The Present Creates The Past

The smartphone went to the next Satsang in the queue: a free Adyashanti talk titled The Present Creates The Past. I have heard it before but today the idea turned into reality.

Adyashanti challenges us  to see that while there is a relationship between what we experience in the past and our now, the past does not cause our Now. The imagery he references is a boat bow cutting through water and leaving a wake. Take for example if you broke your arm. The act occurs in the Now, and your healing is in the Now.  Anything that is part of the healing is part of now and is not caused by or in the past. 

How we relate to the past is often a reflection of the story we tell about the past. We add meaning to the stories and to the past. A psychologist sometimes helps you to reinterpret the past with a more helpful story. 

The message flashing in my awareness as the audio file played was “I am done with my past.” The main astrological influences for the last month are all about letting go of the past. Almost daily triggers have arisen since September 16 and each have shriveled away.  Such clarity of release happens in almost an instant. 

There is such freedom in understanding that the present creates the past and not the other way. The clarity of Now becomes a pinpoint focus. 

Wounds of the Past

For many years, I would develop bronchitis and the cough would last for weeks. I noticed the relationship between that and the romantic relationships I had. When the relationships ended, so did the coughs. 

It surprised me to get a bad flu with a cough this week. But, it makes sense: the September full moon pulls out whatever needs excavation and release. Shortly after the moon, I worked with a kula mate on a new technique and she surfaced old relationship issues embedded in places I had not explored. 

The full moon opens us to letting go and embracing the new. Something very different was occurring for me: several people were showing up from my life in new ways to support me. 

The most beautiful is my daughter. As I coughed last night, she would put her hand on me. The coughing would stop. She slept with me and even in her sleep, if I coughed she put her had on me and it stopped. I recalled all the nights I slept sitting up with her in my arms too. The circle of love and caring  is there.  

I am so grateful for this process. This change is amazing. Seeing my self in contrast to old patterns, and without some of the old patterns, is profound. 

Loving this cycle of life. 

Fun With…Deconstructing Facebook Memes

treat bad

Just for fun, I have started using the inquiry techniques from Byron Katie’s The Work on Facebook memes.  I had two come through my feed that are in direct opposition to each other, that inspired me to try this out.

The first says “If someone treats you bad, just remember there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other people.” The second one says “Never reject anybody in your life, because good people give us happiness and bad people give us experience.  Both are essential in life.”

Never Reject Anybody In Your Life, Because Good People Give Us Happiness And Bad People Give Us Experience. [QuotePix.com]

Is it True?

I am going to deconstruct the first one so this doesn’t take forever to read.  Is it true that if someone treats you badly, something is wrong with them, not you? Is it true that Normal people don’t go around destroying other people? My immediate psychological knowledge of mediation and doing investigations can surface proof that if someone treats you badly, there are many possible sources of why that is occurring.  My spiritual knowledge tells me that these types of things are co-created.  I also would be curious about what is normal, and how another can destroy me.

Can you absolutely know it is true?

Since I can argue against a few assumptions in the meme, I do not believe that this could ever absolutely be true.

How do you react, what happens when you believe this thought?

If I believed that something was wrong with other people, I would be less empathetic.  It would entrench me in separation. It would lead to ways I could judge others and justify it.  I would feel like a victim.  I would begin searching for normal people, who may be people who have the same woundedness as me or see the world with the same beliefs I do.  I would close off from other options.  I would feel defensive.

Who would I be without the thought?

Ironically, I would be a bit like the second meme.  I would be open to how this experience is happening for me instead of to me. I would be free.  I would know I have the opportunity to change my experience.

Turnarounds

Possible turnarounds of that thought could be:

  1. If (I feel like) someone treats me badly, something is wrong with me (my view of the situation).  How do I know this is true? When I have used curious questions to understand others or what they have done, I don’t experience it the same way.  When I have used non-violent communication, the situation has often turned out to be about needs.
  2. Others treating me badly is not in my control.  My problem is how I experience or view it.  How do I know this is true? I know that I cannot control others.  I have found techniques like not judging an experience as good or bad can completely change my emotional experience.
  3. Normal people DO go around destroying other people.  How do I know this is true? Normal is a word that can subtly be used to control how the world is supposed to be according to your world view.  As a leader, sometimes we make decisions that will mean people have to change, or they need to leave the organization – essentially destroying them. No matter what the specific circumstances are, two world views clashed – and that is common and therefore normal.  This sentence is inherently dangerous and controlling in some ways.

What happens when you do turnarounds?

For me, I find that eventually my beliefs are the source of my pain.  My thoughts are the source of pain.  If I view the world without my thoughts or beliefs as a point of reference, there is an openness, a peacefulness and an incredible freedom.

Can Facebook Be A Spiritual Practice?

Facebook-createLike many people, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.  I joined it 9 years ago, first as a place to share pictures of my new baby with my family, and over time my use of it has evolved into a forum for social interaction and sharing of ideas or events.

Many people can tell you how social media is a time waster, a sucking hole that takes away from the richness of our real lives and relationships.  It can be used to promote some of the worst qualities of our society.

My question is: can Facebook be a spiritual practice?

In a satsang I recently heard, Adyashanti spoke about personal identity and how we create separateness in a way that resonated for me.  The question of study was “Who are you if you do not reference any thoughts?”. When I contemplated that, my experience was briefly one of Being-ness.  I felt what it means to say I Am. My mind took over too quickly, but I was left with a sense of what it would mean to let go of separateness.  I feel a desire to return to that feeling, nurture it, expand it and never be in a space of separateness again.

Fast forward about 10 hours later while I am on Facebook: a former school mate posts a video that goes against many of my non-violent values and beliefs.  I delete the post.  I send out a Facebook question about how others handle it when someone posts something you are strongly against.  I engage in non-violent dialogue with others who think it is no big deal, or that there is nothing I can do about it.  I feel strongly that I have an ethical responsibility to do something and begin posting counter-stories all over my feed.  I begin posting memes with quotations like “The only thing evil needs to flourish is for good men to do nothing”. I contemplate deleting people from my Facebook account who do not share in my “vibration” and therefore are not attracted in to my current life.  I remind myself that there is a reason why we lose touch with people in life and feel satisfied that I have set up a strong boundary between me and everyone who is not me. Temporarily, I feel the happiness of the righteous.

Then I wondered what Adyashanti would say about what I had done.  I imagined he would note that I had created a great story to justify my differences with others. That story of differences was energized as far as possible for me to define a separation from others, justify it, and turn away from even being curious about if our differences were real. I could feel myself realizing that as much as I earnestly claim a desire for oneness and awakening, my energy and story had moved me in a different direction.

I do not beat myself up over that.  Doing so would be replacing one story with a new one.  I feel peace in the idea of releasing this pattern.  I feel peace in opening a new possibility for myself.  I celebrate that this whole thing has led me one step closer to letting go of an illusion keeping me from knowing awakening and oneness in me as a truth right now.

So, Facebook, I will contemplate how to incorporate you into my practice, and be a place of love every time I go on.