After thought #5
November 3, 2009

How do you define yourself?

I think this has to be one of the most powerful questions we could ask ourselves to find out where you are “standing” in the moment.  How you defined yourself when you were ten years old is very different than how you may define yourself in this present moment now; likewise, it will likely be very different ten years from now.  In each and every moment we can in fact, vacillate dramatically, in who we imagine we are, by the way in which we define ourselves in that moment.

The “problem” with humanity is that we are constantly trying to define ourselves.  We are conditioned from birth to define ourselves and we spend our lives in the constant pursuit of more and more refined definitions that are shaped by the choices, decisions, beliefs and experiences that occur. 

Consciously and unconsciously we are taught and told who we are by others: our society, our peers, our culture or another’s, religion and even politics can mold the paradigm in which you see, experience and express the concept of self, or “I”. 

As if that wasn’t enough, some of the most dangerous definitions of self, were, and are, self engendered.  We observe, we absorb, and we masturbate those ideas, thoughts, notions, perceptions, associations, feelings and memories, like some sick variation of a Pavlovian experiment.  In our innocent naïveté, we actually believe we truly know and understand who we are in the sense of how we see our self, the world, and how others see us.

The moment you define yourself is the moment you limit yourself.  Those ideas, thoughts, notions, perceptions, associations, feelings and memories that we have wedded ourselves to ultimately serve as a filter and lens that limit the limitless.  As long as we continue to identify ourselves as and by our body/mind only, we will continue to limit the unbounded nature that we are, we will prevent our ability to stabilize awareness in our essential core.  As long as our awareness continues to be scattered into this and that, we will continue to suffer under the erroneous, neurosis of our very own personalized, narrative, which defines and determines who we imagine ourselves to be.

Are you really Black or White, Canadian or American, gay or straight, man or woman, poor or rich? 

Do you really think that Who You Are is defined by what you do or don’t do, have, or feel?  That Who You Are is based on the level of your I.Q., how much money you make, where you work, or whether you have positive or negative thoughts?  Perhaps your trip is locked in the shrine of who you thought you were in the past, or who you think you are now; and what about the future “you” that you continually invest in? 

Have you lost the value of your essential nature in the projection of that imagined future definition?

Do you think the vastness of Who You Are can be corralled by the level of your education, religion, sexual preference, or ethnicity?  

Does your personal suffering presently overwhelm and determine, shape and thwart, what is, what was, and what will always be?

Can we let go of the need to define a sense of self that is based only on the dogma of conventional thinking and understanding, or are we able and willing to quietly begin the dismantling process, finally breaking the chains that have bound the unbound? 

Through the enquiry of unconventional thinking ~ through “expansion” of awareness, is it possible to unlock the vast, untapped potential of what is, what was, and what will always be?  

How do you define yourself?

How do “I” define myself?

After writing this, preferably not thank you.

“I” think it’s time to erase my bio/profile…

 

***

Please enjoy a short video commentary by an amazing teacher, author and guide; Stephen Wolinsky, on the role of identification.

 To learn more about Stephen Wolinsky and his work please visit:

http://www.netinetifilms.com

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The Spell of Practice…
October 16, 2008

 

“ You are always there.  The you that is always there, is the one that always goes unnoticed…” 

 

Stephen H. Wolinsky

 

 

There comes a time in a practice where one often, simply by tenure of experience, realizes certain things about ones practice; ones motivation within the practice, ones limitations, and ones understanding and misunderstanding within the practice.  Often the purpose of the practice may be questioned, and once in a great while the direction of the path itself will be investigated.

 

I think it is safe to say that most of us begin the journey of seeking Who We Are by listening too and learning from others.  There can be great benefits in spending quality time with teachers, mentors and friends who are also pursuing with courage, risk and passion the discovery of Who They Are.

 

Personal tenure of practice often provides a certain comfort and spontaneous levels of detachment as a result of multiple exposures to situations and circumstances within that practice lending to us the wisdom of experience. 

 

Within any practice there can also be many traps.  Significant, hidden, distractions that take the form of assumptions that serve as obstacles in the finding out of Who We Are.  When the pursuit of the practice itself is substituted for, and overshadows the deeper quest in the finding out of Who We Are, we lose ourselves not only to the story of the practice, but also Who We Are. 

 

The practice is a practice.  In itself the practice has nothing to do with Who We Are.  The practice is a tool, to be used to help navigate the personal, self engendered challenges we have and face that prevent us from being Who We Are.  The practice is a temporary resource, a tool to yoke our attention and senses, from “out there”, to “in here”.    

 

We are Who We Are, regardless of the practice.  The practice does not change, influence or impact at any level Who We Are, Who We Were and Who We always will be.      

