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  1. We Are Unbound Awareness

    Living Unbound: Sustaining Thoughtless Awareness on the main Living Unbound site Living Unbound: Sustaining Thoughtless Awareness We all have moments of thoughtless awareness; we just often don’t recognize them as such, due to conditioned hyperfocus on form in the perceptions of the body-mind. Throughout our lives, we’ve been conditioned that what is going on is important; and that we are somehow this partial, fragmented-feeling self, with all these reactive thoughts and feelings. Trying to find this self has been part of the methodology of every practice-centric wisdom tradition, from every religion, throughout history and around the world. No one has actually found one of these partial, fragmented-feeling selves yet; they don’t exist. Ego is the fictional, conditioned and conditional source of all suffering. Awareness is the cure; awareness is health; awareness is wholeness. Once we know ourselves as unbound, thought-free awareness; the experiencing of original subjective awareness, free from scattered, discursive thinking, we’re Living Unbound in any moment, now, that this reality of self is experienced. And so, the only technique at this level is a single technique with two facets: Sustaining thought-free awareness: Letting awareness rest while perceiving objects, rather than allowing attention to be pulled into perception; letting all objects, including thoughts and feelings just be here, resting in awareness. Gently releasing any unbalanced focus on form; we recognize imbalance via discomfort. Thoughts, feelings and reactions hold nothing we need. We are awareness; unbound, whole, undisturbed.Letting awareness notice how awareness feels. Awareness is always flowing outward at the levels of form; shining outward, uplifting, loving, giving. Awareness, Self, is ever freely giving.This technique of sustaining awareness is for: Completing the recognition of Unbound Awareness as our self; to no longer confuse any aspect of form (including thoughts, feelings, etc.), with who we know ourselves to be.Facilitating Unbound Awareness being our default sense-of-self, facilitating actually Living Unbound; enjoying the literal Freedom Beyond Imagination, in reality. Unbound Awareness is actually this that we each and all always ever are, now.Now, we allow awareness to flow naturally, pervading and blessing every moment now, via the technique described above. Sustaining awareness literally changes the body and mind to emanate Living Unbound; neurophysiologically, psychologically; existentially. Wisdom traditions have taught and experimentally confirmed this for millenia. In recent decades, neuroscience has caught up, and has confirmed the reality of neuroplasticity: brain, body and central nervous system evolve and change according to what is reinforced. Awareness is the ground of being; everything arises from it, displays within it, and dissolves back into it, to arise again in different form, this moment. And this moment. And now. Knowing self as awareness, there is a sense of light flowing out from the heart, yet ever within it, blessing all, uplifting all; loving all. It literally feels more natural and more right than can ever be imagined, because this thought-free, shining, blessing awareness is what we actually are, in reality. Welcome Home. Welcome to Living Unbound. Welcome to Freedom Beyond Imagination.
  2. We Are Unbound Awareness Lesson on the main Living Unbound Site We Are Unbound Awareness Living Unbound is the natural state of all life; the error of conception known as ego is the only exception. Unbound awareness is our true nature. This is the ultimate teaching of all practice-centric paths, from every religion and wisdom tradition. Almost nothing can be said about Living Unbound as our true nature, because it is the realm of reality which is actually beyond description; awareness is the unbound wholeness we each and all actually are, now. We can’t understand it; we only know its reality by Living Unbound. The Awareness level of Living Unbound is the final level prior to integrating Unbound Awareness, the Unity of Knowing and the Harmony of Living; in order to enjoy Living Unbound in reality. It is the expansion of the inner silence we have come to experience in the Living and Knowing levels to include everything, ever. And, again; this makes no sense to thinking mind; it can’t. Thinking mind is a cutting instrument; it discriminates; distinguishes; decides. It can only be experienced. Even the highest teachings of the world’s greatest sages can only point to it, and point to it, they all do. Ultimately, it’s nothing mysterious; Living Unbound is what is actually here, behind, before and beyond all the mistaken thoughts emanating from the conceptual conditioning of partiality. “If you lose awareness, then you are gone. You have destroyed the reality of your life. You must therefore be aware.” ~Swami Lakshmanjoo “While the idea of going beyond body consciousness can be frightening to us, the idea of remaining bound to body consciousness, and hence to time and death, should be more frightening.” ~Dr. David Frawley
  3. Knowing Is Unity, Unity Is Power

    Living Unbound In Religion, Science And Philosophy Resource on the Main Living Unbound Site Living Unbound In Religion, Science And Philosophy “There is no conflict between science and religion; there is only conflict between mistaken ideas about science and mistaken ideas about religion.” ~Living Unbound The deepest mysteries of the world’s religions and spiritual traditions are simply descriptions of how inherently fulfilled consciousness actually operates. They are maps to the reality of freedom beyond imagination in experience; maps to Living Unbound. The pinnacle condition outlined by every spiritual tradition, whether it is called heaven, enlightenment or self-realization, is a synonymous term for Living Unbound in reality. The great secrets of life have never been absent, nor have they ever been completely hidden, and they’re most certainly not secret. In fact, they’re freely available for all. The maps offered via the symbol-sets of each religion and wisdom tradition, along with their related teachings, techniques and resources, clearly mark the way to the reality of Living Unbound in our own experience, once we understand how to read the map, and which aspects of the given map, or maps, to prioritize. Living Unbound in reality is the ultimate prize, the pearl of great price. Yet it is also the prize that we ultimately can’t miss, because Living Unbound is ultimately what we each and all actually are, now, once the cloud-cover of the inaccuracies of conceptual conditioning have been dissolved. Living Unbound is not a new system, per se; it is