A prison created by thoughts.

Being attached and identified with our thoughts and the thinker can create a prison (which is an illusion), and and it can be torture to live from that place; you are not really living right now. You’re living in the past and future.

There is no peace there.

It is constant grasping and striving.

It never delivers what it promises, and it can obscure what’s happening now, if we let it.

That prison we can live from and not even realise, is dead and not real, it’s just a map, and it’s not really who you are. The map is not the territory.

Thoughts aren’t who you are. If you’re constantly in your thoughts, how can you see that they aren’t you?

Thoughts come and go, but there’s something that always stays. You could assume the thing that stays is the ‘thinker’ or the ‘observer’ of the thoughts. But do you think thoughts, or do thoughts just happen? Do they come from somewhere you aren’t aware of? Do you ‘hear’ them, then claim to be the thinker of them?

Thoughts will do things like compare, make plans, present regrets to you, judge things, and narrate what’s happening even when a lot of the time, none of that is really needed. It’s a powerful tool, but I would ague, it’s not you.

Thoughts work in time, and if I always listen to them and believe they will deliver the goods, they actually takes me out of the raw experience of reality. They takes me away from what I actually want, they’re not capable of giving me what I actually want. (What I want is: aliveness, realness, truth, meaning, presence, salvation from the prison of being stuck in thoughts and identified as the thinker of them). The list of what I want, are still concepts, when faced with the reality of those things, it is quite terrifying and magnificently mysterious and beautiful, to me.

I have spent the majority of my life identifying with my thoughts and identifying with thinking them. This might not be everyone’s experience. But it is certainly my experience and I imagine many others too.

I’ve taken the constant commentary in my head to be me, and who could blame me, it intuitively feels true and I assume it is true. But you can only see the problem from the solution. You can’t see the problem from within the problem. In other words I could only see that it wasn’t me, from having a break from the identification with thoughts.

We don’t realise that the prison door is always unlocked, it seems to me that we are not our thoughts, we are not the thinker of them. We don’t have to listen to them, believe them or act from them. In reality, we are free to use them when we need them and not use them when we don’t need them. But many of us, myself included seem to not know this, and therefore not see ourselves more clearly and not be ourselves without identifying with thoughts and the thinker.

Thoughts are only one part of the misidentification of our true nature. But it’s okay, it doesn’t really matter, all of this is just words pointing to something.

You don’t need to do anything, except maybe to be open to this idea. Things just happen all the time in us that isn’t in our control. The seeing of this might happen too, we can’t make the seeing happen, but we can experiment with it through things like meditation, isolation tanks, being in a state of flow in activity etc, and get little glimpses of it.

I’ve found this to be true, meaningful and valuable to me. I hope it is for you too, if not, that’s absolutely fine. Maybe the words are dead for you and nothing jumps out as alive, we can’t make that happen or control it.

Things just happen, and we get to experience it all.

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Meditation and ‘enlightenment’ are not special.

There is this picture of what meditation looks like and what ‘enlightenment’ looks like.

And there’s a tendency for many of us to believe that that is it, and anything else isn’t it.

It can make me feel like it’s not for us, and that only certain people get it, or see it, who are special. But I don’t think that’s true at all.

MEDITATION

To me, meditation looks like someone sitting crossed legged with eyes closed, hands with palms resting on legs, sitting on top a mountain or temple, with Eastern traditional clothes on. This image is understandable because meditation came from Eastern cultures, but all that is, it’s tradition. It’s made up by humans and I think we can be mislead by it, (because of our minds interpretations).

That image isn’t all meditation is.

You can meditate while you’re doing absolutely anything, while you’re washing up, taking out the bins, wiping your baby’s arse.

What you are doing has no bearing on whether you can meditate or not. You don’t need anything to meditate except a mind. You don’t need the ‘right’ place, the ‘right’ cushion, the ‘right’ clothes.

But at the same time, of course sitting in a quiet place to meditate, can be helpful.

I just don’t want that image described above to put anyone off meditating, it’s not that image, the image isn’t it. What’s going on inside is where it is.

ENLIGHTENMENT

The image of ‘enlightenment’ can also be very misleading.

To me, the image of ‘enlightenment’ is an old guy with a long grey beard, who wears beads and Eastern loose robe like clothing.

And then the mind can seem to assume that if you don’t look like that, then you’re not as enlightened or wise as the people that do look like that.

Again, in a way, this is bollocks, it’s just tradition, it has absolutely nothing to do with actual ‘enlightenment’.

Any one could be ‘enlightened’, and no one else could tell they were, because it’s an internal thing.

This is where fake guru’s come into it. If they look the part, people can often assume they are the real deal, and that they have something special that you don’t. And follow them and hang onto their every word. This situation can get abusive. Many cults do the same thing. There’s a great documentary about fake gurus called Kumare.

You could be a welder who has tattoos and swears a lot and see the truth of who you are.

In reality the way you look externally to other people, has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on inside you. (As we know with people who are depressed and suicidal). There could be millions of people who see the truth of who they are, but you wouldn’t know to look at them. It’s an internal shift in the way you view everything.

Tradition is fine, but it’s not in the tradition. It’s in us, all the time, always has been, always will be.

You don’t need to do anything to see what you really are.The thing that is there before, during and after all thoughts, feelings and sensations. The thing that is aware of whatever is happening. You don’t need the ‘right’ clothes, the ‘right’ lifestyle, the ‘right’ hair style etc.

How I understand it, you just need a mind, and to drop your attachment to all conceptual thought. To drop the striving, searching and control you have and take a step out of your own way.

I don’t want anyone to be put off or mislead by these images, or by the word ‘enlightenment’.

The word makes it sound so special too. And in a way it is, but in a way it’s the most simple, immediate, ordinary thing there is, so ordinary, we miss it. The word ‘enlightenment’, also makes it sound like a thing to get that we don’t have already.

I think this is just what happens when the mind tries to interpret and grasp this pointing using words to something real in our direct experience. It’s quite innocent and understandable. But it is getting in our own way of seeing the reality of what’s happening.

In my humble opinion, this is the way we evolved, to think of ourselves as a self. It’s very beneficial to survival. But it’s not the reality of who we are and it causes a lot of suffering psychologically and emotionally.

The way I see it, we are all already born ‘enlightened’, it is what being is, what awareness is.

I believe we grow up forgetting who we really are, once the mind/self system kicks online, and we can start to take ourselves to be our thought systems, our bodies, our feelings, etc.

It’s not special; it’s completely ordinary.

Jim Carey has a profound experience

“I woke up and I suddenly got it, I understood suddenly how thought was just an illusionary thing and how thought is responsible for if not all, most of the suffering we experience. And then I suddenly felt like I was looking at these thoughts from another perspective and I wondered who is it, that’s aware that I’m thinking.”

It sounds like he experienced what some call ‘enlightenment’ but only briefly. What if thoughts and who we think we are, are just a constructed illusion made by the mind? hard to imagine when you’ve grown up thinking you are you and this is it but imagine the suffering it could relieve you from.