because fearless) stance to take in such a situation. Some time ago I read about the experience of a Tibetan monk who was tortured horrendously over a period of years in a Chinese jail. He said that he survived psychologically by taking refuge in the Void and praying for the salvation of all sentient beings. J.A. USA

I was talking about headlessness and Eckhart Tolle's "now" with a good friend a few days ago. He had been with me to see Douglas in San Francisco on his visit-before-last, and seemed to "get it" at the time. But he's been recently hit with a series of disasters in his personal life, and was asking how "seeing" (or whatever) stands up in the face of such things as shame, pain, decrepitude, the last days and hours before death. He was wondering how people who "get it", how they stand up, personally, in the face of these tests. S.D. USA

My life had been pretty routine up until 7 years ago. At that time, our son, 17 years old, was hospitalised with a devastating illness - both chronic and debilitating. It has meant that we will probably have to support him all of his life. It continues to be painful to see a young man, once full of promise for the future, suffer and deteriorate. I can't say that "seeing" makes it any of it less painful, but what it does allow is for me to experience pain directly - in the moment - and then to experience joy - in the moment. I accept and experience whatever I am feeling, no judgements - it's just WHAT IS. My philosophy has now become, "who would have thought life could be so much fun, in a painful sort of way!" Does this make sense? It gives me acceptance of what is. M. USA

I think this is a really important question
too, and one I've often thought about. Not that I've suffered pain, decrepitude and approaching death yet, but plenty of shame, guilt and depression has come my way. At first after seeing happened, I went around "disembodied and devoid of care" for quite a long time; disconnected from "me", I felt there were no problems left. But that didn't last and gradually I've had to accept this person after all. Getting caught up in recurring thought patterns ("I'm not wanted" is a favourite of mine) and just sheer grief at events in the past has gone on a lot, and still does sometimes, but eventually, through not pushing them down out of consciousness but going into them they've got less. "Down, in, through" seems to work. In the beginning I thought seeing would solve my problems, in the end I realised "when all else fails, seeing is what's left".

Ramana Maharshi apparently said, when asked why people don't progress, "It's because of habits of thought". That seems to be true. The habits of thinking I learned during my growing up, which are quite unhelpful and unrealistic, take a deal of shifting. For example, the fear of death we have in our culture. J.B UK

"Down, in, through" seems to work. In the beginning I thought seeing would solve my problems, in the end I realised "when all else fails, seeing is what's left". Yes, that has been my experience too. As long as we exist as a mind-body we are obliged to do what we can as such. But it is immensely reassuring to know that in the bigger context of "what we really are", we are OK and cannot fail. C. France

Seeing does not "stand up in the face of such things as shame, pain, decrepitude, etc." Seeing does not face or confront anything as Seeing is not a thing. In Seeing "you" and the things are nor separate; "you" ARE the things. So who is there to stand up in the face of such things? Seeing doesn't make anything go away. It is the non-objectivised OBSERVER OF WHAT IS - whatever that may be. As such it has no practical advantage. Unfortunately, there are many myths and unrealistic expectations afoot fostered in part by wishful thinking and unscrupulous teachers eager to attract disciples with promises of everlasting bliss and a problem-free life. But as long as there is a body-mind, there will be all the experiences both positive and negative associated with body-minds. In sum, before Enlightenment, chop wood/carry water ; after Enlightenment, chop wood/carry water or if you prefer, before Seeing, shame, pain, decrepitude...etc., after Seeing, shame, pain, decrepitude. L.M. USA

Reading today Reflection 6 I was reminded of a recent unexpected, and potentially very upsetting and stressful situation that came my way. As I started to feel distressed I suddenly remembered and did the pointing experiment. I found the stillness and not only was I then at peace but was able to attend to the situation and bring about what has turned out to be a very positive and rewarding resolution. What a blessing it is to See. Jane. UK.

A little 'personal' story: my girlfriend just left me and when that happened before, I was for a long time in some sort of shock, disappointment all over etc. This time it's totally different. I look out of the Void and notice thoughts and feelings are coming and going. At my Centre everything is in peace, no-thing to worry about anything. One way looking from my One eye tells me it is alright. M.
 
About a year ago I found your website from a link found on the website of the Franklin Merrill-Wolff Fellowship. Within about 30 minutes of reading about Douglas and the Headless Way a lifetime of searching came to an end. I feel as though my life was saved! Without going into a lot of detail all I can say is that I was suffering terribly and because of the great work of Douglas and yourself I was able to see out of the illusion for the first time in almost 50 years. I find the mere act of just an attempt into seeing my true nature extremely powerful. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!! J

Sometimes there is so much happening that I think i just can't take it anymore.  Then I remember no-thing, and the tensions drift away. Just space for everything happening is relieving. There may be a lot happening, but the no-thing ain't one of them! Janet.

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