Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How do I apply inquiry in daily life?

Someone wrote:
“You have written a booklet that touched me deeply entitled, ‘The Way of Clarity’ which is about Inquiry. I have been applying it but have met with snags. Would it be possible to write a booklet as part two giving practical examples of inquiry to daily disturbing questions? Thank you for your writings.”

It was a wonderful suggestion and what I have done was to pick the theme of the day’s email questions that people all over the world have sent me that day and briefly INQUIRE into each theme.

Here are a list of themes received today:

“I don’t like the way I am.”
“I can’t figure it out and I’m confused”
“I keep falling back into negative thinking”
“I suffer from anxiety-attacks”
“I guess I don’t love myself enough”
“I don’t believe in anything anymore.”
“I’m so skeptical that nothing can convince me.”
“I’m emotional and changeable”
“What can I do to overcome my fear”
“How can I change myself”
“You talk about forgiveness, but how do you forgive someone who betrayed you?”

What do all these questions have in common? Isn’t it the need to control, resist, overcome or an attempt to improve? Have these ever worked?
What makes us balk under these ‘living-questions’ and what is it that we are after? We feel a lack propelled by unconscious guilt. And, here is a fact that many people refuse to look at – everyone who has not realized their true nature of Being suffers unconscious guilt. When we get fed up easily, feel bored, lonely, restless and afraid it is the unconscious guilt behind it. Here is a shocking fact – unconscious guilt that feels like inner emptiness or the feeling of ‘not-being-good-enough’ wants us to fail at life. This unconscious guilt has been labeled ego or the ‘devil’ in us, but behind it all it is an aching drive for our true Home -- Our Being or Spiritual essence.

Inquiry is the fastest way to our true-Being-nature because it is the simplest way to forgive our unconscious guilt. Forgiveness is not something we do but something we see clearly – seeing our innocence. We do not forgive ourselves or another but simply fore-give (give forth) our narrow view for the greater expanded innocent view.

Depression, apathy, indifference, lack of drive and ho-hum thinking are the symptoms of unconscious guilt. Unconscious guilt looks at the question “Who am I?” with the attitude of “well, what’s the big deal?” whereas innocence says, “Wow! Gee Whizz! How grand!!” Sincere inquiry helps us to confront our biggest fears and see their innocence. It is through innocence that we awaken our Being-Nature.

As you read the following ask yourself this question, “Am I willing to see how my unconscious guilt is running my life in reactive thinking, negativity, anxiety and fears?” If your answer is an honest ‘yes’ then you are on your way to the truth of you. If you answered ‘No’ then that’s okay, just leave this booklet.

This booklet is divided into four parts…

1. The Truth about Innocence.
2. How the mind creates what we think about.
3. Unconscious guilt and why we have it.
4. Inquiry into our questions.

1. The Truth about Innocence
The spiritual life is the truth of you. The spiritual life is honesty and innocence.
What is Being? It is ‘to be’ with what-is! ‘To be’ is your innocence, your wisdom, your compassion and truth. Therefore to forgive means to ‘fore-give’ (give forth) into Being. Being is this moment without a story, without judgment or interpretation and to see what-is as it actually IS!

What is the mark of a truly spiritual being? It is innocence. Innocence has been said to be the highest wisdom because it sees no wrong but equality, oneness and love.
In order to understand what innocence is, we have to rise above our concepts of it. Some people think of it as gullibility, weakness and Pollyanna-mentality. It is strange that what we think of innocence is ordinarily quite the opposite of what it is.

The best way to grasp this most beautiful quality is through the recognition of what it transcends, which is the unconscious guilt that is part of every human being who hasn’t realized their true nature. Unconscious guilt has been covered up and misunderstood by using the word ego to explain it. Unconscious guilt is so unconscious that there is no immediate awareness of it except self-consciousness and a form of constant unease about oneself. All stress, anxiety, unhappiness, fear, bodily concern, worry and the feeling-of-wrong are symptoms of this unconscious guilt. Unconscious guilt reacts in self-defense, in talking too much or a continual feeling of self-concern. In brief, unconscious guilt is a pre-occupation with the body whether about its health or image. Underneath this self-concern or even self-absorption lies the nagging fear, “I don’t feel good enough” or the belief in somehow being wrong or have done something wrong or something going to go wrong.

When Jesus walked the earth 2,000 years ago he was the epitome of innocence and his teachings were focused on love and forgiveness, yet a religion was built around him that focused on sin and punishment. Could that have been helped? I don’t think so. The teachings were more focused on his example and were never meant to create a dogma. Yet a religion was created and inevitably so because unconscious guilt survives through control. It focuses on its own feeling of guilt by controlling others. Early Christianity was based on this focus of overcoming evil even though Jesus’ teachings focused on love and forgiveness to undo evil. Yet the attention on sin brought the very thing into greater focus and thus the vicious circle of control and punishment replaced the sweet innocence of love. What is fascinating about unconscious guilt is that the very people who condemn sin are the ones that suffer most from it and thus the religion of abolishing sin became the sin itself.

