Monday, July 24, 2017

forgiveness = enlightenment, sort of

Week Three, Day Five: ENLIGHTENMENT
FORGIVENESS makes a huge difference

Letting go of resentments makes a difference
Getting back to now makes all the difference
Emotions are often the slave to our thoughts
We are often the slave to our emotions
No freedom often means no love
Forgiveness is a path to freedom

Today is the day to return to the earlier experiment/ game: Do we want to be free/ present, or do we want to suffer.
We’re going to be a little clever and create three charts today: The Believing the Story/ Suffering Chair
and the Pretend Forgiveness with Qualifications Chair
and the Who Would I be without the Thought: as Inquiry, not demand

This is a strange and powerful world.
The lead motivation is curiosity and learning.
The incentive to start this process is a familiar one: we are sick of our suffering and want a way out.
And, here’s the ass kick: the way out is NOT TO ATTEMPT TO STOP OUR SUFFERING.

And you don’t have to believe the usual new age deep wisdom, that is actually ancient wisdom: we create our own suffering.
Or, as the Buddha would say: attachment to delusion is the cause of suffering.
What is the delusion: that what we say goes.
As in: My father shouldn’t have been so mean and critical.
I can say that.
I can believe that.
A whole bunch of fellow children of mean fathers can agree. We can all whine together, or pray together, or whack on pillows together, or even go for pseudo forgiveness together (he did his best).
And here’s where the rubber hits the road.

Is my set of words the TRUTH?
This is a question for curiosity, not belief system.
Is it TRUE that my father shouldn’t have been mean and critical?

The honest answer is: I don’t know.
I can wish he wouldn’t have been that way.
As I just said, I can get a lot of fellow “abused by mean father” folk to agree: you are right.
And being right won’t do shit to change reality: he was mean and critical.
So my statement, “My father shouldn’t have been mean and critical” comes up for me, when I ask, Is it true?  with the answer: I don’t know.

Aside, but a very important aside: the I don’t know, aka the IDK, is an extremely fertile, vibrant and creative place to live. If we knew everything right away, we’d be God, or bored. To not know, is to have more to learn.
To have more to learn is one of the aspects of why life on Earth is so heavenly.

Back to the WORK of Byron Katie, which is the work of Buddha, or the work of Jesus, or the work of anyone who wants to be free from suffering and/or love their enemy.
PS: they are the same.

The second question: Is it absolutely true? that my “father shouldn’t have been so mean and critical, brings up a big fat No.
If I’m God, and I absolutely know what right and wrong in the universe, then I can say the should and the shouldn’t.
Since I’m not God, to demand that my father have been different is to demand that God have done a better job.
Which gets tricky.
Is God a sadist?
Or was I given a father to teach me what I needed to learn?

The third Question: How do I react when I believe the thought?  of “My father shouldn’t have been so mean and critical”  gives us a chance to play in two chairs.

Suffering Chair #1: Sit in a new chair and totally believe that “my father shouldn’t have been so mean and critical.”
Feel what happens.
Write all that down.
Sad, hurt, angry, cheated, not trusting older men, wanting to trash him with my words, constricted, small, victim.
The usual. (You’ll discover the consequences of believing the various shoulds and shouldn’ts are remarkably similar. They are the pattern of the Victim we have each chosen.)

Now go the the Suffering Chair #2, which is Pretend Forgiveness.
Ask “who or what would I be without this thought?”  and then replace it with a bunch of qualifying thoughts:
Like, “if all fathers were like that, what would the world be.”
“If I let him get away with that, I’ll be weak.”
“Not to be upset about that is to give up all my values.”

The list goes on and on, and the net result is: you haven’t given up the should or shouldn’t thought, you’ve just converted it.

And write down: how do you feel in the pseudo-forgiveness, staying right chair.

This is inquiry.
It’s about what thoughts we put into our mind and what are the results. If you know math, it’s kind of the definition of a function: put in something for X and what happens when you do Y = X to the third, plus 3?
Have the "Yes but, I’m still right…” formula in your mind and what happens to your emotions.