simply a new articulation of the actual operations of fulfilled consciousness, along with a new articulation of the map we can use to experience Living Unbound for ourselves. How important might Living Unbound be for you? For everyone and everything you know? Not recognizing and living from the full range of consciousness, from Living Unbound is the source of all suffering. Recognizing and living from the full range of consciousness is Living Unbound. The truths of the actual operations of the full range of consciousness have not been newly discovered; they are ever-present. This system called Living Unbound is simply a model that is articulated simply and clearly, and in plain language, using symbols or symbolism that most of us can easily understand. Every religion offers an articulation of Living Unbound and a map to Living Unbound, in reality. The vast majority of a given religion’s teachings may not articulate this directly or clearly, either due to misunderstanding by the authors of a given teaching, or due to veiling of the information over time for various reasons. However, neither are the teachings and techniques of Living Unbound absent from any religion. Each religion has its practice-centric paths and schools, known various as esoteric, mystical and yogic, among other terms. It is in these internally-oriented paths that the truth of Living Unbound has been preserved through the ages, in every religion and wisdom tradition. And this dynamic is not true only of religion. Ancient and modern-era sages in all areas of study and discipline, whether religious, philosophical, academic, artistic or scientific, have lived and are living from the actuality of Living Unbound. Living Unbound is always equally available for all of us, in reality. It is our inherent nature; it is simply veiled by the misperceptions of individual and collective conditioning. The Living Unbound system is not dependent upon or affiliated with any specific religion, culture, tradition, science or discipline. All of these things are means; maps and tool-sets with which the way to Living Unbound can be found and revealed in our own experience. Thinking that any information is the truth in and of itself, as opposed to simply being the way to knowing the truth for yourself, is to confuse the map with the territory; to confuse the menu with the meal. In religion, the maps to Living Unbound can be found in the practice-centric paths within each religion. Each religion has a solid subset of paths or schools which have teachings, techniques and resources oriented toward Living Unbound, in experience. The emphasis of practice-centric systems is not on adhering to ideas or interpretations about the truth of the given religion, but rather, on experiencing the truth for ourselves, via the millenia-old, effective spiritual practices taught within each religion and wisdom tradition. Meditation, prayer, directed breathing; chanting, singing, worshipping in groups; immersed contemplation. All of these practices and more are only slightly varied in the practice-centric paths within each religion and wisdom tradition. And they have all been proven to have the same result, when utilized effectively; they all result in Living Unbound. Each of these practice-centric systems, regardless of the time or location where it was developed, and regardless of the original symbol-set, or the originating religion, teach of the way to Living Unbound via the three levels of Living, Knowing and Awareness (called Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3 in the Living Unbound system). These three levels are called by different names in different languages, and different religions, of course, but they are universal. Various paths within various religions and wisdom traditions simply use different terms and different symbol-sets from one another, which were developed at different times in different places. However, they can all serve as a map to Living Unbound, and the practice-centric paths within each religion outline the same general map. The map to Living Unbound is also being clarified and confirmed by the increasing improvements in scientific abilities to measure the activities and ongoing changes facilitated by the techniques, the spiritual practices, taught by each of these systems. There are practice-oriented paths associated with Hinduism, such as Kashmir Shaivism, Advaita Vedanta, the non-dual Siddhar tradition of South India and the Yoga of Patanjali, to name just a few. In Christianity, there are the paths of Mystical Christianity, Gnostic Christianity, and Christian Kabbalah, among others. In Judaism, there is Kabbalah; in Islam, Sufism. Buddhism has its practice-centric paths as well, such as Dzogchen, Vajrayana, Ch’an and Zen. If we look closely at the essential teachings of the practice-centric paths associated with each major religion or each wisdom tradition, we will see a common model of the three levels of Living Unbound. Scientific and philosophical disciplines also have the leaders and the areas of discipline, which have revealed certain aspects of Living Unbound, and which each and all articulate various aspects of the three levels of Living Unbound, whether Living, Knowing or Awareness. In psychology, we have the work of Carl Jung. In the physical sciences, we have quantum physics, and some of the most recent advances in biology, specifically in the areas of genetics and neuroscience. In mathematics, we have geometry and calculus. Sacred geometry was the original geometry. Calculus was developed by Leibniz and Newton, both of whom had deeply esoteric spiritual lives, and who developed calculus in part to articulate the synergy between the Unity of the Unbound with the Harmony found within the diversity of Living. Philosophy has given us the wisdom of great sages in every part of the world, from every recorded age, ranging from Heraclitus and Plato to Lao Tzu, Abhinavagupta and Patanjali. Essentially, Living Unbound is the natural state; Living Unbound is reality. Living Unbound can’t be escaped or avoided, it can only be non-recognized (one of the most well-known practice-centric schools of Advaita Shaiva {aka Kashmir Shaivism} is known as Pratyabhijna in Sanskrit; the Doctrine of Recognition). This non-recognition of Living Unbound is simply the veiling of reality with a lifetime of conditioned concepts, which once released, reveal reality, Living Unbound. For excellent, detailed overviews of the threads of Living Unbound running through religion, science and philosophy throughout the ages, and all over the world, including ongoing overviews of recent developments please visit the Space and Motion website. Also, please see the Lessons section of this site for the Teachings, Techniques and Resources offered by Living Unbound.