2. How the mind creates our illusion
The mind creates what it focuses on because its very attention on it manifests it. Our subconscious mind does not know the difference between the real and unreal. It simply creates whatever the conscious mind focuses on. I remember in the seventies there were two nutrition experts who wrote books on the prevention of cancer through proper eating habits. Both these experts died of the very thing they wrote against because their focus was on the very thing they warned against. The subconscious always manifests what we think about most. Just like the president who wanted to control and overcome terrorism and focused on it so much that he created acts of terrorism himself.

Here is an important rule of unconscious guilt – anything we try to overcome or resist will manifest in our life. Just like the man and woman who complain that people are mostly bad exhibit these very qualities themselves. Just like the policeman who is resolved to stamp out crime ends up destroying himself eventually. The suicide rate among policemen is not often talked about but it’s one of the highest.
“What you see is what you get” is a precise rule to live by. Therefore it is through what we pay attention to that either kills us or renews us and it is that simple. The true spirit of the human being is sweetness, light, goodness, love and forgiveness. These qualities are not assumed but a natural outcome from focus on spirit. Yet, despite the fact that we want what we already are, namely, love and happiness, we keep missing the boat due to the unawareness of unconscious guilt.

Innocence is one’s greatest strength and power simply because it is without fear. Innocence is utterly fearless.
Those who got to know the transformation of Byron Katie received healing through her innocence. There were cases of holocaust survivors who were able to forgive the Nazis through the grace pf Byron Katie and healed years of suffering and pain.
Innocence heals through its power to rise above fear and guilt and thus create a heaven on earth.

Just as the world teaches us about shrewdness, manipulation, clever tactics and ways to gain control and power, it fails to bring happiness and peace but encourages greater suspicion, ulterior motives, shallowness and inability to feel the inner beauty of joy. Why? The world is the dream of the mind that is devoid of spiritual-knowing.

3. Unconscious Guilt and why we have it!
Someone asked me, “Why do so many spiritual seekers suffer from guilt?”
You are a human being. The human is a seeker and appears real because of the Being. However, the Being itself is forgotten and so the human, focused on his seeking of the ideal state, forgets the true state of Being. In other words, things become as ‘they should be’ rather than the way they are.

Did you know if we accept the way things are we return to innocence?
It is our attempt to control, resist, overcome, change and try to improve that creates emotional problems and suffering.

The unconscious guilt is always pushing us towards self-protection and self-improvement because of this inner feeling of emptiness that is trying to fill. It is this very attempt at trying to fill this emptiness that hides the Being. Therefore, the unconscious guilt will ask, “If we do not try to improve or overcome our faults we will get worse.” This is the belief that GUILT places upon you. Ask yourself, “Has your resistance and attempts at overcoming or changing your fears worked?” Such attempts validate the guilt, which is the culprit in the first place.
Look at the list of statements and questions at the beginning of this article that people are controlled by, and, do you know what you see? Unconscious guilt had taken over.

In our attempt to be spiritual we lose the point. One time Gary Renard, who is the well-known author of the “Disappearance of the universe” quoted how so many Acim teachers miss the point by trying to understand the Course text and even allow arguments in their meetings. He emphasized that the major theme of the Course is forgiveness (which is innocence) and if they happen to argue than there is no happiness, no forgiveness and love.

In Advaita teachings it is emphasized that all is Oneness and therefore there is no ego as such. In this context many seekers attempt to squelch the ego so that they can experience the oneness and thus the opposite happens.

It is true that in every human being there resides an “I” felt-sense and we acquaint our name with it plus our conditioning. This is not wrong or bad but simply a natural result of unawareness. There is no need to look upon this felt-sense of “I” as something wrong but rather as something right. This “I” is what-is and therefore by knowing sincerely and openly what it really IS then we find that there aren’t “I” and Oneness but only Oneness appearing as an “I.”

Through inquiry we learn to shift from effect into cause. By taking everything as it is, exactly as it is and, accepting it as it is then we can expand it and find the truth of Being. It is in control, resistance, manipulation, by believing “how-things-should-be’ rather than how they are that we stumble and fall into a precipice.

The whole journey on earth has one purpose and that’s the return to innocence, which is true love and joy of Being.

A common question by many seekers is this, “I know the Truth but can’t seem to live from it.”
This question is an example of self-deception. In Truth there is nothing to know for it is this moment itself as it is. Living truth is how you live with what-is! If you try to alter it, improve it or change it then you are creating problems known as the seven deadly sins.

The key question is – why do we resist what-is? Isn’t it because we want to change it, improve it or control it and fail to LISTEN to what it is telling us at the moment (which we can only hear when we listen to it as it is). And the next question is, “why do we try to improve what-is or control it? Isn’t it because there is a deep dissatisfaction within us that believes change can bring greater happiness or peace or meaning? Has it ever? Now you get the picture of what unconscious guilt is – a deep feeling of void within. This void within is the result of not recognizing the truth of our Being. What is the Truth? It is this – the “I” that you believe is yourself is in truth Oneness.

