Letting go of Fear and Guilt

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Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm

I suffered a mood swing yesterday which turned to anxiety, worry, and fear.

I managed to bring my attention to the sensation of the fear in my body, and I transcended it, it became simply a field of sensation in my awareness, it felt like a non-dual experience, I felt as though my awareness became full and luminous, a clarity to my vision and thought, the body began to naturally align itself, and yet, I knew what the fear was from, I knew what I was worried about, and there was something in me that said I couldn't let it go, it was my guilt, it was my burden.

I was able to 'unravel' the sensations in my body, the pain that I felt there, and simply see it as something that was now appearing in my awareness, but it would not completely dissolve, because (I believe?) what I did in the past cannot be changed, how could I let go of that pain, and free myself from that guilt, when the fact of what happened in the past remains? I am not really free of it, it hasn't really been resolved, it would be irresponsible, these were thoughts, feelings I had. Stop punishing yourself, I said, but the fear remained, I could not shake it.

Having said that, I also know that I am dragging the past forward with me into the present, that the past is nothing but emotions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, held in the body, they are not what is, what is present. And yet, the fear grew, it intensified. I was feeling overwhelmed, I went online to chat with my mother, I needed a stable point, it gave me someone to talk to, to talk out my worries, etc, which did calm me somewhat.

This has happened twice now, and I'm wondering what to do about it. I'm wondering how to look at this, what to do about it, and how to go beyond it.

I can feel that worry in me now, but it is in the background, like the past being carried into the present.

I need some feedback, any advice/thoughts/insight would be appreciated. I feel like I know what is there, why it is there, but not what to do about it, how to make it better, how to move past it, how to truly let it all go, to find peace from it.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby lobster » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:04 am

Very interesting. Very honest :smile:

The body sensation practice is good. Some people do prostrations until the fear is gone.

:twothumbsup: be interested how you are advised and what works.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:46 am

Acceptance is everything...Lojong has helped me a lot, especially working with neuroses etc. via Tonglen.

There are lots of good resources on the subject, I really enjoyed this book most recently:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Practice-Lojo ... 1590303784


I could recommend like 20 other books on the subject, but there are lots of free resources available too:

http://lojongmindtraining.com/
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:10 am

Thank you. Acceptance makes sense, I did say to myself, 'own it, it's yours, stop trying to push it away, block it out', because you can't, it is there, it remains, what's done has been done, own it, learn from it, forgive yourself, forget about what other's think...

But, there is no self to say this to, who am I talking to? The self that made the mistake, that worries and fears. This is duality, a self and other, but it is also just a thought that I am having now, a thought appearing within awareness, and thinking 'about' it can't change a thing.

Yes, acceptance, I don't think I've accepted it, but I'm not not sure how that is done, once and for all, finally, to put an end to it. How does acceptance affect change?
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby muni » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:36 am

These sharings are helpful. We can find method in them, so instead of merely one asking advice I see such posts as inter-shared help.

Mind (aware) - feeling only, there has been told. (see for more clarity Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche his teaching by music given in Taiwan)

If there is comment by thoughts or a scaring away from the fear, awareness is already hidden by distraction and "we-as-being-thoughts" are suffering.
The connection aware mind-feeling without any intervention by subtitles :smile: (thoughts) avoids distraction and when applied well by mindfulness, the fear is a snow flake disappearing on a water surface.
I think then acceptance is included.

But when there is one thought, which is accepting some thing like the fear, then it is like saying okay let it all just overwhelm me, I am ready..., this is not helpful. :smile:

Guilt yes, that can as well following the same. When whatever feeling arises: mind-feeling connection, when whatever thought arises: mind-thought connection so that no following thoughts are giving comments in a stream of distraction. That awareness is not in the past or in future happening.

