Eckhart Tolle retreat at Omega, October 2002 - Part 2

Monday Afternoon – Partial Transcript

(The following is based on personal notes and taping. Please do not consider as verbatim or as a quotable source for Eckhart’s teaching)

Oh yeah, we are going to check if its still Now. (pause laughter) I think it is. That's a strange thing, of course the way we did it now it's a little bit funny, but still one can almost say, this is not quite right because its language but I'll say it, one can almost say you could sense the Now. Be aware of it. Not as something, but as presence, an aliveness. Not some thing. And so we have already fallen into an error of creating a subject and an object when we say ‘you can become aware of the Now.’ And that’s what happens when one speaks. Because that implies now that there's two things here, there's you and that which you become aware of. But the truth is what we call the Now is Awareness itself that knows itself, but doesn't divide itself into two. And of course it cannot be separate from who you are, you are that Awareness. That's the secret. That frees you once you know it. Now knowing it, this is not a knowing that is conceptual because then you would have a belief, "I am Awareness" which could become a concept. But to know

So our practice is meeting the Now fully. We spoke of the possibility of allowing what is, to be. And that means not imposing interpretations on it. So let’s use where we are, the setting here, the beauty that surrounds us. Let’s make it into part of our awareness practice during these days. And see if we can meet nature without imposing mental labels or interpretations on it. That means we are working...( working, that’s not a good word one of these days that word is going to disappear from the language, but not yet)...working with our sense perceptions. This is a very important, very helpful way of stepping out of the stream of thinking. A little, I have recently started to call it, ‘exits.’ The prison of your mind, the prison cell, the conditioned mind, that most people identify with as themselves, as me, that prison cell has hidden little exits. Easy to overlook. But it’s not really locked, they’re open. And one such exit is, quite simply, sense perception. That to perceive something fully, visual, auditory, takes you out of conditioned thinking. Anybody who perceives beauty is, no matter how briefly, able to step out of mind and perceive without interpretations or labeling, if only for one second. But more than that, if you’re very alert…now most people don't know this because all they know is whatever they perceive is immediately interpreted through the conditioned thought processes. It’s compared to something else, you find some personal relationship to it, it reminds you of that, or you simply put a label on it and then you think you now what it is and you inhabit a flat universe. It lacks depth because the mental labels obscure to you the depth that there is and the aliveness and the sacredness that there is in every living thing. And ‘living thing’ includes what the mind calls dead things. Living things includes everything because everything is alive, even the stone. If you looked into the stone you could see that there's an intense aliveness there. Physicists have done it in their way. They know that the stone is an alive energy field and matter itself is alive. It looks to us as impenetrable, solid, and dead but its not. So no matter whether we conventionally call it a living thing, realize that whatever you perceive is alive. But let’s speak specifically here about nature, plant life, and animal life, of course mineral is also very beautiful. So usually you perceive through the screen of conceptualization and that is a deep-seated habit that we inherit, a collective mental habit. Perhaps until recently there was not much chance of getting out of it. But now the possibility is there. Stepping out of that deep seated collective conditioning. And see that it is possible to meet perceptions in the field of simple awareness.

In many of you, if you are alert, you can observe an interesting phenomenon. When you first perceive something, it could be a visual perception, it could be an auditory perception, suddenly you hear a bird singing, or visually you turn this way and suddenly you see a tree in the most amazing colors. And if you are alert you can catch that first moment of perception, auditory, visual, a new something arises in the field of perception. And there's a little space, always, when something new enters your field of perception, in which the labeling has not started yet. That is really the moment of true perception. And that moment is a moment of inner stillness where thought processes don't operate. There’s is a gap, and then thought processes usually come in. That gap is missed by most people and to the mind it is not significant because to the mind all that is significant is their thoughts. If you can't think any thoughts about something it is insignificant to the thinking mind. And so probably, not probably, I am certain, that there are many people in this room, not only who in the first moment of perception…almost everybody does that the first moment of perception there is the freedom from labeling but it's not recognized… but there are may of you here who already find in their everyday life that there are moments of more prolonged non-labeling of perceptions. And that is quite amazing. That is an incredible shift in consciousness, from the labeling mind to the free unconditioned spaciousness in which that arises.

I suggest that here is a practice, to be alert especially to that first moment. And if you recognize that there is a moment when you first perceive something, a leaf, a stone, a tree, a bird, or the totality - a field, a grove of trees. And if you bring awareness to that, then that awareness itself will be there for longer. If you are aware of that space of awareness that is there the moment you first perceive something, then the sense perception happens within a field of stillness. That is you bring the stillness into the sense perception, it’s perceived against the background of stillness. And then perhaps at some point the labeling mind may come in if only to say ‘Oh, you see, there’s the stillness.’ It’s possible. So that is a practice especially these days that you’re here. Interact with nature in that way. Then of course everything really comes to life, becomes alive.

