One damn thing after another

As you observe thoughts, without the effort to judge or analyze or change, you might notice that thoughts slow down. The gaps in-between expand.

You notice also that many of our thoughts are of self-judgment. This may not be obvious at first–well the obviously self-judgmental thoughts are clearly self-judgmental, but you begin to notice that almost all of your thoughts are in some way about judgment and about self.

This self of course does not exist–that is, it does not point to anything real or present.

It can be hard to notice the self and judgment in thoughts because we’re so familiar with our usual thoughts, and thoughts are wrapped up in conditioning and beliefs. And of course we believe our beliefs.

This is a pretty clumsy way to live–it is in fact the basis of the psychological aspects of depression. And so we often wonder, what is life all about, what is the purpose of life, is there a higher meaning, why am I unhappy, why doesn’t the universe give me what I want, how can I be better, how can I be more successful, more outgoing, better liked, more interesting, more spiritual….Is this what life really is, just one damn thing after another?

To make this right, we embark on a program of control.

We want to replace our unworkable thinking with thinking that works. And so we chase after beliefs which will trump the other beliefs. It’s no wonder that we find things that will replace our current mind set so highly appealing. New beliefs are a relief. And so we chase spirituality and self-improvement and religion and positive thinking.

Tail-chasing.

It’s so much simpler than that.

Observance and honesty–abiding in this quiet awareness, watching, watching thoughts without interfering or participating, can stop the tail-chasing.

26 thoughts on “One damn thing after another

  1. Janice R.

    Hi Mr. K.,
    I do think that Honesty & Observance are critical however, I have found out that I want to be fearless on my path. I have always felt that the raw honest and truthful observance would actually kill me. for real, dead.
    I have not learned the difference between die before you die and dead, dead. I mean I get that one supposedly frees you and the other is dead, gone.
    Still scared in Kentucky,
    Love & Light
    Janice
    Also, thank you for not posting on the Steven Hawkings comments about “there is no heaven”. If that is true, then I got me some work to do now. i always consoled myself by saying “hey, if your mind is never enlightened in the here and now, don’t fret God will make it happen in Heaven”. I know, I know, stories for when i am scared of the dark.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Ah, yes, Fear.

      That’s really it, isn’t it? Fear is the very basic emotion from which all the emotions we consider negative arise.

      Fear comes from the fear of separation–that is, the separation from our essence.

      And particularly, on the “path”, the ego will rebel and fear will arise. I remember how much I wanted to run from first meditation retreat. It’s this fear which makes us cling to things like spirituality and practices and beliefs, even when we’ve had the first awakening insight.

      But fear has no power–it only has the power we give it. Do the release technique. Fear can be released. And indeed, Janice, you are releasing fear. You know this. You wouldn’t be where you are otherwise.

  2. Blind Guy

    Is it the absence of everything that is important to understand on my path to awareness? Absence of being, acting, thinking, observing, everything…? Dang, that is tough! Are there some baby steps I can take to begin my journey on this path? Freeing myself of all consciousness, is that it? Would mind-altering substnaces help me?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hehe, well, mind-altering substances, if they work, are temporary.

      The baby step is observing. Observe thought, as a witness, without trying to change or interpret. It can feel hard in the beginning to observe–you have to keep reminding yourself, but soon it becomes effortless and natural.

  3. Janice

    Okay, K.,
    This is the thing I really don’t get. When I experience a moment and I mean moment of the here and Now, I do not experience this “peace, joy and liberation” that folks talk about. Maybe I am too ascared of this state? What are your thoughts? I notice and observe my resistance all the time. What’s the deal? I think you are going to say that I am overly identified with my ego. And to lose that sense of self is too threatening to me. Well, I am here to tell you and God, that I am okay with a huge reduction in my ego.
    I may kick and I may scream but that’s okay, I am a screamer anyway.
    Love ya,
    Janice

    1. Kaushik Post author

      I love your comments, Janice. You’re able to articulate very honestly and openly what many of us feel.

      This is not an easy journey. We don’t really have a choice about it anyway; awakening chooses us, not the other way around. It’s three-steps-forward-two-back kind of thing. There are plenty of times when I have believed I’ve “achieved” a certain threshold of peace and clarity, only to have life whack me back to humility. Stuff comes off in layers. Sometimes you wish you had never heard of this awakening stuff.

