Groundhog Day 2010 :D Diary Entry
So I took down notes of everything I found particularly interesting while reading this book through. If I don’t mention something you can probably assume I at least somewhat agree with it or do not find it literally remark-able. Tolle is pretty spot on. Of course, there are some curiosities.
We’ve already discussed how I do not feel like I can stop being unhappy. That it is just there, and I do not know how to overcome it. So this part was of interest. “Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?” “…if you don’t mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness?” The woman to whom he was speaking answered, “I’m still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.” I’m glad this worked for her, although on some level it somehow still feels like a “giving up” sort of acceptance and surrender. A giving up to the unhappiness. Because I still feel rather put out about not enjoying reality, and I don’t know how not to do that. It seems like another cart before the horse situation, even if I theoretically know what he must be discussing.
“‘Making it’ in whatever field is only meaningful as long as there are thousands or millions of others who don’t make it, so you need other human beings to ‘fail’ so that your life can have meaning.” Good point, Tolle. This is something I have wondered before myself, as I mentioned. If I get what I want, does that make others suffer? I do not yet know how to go beyond wanting, but as I said, I do not want to cause suffering either.
Tolle says that people often have unconscious thoughts behind whatever situation they feel is making them unhappy. Such as: “Something is happening now that should not be happening, and it is preventing me from being at peace now.” I have always thought this, or rather, the variant that something is NOT happening right now that should be- utopia- and it is preventing me from being at peace now.
He discusses pain as necessary for awakening. He says it is like something you have to burn up. This directly relates, I should say, to the three of swords I drew the other day. While I can always see how it functions as such, I still do not see why we could not just immediately overcome that obstacle instead of wallowing in it. If God is perfect, why could we not just make the computation or revolution instantaneously or have already been perfect in the first place? So that’s another reason I judge this to not be utopia. I have heard yoga instructors say, “because if you force your flower to blossom too quickly it would break off the petals”. Why were they made to break through instant awakening instead of being made to not break under such stipulations? I could play this game all day.
“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.” Perhaps that is why it is not utopia? How do I give the world utopia? Tolle would probably say something like “just be present and let the light of consciousness shine through you”. I do not see how I am withholding utopia or exactly how being present would offer that to the world and thereby transform it into such, but I am not saying it is impossible. All I am saying is that it doesn’t make sense to me how that could occur. And you know, it does sort of feel like that whole vulnerability thing- in order to love, someone has to extend that love first- or in order to get a high five, someone has to hold up their hand first. That is a vulnerable position. And without knowing what is going to happen, I am of course reluctant to try. Not that I feel I really know how, other than to try to stay in the now, even if I feel it is unacceptable.
Though I judge the present to not be utopia, Tolle says it could be and I wouldn’t know. “Welcome it in no matter what disguise it comes” he says. Well. All I can say is that demons have fucking ugly disguises. They’re UNPLEASANT. But I’m supposed to bring presence to it, apparently.
“…when you treat the Now as a means, an obstacle, or an enemy, you strengthen your own form identity, the ego. … The more reactive you are, the more entangled you become with form.” Hum! And I had just been trying to think of obstacles which I enjoyed overcoming. His language makes obstacles and enjoying seem mutually exclusive, both here and when he later talks about a mode of living in enjoyment. Because one would view nothing as an obstacle but merely Now if one were present. Nonetheless, I am still trying to think of “goals” which contained “obstacles” which I had to overcome. Curious to note the dichotomy here.
“…when someone criticizes you, blames you, or calls you names, instead of immediately retaliating or defending yourself- do nothing. Allow the self image to remain diminished and become alert to what that feels like deep inside you. For a few seconds, it may feel uncomfortable, as if you had shrunk in size. Then you may sense an inner spaciousness that feels intensely alive. You haven’t been diminished at all. In fact, you have expanded. You may then come to an amazing realization: When you are seemingly diminished in some way and remain in absolute nonreaction, not just externally but also internally, you realize that nothing real has been diminished, that through becoming ‘less,’ you become more.” This is exactly what I was talking about what I had been thinking the other day, before I picked up this book. Odd that he should say so just a day or so after! I had told myself I would practice this. And he recommends it too.