However, there’s something in you that doesn’t want to do that. Because there's the fear that you might be losing something important. And that fear is a fear of the mind which says “I won’t know anymore.” The mind says “I won’t even know what this is.” The strange thing is all the mind knows is one particular kind of knowing that is through conceptualization, through labeling. There is a deeper knowing in which you know without the limitations of concepts. But that knowing is to the mind, looks like not knowing anything anymore. And really that is a state in which a greater intelligence operates, perceives through you. To the mind it’s like you’ve lost something. Of course you haven’t lost anything, the labels you know them when you need them. They are still there. You can get them out of the filing cabinet, or whatever analogy we can use in computer language. I don’t know that. Retrieve it from the data banks. Oh that’s what it is. When it’s needed the label is there. A lot of the time it’s not only not needed, it limits you tremendously to be trapped in the world of labels. The conceptualized universe, when you only know concepts, thoughts, labels, you inhabit a conceptualized universe. Everything is immediately made into concepts. Some people are so good at it! Unfortunately in our culture the better you are at it, the more intelligent they think you are. If you can manipulate concepts and so you can get your PhD in that way. There’s nothing wrong with Ph.D.s if you’re not trapped there. And that conceptualized existence is not only something you do to nature, you do it to people, and to yourself. You conceptualize your own life, into a series of thought forms and call it me. And then you do it to others. Conceptualize who people are. And some people are very good at that too. The moment they meet somebody, they just look at you to find out what makes you tick and then after two or three minutes they have it. Now sometimes that thing of just working out what this person is all about, some people are actually very good at it, but all they can ever find out is the conditioned mind of that person. And on that level they may even be right. On the level of the egoic conditioned mind what they say might be, I’m sometimes surprised people come to me and say, “What did you think of this person?” Oh…don’t know. And then they say “well let me tell you about him.” This is how it is, this is what he really wants, he’s doing this to manipulate you to do this and that.” Maybe they are right. But another thing that they do, then they don’t see that as being the level of conditioning and from then on whenever they relate to that person, they relate through the screen of their interpretation, which of course no matter who you are dealing with, it is extremely narrow and limited. It is not the reality of that human being. It may be an aspect of the conditioning that is operating there pretending to be somebody but is not, cannot touch the reality of that human being. Every human being carries all possibilities within including Buddhahood, Christhood, and every saint.

And it has happened that the greatest criminal turned into a saint. When the conditioned entity broke down, through intense suffering it can happen. Fortunately not to you because you are here, if you were not here, it would happen through intense suffering. (laughter) That is the grace that is there through suffering, it erodes [the self that create it]! Suffering is created you could say by this mind made entity, to a large extent people create their own suffering, humanity creates its own suffering. And yet there is built into this egoic madness the element of grace. And that is the very suffering that is created by that limited exclusively personalized sense of self, destroys in the end that sense of self. It erodes it. And so sometimes you find in people who have suffered a lot, physically or in other ways, they become very simple, a childlike state, not childish, childlike. That is the state of great openness, clarity, that is the state of being free of mind where a deeper intelligence operates. And it happened to them through suffering. And some of you, suffering brought you here and the rest happens here. So that gets eroded, during this week it gets eroded in a more pleasant way here. Although some of you may be suffering as you sit here. ‘I can’t stand anymore of this!’ And you project yourself away from here, seeing yourself in the car driving home. And if you do jump in the car, and drive home, in the middle of the retreat, then just before you get home, you will think that you have failed miserably, you’ve left the retreat and now it’s all gone. It’s always the other, the other. Where you’re not is always where you should be, of course.

So what we called this morning, and it seemed at first a very passive thing when this morning we said; when you allow what is to be, the ‘isness’ of this moment, then something reveals itself to you that is beyond the form that this moment takes. And the form may appear limiting. The formless life, consciousness, is known through not reacting to the forms that appear. Where do they appear? In the field of Now.

If you react to the forms in the field of Now, your own form, psychological form of ‘me’, gets strengthened. That’s why the ‘me’ likes reacting, it strengthens that ‘I.’ You can observe it in other people and in yourself. When you react against something, perhaps wanting to be right, you can see how, on one level, satisfying it is. While it’s satisfying, in reality of course it’s painful it is a form of pain. The body knows that because the energy cannot flow anymore. The energy field of the body stagnates. The body knows it’s painful but the egoic entity thinks it’s great, because you've enhanced your sense of self. The enemy is there. It's feels great. And some people even say it feels great after shouting at somebody. ‘Oh that feels better.’ So observe that, you allow it and that takes you beyond form. Your sense of self is no longer in form. It is deeper than any form.