      There is confusion. There is fear. There is the feeling that, hey, it seems like other people are getting this, why don’t I? There is sometimes that feeling that I must be missing some secret–and this of course leads us to chase.

      But at some point, you can accept this. You realize that the ups and downs are part of the process, and not really that important. The effort and angst recede.

      Hehe, a screamer!

      with love,k

  4. Mikkel

    Hi Kaushik,

    One could as well make an article with the opening line “this is how to tail-chase…”, and I can already feel the thoughts slowing down when becoming more instantly aware, that this is the point of reading a new article. Just altering the mind again.

    Why that is, or how it works mechanically, when the thoughts slow down, I dont know. Its probably just a new chasing round, but definitely a more appealing or easy one, and a slower one, since it copy more dimensions of beliefs at once, accelerating beliefs and therefore spinning the tail faster and easier.

    For the last couple of weeks I have been very depressed and suicidal, yet been trying to release systematically. For a long time, about 6 months, I havent been able to find peace enought to live a normal life, but I have experienced something else. Moments of forgetting all past and future, and a sudden motivation to live. Im constantly aware that it is a short moment of being out of focus, and that as soon as I remember things again, I will be trapped again.

    In the beginning I thought it was a primitive state of mind to be in, to just simply be unaware of my ego. But do you think I can learn to stretch those moments of being empty of thought? I often dont understand what is going on in my head. Today it was storm, hail and thunder and sunshine all at once and it made me smile and motivated. But I dont think that means that I have let go of any emotions yet, its just being distracted.

    Sometimes if I run into a very serious problem, I manage to think for a while: “Haha, Im pretty fucked up now”, as I was looking at myself as if it was a computer game, but very soon I start to be sucked into it. Is that the same as being observative, or is it simply a superficial state of mind, whereas the emotions hasn´t been let in yet?

    Mikkel

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Mikkel,

      You and I have chatted online so I know a bit about where you are. It can be easy to become over-analytical about what’s going in the head; and yet, some amount of introspection seems to be necessary.

      Like you, I have had long periods of confusion. I’ve also had anxiety and depression in the past. It’s not always clear whether I’m watching or just distracting myself. The only answer I have-what’s worked for me–is to continue to observe, and continue to release, and continue to read from awakened teachers.

      Mikkel, thanks for you open comment. These kind of comments are very helpful to all.

      k

  5. Mikkel

    Im very happy to know you and your blog. It totally adresses my problems.

    Yes I know that I should deal with confusion in the same way as bad emotions, its all part of the same path, and to observe it all, is the only thing one can really do.

    For the last 2 days I have got new experience as well. I started realizing that my recent couple of weeks long very bad condition seems to feel suddently very natural, as it is the kind of emotions I have tried to visualize for 6 months. I prepared myself for it. This emotional dark seems perfectly normal, and suddently things become very easy.

    Right now I keep working on my personal problems as it is yet unsolved, and the outcome is not secure, but at the same time I can breath more. One should expect that it would be easier to let go of something definitive, something that cant be changed anyway, but for me the problem is still in its momentum of folding out, Im still in the battle of it. And yet I can actually do other things at the same time, as writing on this blog, thinking about my composition, practicing piano and I planned to write job requests later today. Im curious how this will turn out. My motivation usually doesnt last longer than one day, it changes so fast, that I hardly see it.

    If I went to a psychiatrist, he would probably give me some pills. Which also make me wonder, if all mentally ill are in fact the most sane of all?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      You’ve got a good handle on this.

      Life unfortunately does not stop while we work on awakening. Life moves on inexorably.

      In some ways, it may seem that awakening has made our problems worse. With insights, our attention is now on our state of being and we set up an expectation for ourselves. We feel we should be able to handle life much better because we are awakening. And so we are often disappointed when life-problems show up.

      But at some point, we are able to distance ourselves from the drama of life. Drama continues; but we can watch and accept it as part of the curious and mysterious unfolding.

  6. Nitin

    Hello Kaushikbhai,

    In One hand:
    Its about forgeting youself (I) via, alcohol, bhajan/prayer, meditation, Sex, music, dance and its depend on once choice of forgetting,,,,, You must have noticed that soon you know that you are in joyfull state, the JOY disappeared instantly. I, me & myself and its game of mind creates puzzle and takes you way from peace. And may be even long lasting peace can be bored.
    I enjoy hours walking in the park & lake area everyday and seat beside small creek, its feel great in beginning and then same old, tail chasing…(Once Mind is not happy with where ever its resides, its always wanting once doesn’t has.)
    In Other hand:
    Be consicous, remember even every beath of yours, including witnessing your thougths.
    Is this really practicaly possible?
    Are these two ways to get there?…I really don’t know where?