This asks familiarization to apply when needed. Since to say that is easy. :namaste:
We have to go beyond theories no matter how sacred they might seem.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:55 am

Thanks for sharing those ideas. Yes it's interesting reflecting now on what wrote, as I see it now as just an interpretation, and a particular habit of interpretation that is to some degree chanelled by the language used. It looks more like a snapshot now which has no bearing on the present moment which I am experiencing now. A sour residue of feelings remain but also a hope that it can and will change. I am wondering if I can absolve my suffering from past events, I think I can free myself, but it requires a way to interpret events differently. A large part of it is how other people knowing about those events, including family, makes 'me' feel bad. Especially when around those people, we all pretend like the shame doesn't exist etc. it's as though I feel that I need to feel bad in some way or else I am not being responsible, not owning it, not taking responsibility for that. As if feeling good and free of that anxiety would make me some kind of asshole without a conscionce. No, I see what it is and I 'own' that (as if anything but the present moment could ever be owned!), but that doesn't mean that I have to carry that shit around with me for the rest of my life! That's absolute bullshit, nobody really give a fack anyways, and if they do, that's there problem not mine, I don't have to take responsibility for the way you feel because of something that happened over 20 years ago, it's not my problem! Heck, if u have a problem talk to me about it, but I'm not carrying around shit so that they think bla bla bla. So now it's turning to ranting so I'll knock off there for now. Thanks again for that feedback certainly feels good to be able to speak openly about things which get burried in silence and so tend to fester in ways which eventually surface as stress or fear.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:37 pm

Thomas_Pynchon wrote: it's not my problem!

If it wasn't your problem, you wouldn't feel guilt. You are trying to change the perspective, so the guilt does not arise. It is common, but desperate action. Instead, try understanding the perspective you have now. Guilt requires few factors. Mainly conscience, freedom of action and expectations. If you successfully challenge one of those factors, you will feel relief. To be able to do that, you will have to drill deep into those concepts, and find their roots.That is the long way.
There are few shortcuts, and I have to admit that Christianity mastered this area. Since the Christ death on the cross acted as a redemption of past and future sins, everything is purified... If you only believe it to be true.
That's the difference between belief based religion and wisdom based one. If you can, believe, if you are incapable of belief, you will have to figure it out.
Good luck on whatever path you choose.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:24 pm

Would we agree that any belief is a sure sign of delusion? As it denies what is fully present, belief simply being a thought held in this infinite field of consciousness?

I agree that death of the self is the end of all delusion, of past and future, a dieing into the presence of being, being with the moment, as it is, how it is, however it appears to be. What is this?

Holding the belief that what happened in the past affects the present, is what is, but it isn't real, it isn't actual, it's being 'in' delusion. The assumption is that there is a separate self acting in a world in which cause and effect happen, and they do, and that is real, but it isn't true. Once that is seen, and experienced as such, the 'problem' vanishes, and becomes a problem without a problem. In other words, it is only a problem if you engage it as such, and the whole machinery of a separate self upon which actions and consequences occur.

Or is this just changing the perspective?

I feel the anxiety/sense of 'guilt' arising from the conscience. Stomach, chest, throat, area. It's difficult to just jump into non-duality mode and think it's all gone by waving the magic wand of language/interpretation, because it's not just in my conscience, it's also in my families conscience, in hearts and minds, bodies and spirits. It doesn't just disappear like that, or maybe it does, if it vanishes for this body ('me'), how do I face those for whom it remains a 'problem'. A problem which has manifest into negative attitudes and habits of behavior.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:12 pm

From my experience, there is no benefit from differentiating 'what is' into real, deluded, true etc. It is enough to say that unreal thing does not exist, so everything that exists is real. This way, your suffering is real, and you have to face it. Labeling something as deluded wont make it disappear. Labeling something as true wont make it more vivid then the rest.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:In other words, it is only a problem if you engage it as such, and the whole machinery of a separate self upon which actions and consequences occur.

There are reasons why we see different phenomena as problems. Mostly, missed goals and unfulfilled expectations are seen as problems. The low level cause of suffering is conscience. Now it would be wise to ask, why do we hold expectations, strive for goals, and defend our conscience? Sooner or later we end up with "i don't know", and it is obvious that those were habitual tendencies borrowed from the environment we live in.
I feel the anxiety/sense of 'guilt' arising from the conscience. Stomach, chest, throat, area. It's difficult to just jump into non-duality mode and think it's all gone by waving the magic wand of language/interpretation, because it's not just in my conscience, it's also in my families conscience, in hearts and minds, bodies and spirits.