So the easiest practice, and that is why we start here, is as you meet nature; --- nature exists beyond mind, nature is pre-mind, one could say. It exists in a much greater state of oneness with its source than humans. Humans have gone out of that much further. Nature is more deeply connected to the source; animals, plants. So to enter the state of what is ultimately a state of no-thought, I wasn't going to say it so soon in the retreat, not to frighten anybody, the state of no-thought. --- It is helpful to meet any natural phenomenon, a plant, an animal, that lives in that state of no thought. They also are expressions of consciousness but they don't inhabit a conceptualized universe. The dog does not have a self-concept or a problematic sense of self. A cat doesn't or anything that lives, a bird. The bird simply hasn't separated itself and says "that's me." It doesn't derive its sense of identity from conceptualization in the mind. It hasn't created that split. It just is. An expression of the One in form. Limited through its form, yes, but a beautiful expression of that. So it is often a great meditation if you can watch a tree, a flower, a dog or a bird. It does not stimulate thought because it operates beyond thought, conscious yes but not through conceptualization.

Now we are not returning to that state. This is not where we are going because that would be a falling back. It would free you from allot of suffering, yes. And some people seek to return, they can't stand their mind anymore, they cannot stand the painful sense of self, that burden that I have to live with, me, ‘living with me everyday is dreadful. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.’ I'm just giving an example. So many people perceive life as a burden, a great burden, and every morning you wake up and you find yourself. Now you may think what you find is the problems in your life but really is the heaviness of the sense of self that looks out there for some kind of liberation or freedom and is not getting it. All you ever encounter is some other limitation, little brief moments of apparent freedom which turn out to be illusions. So that is the self that has heaviness to it.

An animal doesn't carry that burden. It is limited to its form, yes, but it lives in alignment, greater alignment than humans. And so its existence is not problematic. And it dies with great ease compared to humans. And in some cases human beings are kept sane by their animal. For some people they have a dog or a cat and it’s the one thing that keeps them, it’s their anchor to a dimension beyond conceptualizing mind. They have this anchor there. So animals that humans keep fulfill an incredible function, an anchor of sanity. And you can see with some animals how unhappy the master is, the owner is of the animal, and how carefree the dog is. Even after having lived for 5 years with this person. The dog is still joyful, greeting every moment in joy. And so I saw a little sticker recently to put on the fridge which said ‘God please let me be who my dog thinks I am.’ Now of course, the truth is that the dog doesn't think. That's why he is in joy. And that's why the dog relates to you, he doesn't relate to the conceptualized you. He relates to the you that’s hiding behind the conceptualized me, with its problems. Amazing. In everyone of course that dimension is there. The unconditioned, pure, consciousness, and its wanting to emerge. That's one way of putting it. It wants to emerge. It wants to flower through humans. And that's why we are here.

So although you may have tried to escape from the prison of your conditioned mind by going into drugs, or seeking some kind of escape, wanting to get out of the mind, drinking sometimes helps a little bit. Not for long but...You are then taken into unconsciousness. Moving out of your mind, yes it feels liberating, yes, but you are moving towards sleep. And sometimes it’s nice when you get very tired, you can't think about your problems anymore. And then there's a moment before you reach sleep when you feel quite good. And then you go to sleep. But we are not leaving mind by going that way. We are stepping beyond mind and with that comes an alertness. Freedom from thinking, yes, but at the same time there is wakefulness and alertness. Not moving towards unconsciousness. But nature is very helpful because it teaches you to live in no-mind. So in a way you meet, there is a deeper empathy with nature, when you don't impose on it the stream of conceptualization. There’s a very deep meeting that takes place when you perceive nature in that way. And this is an ideal place, surrounded by all this beauty, perceiving in that way and it is a significant event, cosmic, going far beyond the personal, when you perceive nature in the state of not-labeling, in the state of still awareness. Nature itself finds its fulfillment at that moment, through you because you are not separate. Within the Oneness, nature sees itself through you. It loves that. Its own sacredness! The tree, the flower, they become aware of themselves. This sounds a little mystical, that’s how it is.

So the essence here, we begin with nature because nature is so helpful, just be aware for a little while when you first see something, bring some alertness into when you walk around here. Be there as a field of alert presence and see that is quite possible to step out of the habitual labeling mind. For how long doesn't matter really. More important is how often you step out of the labeling mind. The rest looks after itself. Once that movement has started, and this is miraculous, the current of awareness that has begun to come though what before was a heavy layer of conditioned mind-stuff, once this current of awareness has begun to move through you, it has it has an intelligence of its own. It is pure intelligence. And that then operates, it has become free and you don't have to be concerned very much, it flowers by itself.

So sense perception is extremely important here. It is one way in which you can leave the prison of the conditioned mind. And then you may notice when you perceive in such a way there’s a form that you perceive, whatever it may be, and one could say there is a stillness in which the perception happens. That's the field of awareness. At first this is not something you can know as an object, because it’s the very essence of all knowing. You cannot know that as an object of knowledge. You can only be it. You are it. And even here, sitting here, you can sit here and think about your ‘story’, or the next moment or the last moment, where you are going to be, or you can be here as a field of aware Presence.