    Since last 7 months, I am un-employed and challenging my patience, while same time I am trying counless hours to search for employment and even though I feel guilty that I am not trying hard… ! ! Why ?
    AND at the end I compromised,,,That is it.” (yin-yang) Let is be.

    Cheers.
    Nitin

    1. Kaushik Post author

      I understand your feelings about unemployment. I was unemployed for an extended time. It brought up doubts and fear and guilt and remorse. Even aside from the usual worries about money, there were times when I felt small, inadequate, and unwanted. For many of us, a big part of our identity is our occupation and “success” and so unemployment can feel particularly hard.

      And similar to unrequited love, the feelings that come up because of unemployment are our best opportunity to awaken. Watch, and release. As you say, let it be.

  7. Jeff Lapointe

    “Sometimes you wish you had never heard of this awakening stuff.”

    Amen to that…but don’t worry I’ll likely still be in church next week whether I want to or not:)))

    Thank you again for your contributions Kaushik.
    Jeff

  8. Beverley

    Another great post Kaushik. Am not really into passing on stuff but have included your blog in my list for the ‘versatile blogger award’. Hope you dont mind….you need not do anything unless you wish to. Just wanted to share your blog with some of my readers 🙂

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thanks, Beverly. I think it’s the openness of the comments which makes this an inviting place for people.

      Congratulations on your well-deserved award!

  9. Janice

    Good Morning Mr. K.,
    Have you heard from Brenda, Ralph and the rest of the gang? Masi, Masi…
    Where is everyone these days??
    J

  10. Masi

    I’m in a terminal bus going to board a flight in Iran!!! By chance I was able to log on to my gmail account, find a link to Mr. K’s site, come to this page and find your comment! Hope all is well with you all.

    Mr. K, as usual, I so needed to read this! I’ve tried everything else, now all I can do is surrender and let go all thoughts, fears, perceptions, plans, and whatever else I’m holding onto at the moment and simply be. And every day brings with it a fresh start.

    With love

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Good to hear from you, Masi.

      This confusion and sadness is very much a part of the process of awakening. It’s confusing in many ways. Doubts and sadness can come up; the corner where awakening meets the practical demands of life is darkly incomprehensible; there is frequently the feeling that we’re wasting our time with this stuff, we should just be like everyone else; there is often a deep yearning for the final awakening so that we can feel relief from the sway of life.

      This is the stuff of life.

      And yet, we have no choice but to continue. Try to stop, try to forget about it, and you can’t at this point.

      The confusion passes. Or perhaps, we accept it and surrender to it, and are able to see that confusion is just another mental viewpoint.

      I hope you’re well, Masi.

  11. Mikkel

    One damn note after another.

    Forgive me if I get nerdy or interdisciplinary in best Blavatsky manner, but the musical perception is simply the medium through which I see the world. Philosophycally, the unconditional music doesnt serve any other purpose than itself. Its an experience, yet most people, including musicians, seems to look for a selfrelated meaning in music, medical, functional or insightsgiving.

    Musical liberation though is just random sounds. For us who deals with that, it is a powerful meditation toward uncondotional love, in all means of life, as sound waves represents all kinds of waves. Everything is frequency. I guess there is no other crafts or businesses in our culture that are capable of dealing with something for no other reason than the thing itself. Thats music. Unfathomable desire.

    I always imagine, that awakening is like becoming a musician, as you start being more sensitive to your reality, and you start to love more of everything.

    But for a moment I want to draw attention to a more medical perspective to music merely as a secondary importance. When I had a depression several years ago, the most uplightening thing during my day was listening to music by Allan Pettersson. When I think back, its incredible how certain music that appeals to a depressive frequency can mean so much to one. It reflects itself through our emotions and stimulates one effortlessly.

    There are plenty of great composers whos music appeal mainly to a depressive state of mind, but there is one particular composer like no one else, Alexander Scriabin. No other music, that I have come across in my life, embraces eternal darkness in such highly erotic way. He was extremely talented in expressing any given state of mind in his music, and his purpose was to change the world and trigger the spiritual tranformation of the human species.