  4. Knowing Is Unity, Unity Is Power

    Living Unbound Resource: Kashmir Shaivism Living Unbound Resource: Kashmir Shaivism Kashmir Shaivism is a non-dual yogic science originally developed in Kashmir, in far northern India, in the 8th through the 12th century, as an expansion upon original Shaivism, the origin of which extends back beyond recorded history, making it one of the oldest unbroken wisdom traditions in the world; possibly the original one. Kashmir Shaivism is also coming to be known as Advaita Shaiva, which translates as Non-Dual Shaivism, or the Wholeness of Awareness. The wisdom of Kashmir Shaivism has continued as a steady stream since that time, and it has enjoyed a powerful and profound global expansion in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It might be helpful to briefly discuss the symbolism of Shiva. Shiva is often called the “destroyer”, part of the three-person Godhead of Hinduism: Brahma (The Creator), Vishnu (The Preserver) and Shiva (The Destroyer), which leads to the perception of a destructive, violent and angry deity, for those who may not be familiar with the nuances of Shaivism and Hinduism. However, even the very name of Shiva clues us into Shiva’s true nature. Shiva means “the one who blesses”, “the beneficent one”, in Sanskrit. Brahma is only the Creator moving in the direction of objectivity, manifestation into form. In terms of Living Unbound, it is Shiva who is the Creator; the ever-restful ground of unagitated awareness which is our true self, our true nature. The Living Unbound system draws from all wisdom traditions, and from all areas of knowledge, though it was originally inspired and influenced by the clarity, power and efficacy of Kashmir Shaivism, and its three levels of teachings and techniques. This page will list some of the key resources connected with Kashmir Shaivism. The Universal Shaiva Fellowship Teachings of Kashmir Shaivism presented via online overviews, including audio and video files of the teachings of the most globally-influential guru of Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Lakshmanjoo. “God and the individual are one. To realize this is the essence of Shaivism.” ~Swami Lakshmanjoo Vijnanabhairava Tantra
  5. Knowing Is Unity, Unity Is Power

    Living Unbound: Bliss Technique on main Living Unbound site Living Unbound: Bliss Technique The technique: Close your eyes and think about something you are really passionate about. This is important in the beginning when you are first learning the technique. It must be something that makes you really happy (you could do it with something that makes you really angry or sad.. but it’s more fun starting off with something that makes you very happy.) Now bring up the thought in your mind and just before the thought forms.. STOP.. and stay in that gap. You will feel a lot of bliss and ecstasy. Stay as long as you can in this gap.. it may be a few seconds or a few mins. Then bring the thought up in your mind… then drop the thought (let it fade away).. and just as it is fading away from your mind… Stop.. You should feel the same bliss. As you continue with this practice the time you can stay in the bliss zone increases. The prominence of ecstasy reduces (as with all practices) and you can actually live in pure awareness for a few mins.. no thoughts just pure bliss. Any thoughts, emotions, feelings that bother you (the stronger the feeling the easier it is to observe how effective this technique is)… Consciously bring it up into your mind.. and just before the thought/emotion/feeling can manifest.. stop. You may have to try it a few times, but the entire thing just dissolves. You will feel yourself physically relaxing too. It comes very handy to unlearn the physical tensions that our body has not forgotten . As you get better at this, you can use it in every moment of your life. The more you use it.. the more you will start living in your inner silence. This technique is like a key that unlocks the door which gives you access to your inner silence/bliss any time of the day
  6. Mind Shafts

    Dissolving Mind Shafts on Main Living Unbound Site Dissolving Mind Shafts We talked about Mind Shafts here. So how do we dissolve these mind-shafts? Dissolving mind shafts can be practiced simply and easily as we go about our day. At the end of the day, when we find that conditioned thinking has labeled the day as a bad day or a stressful day or a depressing day, we can review the day in our mind, and make mental notes of three types of thoughts which caused that label to be applied. Identify the actual emotions we're feeling (i.e. sadness, anger, whatever the predominant emotion is, in the current moment). = EmotionNote the labels that conditioned thinking has applied to the emotion (frustrated, mad, defeated) . = LabelNote the story that is keeping that emotion and label in place (things should/should not be like this). = Mind StoryIdentify the actual situation, independent of the label, or the mind story, or the emotional reactions to the label and mind story. =RealityExamples: Conditioned thinking says "today was a terrible day!" 1. We notice the actual emotion. (Example: sadness.) 2. We notice the label, the evaluation. (Example: Terrible day ) 3. We identify the mind story. (Example: "he should not be so harsh and judgmental") 4. We recall the actual situation (reality), independent of the evaluation (label) and the mind story, or the emotional reactions to the evaluation. (Example: Father spoke in a loud voice to us.) Several important realizations can occur, every single time we make use of this technique, and it can be used effectively in any moment there is a sense of disturbance (i.e. stress, uncomfortable emotions, uncomfortable thinking, etc.) 1. We notice that conditioned thinking has globally labeled our memory of the day in a certain way (“globally” meaning: the concept of “entire day” has been evaluated and judged to have had certain qualities), and we notice that emotions have arisen, based on focus on the labels which support conditioned thinking's conclusion ("terrible day"). There were actually many non-terrible moments during the day, but attention focuses on the thought-labels which support conditioned thinking's conclusion. 2. We notice that the emotional reaction is always to the label; the evaluation and mind story; reaction is never to a fact. Mind-shafts are shafts made by focus on the mental and emotional reactions to the labels generated by conditioned thinking. Mind-shafts are a closed-loop of conditioned thinking which are utterly independent of the actual situation. If the facts of a given moment are labeled differently, the reaction of conditioned thinking is different, and the conclusions of conditioned thinking are different. "One person's heaven is another person's hell", as the old saying goes. To one person, "father speaking loudly" might be an everyday event; an event they are used to experiencing; and therefore, an event their conditioned thinking doesn’t evaluate in a way that sadness is the reaction. To another person, "father speaking loudly" might not be considered harsh or judgmental, just his style of speaking. To yet another person, anger could be the emotional reaction instead of sadness. To another, momentary disturbance might be felt, based on specific conditioned thinking, but the evaluation about the conversation isn't connected with any label about the nature of the entire day. And so, realizing this, we can notice: reaction is never to a fact, but only to evaluation about facts. Now, if it was a bad day or a "feeling down day", we can consciously remember the moments in the day when we felt happy. This is the gap which breaks up, or dissolves, our sense of having had an otherwise bad day. For instance, maybe we enjoyed some morning tea; or maybe we smiled at someone or someone smiled at us. Maybe we laughed at a joke, or saw something that made us smile. Maybe we enjoyed a favorite song, or show, even for a few minutes, and so on. Remembering these pleasant or enjoyable moments, we can realize that these moments break up the imagined "continuous shaft" of unpleasant memories of each day. We can identify these moments that don't fit into the labels/mind stories creating a sense of "low day", and then break the day up into bite-sized memories of happiness and bite-sized memories of sadness or other “low" or “down” feelings. Doing this, we can thereby realize that the lows aren't all connected, and that it wasn't really a "low day", after