Earlier this year, as part of the Yearlong Retreat, I shared with the Guide an observation that all thoughts seemed to be opinions. She pointed me to The Great Way by Hsin Hsin Ming. I recorded it and when first listening had the experience of something other-worldly, which it definitely was for conditioned mind. Beyond the many treasures it offers, a primary take-home message seems to be that of giving up thinking or, as we say in our Practice, dropping the conversation.
Through guidance and practice it has become clear how 1) thinking manufactures suffering through non-stop opinions and comparisons, and 2) identifying with that process leads to self-hate. My job as a “professional awareness practitioner” is to notice the thoughts and thinking but not be fooled that I am those thoughts. It’s challenging because believing I am my thoughts feels like an addiction, a survival habit. And, of course, it is a means of survival for conditioning.
Luckily, Practice offers me the tools to break the habit, to see in a new way. As I practice staying with the breath, dropping into the body, meditating, and listening to recordings that mirror the goodness and beauty of Life, thinking has less air time and much less credibility. Vigilance and patience have allowed identification with thoughts to gradually fall away. With clear pointers from the Guide and Ashwini, I practice noticing rather than thinking. It’s completely relaxing to just notice, being present to whatever is going on. Simultaneously, the “joy of intelligence knowing itself” grows.
A consistent theme in the Yearlong Retreat has been that noticing is everything. It is awareness. When noticing is my focus, the need for thinking and figuring things out falls away because Life is providing everything in the moment. I am a witness to all that is going on, nothing else is necessary, and the possibilities seem endless. This is another way of saying, “the way is clear beyond the gate of thought and desire.”
In deep gassho,