 

The longer I meditate, the more I realize the distinctions and the unrealistic expectations, placed on the practice; any practice.  As a long term meditator of 19 years, I have for instance given up the notion and necessity that “I have or had to stop my thoughts”.  After a few years of meditation, it became very clear through experience, that thoughts will always come and go ~ or not; that successful meditation has nothing to do with stopping, changing, fixing or even dare I say it, improving ones thoughts. 

 

More importantly said the practice, in this case meditation, allows the field of attention to notice for the first time not “this” or “that”, but the ever present silence that surrounds the “this” and “that”; in this case “this” being the thought.  To notice first hand the silence that was there before the thought, the silence that was there during the thought and the silence that will be there after the thought has long gone.

 

But the cut does not stop there when it comes to investigation of the assumptions we place on the practice ~ any practice.  The cut must be deep and precise.  It must penetrate and sever all assumptions, all ideas, all notions, all understandings within the practice. 

As we dig deeply, the enquiry must uncover the heart of the concept ~ every concept; concepts that entangle and concepts that mislead.

 

My study of the work of Stephen Wolinsky and one of his most significant teachers, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, has provided much new fodder to revisit, revise and refine some of the assumptions and learning’s of the concepts, I have gathered so easily over the last 20 years or so of my “spiritual journey”. 

 

To be clearer, I have been blessed (?) with “the choice” to challenge and examine every frame of reference the intellect can provide; to distinguish between the witness and the intellect, to discern between what is real, and the abundance of numerous, nonsense teachings that are continually regurgitated from teacher to student to teacher.  To question the very validity and basis the dogmas that most religions and for that matter, Spirituality hide behind or within.

 

In the West we frequently get caught up in “the doing”.  The emphasis on doing becomes so relevant in conventional reality that we wrongly assume that Being itself, can be influenced by doing.  The practice is doing.  Any attempt by the subject “I” to influence, gain, attain, remove or harness Being, is redundant.  Doing is not the basis of Being; Being is the basis of doing.  To imagine that any doing will in some way influence or impact the nature of Being is, well… ludicrous!

 

When spirituality becomes organized with a dogma or path, we embrace and then emphasize doing over Being.  What was at once innocent becomes systemized, regulated and controlled.  Spirituality is Not University.  There are no perquisites for realization.  No certifications or tenures, no achievements are needed to qualify in order to Be.   When the practice is codified there is a danger that we can lose touch with the intention behind the practice as we shift our focus to attainment and gain.  Our attention is caught up in the doing. 

 

It does not matter which level of attainment you imagine you have reached within your practice.  It does not matter if you have practiced meditation for one year or twenty, or whether you’ve mastered your first or sixth level Ashtanga, or that you or someone else calls you a Grand Master.  While this may be of importance to the “I” mind, while this may have some validity and relevance in the world of form and phenomena, within the very system of origin that created it; it has no relevance, no stature, no bearing on the finding out of Who You Are. It is still, only, ever, about doing.

 

You are Who You Are.  The you that you are, was always there, you just did not notice it.  Your attention was rapped up, out there, focused on the doing rather than the Being.  The practice was a way to break the spell of achievement, to abandon the doing, while noticing the Being.  The practice was not the goal.  There never was a goal or target to be reached, controlled or mastered.  Realization is not the goal, for the self cannot master the Self; the self has no mastery over the Self. 

 

You are the goal.  You were the goal before you started seeking, you were the goal while you are seeking, and you will be the goal after you give up seeking.  Freedom lies in the Being, not in the doing.  It’s ok to have a practice.  It’s ok to have a good life, to be more peaceful, to enjoy life more fully in the Being rather than the doing.  When we take care of Being, the doing will spontaneously be expressed.  When we take care of Being, effortless doing will naturally be experienced, Being and doing become one.  Then we realize there was no Being and there is no doing…

 

 

“ You are always there.  The you that is always there, is the one that always goes unnoticed…” 

 

Stephen H. Wolinsky

 

    

 

 

The mind does not matter…
April 30, 2008

 

“ Any idea you have about Spirituality has nothing to do with Spirituality…”          

  Stephen Wolinsky
“I” wish “I” said that…

 

“I” have to confess though, that “I” read it.  It’s one of many lines written by Stephen Wolinsky in his many engaging books that have been having a very big effect on my personal journey and discover of Who I AM.  It’s one of those lines that when contemplated can have a dramatic affect on the way we perceive, understand and experience life.

(more…)

Awakening, Becoming, Being…
April 22, 2008

We all appear to be in a process of “awakening”; a perceived becoming of Who We already Are.  Trouble begins when the “I” mind of us or others, wants to organize this “happening”, wants to formulate, accelerate, control, or franchise this “process” to ourselves or to others. 

 

Our desks might need organizing, our receipts for taxes might need organizing, the rooms in our houses might definitely do well with some sort of an organizing, our inherent authentic Self however needs no organizing in order to Be.

(more…)

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