First of all, understand your conscience. Secondly, non-dual mode is something western people would call ignorance, so no point in striving for it. It is used on some stage of ones practice, but not as a goal. Lastly, it is good to realize that language/interpretation is the only tool we have, and the only thing that causes problems.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote: It doesn't just disappear like that, or maybe it does, if it vanishes for this body ('me'), how do I face those for whom it remains a 'problem'.

With an open heart, which arises when guilt disappears... just like that. It takes a moment to eradicate guilt accumulated throughout your whole life, like dropping a glass of water. You only need to find out which ideas to relax.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:47 pm

First of all, understand your conscience. Secondly, non-dual mode is something western people would call ignorance, so no point in striving for it. It is used on some stage of ones practice, but not as a goal.


Sorry, lost me there. Conscience appears to me as a feeling of dis-ease, a sensation of some kind, tightening, a more solid like state manifesting as muscle tension. It appears as memories that I cant change, with that realization causing a psychic/mental distress in the field of mind (feels like somewhere around the head region). And so the fact that I am forced to accept that, makes me feel deeply sad, very deeply sad.

And so is it our unwillingness to accept this that causes suffering? A bad conscience? Do we punish ourselves by repeating the mental phenomena over and over? With pain remaining due to a non-acceptance of reality, of what really is the case?

Because this 'what is' hurts.

Is it the failed expectation that reality should be anything other than what it is? Aren't we (or maybe just 'I') all living in a kind of trance, thinking we know what is going on, that any of this makes any sense, a kind of weird dream that we can't wake up from? It seems like I hold deep within a desire for things to be other than what they are, failing in every instance to recognize what really is, trying to change it, modulate the pain, and so punishing myself over and over.

Or is it that we just can't pin it down, no, it's not that, yes, it is that, it's neither/nor. A stepping out of the narrative all together, even trying to say what it is becomes another fantasy, all just happening within this.

Lastly, it is good to realize that language/interpretation is the only tool we have, and the only thing that causes problems.


Sounds a bit like Wittgenstein saying 'language is the only tool we have to think with, all our problems stem from the mis-use of language.' Something like that, and 'what cannot be said as a fact, must be passed over in silence' referring to what is mystical.


Thomas_Pynchon wrote: It doesn't just disappear like that, or maybe it does, if it vanishes for this body ('me'), how do I face those for whom it remains a 'problem'.

With an open heart, which arises when guilt disappears... just like that. It takes a moment to eradicate guilt accumulated throughout your whole life, like dropping a glass of water. You only need to find out which ideas to relax.


Any hints?
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:43 pm

Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Sorry, lost me there. Conscience appears to me as a feeling of dis-ease, a sensation of some kind, tightening, a more solid like state manifesting as muscle tension. It appears as memories that I cant change, with that realization causing a psychic/mental distress in the field of mind (feels like somewhere around the head region). And so the fact that I am forced to accept that, makes me feel deeply sad, very deeply sad.

Those are the consequences of breaking your conscience, or recalling a memory of such an event. What triggers such reactions? The 'frame' of conscience is purely mental, build out of ideas. An example may be, 'do no harm'. If you harm someone, at some point you will pass the point of acceptance, and those feelings you've described, will arise. Before all this, you have to accept the idea of not doing harm, as valuable. There are plenty of such ideas hidden deep in our memory, that are causing suffering. If you are able to find and debunk these irrational ones, suffering will fade.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:And so is it our unwillingness to accept this that causes suffering? A bad conscience? Do we punish ourselves by repeating the mental phenomena over and over? With pain remaining due to a non-acceptance of reality, of what really is the case?

It may be surprising, but we are willing to accept suffering if it is justified. Moreover, if it is justified, we will apply it ourselves. This is precisely what guilt is. Its mental self punishment. As long as one thinks he did wrong, he will punish himself using guilt. We do that continuously on many levels. The problem lies not in non-acceptance of reality, but quite contrary, in acceptance of ideas that we hold true about reality. If you thinks a particular idea is true, and you do something that breaks it, you will feel suffering. This way, the more ideas you hold, and the further those are from reality, the more you suffer. Suffering can be measured by multiplying the number of ones ideas by their accuracy.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Is it the failed expectation that reality should be anything other than what it is? Aren't we (or maybe just 'I') all living in a kind of trance, thinking we know what is going on, that any of this makes any sense, a kind of weird dream that we can't wake up from? It seems like I hold deep within a desire for things to be other than what they are, failing in every instance to recognize what really is, trying to change it, modulate the pain, and so punishing myself over and over.

