The freedom we long for is literally being everything that appears. This might seem confusing when teachers often say you are not what appears, you are not the feeling of sadness or the sensation of grief or anger. And while this is a good pointer and can bring about some relief from continually identifying with thoughts, feelings and emotions it can also be a useful pointer to look at consciousness appearing as all these various forms.
You see, consciousness (or freedom, or nonduality or awareness… the words don’t really matter) is never one thing alone. Everything is made of consciousness and so being no one thing in isolation, it is all things and also nothing. Paradoxical truths are at the very heart of reality and it is only the logical thinking mind that has a problem with them. Even modern science, that bastion of left brain logical thinking, is continually coming up against paradox in physics where matter both is and is not, at the same time!
So, I have a radical suggestion. Can you welcome all the children of consciousness? Can you be a home for the homeless forms of freedom? The next time you experience an uncomfortable thought, feeling or sensation try something different. Instead of trying to get rid of the thought, feeling or sensation through meditating or analysing or distracting yourself with TV, the Internet, gossip or eating and drinking and so on, see if you can take a moment to welcome the visitor. Make this thought, feeling or sensation welcome as you would a visitor to your home. In other words, love the appearance unconditionally and see what happens.
I’ll give you an example of what that might look like. Before I wrote this blog post, I noticed some kind of uncomfortable sensation in my body. So, I took a moment to simply sit with it and be present with it, as it is. My inner dialogue went something like this:
What is here?
I don’t know, some kind of restlessness or boredom. It’s restlessness.
Okay. Can you be a home for this restlessness? Can you welcome it with open arms? Let it rest here awhile, create some space for it to simply be? Can you even wrap your arms around this restlessness and love it as it is?
As I took myself through this little dialogue, I decided to accept the suggestions to welcome the restlessness and something amazing happened. In a matter of seconds, the uncomfortable feeling relaxed and then transformed into a clear and clean feeling of peacefulness. I’ve tried this with other sensations and feelings too, like craving for certain foods or substances, irritation, boredom and so on and every time the result is similar. Met with open arms, with love and welcoming, the uncomfortable feelings and sensations always melt and transform into a feeling of pure presence or peacefulness.
Don’t try this a means to transform the feeling but see if you can be willing to welcome it completely as it is right now. This requires that you become fully aware of what you are experiencing and feeling.
So, next time you feel like running away from or rejecting an unwanted feeling or sensation, try loving it instead and see what happens.