all. Rather, it was a day comprised, as all days are, of a fairly full spectrum of thoughts and feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant. We use up a lot of physical, emotional and mental energy (hence the physical, emotional and mental fatigue, which we call depression) in connecting the conditioned evaluations which create the sense of lows. Conditioned thinking then takes these mind-shafts and connects them, in order to make an imaginary mind-shaft of "one big low." This isn’t to say, by the way, that depression isn’t an actual medical condition; it certainly is, as many of us know. Our purpose here is to uncover some of the dynamics which magnify depression, and artificially hold it in place. Depression is not a natural condition; it results from a combination of mental habits, and/or related biochemistry. When the causes of the mental habits are seen through, they dissolve. When these conditioned mental habits dissolve, they no longer increase any depression-related biochemistry. And so, dissolving depression-related mental habits, while doing things that dissolve depression-related biochemistry (such as exercise, engaging in spiritual practices, connecting with people, medication and so on), combined with the genuine, honest desire to be free from depression, can and does free one from depression. Realizing this, we can come to see a fundamental, empowering fact: stepping free from depression is within our power, and the means to do so is freely available. We start out with small things,; simply observing that the day is made up of moment by moment by moment, and that each moment is free of the previous (memory) and next (imagination), and that reaction is never to a fact, only to evaluation, will help us in dissolving these mind-shafts. And, amazingly, we'll find that when all this artificially constricted energy is freed and allowed to flow naturally, that thinking mind naturally rests. At first the shaft may be imagined to be years long. For instance, conditioned thinking displays the thought: "I have been suffering from depression for 10 years." Well, with some simple observation, we can see that the depression we felt 10 years ago, and the one we felt 5 years ago, and the one we experienced 6 months ago and the one we experienced a week ago, are not the same. We connect these and make it one long imaginary mind-shaft. In fact, if we are willing to remember any such time-frame honestly and accurately, we can see that any given time period had almost as many, or in some cases, more moments which were experienced as happy, or at least acceptable, in comparison with depressing moments. And, so to dissolve these shafts, we can go back and identify the moments when we were not depressed. We can remember how we enjoyed a party or a movie or a vacation or a night out or a book or a trip or a job, and thereby see how these happier moments broke up the imagined “10 depressed years”. And so, the single shaft of 10-year-long depression is now broken into smaller “bite-sized” memory-shafts of depression. It no longer is a huge monster, but rather, a series of manageable “little monsters” that bothered us, over the course of 10 years, a time period that was happily interspersed with “little angels” of happiness, peace and enjoyment at times, too. Then, we’ll try to break up the current day; maybe break it down to half a day. Then as we keep identifying these breaks in the day, moments when you are not feeling low, a miraculous thing will begin to happen. Half-days will refine to hours, hours to minutes, minutes to seconds, and we’ll experience the reality that each moment of life, perhaps a second or two in duration, apparently, is utterly independent of the previous moment and the next moment. Ten seconds ago is every bit as dissolved as ten years ago. Ten seconds from now “hasn’t happened yet” as much as ten years from now “hasn’t happened yet”. It is all happening now, in reality. The second technique is actually finding the gap (which is experienced as silence) and living from this gap. This is a more advanced technique and worth trying, if however it seems impossible to do, let it go for now. Related Lessons Living Unbound Teachings: Mind Shafts
  7. Knowing Is Unity, Unity Is Power

    Living Unbound: Gap Technique on Main Living Unbound Site Living Unbound: Gap Technique One way to catch the gap is between inhaling and exhaling: In this technique, we don’t hold our breath between inhale and exhale; we let our breath flow continuously, just as it naturally does. The breathing techniques of the Living level are about facilitating changes which will help to dissolve any disharmony, in experience. At the level of Knowing, now we let breath flow in and out automatically, just as it always does; this technique isn’t about breath; it’s about mind, and the power of getting in touch with the parts of your mind which have been unconscious, thereby uniting our mind and knowing our own power, the power which will take us in the true nature of our unbound awareness. And so, while breathing naturally, we catch the gaps, the slight pause between the inhale and exhale. Notice how during the gaps there are no thoughts. Try to notice, and remember, how it feels between in breath and out breath. Get the feel of it; the literally sense of it. Now try to take that feeling, that stillness, with you into the breathing. It’s a very subtle movement of stillness into your inhale and exhale. At first it will be a very short moment of silence that may be easy to miss, but you will soon be able to feel the stillness moving into your every moment. It’s very simple, really. Normally, when breath flows out, attention flows out with it. That’s fine, that’s natural. However, a lifetime of conditioning which favors focus on external things has created an artificial dynamic, where all our attention flows out with our breath. It’s the all that’s artificial. In catching the stillness which we can easily and naturally notice at the junction of our inhaling and our exhaling, we consciously experience and become familiar with our actual subjective awareness. When we exhale, most of attention flows out into perception and the objects in perception, but a bit of stillness, a bit of awareness, also naturally remains. After using this technique for a while, each day, we begin to notice that this stillness really does feel more than natural; it feels like who we are, actually, and it is. Another way to access the gap, the silence is between two thoughts. So we try to find a gap between two thoughts. A thought arises and subsides and the next one arises. Between the points of a thought subsiding and the next thought arising is a gap. So we identify these gaps and experience the silence there is between two thoughts. Try to remember the feel of this experience, and without effort (very subtly) try and pull this experience into the next thought; just let it come along with you, so to speak. Also try to increase the duration of these gaps between the thoughts. So make an effort to delay the next thought hence prolonging the gap. In a similar manner to the breathing techniques of the Living level, this unity of breath and mind at the Knowing level is an artificial means to reintegrate the natural experiencing of our own awareness, and its flowing, its breathing, between subjectivity (our actual experiencing awareness) and objectivity (the objects, the forms, in each moment of experience). In reality, the duration of the gap and the duration of a thought are the same; what we’re calling the gap is actually the ground of being, of pure, undistorted awareness, which underlies all perception and all perceived objects. However, until we’re well past the halfway point of the Knowing level, we experience the thoughts more than the gap because we focus more on the thoughts. If we can slowly relax our focus, and let ourselves rest attention on the gap, we can actually increase the time we spend in the gap/the stillness for longer periods than we do in thoughts. Another way to access the gap is with sight. Focus on an object, then slowly get that object out of your focus and focus on something else, the point when neither of the objects are in focus. It can be very simple. For instance, you’re presumably reading these words on a screen or a printed page. Take a moment, and let your vision move from these words to your hand. There’s a point where the words effectively dissolve from your consciousness, as your hand rises in your consciousness, even