The old phrase is: you can be right or you can be happy.

How not to be right?
Don’t have any thought.

So question four and the third chair is Who or what would you be without that thought?
Go to the third chair.
Don’t have the thought.
Be present.
Follow your breathing.
Think of gratitude.
Do an energy/ happiness exercise.
Don’t have the thought for even three seconds.
What’s left?

You don’t HAVE to give up the thought.
You can, if you want freedom and the ability to love, GIVE UP FOR A FEW SECONDS the thought, and SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

A new function. Put “no thought” into the you of you, and see what happens.

Note. This isn’t “Ah, shucks, my father had some great moments.”
Nope. This is heavy duty inner experimenting: I imagine my father snarling at me, his face all red and mean.
And I don’t have the story that he should be any different.

What happens.
I don’t take it personally.
I’m free.

And more.
I keep watching without taking it personally. He keeps ranting.
I can now, since it’s not about ME any more, see how much pain he is in. How trapped in his habits. How cut off from loving me, which is what he really wanted to do. How much training in self and other hatred he’d had.
So, I feel sad for him, compassion in a word, and not sad for me.

He was trapped. Probably believing lots of stories in his head, and having been trained in suffering by them. And he couldn’t get beyond that.

I can.
If I chose this chair.

And, this is about learning, not about “fixing it.”

So I go back to chair #1 and believe the story. How do I feel? Wow, it all comes back, all that suffering.
I go back to chair #2 and keep the being right stance. How do I feel? That cold and protected suffering comes back, the pain of the righteous.
And back to #3: who are I without the thought?
What is left.
And it’s a big and very freeing nothing.

Be still and know I am God.
When Carol and I had our twelve hour discovery session, we shared Bible verses. Two of my favorite where “Love your enemies” and “Be anxious in nothing and rejoice in everything and give thanks first, before you petition God for anything.”
One of hers was Be Still and know I am God.
This is when I was pretty sure: we are going to be great together. Because being still is the way to the silence that sets us free, or is the real present, or is the core of meditation.
It’s lots.
It’s the path to God.

It’s also what happens in the third chair, from the “no thought” of “Be still and know I am God” which is presented as: “Who or what am I without the thought”….
We can be who we really are.

Which is????
Find out.
Find out.
Find out for yourself.
Over and over and over again.

Take all your troubles and run them through the three chairs. 
Drag them though the four questions.
Get deeply curious about how you cause your own suffering.
Be deeply curious about who you are when we get still and allow yourself to be God.
Not the God that some present: the one who KNOWS ALL>
No, this is a quieter, more amazing God: the God of no thought, and all…..
All what?
You discover.
It’s the core of you.
It’s worth the “work” of un-doing all our suffering to find out who we really are.

Get free.


And what specifically is today’s game?
All the above. 
Enlightenment Game #  13
Take a should or a shouldn’t that you are unhappy around.
Write it down.
Ask: Is it true?
Ask: Can I absolutely know that this is true?
In Suffering Chair #1, totally believing this: how do I feel and react?
In Suffering Chair #2: When I have “smart” reasons to be right, and how do I feel and react
Try out, as curiosity, and for even a small amount of time
Question four/ The freedom Chair: Without the thought, who or what am I
Keep Learning: Keep bouncing between the chairs and learn what there is to learn

This is Work.
This doesn’t happen magically.
it can save years of therapy.
it can create an inner and almost instant tool to de-attach from our suffering
it can help us realize the power of curiosity
it can show us how quickly freedom and ease, aka forgiveness, can be part of our joy and freedom

Summary of Week Three, Day Five: ENLIGHTENMENT
You don’t have to be stuck.
Play the game and discover:
One, how you make yourself miserable.
Two, what else you could do.
Not, you “have to” do.
Not, you “should” do.
But, you could.
Curiosity and learning are tools for a good life until the day we die.


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