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Moving In and Out of Concepts

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Our dialogue about choosing continued when my friend wrote me the following:

Because the "I" is just a thought, how could a thought make a decision or take an action? "Choices" appear to happen and action happens. That it happens without the ego doesn't mean nothing happens, it means the "I" doesn't choose or do it. It just happens.

Making a philosophy out of "there is no doer" could lead to a belief there is no one to choose or do anything, therefore, forming a mental idea, that there is nothing "I" can do. This is not freedom from the "I" or realizing there is no doership. It is a belief that could have confusing consequences for a person drawing this conclusion. No conclusions need be drawn from the seeing that happens when the inquiry into doership is done. When it is seen there is no one, no conclusions need be formed, no philosophy developed, no mental perspectives crystalized to try to be lived by.

Here is my reply:

I agree with everything you say, and I also find it helpful or "enlightening" to explore the mechanisms of identification and action as if there is a self to act. I find both perspectives to be useful, although I also appreciate what you said about having no belief or concept about what is happening. But just so that I do not even form a belief in not having any beliefs, I also play with holding beliefs very lightly, picking them up and letting them go as seems useful.

One quick question for you. You point out that the "I thought" is just a thought and therefore cannot do anything, but what about that which thinks the "I thought"? What is that? Can it act?

Who Is There to Do Something?

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Life is going to unfold however it unfolds, and there isn’t a lot we can do about it. Still, we can do a little to affect how it unfolds, and that is also part of the unfolding. So when I suggest you check what is true, it is to affect this little bit that we can do and that we can choose.

Q: Who could do this? It seems our view of this affects everything. So who is this “you” that you are referring to? It seems the I is only a thought.

A: This question about doership is a very fundamental one. But humor me for a minute: Before you read any further, reach up and touch the top of your head. The you that can determine what’s true and isn’t very true, and the you that can make choices and take action is the same you that just tapped the top of your head.

The bigger truth is that life will unfold according to the will of the divine. If you leave out this truth, you will suffer from thinking life is all up to you, which is a setup for either a sense of failure or false pride. However, if you leave out the smaller truth that you still need to choose and act, you will suffer from thinking there is nothing you can do. If this incomplete view is taken all of the way to its logical conclusion, then there is no one to ever do anything, and you might as well just stay where you are right now and starve to death. But even then, you haven’t escaped the smaller truth, since you will find that you have to choose to keep sitting there, even as you get hungrier and hungrier.

The balanced view is to leave everything up to God, except what’s right in front of you to do in this moment. If you are hungry, eat. If you are tired, sleep. If you are sick, find a way to heal. If there is a choice to be made, check what is truest to do and then do it. Then you can forget about the results of your actions because that part isn’t up to you. That part is up to the bigger truth of God’s will. There’s a line in the Tao Te Ching that goes something like this: “Do your work and then step back.” This points to the truth that our actions are up to us, but the results of our actions are not.

True Healing

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Q: I’m dealing with a severe illness. I inquired and found that I have little or no will to live, that I fear God is punishing me with this illness, and that I also feel I don’t deserve to be healed or have a passionate, full life. I sense that I need to heal my lack of a will to live before I can heal my disease.

A: I’m very impressed with the depth and honesty of your inquiry. It does seem that to heal your physical illness, you must first “heal” the issue of your will to live. In this case, the deepest healing is the recognition that there is nothing to heal. By that I mean that there’s nothing wrong or bad here, and you have done nothing wrong. It is simply not your fault that you feel this way but the fault of your conditioning, which is based on your actual life experiences. And your conditioning is not your fault.

Everything you’ve done in this life has been the best way you knew to take care of yourself. How can that be wrong? How can you judge someone for that or ever consider punishing them? (Note: I’m not saying it is never true for society to protect itself by jailing someone; it just doesn’t make sense to punish people for acts that aren’t their fault, which is probably why punishment rarely heals or rehabilitates anyone.)

If God is a halfway decent version of a god, he/she would know this. A real and worthy God is never judgmental and would never even consider punishing someone. If there is a god that does any of that, then I say it is time to get a new God and fire the old one! Fortunately, all we have to change is our belief about God, since the reality is that God, or True Being, never judges or punishes.

You deserve and have always deserved to live, love, be loved, have a passionate life with people you enjoy, and live wherever you wish. The first step is to continue exploring your beliefs. You can also send these beliefs the same healing energy you might send to others or your own body. Maybe you could put your hands on your head and send healing energy to your beliefs, your guilt, and the whole package of conditioning. You don’t have to get rid of those beliefs. Since belief is just a habitual thought and you can’t get rid of your potential to think something, all you need to do is love your beliefs, let them be here, and see that they are not very true.

The important thing is to see that your thoughts are not very true. The truth is whatever opens your Heart and quiets the mind. Any thought or belief you uncover that has the opposite effect on your Heart and mind is simply not very true. That belief isn’t wrong or bad or even false, but just a very small expression of the truth trying to act as if it were a big truth, like a little child trying to act big and strong. You can just love that belief for the truth it does have and invite it to relax and rest from trying so hard to be a big truth. There’s room in your awareness for all of the truths, no matter how big or small, for all of the thoughts and all of the fears. But you can also see these thoughts as they are and see that they are not very true. This is what heals beliefs—simply seeing them as they really are.

Seeing the whole truth of any dis-ease or difficulty is the healing of it—seeing the conditioning behind it, seeing the nature of the sensations your body is having, and also seeing your beliefs and conditioning about the difficulty. What is actually true right now? These sensations are here, but what is true about them? Are they really bad sensations. or are they just particular sensations? Are your fears about them very true? Is the love that can still flow through your hands and your heart to your own body very true?

The only trick to all of this is to start where you are. If right now you don’t want to live, then that’s what you need to explore and love and allow. You don’t have to get rid of the feeling that you don’t want to live, just explore it as it is. How true is that feeling? What happens if you just let it be here? What else do you feel? What else is true? You don’t need to change how you feel or get rid of any feeling, just find out everything you can about each and every feeling. This isn’t an attempt to get rid of anything, but an inquiry out of curiosity and love for these strange and miraculous things called feelings. These feelings are arising here in you to be seen and loved, not to be fixed or gotten rid of.