4. Inquiry into our questions
Here are the questions again as given and addressed briefly and directly, but before we tackle each one remember that asking “why” or “how” is the guilt’s way to avoid the directness of it. The “why” is an escape from looking at the truth directly as it happens and “how” is our escape from responsibility. In ‘Being’ there is no ‘how’ but only ‘what-is.’

“I don’t like the way I am.”
What is the way you really are? Right now without your story or such labels as ‘like or dislike’ what and who are you? It is all a story that you have made real. Ask yourself how real that statement is. If it still appears real to you then you are holding on to it. What do you hope to gain from holding on to this belief? What would you be without that belief?
(see how unconscious guilt wants you to dislike yourself).

“I can’t figure it out and I’m confused”
What is there to figure out. Be clear. What is confusion other than two opposing sides…the truth and your interpretation?
What is the reason for holding on to it? What would you be without confusion? (guilt wants confusion)

“I keep falling back into negative thinking”
What falls back into negative thinking other than guilt? What is negative thinking. Take a good look at it next time it happens. Find out where it is happening and who is making it happen?
What is the reason for holding on?

“I suffer from anxiety-attacks”
What is an anxiety other than the question “What-if?” And, what happens as you keep resist it (hoping it goes away)? Sit with it because you have resisted it long enough it has become an attack. Look at the sensation of it without its story or label ‘anxiety-attack’ but just something that is happening. Take a deep breath and watch it as it takes place in your body.
Guilt has a field-day with anxiety.

“I guess I don’t love myself enough”
Who is the person you call ‘myself’ and who is the “I” that says ‘myself’? Sit with this feeling without its story or label and feel what is taking place. Where is the self that you don’t like? The moment you see the absurdness of this statement you are healed.
Also remember, guilt won’t like it when you look directly at it because then it dissolves.

“I don’t believe in anything anymore.”
What is a belief? Why do you need to believe anything? Either something is real or it’s not. What difference does it make whether you believe a truth or not, either it is true or it isn’t. Truth is not a belief – it just IS true!! (guilt likes to discourage you from looking deeply).

“I’m so skeptical that nothing can convince me.”
The same goes here as the above. Skepticism is not bad when you want the truth but if it closes your heart then guilt has won another round.

“I’m emotional and changeable”
Emotion is change itself. Emotion is ‘motion of energy.’ When we believe a thought it becomes an emotion (motion of sensation in the body). The more we make emotions real, the greater becomes our instability, changeability and weakness of character. Strength emerges from looking directly at our inner discomfort known as unconscious guilt. Emotions are not wrong when they are fully accepted as what-is.
Learn to put aside the stories that emotions carry and simply allow the feeling to be what it is.

“What can I do to overcome my fear”
What is fear? It is guilt thrown into the future bringing worry, anxiety, concern, what-ifs, problems etc. Experience the fear sensation when it arises without its story or label ‘fear’ and then as you look at it see what happens. Remember that guilt will try to prevent you from looking. Once you know this then it’s your choice.

“How can I change myself?”
What is change? Who is it that changes? Your thoughts change, your emotions change, your interpretations and judgments change but the truth of you never changes and it is always happy, loving and innocent. Instead of changing yourself BE AS YOU REALLY ARE and that will be an enormous change. Guilt wants you to be other than what you are and that’s why we get confused.

“You talk about forgiveness, but how do you forgive someone who betrayed you?”
You love the story don’t you? Guilt likes to dwell on past stories of pain because it gives a sick feeling of meaning. You don’t forgive your ‘betrayer’ – you simply allow yourself to see that only guilt has brought you into this distressful feeling of an ‘enemy’ who in truth is part of you (as spirit). See this person’s innocence beyond the act and that’s forgiveness of yourself and the guilt.

Take a moment NOW!
Take a moment right now and sit still, close your eyes and honestly ask yourself, “What am I right this moment?” and you might get shocked at the obvious answer of not knowing…because all you are this moment is a clearing, an open space, an awareness of Being and anything else is a conditioned thought about it. This is it! Once you get over the shock and fully acknowledge and accept these obvious observations then you start seeing in a whole new way – your infinite greatness, the infinite possibilities and limitless nature. In this oneness-intuitive-knowing you awaken your natural innocence.

Next time you are troubled by a problem, situation or happening, take a deep breath and do nothing about it. For a moment witness how the story about it is the deception. It is the story that we are telling ourselves because the unconscious guilt is at it again. The unconscious guilt is vicious – it wants you to feel guilty and wants to punish you for not being good enough. It wants you to be ashamed of yourself. At this point uttering the word ‘forgiveness’ reminds us that we are not guilty but merely pawns of a conditioned ego known as unconscious guilt. Through uttering the word ‘forgiveness’ we remind ourselves that our true nature is innocence and we abide as that with no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts.’ If we succeed in looking at ‘what-is’ as simply what-is without a story and forgive it then we have taken a giant leap in consciousness.
With this new understanding (after a couple of months) you will see in retrospect the giant leap you had taken!

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