    My experience is, that the later production of Scriabin perfectly reflects the depths of my previous depression, yet it is very erotic. Bringing theise opposite elements together is beyond what most people can imagine, and even more astonishing how he could comprehend such esoteric ideas in music. He cant be compared to any other composer.

    I cant say how someone would react to Scriabin if they are not accustomed to classical music, but I want to share this anyway. Scriabin wrote many short miniature works, and for me they are the most powerful meditations I know of, they seem to fill out most of my constructive emotional memory.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAV4A-cSQpw
    This piece is Poeme-Nocturne op. 61.

    Scriabin was a very occult man. His vision of transcending the mind into a higher level, was worked out rationally, and Im sorry if this gets a bit technical now. I just want to be objective. Inspired by Chopin, Scriabin leaved the traditional tonality through his sence of creating a smooth atmosphere of dissonance by letting the dissonance be related through alterated harmony, an atmosphere that resembles the ease of tonality, resulting the dissonance to appear more consonance than they are.

    The dissonance is highly based on the tritones in the harmonical structure of Scriabins music. Unique about that is, that the tritone is the largest possible interval in the circle of harmonical interference. That means, the tritone transcends the universe more than any other interval, it has a divine and mystical quality.

    I noticed that Scriabin reveales most of his material in small segments of 1-2 seconds lenght, causing the music to constantly change color. For me, 1-2 seconds is about the same time the mind takes to observe before it reacts emotionally. This disposition gives an empathy at the peak of our observing.

    I can probably talk for hours. I hope you will get a positive experience. I think its highly appropriate for this forum.

    Love,

    Mikkel

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Very interesting, Mikkel. I’ll listen to the link when I have some quiet time.

      There’s a theory that dissonant music–that is, stereo music which is out of phase bi-aurally–can induce a meditative state. Basically, the sound which comes to one ear is out-of-phase with the other. I haven’t tried this myself so can’t say more about it, but it’s an interesting possibility.

      1. Mikkel

        I have heard of something similar too. In theory everything is possible in music, as frequences are impulses like any other impulse.

        Scriabin wanted during the end of his life to write a large orchestral work including colored light and fragrances. He wanted to build a temple in Himalaya for this music. He described how he wanted the temple to consist of many different materials in order to reflect in the various colored light that was to be projected out, causing the architecture of the building to change visually as a part of the composition. Scriabin believed that when the piece was over, the people in the temple would be the only survivors on the planet, and they would be tranformed into a higher level.

        He didnt complete that work, but another composer Alexander Nemtin tried to finish it as a 3 hour version, using Scriabins sketches and by recycling other of Scriabins last works. Here is a short excerpt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0Whv5waUMU&feature=related

        Of course this is very mystical and probably one reason why Scriabin is often regarded as an eccentric and even as a schizophrenic, but I think there is nothing wrong in curiosity and being openminded, hehe. Like Blavatsky´s Isis Unveiled, we might not find the golden road to awakening, but at least it can give us something to work with.

        What strikes me in Scriabin is the two key elements of eroticism and satanic apocalyptism combined into something one can really sence, and something that can influence our every day life.

        Mikkel

        1. Kaushik Post author

          Mikkel, I did listen to the links. The music is dissonant. I don’t have the musical ear you do, nor do I have any knowledge of musical theory, but I see what you mean. The music is dissonant, with surprising notes in places you don’t expect. I can see how this represents depression, though I would say the music is a little too energetic to characterize depression.

          It’s interesting to see the associations between sounds and the state of mind. The word “OM” is supposed to signify existence. It’s actually “AUM”, representing the tri-energy of creation, destruction, and existence.

          Very interesting. Thanks.

          1. Mikkel

            Maybe I got you confused by mentioning music, that appeals to a depressive frequency. I agree, that Scriabin is far from that, if anything its about beauty. It is rather unworldly. He creates a mysterious atmosphere, that opens up a space that seems huge enought to embrace everything in life, including the dark states. A totally different appraoch to depression.

            I guess the mysterious and occult is a honest way to approach the unknown as something beyond understanding and neglecting the settleness of the mind. Looking out into the mystery of chaos is the way I see the music. It is that space that has enormous power, I think.