if it seems to happen very quickly. Just as with breathing into the gap, by seeing into the gap, you’ll be able to experience the exact junction-point between the two moments of perception. This may take a bit of practice, but ultimately, the dynamics are exactly the same as they are with the breathing-centered gap technique, described above. You can do this with any sense or perception, or combination of them. Notice the temperature in the room your in, and then focus on the loudest sound you can hear. The gap is available between the exact junction point, between any two moments of perception. This is because the “gap” is actually the return to the stillness of the part of our consciousness that is always at rest. Just as your lungs are never entirely empty of air, or your heart is never empty of blood, so your mind is never entirely empty of consciousness; it may seem to flow out into perception and objects of perception, entirely, but it doesn’t. In a manner virtually identical to air in the lungs, or blood in the heart, there’s still consciousness remaining in mind, to be experienced as the self who is the experiencer of the moment. Losing touch with awareness of this self entirely is not natural, but a lifetime of conditioning has almost all of us doing this anyway; all day, every day. One of the more amazing things about all this, is the techniques described here were developed many centuries ago, when there was no scientific ability to measure the actual activity of the brain. Today’s instruments can and do track the exact fluctuations in dominant brainwaves as well as minute neurochemical and neuroelectric activity in the brain. All these expensive, sophisticated instruments reveal something very interesting: they reveal that between every moment of perception, there is a gap. Something that those of us involved in following the map to Living Unbound have known and reported for millenia. And, by the way, if we can catch the gap between our thoughts, or other perceptions, we don’t need to practice it with our breath. Experiencing the gap by using our breath is what we need to do when we cannot access the gaps in our thoughts; our breath is simply the most physical means of access, and therefore the easiest as we start using this technique. Working on this technique with our thoughts, our perceptions or our breath through the day, every time it occurs to us, we’ll soon become familiar with the stillness that’s not only available to us every moment; we’ll realize it’s the stillness we actually return to, every moment, whether our surface attention notices this or not. Every time we remember to take ourselves into the gap, we’ll also see if we can take this gap into our activity. We’ll see if we can allow ourselves to begin to consciously operate from this gap, bit by bit. We’ll soon begin to feel an amazing sense of unity, of power, and of knowing in our ongoing experience. We’ll begin to notice that we no longer feel off-balance emotionally, mentally or energetically as we go about our day, bit by bit. And we’ll just be easy with it; have fun with it. It’s amazing to experience at first, it feels good, and it’s fun, but there’s also no rush, whatsoever. Because the gap is always, ever actually here. It’s the ground of being; our true nature; the self spoken of in descriptions of self-realization. And as we’re now beginning to see: it’s our very self, and it’s not so very far away after all; how could it be? And we’ll also discover something else that’s rather wonderful: poetic descriptions of the self, such as the statement in multiple traditions that the true self is “closer than your own breath”, are not metaphorical. They’re more, well, literal. And accurate. In fact, if the teachings, techniques and resources of all wisdom traditions could be summarized in a single, brief sentence, it might well be: “They’re not kidding.” In closing. an expansion of the basic technique is to allow part of awareness to remain resting with our self, no matter what else we are doing. So if we are reading this technique, we’ll likely find ourselves completely focused on that task, on the words we’re seeing and reading. Now, though, let’s catch the gap if we can. If we can’t, we’ll try using the breath for a moment. Feel it? The gap? Yes; the stillness; the stillness at the opposite end of perception from the words; always here, just usually not noticed. Until now. How powerful is this technique? The yogic science of Kashmir Shaivism originally produced only a handful of total volumes outlining its teachings and techniques, in 8th through 12th century Kashmir. Only one volume was devoted solely to techniques. Only one technique is described in this volume: the gap technique, described above. The full volume simply offers one-hundred and twelve variations on this single technique. The volume is called the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra; the “Volume on Knowing Unity”. For more on Kashmir Shaivism, please see the Resources section of this site: Living Unbound Resource: Kashmir Shaivism
  8. Knowing Is Unity, Unity Is Power Knowing Is Unity, Unity Is Power Some of the most powerful teachings, techniques and resources in all wisdom traditions emphasize the importance of the Knowing level. The Knowing level is the power of Unity which results from true knowing, from perceiving via mind that is clarified and unagitated, and thereby, undistorted. This Unity is the seamless integration of the forms within consciousness with the formless awareness which is the true self; unbound awareness, prior to what we’ve been conditioned to think of as the mind. There are three fundamental components to consciousness in experience (the three levels of Living Unbound: Living, Knowing and Awareness), which can be viewed as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Awareness is singular, and unformed. Living is diverse, and formed. Knowing is the bridge, the hybrid, of formed-unformed, actual-potential; the two aspects of the reality that is fulfilled consciousness ever flowing through it; objectivity into subjectivity and subjectivity into objectivity; form into emptiness, emptiness into form. The piece of the puzzle that represents the Awareness level, and piece which represents the Living level, don’t and can’t fit directly with each other. They need a connecting piece, a bridge. That’s where Knowing comes in; the Unity of Knowing connects Unbound Awareness with the Harmony of Living. Most of us, prior to Living Unbound are familiar solely with the Living level, which we think of as the Living and the Knowing levels. Simply put: conditioning has us thinking that thoughts, feelings, sense of self, etc. are part of actual subjectivity. These forms are actually just forms in awareness; objects in awareness. This becomes obvious once it is seen that if you can think a thought, or feel a feeling, then you are not that thought or feeling. Seeing and experiencing this becomes much easier once a significant degree of inner silence has been developed (or, more accurately, reveal). The sages of all religions and wisdom traditions teach the importance of establishing this inner silence: “Be still and know that I am God.” ~Psalms “Yoga [unity] is the absence of mind agitation.” ~Yoga Sutras of Patanjali “The Tao which can be spoken of is not the Tao.” ~Tao Te Ching “You have imposed non-existent limitations on yourself, or limits on your true nature of pure, infinite being. Now, you are displeased due to believing yourself to be a limited creature or character; and, you have started out doing spiritual practices in order to transcend these non-existent limitations. However, if your mind and practice themselves presuppose the existence of these invented limits, how can you ever transcend them?” ~Sri Ramana Maharshi Here is an excellent article on Knowing The Unknowable from the Donmeh West website, by Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain, from the standpoint of multiple religions and wisdom traditions (including modern Psychology; Carl Jung is quoted in the article). In yogic traditions, the level of Knowing is known as Shakti; Power or Ability in Sanskrit. The Knowing level is unspeakably simple, but not always easy; it involves getting to know the hybrid nature of mind; both form and formless meeting as the knowing of the unity of self and objective experience. Knowing is the clear, unagitated awareness of clarified mind, experiencing the natural harmony of living. For most of us, prior to experiencing the Unity of the Knowing level, actual knowing is obscured by the figurative cloud-cover of thoughts and feelings occurring in mind, which are mistaken for actuality. That’s why the Shiva Sutras begin their Awareness level with the following two sutras: True Self is Liberated Awareness ~Shiva Sutras 1.1 Knowledge is Bondage ~Shiva Sutras 1.2 How can you experience the Unity of Knowing? Here are a couple of techniques to help get you started: Techniques: Living Unbound: Gap TechniqueLiving Unbound: Bliss TechniqueResources: Living Unbound Resource: Kashmir Shaivism