And the goodness that we spoke of that you find when you allow this moment to be as it is…because this is allowing this moment to be as it is, not imposing an interpretation. And if an interpretation comes, recognize it as mind, an interpretation. Not totally believe in it. Not totally being absorbed by it, just see it! There's the conditioned mind which comes up with its -whatever it says, then you go back to the perception itself….So the goodness that is hiding underneath, no matter what form this moment takes, is an aspect of that unconditioned dimension in yourself. And that [goodness] then emerges through you. It might have seemed that, when I said it at first, it was a very passive state to say you can notice there is a goodness underneath the appearance of this moment that is inseparable from the state of pure awareness, presence, whatever you want to call it, space-consciousness, it emerges from there. And everybody, even very unconscious human beings, unconscious means totally identified with conditioned mind, even very unconscious human beings, sometimes very obscurely sense that there is something in them that is greater, that there is a goodness that they cannot quite access. It doesn't seem to operate when they operate in their everyday life. It may break through occasionally, accidentally almost. Sometimes in moments of great danger, when they are threatened by death it could break through, when the conditioned mind subsides because it can't cope anymore with the urgency of this moment. So almost everybody senses that in some obscure way they know that there is something in them that is greater then what they manifest as their everyday existence, that may be pitiful. What they manifest in their everyday life may not be great, it may be allot of wanting and needing, and me against you. On a small level, whether it’s on a little level or whether you become the CEO, CEO is becoming a dirty word these days, but there's no difference you see it’s just on a bigger scale, a bigger egoic scale that's all. That's why it’s more noticeable. The greed of the ego, the greed, the need for more. So that then, what many people obscurely sense within, emerges, is an aspect of the unconditioned, love, joy, compassion. (tape 2.2 ) This compassion, it dwells there in that dimension so then that also begins to operate through you in your interactions with the world in the unconditioned. So this is why at first sight seems so insignificant when I say "Go to Nature. Look at the tree and be completely there in the looking. Allow the perception to arise in a field of stillness." Well, okay, I've done that now. What do I do now? Next thing. To the mind it seems insignificant and yet nothing is of greater significance than that because its through that the unconditioned emerges and then those qualities that are an inseparable part of that dimension flow out into this world. You begin interacting with Nature because Nature helps you. The next level up then is interacting with human beings that you know superficially. People you've just met. People that you come into contact with casually. People perhaps on the retreat that you meet and we'll be addressing that in more detail also. To bring that non-labeling awareness into your interactions with other human beings. Then an enormous change happens on the planet when more humans interact in the way which you don't impose conceptualization on other humans. We'll be addressing that more. Nature is easier, humans are more difficult. So you begin with nature and nature will continue to be extremely helpful in this. And that in itself benefit is incredible the way in which that deepens your life, the way in which you interact with nature. The depth that is there when you allow the mystery that is every living being, to be there. Yes you still know the label if you should still need it, but the mystery that is there that is covered up by the label that says tree, the depth that is there, just inconceivable. And the aliveness that is there, that some people have glimpsed when they took "acid" (LSD) that was perhaps the first time they glimpsed something that's beyond conceptualized mind and the teapot suddenly became intensely alive. It wasn't a teapot anymore. But then you've come back again, this is not the way so...this is much better than acid. But for some people it's been a little glimpse of stepping out of the prison of conceptualized thought into an intense aliveness. So the mystery that is there, how absurd to think that you know the moment you have put a label onto something. And children become conditioned at an early age in that way when they learn language. And the human mind wants that in the child because the human mind says "What's that?" And then the father or mother says, "That's a tree." And then the child repeats, "Tree, tree." And the illusion that the child then now knows what it is. It's already started. Next time, the next day the child sees a tree, before the child was looking, that was premind and that you find in very young children when you see them, mind hasn't started yet and yet consciousness is already there of their surroundings. And they look, they're all little Buddhas. And then they look at you, and that also some humans are drawn to little children as they are drawn to animals, because they feel they are not being judged. They know that the dog or the little child, the premind child is not imposing a label on them. They find freedom there so they are drawn whenever they see a little child they go there, Ahhhh!!! Yes, it's beautiful and then a moment comes in the child’s life when the conceptualizing mind wants to start. And the questions start, "What is that?" It's demanding labels. So one day the child is looking at the tree in openness and wonder. That is still the state of oneness. And the next day it has learned the word 'tree.' And then it looks at the tree and there's still a moment, the gap is still there that I mentioned, and then it remembers the label tree. "Oh, tree, tree!" Yeah, that's right, that's what it is. Now let's go on to the next thing. Many humans from that moment onwards they don't really look at the tree anymore because they think they know what it is. And this is just one tiny example, of then thousands of concepts and then being imprisoned in that and then having concepts about me. That's who you are. So going beyond all that is liberation, the ancient word that's been used for thousands of years. Free. Free from what? Free from the conditioned mind. So Nature, that in itself is an enormous shift when you can go into Nature and interact in that way and yes you look upon everything, that is love. Anything that is not labeled as you perceive it is looked upon with love. Not the love that the mind talks about which says "come here, I need you. I love you because I need you. I won't let you go. You're mine!" or "I love this flower so much that I'm going to take it home with me." It's not that kind of love. Very wisely in the Spanish language the expression, "I love you" is