Yes, and this desire causes suffering. Things are as they are, and you want them perfect. This "perfect" is based on your ideas (its not really perfect, you just think it is). Now, if you do something that is not fulfilling this perfect view of the world, you blame yourself. We can clearly see, that the problem does not lie in your action, nor in you. It lies in the view you are holding. The view is the cause of suffering, as suffering is a self punishment inflicted when goals outlined by our ideas (of the perfect world) are not met.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:'what cannot be said as a fact, must be passed over in silence'

That could really bring an interesting result.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:
With an open heart, which arises when guilt disappears... just like that. It takes a moment to eradicate guilt accumulated throughout your whole life, like dropping a glass of water. You only need to find out which ideas to relax.



Any hints?

Yes, read this post once again. :smile:
Last edited by oushi on Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:04 pm

Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Thank you. Acceptance makes sense, I did say to myself, 'own it, it's yours, stop trying to push it away, block it out', because you can't, it is there, it remains, what's done has been done, own it, learn from it, forgive yourself, forget about what other's think...

But, there is no self to say this to, who am I talking to? The self that made the mistake, that worries and fears. This is duality, a self and other, but it is also just a thought that I am having now, a thought appearing within awareness, and thinking 'about' it can't change a thing.

Yes, acceptance, I don't think I've accepted it, but I'm not not sure how that is done, once and for all, finally, to put an end to it. How does acceptance affect change?



This is why I recommended the Lojong teachings, they are pretty systematic if you can find a good explanatory book (again the one I mentioned is the most recent i've read that I thought was really helpful). Just trying to "non-dual" your way out of problems like this IMHO is not a viable answer for many of us. instead of adhering to an intellectual position like "there is no self to suffer", and expecting yourself to have realization of it and solve your problems, Lojong teachings (at least about half of them) accept that you have attachment to the relative and work with that, as well as working with the absolute side.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:47 pm

I felt a very cathartic release from reading that, an 'aha' moment, a break through, thank you oushi.

I wondered if this could be summed up as an irrational fear of beliefs that we hold to be true about the unknown? Where in fact, what this seems to be fundamentally about, is accepting the unknown. Because what this is, is unknown, and unknowable. We fear death, but we don't even know what life is.

Could acceptance essentially mean that we haven't the foggiest idea what's going on? But instead of fearing that, celebrating it? Every moment then becomes an opportunity to release and let go into that emptiness, that luscious, free, field of uncertainty and unknowability.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby oushi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:30 pm

Thomas_Pynchon wrote:I felt a very cathartic release from reading that, an 'aha' moment, a break through, thank you oushi.

:namaste:
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:I wondered if this could be summed up as an irrational fear of beliefs that we hold to be true about the unknown?

Yes, good insight.
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Could acceptance essentially mean that we haven't the foggiest idea what's going on?

Precisely... and we do not look for the answer anymore, because we don't care about the truth anymore.

Those thorns of conscience, which hurt so badly when touched, are made of truth (or rather the conviction that what we know is true). When we do something that we know to be wrong, it hurts. Now, where is this knowledge coming from? It comes from outside, from our environment. So, who is building your conscience? Your family and close ones. Who is building their conscience? Their environment (You included). (I am skipping karma part purposefully)
Is conscience, created in this way, perfect? Far from it... It's a fabrication that arises for one purpose. That is, to create a normal society member. A member that will behave withing a specific area of actions, and if he break out of that area, he will self-punish himself.

By seeing that I realized that my conscience is a false fabrication. Although I treated it as a true basis of every moral decision I made, I had to start rebuilding it.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:56 am

Yes, that makes so much sense, and hits the nail on the head very nicely. How others view our actions and the moral codes that (can) impose was the next area I was thinking about as well. I'll throw out a few quick ideas here but will give it some more thought today.

The fact that everyone is so conditioned by these codes makes them appear real, solid, inescapable. I haven't lived in my 'home' country for over 10 years, back to visit only. I see now, on a new level, why I don't want to be there (although I do love where I am living too). Because it imposes a moral conscience. I become a different person in that milieu. With a family who unconsciously enforces those values, perhaps not so cut and dry as that, but I can see now how I have had it all backwards.