  9. Mind Shafts

    Mind Shafts on Main Living Unbound Site Mind Shafts This is how our conditioned thinking mind works: we carry a story with us for years, about how things should be, or how things should not be, and we suffer from that, and its re-imagined reliving, years after the experience has passed. Conditioned thinking connects something that happened a few years back, with something that happened a few months back with something that happened a few days back and makes a shaft of pleasure or pain (a shaft of “depression” or “poverty” or “unhappiness” or “happiness” or ”regret” or “victimization”). Thinking-mind connects every moment, and says “the pain I feel today, and the pain I felt yesterday and the pain I felt a week back are all connected.” The moment it is experienced that every moment is unique, unconnected to any other moments, an unspeakable amount of mental energy is liberated; the energy that conditioned thinking uses to mentally connect separate events, to project mind-shafts, and to keep them in place with the concept of time and memory and imagination. Conditioned thinking connects things that happen in life to make either a shaft of pain, or a shaft of pleasure. We try to break a pain shaft and try to elongate a pleasure shaft, using external means. The pleasure shaft quickly becomes a pain shaft through fear of losing what is perceived as the source of the pleasure, or fear of not having that much pleasure again. Both types of mind shafts are a great way of generating suffering, but they’re not really useful for anything else. The good news is: mind shafts have nothing to do with actuality. Mind shafts are based in conditioned reaction, and conditioned reaction is never to a fact. Releasing attachment to the concept of continuous time (i.e. “this has been the worst year of my entire life!”), which projects the memories and imaginations comprising the mind-shaft is amazingly liberating. In 12 Step programs for recovery from addiction, they talk of living “one day at a time”, rather that struggling and suffering while mired in memory and imagination. In reality actuality is even better than one day at a time; actuality occurs one moment at a time. Have you noticed? Conditioned thinking uses up a lot of mental energy (hence the mental tiredness, or depression, which come from these memories and imaginations, based in misperception of partiality), artificially connecting the so-called lows to make a fictitious shaft of one big low. When we stop connecting memories of low moments in our mind, we free up a lot of mental, emotional, and even physical energy. The fictitious mind-shafts dissolve by simply seeing through them; seeing that they are based in conditioned thinking; that reaction is never to a fact. Just noticing that the source of perceived distress is almost always based in an imagined evaluation of something that is not happening now, is the key. Freeing attachment to this habit of conditioned thinking may not happen in a day, but starting out with small things, and developing the new habit of reviewing our day and watching for mind-shafts, a surprising amount of energy can be freed. Observing that living is actually made up of moment by moment by moment; a new moment now, and a new moment now; that each moment is free of the previous one (memory) and next one (imagination), helps dissolve these mind-shafts, and enjoy the very real freedom beyond imagination, right here, right now. At first the shaft may be thought to be years long. For instance, conditioned thinking says: “The past 10 years of my life has been nothing but sadness.” Well the sadness that memory remembers that it felt 10 years ago, and the sadness thought to be felt as remembered 5 years ago, and the sadness thought to be experienced a year back, and the sadness memory imagines from 6 months ago, and the sadness memory imagines experiencing a week ago are not the same. In fact: they only have one thing in common: they are all thoughts held in mind, now. Yet memory, with its partner, Imagination, connect these incidents (conveniently forgetting all the happy moments, and fun moments, and generally okay moments) and make it one long shaft of a sad life. For instance, conditioned thinking may imagine: “My best friend betraying me 10 years back, and my dad passing away 5 years back, and my boyfriend leaving me a year back, and my dog dying 6 months back, and me losing my job a week back are all connected, and they make a long shaft of sadness!” All of those moments are long gone. When we see that each of those incidents were individual incidents and are only connected by the mind to make a shaft of a 10 years of sorrow, and that none of them are happening now except in memory and imagination, and that all suffering is tied to evaluation of, and reaction to, memory and imagination, we can liberate a vast amount of energy that is being used to keep these shafts of suffering in place. To dissolve the shaft, we can go back and identify the moments when we were not sad or depressed, or otherwise upset. We can remember how we enjoyed a party or a movie or a vacation or a night out or a book or a trip or a job, and see how these non-sad moments actually broke up the perceived depression of 10 years. So the one shaft of 10 year long depression is now broken into smaller shafts of sadness. It no longer is a huge monster, but little monsters that came up during those 10 years. And we realize that we did enjoy many more moments of happiness than our mind-shaft of sadness wants to let us acknowledge. In fact, we could just as easily remember a mind-shaft of imagined happiness! More importantly, though, we realize that living happens now and only now. Letting mind-shafts control how we feel is letting the story write us. We’re a lot more free, right now than conditioned thinking could ever imagine. ------------------------------------------------ Related Lessons Living Unbound Techniques:Dissolving Mind Shafts
  10. How Consciousness Really Works Lesson on Main Living Unbound Site How Consciousness Really Works Almost all of us live with a sense of separation from other people and the world around us. This “bad dream” of a life is nothing more than the artificially conditioned and continually reinforced sleight-of-hand of our own consciousness. Our. Own. Consciousness. “See Above.” You may have heard it said: “Know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is shown in the graphic above. How do you know the truth of your own fulfilled consciousness, Living Unbound? You must experience it. This is exactly what Living Unbound is here to do: to provide you with the tools which empower you to experience fulfilled consciousness; to experience the literal freedom beyond imagination which is the experiencing of Living Unbound. Living Unbound from what, exactly? Living Unbound from the artificial conceptual divisions within which almost all of us dream our lives away, believing that we’re a fragment, rather than unbound awareness. Original awareness is a single field; every division in it is artificial, conceptual and/or perceptual. These conceptual distinctions can be useful as a conscious, creative tools for communication. However, while these distinctions can make great servants, they make truly terrible masters. Limited, thinking-mind cannot understand the reality of our true nature as unbound awareness; it isn’t equipped or qualified to do so. Thinking mind is a cutting instrument; it discriminates, it distinguishes; it divides. There is only experiencing of wholeness of awareness; concepts have no place in the actuality of our true nature. It’s not that sense of self, and thoughts, and physical experience disappear in Living Unbound. In Living Unbound the concepts are simply no longer artificially and disproportionately focused upon any longer; they become a window, and no longer a wall. Natural harmony is restored, and Living Unbound is enjoyed in reality.