the same as the expression, "I want you" because that is the usual way in which what is called love by the mind. But the true love emerges whenever there's the absence of conceptualization, of labeling. And that is why the dog loves you continuously. And that is why the little child, no matter who the child looks upon, there is that openness. It doesn't judge a person as ugly, the openness is there. The label isn't there yet. So Nature is an access point, it is an opening for that. But also including inanimate Nature. Let's call it inanimate Nature. There is the beautiful realm of minerals. Wonderful. The Earth itself. The stones, the aliveness that is there. And even man-made, human made things have an aliveness. Especially if there is still some closeness to Nature like things made of wood. Natural materials. But even synthetic things, yes they too are alive. A little bit more removed from the source perhaps. But yes but also a temporary expression of consciousness. So you can sit in your room, perhaps let's say the room where you're staying here and just briefly sit and be there, look around, perceive your surroundings, without needing to label, innocent perception you could call it, not wanting anything from someone, not comparing, letting it be. Don't go on for too long because from that state of having gone beyond mind as this is something new for most humans, it is possible to go from that state of having gone beyond mind into a state of alertness and suddenly you fall below mind into sleep. Until that becomes a more habitual state in you, that can happen. So that's fine too. Beautifully expressed, there was a film about golf playing, "The Legend of Bagger Vance" where somebody is learning or relearning to play golf and his teacher is showing him how to be present. How to step out of mind. In one line the teacher says, "He's now learning how to stop thinking without falling asleep." Because only then can he play well. And every sportsman who does well knows that, that state is the state of freedom from thinking. Of absolute alertness, clarity...relaxed alertness and clarity. And so a few people, we mentioned artists earlier, some sportsman have access to that in their field of activity and here it is emerging as your normal state of consciousness. It's becoming your normal state of consciousness. Thought is still there, yes, will continue to be there for quite awhile, quite awhile. As long as you are here in the body, thought will also still be here. And yet there's a freedom. Thought moves, it is no longer problematic, it is no longer invested with self. You are not seeking yourself in thought-forms, anymore. That's the liberation. And though is recognized as thought. You don't, you're not totally trapped in every thought that comes. So all that is the shift in consciousness that this gathering is part of. Transitional period is when thought loses its capacity to make you unhappy. But it still operates but you don't believe totally in the judgments of your mind anymore, about yourself, about your life, what it tells you about your life, how you have failed, been treated unfairly by life. Whatever the story may be. It's the old conditioned thought-forms. And your sense of self does not reside there anymore. So use the access, the exit, the little exit door that is Nature. Bring that alertness to your perceptions. And if thoughts come occasionally, let them come and go without fighting it. There's no point in fighting thought with more thought. Allow the thoughts to come. It might even be a nice thought. You look at the flower in the spaciousness of presence and then the thought comes, "Isn't that beautiful." That's nice. And then the thought subsides and there's more spacious presence. And then some other thought comes. That's fine. And as you sit here, listen to these words as if they were coming from within you because they are. They are not somebody else's words, the truth is coming through, consciousness speaks, that's all. It doesn't matter through which form it speaks. Consciousness speaks, is pointing the way back to itself. So here too we just simply sit here, being present, alert, awake. That is the essence of all meditation but it's no longer a separate activity. It's Now, every moment. (pause) Once I had a group, we were addressing just this and somebody put her hand up and said, "When do we start meditating?" This is the meditation. (pause) And you are learning once the momentum of mind has taken you over again and that will happen. It's been there for so long, it has a momentum still. The mind will come back. It could come back even as you are sitting here in which case you will no longer be here. You'll be gone. And you notice that you are not seeing anymore, you are not perceiving anymore what's around you. Only just enough not to bump into things. But you can watch a person whose attention is totally drawn into thinking. There is very little outflow through eyes. There is an absence in the eyes. I can demonstrate it perhaps. (he demonstrates, laughter) Nobody there. Not here. So your consciousness is being absorbed by thought processes. All goes in here. And then not long after that happens to you and it probably will at some point and then suddenly you become aware that, once this has started, it won't be very long before some form of suffering will appear. And then those thought processes will go more dense. And then the emotions you will feel that accompany those thoughts. And then you might go to your partner and you say, "You know I've been thinking..." (laughter) More often than not whenever anybody comes to you and says, "You know I've been thinking...," you know here comes trouble. And so that may happen to you and then you will notice some form of suffering arising and some form of suffering arises and that's a little signal that says, "You must have lost the Now." "Where's the Now?" Now? And that entity, one could call it, that is now there, temporary little...of course everything is lifeform. Every thought is a lifeform. And a conglomeration of thoughts pretending to be a personal me is a temporary one could say lifeform. A temporary formation and the temporary formation wants to continue in existence as that formation. Like every lifeform wants to remain as that lifeform. It resists metamorphosis. And I'm sure if we could know the inner life of the caterpillar, the caterpillar too would resist it's metamorphosis into a butterfly until the last moment. "No, I'm not becoming a butterfly!" There is a certain inertia in every form. You can see it sometimes in children or sometimes adults, you're tired but you don't want to go to bed because there's an inertia in the state of being awake. You want to remain, you're not really awake anymore. And then when you are in bed, you don't want to get out of bed. There's an inertia in that state. With children you have it very often. There's an inertia in every form. So the thought-forms want to remain as those thought-forms. They will resist anything that would bring about a shift in