M: Hi! My name is Michele; I am so happy you have started a blog and shared your insights. I have been reading your posts for a couple of months, following the link from Annette’s site.
V: Annette was a HUGE help to me.
M: I decided to put myself at the keyboard this morning to write you after ending up on your blog again, and reading your profile, (with the complicity of a cold that keeps me home). I found a warmth in your message so disarming that I felt I wanted to come in contact with you.
V: I’m glad you did.
M: To briefly introduce myself, I am 28 and live in Sweden. My biography includes 8 years of seeking (Nisargadatta, Watts, U.G., R. Guenon, Annette, Hartong, Jeff Foster, DH Harding and others I forgot in the years), depression, and an underground feeling of dissatisfaction and not being able to find “my place in the world”.
V: This sounds very familiar! Perhaps we were separated at birth!?
M: I wanted to bring up some issues about the spiritual search I find myself in. For example, I have a difficulty in understanding what I have often heard teachers say: that the presence of awareness is unchanged by the particular states that occur, or that nothing needs to change. When I deal with afflictive states, vicious circles, defensiveness, etc., the more I try to notice this awareness the more I feel it’s just another ego activity.
V: The “presence of awareness” or the “awareness of presence” or “presence” or “awareness” all are imperfect attempts at describing THAT which KNOWS/SEES everything that you wrote including afflictive states, vicious circles, defensiveness, and the thought story “this is just another ego activity.”
Right now, at this very moment as you read this, isn’t awareness present? Really look. Awareness is immediately and constantly present. There has NEVER been a moment during which awareness was not present in, as, and through this character “Michele.”
Awareness/Seeing/Knowing is the natural state (not really a “state” but you get what I mean). By simply resting, leaving absolutely everything alone, letting everything be as it is, we rest in and as Awareness. There really is no choice to do or be otherwise although I know there seems to be for a while.
Nonetheless, don’t bother with that question of choice or no-choice. Just rest as awareness – let everything be as it is just for this instant.
M: I also suffer of chronic shyness and it looks like this entire spiritual search is just a way of topping this up with a lot of adornments that doesn’t change the substance of things.
V: Chronic shyness is a thought story, right? What is shyness? Isn’t it a collection of thinking that says something like “maybe they won’t like me, maybe they will, maybe I’ll look foolish, maybe my feet are too big,” and on and on along with particular sensations? More to the point, we believe the thought story and mix it with the thought story “me.”
In order to say “I’m chronically shy,” there has to be something there that is AWARE of or KNOWS the thoughts and sensations labeled “chronic shyness,” doesn’t there? That AWARENESS, which KNOWS the thought story, is what “you” are! It is that simple! You (Awareness) have simply mistaken yourself for a description – “you” are what is aware of all description! And, truly, there is no description without Awareness – they are one and the same – there is only a seeming separation.
For now, just keep resting as the awareness that knows/sees absolutely everything occurring, whether thought or sensation. Relax it all a thousand times a day.
M: On the other hand it seems like living in peace, and accepting oneself are possible things and many reached the “goal”.
V: Of course it is possible, but it is a myth to believe that stories of shyness or anger or sadness – or any other story – will no longer coalesce. It is just that as it is seen that these stories have no existence independent from Awareness, there is less and less identification with any of them and a greater experience of spaciousness. It is true always, but you will know it as you continue to practice leaving everything alone and resting as that which is aware of it all.