  11. Our Mind Window

    The Work ~ Byron Katie on Main Living Unbound Site The Work ~ Byron Katie A very simple yet powerful self inquiry technique is called “The Work”, as taught by Byron Katie. This technique is really effective in dropping mind stories. We generally go through life wishing that almost everything that is going on is in some form or fashion different than it currently is. It can be the kind of job we have or don’t have, the kind of relationships we have or dont have, the way people treat us, the we are wronged by so many, no one understands us, how we give and don’t get back what we deserve, etc… the list is endless. Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is”, introduces a technique called “The Work”, which has a simple way of asking four questions and turing the situation that is making us unhappy, around. It shows us how to “accepting what is”. Her quote, is possibly the most useful quote to remember, in our lives. 100% of our suffering comes from arguing with reality. Any time there is discomfort, unhappiness, sadness… it is helpful to observe what is going on in our minds, there is something we are wishing for different than it is and hence are not accepting the reality of the moment, that is resulting is the discomfort. We spend all our lives trying to change the world around us, in order to be happy. “My kids should treat me with respect”, “My partner needs to give me more attention”, “I should be loved by my family as I have defined love”, and so on. When we insist on things like this, we cause a lot of hurt and anger and unhappiness in ourselves, and all around us, by trying to change everyone around us. Katie’s technique “The Work”, gives a simple technique to see what the reality is, and how to accept this reality, so that we can be happy, or at least at peace. And my favorite quote from Katie…. This one actually helps you let go of the mind stories. Our mind always wants to be right… “but I deserve the attention I want but I’m not getting!”, “I have a right to expect my children to take care of me when I get old!”, “It is what parents do, they take care of their grandkids, I have every right to expect my parents to help me with my kids!”, “How can you tell me to turn it around and make all of this my fault, they must change in order for me to be happy!” Would you rather be right … or would you rather be happy? Let go of the desire to be right … and allow yourself to see the reality of what is going on. You can be free of suffering. You can get details on how to do “The Work” here: Step 1: The First step is to fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. You can get a copy of the worksheet here.Write down everything that is bothering you.If you have managed to identify your mind stories you can write these down in this sheet.Step 2: The Second step is apply 4 questions to each one of the things you wrote down: 1. Is it true? The answer is a “yes” or a “no” only.If your answer is “no”, continue to question #3. 2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? (Occasionally people find the following sub-questions helpful.) How do you feel when you believe that thought? (Depressed, anxious, etc.) Does that thought bring peace or stress into your life? What images do you see when you believe that thought about a past or future? Describe the physical sensations that happen when you believe that thought. How do you treat that person and others when you believe that thought? How do you treat yourself when you believe that thought? What addictions/obsessions begin to manifest when you believe that thought? (Alcohol, credit cards, food, the TV remote?) Where and at what age did that thought first occur to you? Whose business are you in when you believe that thought? What do you get for holding on to that belief? What do you fear would happen if you didn’t believe that thought? (Later, take this list of fears to inquiry.) What are you not able to do when you believe that thought? (Take this list to inquiry.) 4. Who would you be without the thought? Close your eyes and drop your story just for a moment; notice: who would you be without that thought? Who would you be without your story?Step 3: The next step is to turn it around (the concept you are questioning), and don’t forget to find three genuine, specific examples of each turnaround. Turn the thought around.Statements can be turned around to the opposite, to the self, and to the other, and occasionally there are other variations as well. When dealing with an object, you can replace the object with “my thinking” or “my thoughts.” Find a minimum of three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is as true as or truer than your original statement.Examples of Turnarounds: Here are a few more examples of turnarounds: “He should understand me” turns around to: He shouldn’t understand me. (This is reality.) I should understand him. I should understand myself.“I need him to be kind to me” turns around to: I don’t need him to be kind to me. I need me to be kind to him. (Can I live it?) I need me to be kind to myself.Embracing Reality: After you have turned around the judgments in your answers to numbers 1 through 5 on the Worksheet (asking if they are as true or truer), turn number 6 around using “I am willing …” and “I look forward to …” For example, “I don’t ever want to experience an argument with Paul” turns around to “I am willing to experience an argument with Paul” and “I look forward to experiencing an argument with Paul.” Why would you look forward to it? Number 6 is about fully embracing all of mind and life without fear, and being open to reality. If you experience an argument with Paul again, good. If it hurts, you can put your thoughts on paper and investigate them. Uncomfortable feelings are merely the reminders that we’ve attached to something that may not be true for us. They let us know that it’s time to do The Work. Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn’t mean you must invite him to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see him again, you may even divorce him, but as you think about him are you feeling stress or peace? In my experience, it takes only one person to have a successful relationship. I like to say I have the perfect marriage, and I can’t really know what kind of marriage my husband has (though he tells me he’s happy too). Teachings: Our Mind Window Techniques: Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In RealityLiving Unbound: Identifying Mind StoriesLiving Unbound: Accepting Reality Resources: Helpful website: The Work : Books: Loving What Is by Byron Katie.