consciousness. So there is something in you and its fine, that doesn't want to be free. That's a strange realization. There is something in me that does not want to be free. And you might think that's a personal fault of mine, no. There's nothing personal in that. That pretends to be a personal entity or personal matter. That in me wants to be taken seriously and be somebody, me! But it is not a personal matter at all. It is a universal mind-pattern. That principle of inertia is in you and it will find many reasons and excuses why you cannot be present now and why this moment is not important at all. Because I have far more important things to think about. It can give you many convincing arguments why it's not going to work for you. You might as well forget it. It's all nonsense anyway. All that nonsense about change in consciousness. This is real. Your problems are real. The falling shares are real. Your financial situation, that's real. So it'll come up, it will tell you what is real, what matters because it doesn't want to go and it comes up with things that you need to think about now. At night especially. Very important. There's nothing you can do. You 're lying there but. And so what conventionally is called worry, which simply means uncontrolled negative thought processes that are projecting themselves into future if that's what worry is. I'm sure it's not the dictionary definition but totally identified with mind-movement, creating situations and problems that are not here now. What could happen, might happen, probably would happen. And so at night those things can start up very strongly. And so the possibility of you noticing that so that the other dimension can come in is greater now, especially after having endured or enjoyed our retreat here. Even if you think and you probably will think because the thinker doesn't know what's going on here, even if you think that nothing is happening here, sitting here is quite enough for something to shift inside you. And the thinker, even if the thinker says, "No, it's not happening. Nothing is going on." So to recognize the mind, to recognize the momentum behind it and the inertia that is there, it doesn't want to stop worrying. The worrying entity, the thinker, do you think the thinker wants to stop thinking? Or do you think the worrier want to stop worrying? It's whole existence is worrying. Well, conventionally you all know this because we all know people who you ask, "Who would they be if they couldn't worry about something." But that is a pattern, more strongly developed in others, in some than in others, that is in everyone. So the thinker does not want the end of thinking, the worrier which is the thinker intensified, doesn't want the end of worrying. Worry has a momentum too. Particularly if the pattern of worry gets connected to the latent pain, emotional pain that humans carry in here and that's what the thinker likes to do, the thinking entity, the self to keep itself going, it links into what I sometimes call the pain body, the accumulation of pain from the past that humans carry. The residue, goes back a long way. It's collective, to a large extent, collective human pain inherited from thousands of years of madness, hundreds of thousands of years of suffering inflicted by humans on themselves and on each other. And your personal life too. Every child suffers coming into this world through the unconsciousness around them and so you carry that inside, and the worrier and the thinker and the mind-made self, to gain more momentum will link into that energy field of emotion, the old emotion of pain and that will energize those mind-movements and that is what keeps the self-entity going again and again very strongly. The old pain that gives energy to thought processes and you think you're worrying about certain things in your life but really you're acting out hundred thousand years of human pain. The mind finds some kind of explanation. It's made into something personal. Me. To bring presence into that will be addressing in more detail the pain-body also but just here to see that when it happens and once this movement has started, something is operating in you, an energy field, almost one could say a temporary entity that does not want an end to the pain. It does not want an end to the worry. It wants to carry on worrying. You can find that out for yourself if at that moment somebody pointed out to you the possibility of stepping out of that, which is there, the possibility of recognizing that pattern and stepping out of it. If you are totally identified with the pattern, you will deny that possibility because you are not speaking, the pattern is speaking. The conditioned entity is speaking. You will say, "This is absolute nonsense!" Whatever argument it comes up with, let's say 'there's no such thing as present moment. I'm not interested in present moment. Leave me alone with that nonsense of present moment. This is what matters. And this, and this. This is how it is. That's what's going to happen.' So to compensate one could almost say for that enormous momentum, we could say the movement of unconsciousness in humanity which is not a personal problem, not anybody’s personal problem, but that undeniably very still, very powerful movement of unconsciousness that is in humanity. Even after this retreat you may not be totally free of that. May! And so what is needed and yes it is happening, the arising of that which is beyond that needs to be more powerful then that. Not that it is fighting anything. It's not fighting that. In it's vastness it contains that and then dissolves it but the arising of presence needs to be intense otherwise you will be totally drawn in again and again into the old movement of unconsciousness. Now the question is can you make that happen, can you make the arising of the unconditioned presence, can you make it more intense or is it something that just happens by itself? And the answer is not clear-cut. It is yes and no. Can you make it happen? Yes and no. From one perspective, yes. You can as I sometimes call it, you can take up the sword of presence that says only this is real, only this moment is real. And what is the problem at this moment? That cuts through the problem-making conditioned mind which needs past and future to continue to manufacture its problematic sense of self. To cut through, to access in yourself presence that cuts through all that. It says, 'Okay.' Stepping out of mind by choice into the aliveness and freedom of this moment. You can do that, one could say. You can do what the Zen Master described as the essence of Zen when he raised, he would only ever do one thing when he was asked 'What is the essence of Zen?' This. (raised index finger) Intense presence. He never said that. Alertness. Presence. Be here fully. And that is something you can do. You can choose presence. Now nothing that I say or anybody says is totally true. And even that statement is not totally true. (laughter) Reality is far deeper than could ever be contained in any one statement. You can