            I remember Dr. Pillai talking about, that in order to finally surrender, it is neccesary to discover love that is strong enought to embrace everything in the world. That is kind of what I see in the music of Scriabin. He creates a space of mystery with a ressonance that never ends. I wonder what is the best thing, aiming for a higher suffering or a higher love.

            I think its more idiomatic in the second link I posted, which is the beginning of Scriabins unfinished Mysterium. It opens with a single cord which harmony is sustained through a longer period, but it constantly changes its timbre, creating an artificial ressonance with unnaturally big proportions, as I see it. In that way he points out that kind of light that can shine through everything else.

            I see what you mean, that it seems a little too energetic, especially if you expect a bleak and heavy Shostakovich symphony. Scriabin is weightless in its character. Believe me, even most musicians find it hard to adapt to Scriabin, and they usually associate his sound world with other late romantic or impressionistic composers, but its far more esoteric.

            I have my own explanations how he creates a mysterious outreaching atmosphere. The harmony is important. The tritone is to be found everywhere in it, practically every note is related to a tritone in his music. Scriabin also invented a harmonic system, that “was designed to afford instant apprehension of — that is, to reveal — what was in essence beyond the mind of man to conceptualize. Its preternatural stillness was a gnostic intimation of a hidden otherness.”

            The “OM” or “AUM” sound is clearly resembling a sinus tone, a sound with no overtones. The sinus tone is a very monotonous and lonely sound with almost hypnotic qualities, a sharply focused existence. I think the (missing) overtones represents destruction, since the more overtones you have, the further away is it from the fundamental note. The relationship between the fundamental note and its overtones is kind of a yingyang relationship.

  12. Janice

    Mikkel,
    You express yourself so beautifully. I felt like I was listening and absorbed into a great piece of music when I was reading your words.
    Your message is lovely.
    Janice

    1. Mikkel

      Thank you for your kind message, Janice.

      Im always eager to share the world of music with anyone. You people on this blog are aware of the depths of certain areas of knowledge of mankind. You know how a spiritual book can totally change your life forever to other dimensions, within the dreamstate of course. So I think that you might have an idea of, what is out there in the field of classical music, which is the concentrated tradition of the musical elite throughout the world for 1000 of years.

      Most people cant believe that any work among their own kinds can be beyond their own expectation of human nature.

      For half a year I hardly listened to music at all, since I have been too depressed to do anything except sleeping and watching tons of pointless mainstream movies. Though I still feel that the most comforting consolation for me have been reading the awakened teachers and my longing to music.

      Before my current depression I lived 5 years in constant ecstacy while practicing the piano and composing. I didnt care to eat or sleep, I didnt care about sitting outsite in rain or sun and I was always surrounded by intense rainbow color everywhere. I started meditating entirely from working with music, from the process of manifesting music physically through my body as a pianist and toward beauty and awareness.

      Before that periode of my life I had another depression, and I doubt as well that I would be here today if it wasnt for my musical ego.

      Right now Im just dealing with so enormous dark emotions that overshadows everything. I tend to be either suicidal or in ecstatic bliss, I dont know anything in between, and either state can last for years.

      Let me know, if you want the entire Scriabins Mysterium, and I will send it. You might also enjoy John Cage, who was the first composer that basically just wrote random sound and composed schedules for uncontrolable sound sources such as radio noise, traffic jam etc. He was very much into zenbuddhism. There is a really beautyful documentary about him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbp4rkenEak

      I really hope that I will get out of my depression soon and become productive again. Im trying to commit energetic suicide, comitting suicide without dying physically. During those short periodes, where I really want to pull it off for real, I notice that Im letting go ultimately of everything before the actual death. That is in fact the only situations that allowed me to experience, that there is a living possibility of letting go. Maybe it can be hard to really know which emotions you want to let go of, we sometimes seem to confront only the surface of our emotions, being conceptualizing the emotions, so that the roots survives in our reaction pattern.

      Along with letting completely go through ones own death sentence, also arises the opportunity to discover the pleasure in small things again, like having a cigarette or watching a sunset.
      Things that were unexisting to ones egoic preference settings before. One must not only delete the settings but the ego itself. The ego doesnt survive to loose its consistency, so one have to realize not to keep the ego subconsciously respirating. I think death in a direct sence is the best way to observe the ego and kill it.

      Mikkel

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