The change/shift has to first be from within my own internal (and arbitrary and irrational) system of signs and beliefs which make up what I am calling a 'conscience.' Which is a fabrication, a lie, a construct to which no one is accountable. A moral virus. Communities, society, laws, religion, channeling values and morals which then are adapted and (more or less) adopted at face value.

I'll have to pause it there, but I see how I may unconsciously have been trying to 'absolve' my own sense of 'guilt' by removing the external context/system of signs which I found, to some extent, oppressive.

Ah, what a relief! :twothumbsup:
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby LastLegend » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:04 am

Thank you father for your breakthrough sermon. :bow:
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:00 pm

But I am a sinner. I am not a sinner. Done. :yinyang:
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:52 pm

(Just a small spoiler here, while writing the stuff below I had another breakthrough, a more profound realization, which I wrote into the text as I was re-reading what I had written. I put stars **** around the part to show that. Sorry if it sounds corny. Then I erased some of the following questions which were no longer relevant. But anyways here it is):

How do we (re)build conscience?

Wherever it is that my sense of right and wrong comes from, it seems to be bound up with who (I think) I am. Identity. "I can do this, but I can't do that, because that's who I am." Conscience appears.

What did you mean by karma? Because it would seem that right and wrong (without having thought about this too deeply), would disappear if there was no space and time, or when space/time collapse into the present moment of awareness. But then I guess there would be no 'karma' to? Just what's happening, with no moral commentary running along side of it?

And yet, the fabrication feels real. It feels like a part of me, in every way that this identity believes itself to be. But is it real, or maybe not just in the way that I think it is? 'Real' as in concepts/tensions felt in the body - anxiety, stress, worry, all of the fear responses. On another level it appears that those responses are just sensations showing up in the field of touch, nothing more. But that feels a little heartless.

I may not feel so 'bad', now, long after the event, or when around people who think that they 'know' that there was a past in which a 'me' associated with this body once did something 'wrong'; but it feels like it goes beyond that, deeper, to the level of an all pervasive, insidious, background which permeates everything, in subtle, and not so subtle, ways. But isn't that a description of this? This which has been with me all along?

(*****Oh I see. How weird is that. This is that. F*ck. Now this is some kind of trip. It's all one piece, I am this, and this is the piece. It all just happened, it showed up like that, that's all. There's nothing else to say about it. That's it. I think I just saw how the grain of sand I have been trying to spit out my whole life was in fact a pearl.

And yet, there are people and their 'perspectives' which would like to make it other than what it is. Not was, is. Because it never was. It only is, and always will be, now and forever, this.*****)

It appears that being deeply present can absolve the past, simply because the present moment is neither the past, nor the future. Neither/nor.

While walking around in a beautifully lit park last night, I all of a sudden (but not for the first time) saw the park as a single continuous field of my vision. It became what I was, this, and it was like walking around in a dream. I wondered who made this? Sure, people made the park, but who made the dream? I saw that it was just this, in the same way as I see this little commentary that I'm writing now.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:57 am

While thinking intensively about those things, meany deeply hidden ideas will get to the surface. By releasing them, your perspective will shift occasionally. Don't get distracted by it, and don't cling to it. Just keep on contemplating your mind. When you are done with the scars of the past, you will still have to face the present, but it will much easier without the old noise.
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Re: Letting go of Fear and Guilt

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:25 am

A few random musings:

Would being done with the past not ultimately mean finding the present?

When having found peace in the present moment, I have felt the heart open, and yes. I feel as though I can face people, and my fears, with a more honest, accepting, 'open' heart.

Listening to some 'non-dual' talks recently, I heard Jeff Foster say, "whatever appears in our awareness, means that we have already allowed it in, already accepted it into our lives." I would guess the trick then is to let it all be, so to speak, don't fight it, or resist it, just see it, and leave it be whatever it may be. I have found innocence in that, and (self)forgiveness. I think people really just want to see you healthy and happy (maybe!); certainly if you have not forgiven yourself, what use will their forgiveness be if you can not accept it?
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