choose presence because presence is already arising in you and through you. And that can give you the feeling that, yes, I can choose presence. And that's good. I wouldn't say that to anybody because it might not be true for them. If not enough presence is arising you can't choose presence. So let's, why not instead of trying to somehow resolve the paradox of the seemingly contradictory statements, why not allow the seemingly contradictory statements to be there because they point beyond themselves to a greater truth. The mind says, 'No, let's work this out. Yes or no.' And it would even fight, if it has chosen the yes, it will fight against the no. And that is a wonderful thing because and we can do that now, an example of allowing mental positions to be there. And allowing different mental positions to coexist also without believing that one position encapsulates the entire truth. Now the mind will tell you, will I not become totally paralyzed because I won't know what to do anymore. If I do not subscribe to one way of looking at things, what is going to be the motivating factor. The motivating factor will no longer be thought. The intelligence of the unconditioned consciousness will motivate you, things will happen, it will move through you, an action will happen when it's needed. But not through adopting and defending a mental position. Because defending my mental position, whatever it may be implies you're fighting other mental positions. And an extreme manifestation of that is the terrorist, for example. Or whatever else. It's totally being trapped in a conceptualized sense of us or self and totally making conceptualized identity for others so that they are not alive anymore. Other humans are mental concepts. As such just totally fine to kill them because they are no more than dead mental concepts. Whatever label you put on to them you have already killed them with labels. Whether or not you then kill them physically, it almost doesn't matter anymore. You've done it already, almost. So being trapped in conceptualization, (pause) the movement of unconsciousness is still in you, yes. The choice is there now. For the choice to be there you need to recognize that you've been trapped in mind. That you're trapped in mind. And a good sign is suffering in your life. Any kind of suffering. You've lost the Now. Reenter the Now. One way is sense perceptions. To truly in the way that we described, truly perceive with acute awareness. Another one is allowing this moment to be as it is. It's a little exit, too. And a beautiful one is the inner body, feeling the aliveness of your inner energy field. It takes attention away from thinking. That's another exit out of the prison of mind. That maybe particularly helpful when the worry pattern starts, if that's the pattern. Worry is a form of fear. At night, for example. All that is needed is notice that its been happening to you. That requires already a minimum of awareness. If you don't have that you have no choice because you are totally the worrier. Worry, W.O. and the other one too. (warrior) You are totally the worrier and you have no choice. So the fact that there is choice, if there's at least a minimum of awareness even in the midst of unconsciousness, being taken over by the momentum of the mind, is still the minimum of awareness that knows that you're being taken over by the mind. And at that moment choice comes in, but that is not up to you but by the grace of the divine that that minimum of awareness is there in you. And there, the choice is there, and again it's only a perspective. To step out. And the worrier will say, "No, I can't. No point.' That's another thought. Should you totally believe in that thought? No. It's a thought that says, 'You can't possibly get out of it and you really need to think about this.' And then you do it anyway. That mind is very clever with arguments and trying to convince you, 'Why not?' And then you do it anyway. You can't feel the inner body now, what's the point in trying to feel the inner body with what's going on in here. There's no point in even trying.' And then you do it anyway. And then you sense there's an aliveness in your hands and your feet and the rest of the body. Who says you can't feel your body. That was just a thought. And then attention moves there and it is quite possible within a minute or two you can shift from the worrying entity to feeling intensely alive and present in your entire energy field. And that means the inner body becomes an anchor for staying present. It's your anchor. And then you will notice the pull of the mind, of wanting your attention back and it will then come up with some other thought. 'Just think about this.' And then it pulls you attention half out again and for a moment you back in that, and then you notice it again, you're back in the body. And then you have to walk on the razor's edge of Now for the rest of lying awake that night. Because if you leave the Now, you suffer. And another thought comes, leave the Now, and then you're back. That is beautiful practice. (Silence) Most of you probably drive cars, now that's a wonderful field of practice to drive your car in presence. You are less likely to have an accident, also. Mostly when you drive your car you are thinking about something else. You are not thinking about the driving or should you be because you wouldn't be driving very well if you were thinking about it, so it's automatic. Something else is driving. But why not just be still while you drive? And perceive everything? Very aware. (tape3.1) The act of driving. So its regarded as normal. They personalize going from A to B behind the wheel of a car, it becomes a personal struggle with other drivers. They get angry. They shout. It's simply the movement of traffic. No different from the weather or any other movement life-movement but they personalize it because the "me" strengthened itself . "Where's my enemy? The enemy's right there. (pause) I always say beware of driving pain-bodies. What does the driving pain body want without knowing it? The driving pain body wants something to go wrong to have more pain. And sooner or later it will. All that he or she needs is another driving pain body in the vicinity. So our practice here, Nature, your own room, walking from A to B. Not making that movement into a means to an end, needing to get there. Just be there at every step. The next step is not going to be more important than this one. The arriving is not going to be more important than this moment. Be there in every step. Walk around the campus here as a field of aware, alert, alive presence, without carrying the burden of your story and think about it as you walk. Or and say, I wonder what's going on in the world? What's in the news? Not good. It wasn't good last week. It's not good this week. And when you get home and listen to the news again, it will still be the same. The news are very selective. The collective mind says this is important and this is important and this is important. That's the news. It overlooks a lot.