“the greatest impediment to finding the experiencer, is to become so enthralled by the experience that you lose yourself in it. …you get taken in by every thought, every emotion, and every experience” I think it’s worth noting this quote only because I happened to be listening to a song that I hadn’t heard in ages. It is easy for humans to slip into “unconsciousness”, because of thought and whatever- I guess that’s what he’s saying- I don’t know why that had to be so. But this is what the song was singing as I read this. “I’m so sick of this terrible instinct- it’s so hard now just to find you.” :P
Tolle says to be aware of your breath. I think I have been TOO aware of my breath since I was in middle school, if that is possible. “If you have a compulsive behavior pattern such as smoking, overeating, drinking, TV watching, Internet addiction, or whatever it may be, this is what you can do: When you notice the compulsive need arising in you, stop and take three conscious breaths.” I developed obsessive compulsive behavior when I was in middle school, perhaps not altogether coincidentally when I began to yearn for utopia while at the same time knowing I was stuck here. It was a complex system of body behavior, and a good portion of it involves my breathing. I have been aware of my breath at frequent intervals ever since. I know that such behavior doesn’t do anyone any good, but in the absence of any real possibility of utopia, I guess my body just attempted to absorb less negative and more positive energy whenever it could. This included breathing less when I was watching ugly things, but allowing myself as much as I want whenever I’m not.
“…a purely intellectual recognition or belief that ‘I am not this form’ does not help.” If you can’t sense it, I guess. Which would mean, at least for me, that I would have to get over this acceptance obstacle. This reminds me of when I was studying acting, and there came a point when, because I am rather scholarly, someone told me that whenever I am trying to do something right for the teachers, I am all in my head instead of actually acting. The particular professor with whom I discussed this said I reminded him of himself at that age… he told me he had seen me act wonderfully and knew that I could do it, but that I waste a lot of time being the book-learning type. Yes, I am very clinical, even about awakening. And I am aware of that. But it helps me to get my thoughts down on the screen, at least. Then I can look at the larger picture of myself.
“If you can neither enjoy or bring acceptance to what you do- stop.” Lawlz, is Tolle telling me to commit suicide? ;)
“The misperception that joy comes from what you do is normal, and it is also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else, such as an activity or thing. You then look to the world to bring you joy, happiness. But it cannot do that.” Once again, I am just not so sure. I take far more joy in a pretty angel than an ugly demon, and far more joy in a utopia than whatever the fuck this shit is.
Ah, and finally at the very END of the book he does discuss utopia, which was obviously my main problem all my life. He says that utopia implies future. The future is not now and so does not exist and so when one looks for it one is wanting and trapped in ego. Well, I already knew that. But let’s say that utopia does not imply future, because he also uses the term heaven, and I would say they are pretty interchangeable. He insists that utopia- as I see it, heaven as he and others call it- already is right here right now. Iiiii guess we have severely different definitions? I accept that it could exist right now, but I don’t feel that it DOES exist right now. It’s that whole ugly demon vs. pretty angel thing again. I judge so much!
I judge that there are homeless people
I judge that there are hungry people
I judge that there are people suffering a great deal everywhere
I judge that there is oppression everywhere
I judge that there is litter on the ground and pollution in the air and in my food
I judge that I have much less freedom to act than I would like
I judge that this isn’t really my kind of planet.
And this is why I just can’t think that this is utopia/heaven; this is why I cannot accept it with a true and honest internal “yes”. If Tolle says this is utopia disguised- well, I judge it as a very unpleasant disguise and I don’t see why a perfect God would use it. I don’t like the disguise and I don’t see how I ever will. I could extend that vulnerable acceptance in the form of presence and awareness of myself and God, but I’m not sure that it’s the same thing as true acceptance. It is just me giving up and trying something new in the hopes that maybe God would respond in a more positive way, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. How long would I have to do it, knowing that it would be severely unlikely to create a utopia? If the magic works so as to give me favorable coincidences, as he says, then that at least is a step up, but it is a difficult one for all that vulnerability, instead of resentment, which comes more naturally to me. And I would still be somewhat resenting so long as I was judging everything to be ugly, no matter how in the now I would try to be.
I think Tolle definitely has a grasp on things, but I just do not see the solution for me here yet. Tolle helps to phrase things in a way modern persons can understand, and so he helps a lot I think. I loved that part about the ego and I loved the part about the portals into the Now in his last book. But something about… acceptance… raises my hackles. It’s like all my emotions go, NOOO. It is not that I want to make my external reality into my enemy. I just often judge it as such when I see or experience ugly things. And as they are so undeniable in my life, I am usually judging.
I’m sure some people think I’m silly for focusing on the negative so much that I do not convince myself I live in utopia. If I could make it utopia I would. All I can do is try to stay uneasily present. That’s where you come in, Ganymede, but I still have to trudge through reality, and I half expect you to smack me up at any time, like a child who expects to be hit by her abusive drunken father often. I don’t like being vulnerable and I don’t like being told to accept shitty ugly shit. But you, Ganymede- I am always willing to try to work with you.