There's a wonderful person living here on campus. A great artist, he arranges all these flower arrangements that we see in different places with leaves and most incredible awareness has gone into that. I believe his name is Jonathan. If I remember rightly from last year. Just the most amazing example of beauty that is created whenever something is being performed in the state of presence and the love that flows into the doing naturally any doing that arises out of presence and he can take any objects, a few dead leaves or dying leaves, a little bit of moss and a little bit of that and puts it together and its a creation of great beauty.

That is also very helpful to look upon anything that was created out of that state of consciousness, can reflect that state back to you, can give you a reflection of that state. Its the essence of art probably. To give you a reflection of the state out of which it came. Which shines through the form. Every great work of art is more than what you see. You can’t really define it through concepts. Its always more. Something shines through that is not the form. That is the state of consciousness out of which it came and when you look upon it rightly, which means in the state of aware presence, it can strengthen and deepen that state in you. That is the beauty of art. And probably even relatively unconscious human beings, deep down, they can sense something when they look at a work of art. And they may treasure it. It's very deep, they feel something and somehow. They don't always recognize it. There's probably been great art that's never been recognized. And in the case of some great artists they were never recognized in their lifetime. I don't know who, perhaps it was Van Gogh, who never sold a single painting in his lifetime. Nobody wanted to... not interested. Nobody was really looking. Something shines through. And even anything made, a craftsman makes can also happen. Doesn't have to be a great painting. Anything that a craftsman has spent along time being present with. Not a means to an end. Giving attention, the flow of attention which is awareness, which is presence goes into that. The object embodies that. It embodies quality in its deepest sense. And its always an aspect of sacredness to that, always. But whether or not you make something, only a few of you will be making something with your hands or whatever way. Presence manifests in so many different ways. It can also manifest entirely outside the world of form with just you sitting there listening to someone, not even saying anything, just being there as spacious presence. One more thing, here, the little movements, perform little movements and be present with that. Just little, whatever you might be doing naturally, when you put on your shoes or your feet move into your sandals. Or you tie your shoelaces. Usually you would be thinking about the next thing but why not just be there and there's a stillness around the action, in which the action happens. Walking down a few steps or whatever it may be or any habitual action. Don't make it too long at first. You might get lost in thought. You say "I'm going to perform making this cup of tea in presence”, might be too much. Because you have to fill the kettle, to wait for it to boil, and by then you might be off somewhere. Why not just, while you stir the cup of tea, something that would be totally unnoticeable to you in the normal state of consciousness. Just small actions. Little bit of honey in the tea if you take honey. And there was a space of no thought. Just that. Anything that's short, that you do often. you don't have candles here. You're not supposed to have candles. Pouring a liquid, water or juice. Little spaces in your life. And then more and more spaces and then some spaces come naturally by themselves. And sooner or later you might find a big space. It all implies getting out of living in that conceptualized ‘me’ in the head. I suggest stay for a little while with the empty chair until you find yourself getting up. When you find yourself getting up, its time to get up. Thank you. (end of session)

Continue: Part 3 - Tuesday Morning

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