  12. Transcending The Tyranny Of Ideas on main Living Unbound site Transcending The Tyranny Of Ideas All suffering is the result of an incorrect idea; a single incorrect idea; the idea of separation and partiality. Living Unbound is the natural state; the entire universe is an ever-oscillating dance of harmony, unity and wholeness. The entire natural universe inter-relates harmoniously and synergistically. The only exception to this natural harmony is the misconception known as the ego; the limited I-sense; the “thought called ‘me’”. Until very recently, the vast majority of us have lived our entire lives without ever hearing of Living Unbound or the various ways to Living Unbound, which are offered via various religions and spiritual traditions. Or, if we have heard of one of the ways to Living Unbound, chances are that it was positioned as something available only through a single religion or spiritual path, or by adopting a specific lifestyle, such as becoming a priest, or monk or nun. And so, we’ve been conditioned and re-conditioned that freedom from suffering, and freedom in general, is for the select few, and in any case, apparently not for us. We’ve literally been taught from the time we could understand even the simplest words and concepts that we are separate, and therefore alone. We’ve been conditioned that the aspects of us which appear to be separate (physical body, psychological tendencies, individual traits, etc.) are the total of who we are, and that we are therefore actually separate. Because of this disproportionate focus on appearances of all types (including internal appearances: thoughts, feelings, sense-of-self, conditioned memories, and so on), we not only spend our lives being conditioned and reconditioned that these appearances are reality, but that they’re all of reality. And, because we focus only on the forms of things (and not the space of awareness in which everything actually occurs), we literally become “awareness blind”; we neither see nor know the vast majority of our own consciousness, and so, if it is perceived at all, it is perceived as something lofty, or mystical, and quite possibly (conditioned thinking presumes) unreal. The reality is: Living Unbound is reality; it is the original awareness within which everything else happens. This is neither lofty nor metaphysical, but simply actual: awareness, in experience, is a single field. All divisions within it are arbitrary distinctions. Everything we perceive resolves to electrical signals oscillating in our brain; the wholeness of awareness is simply the experience of this field without the perceptual distinctions. On this science and religion both agree, unequivocally. However, the vast majority of us, whether oriented toward science, religion, or neither, have never experienced this wholeness, and therefore, neither experience it, nor perceive it as possible. This is where spiritual practices come in: they remove the cloud-cover of perceptual distinction which prevents the experience of the fullness and wholeness we each and all actually are, now. Living Unbound is simply being completely, naturally, divinely human: in, with and as the wholeness of our own fulfilled consciousness. However, most of us never experience the beauty, the purity, the utter liberation of Living Unbound. The cloud-cover of conditioned misconception is just too thick, it seems; especially since most of us don’t even know we’re mired in utter misconception, in almost every moment (prior to Living Unbound), nor do we realize that this fundamental misconception is reinforced, reviewed and thereby remembered, in almost every moment. Most of all though, it boils down to the fact that we don’t have any idea what to do to escape our lifelong sense of unfullfillment. So how then to experience Living Unbound? There are two primary facets to Living Unbound in reality: Experiencing the full range of our original, fulfilled awareness. This is what Living Unbound Techniques are designed to facilitate.Understanding the illusions of misconception by seeing through them. This is what Living Unbound Teachings are designed to facilitate.1. Experiencing To get the benefits of regular exercise, we simply need to do it. The same is true of the universal spiritual practices which have been proven in every spiritual tradition over the course of millennia. Not spiritual beliefs; spiritual practices. As with exercise, where spiritual practices are concerned, it’s not about what you think, it’s about what you do. When we start a daily routine of proven spiritual practices (please see Living Unbound Lessons for details), before long, tangible benefits begin to emerge. Then, within a few weeks, or months, or maybe a bit longer for some of us, we start to experience some of the things we have only heard or read about, before this point. We experience the reality of inner silence and stillness. We experience the reality of the subtle energies about which all spiritual traditions teach. Bit by bit we directly experience the reality that, as Jesus Christ said in the Bible “the kingdom of heaven is within” us. When we reject spiritual information because it doesn’t make sense to us at the time, we are operating at a vast disadvantage. We don’t have the experience, the knowing, from which to make that declaration. As we continue our daily practices, we find that we don’t really need to make any declarations at all: the reality of Living Unbound, is revealed as simply and utterly obvious. Without spiritual practices, we’ll continue to live under perpetual cloud cover, disbelieving in the existence of the sun. With dedication to daily practices, in a relatively short period of time, we can and will enjoy Living Unbound, in reality. What is “relatively short”? For most of us, the essence of the journey to awareness of wholeness, to Living Unbound, takes a fairly small handful of years. This is a much shorter time period than it has taken historically for most. The reason for this is that the opening of the floodgates of global information have allowed more of us to have more access to highly valuable spiritual and consciousness-related information in recent years than at any other time in history. We’ve therefore been able to distill, refine and enhance existing teachings, techniques and resources. Still, for all of us, it’s a very, very individual dynamic; everyone is different prior to getting to the conscious experiencing of oneness. Some of us awaken to Living Unbound all the way instantly, but this is very, very rare. Others do so within a few short months, but this is also very rare. For most of us, a handful of years is what the process seems to take, though with ever-more-efficient refinements to practices and the resulting experiences and understanding, we may be able to help shorten these time-frames, further. It’s probably not realistic for most of us to expect to be fully Living Unbound in a few months, but on the other hand: if it takes more than a decade, there’s probably some facet of our approach that needs to be refined. Realistically, from start-to-Living Unbound, we can expect to spend a few years in daily practices, consistently gaining greater peace, freedom and clarity, until actually Living Unbound becomes our default condition, and the pinnacle conditions taught by every spiritual tradition become the essence of our daily lives. 2. Understanding We’ve all had the experience of believing that something is true, or feeling a certain way about something or someone, and then having that view suddenly change, based on new information. At one time, the sun’s revolution around the Earth was accepted fact; enough so that Galileo was severely punished for daring to state otherwise. Currently, it is accepted that the Earth revolves around the sun. What made the difference? The ability, and the willingness, to simply observe, to note and to see more accurately. And so it is with Living Unbound. When untrue concepts are no longer believed, Living Unbound is our natural condition, the harmonious flowing of living, now. Which of the concepts that we currently believe are untrue? All of them. Really. How could a concept be true? That’s the easy and utterly true answer. However, most of us not only won’t believe this answer immediately, but most of us can’t. The conditioned, conceptual reinforcement of a lifetime, related to partiality and lack, and the confusing of the conceptual with the actual, is deeply embedded in essentially all of us. Body follows mind, mind follows awareness. If awareness is blocked by the cloud-cover of conceptual conditioning, we’re attempting to complete the equation of wholeness by requiring that 2+2 = 3. Hence all the trouble. The way to Living Unbound is actually more of an undoing than a doing; it is the releasing of all that is untrue by experiencing, understanding and creating our own way out of the dark unreality of dreaming bound, into the beautiful reality of Living Unbound. It’s really very simple. A couple of the fundamental toolsets used by humanity (the distinctions made by language and language-based thinking), became confused with reality, and thus became humanity’s (effective) tyrants. Language and thinking can be useful and even enjoyable creative tools; however they make terrible tyrants. Letting language and concept rule our lives is like letting the song play us; letting the story write us; letting the clay sculpt us. We’re actually the singer, the musician, the author, the sculptor; Living Unbound is living in the conscious unity of the awareness of ourselves as wholeness enjoying the harmony of living, free from the imprisoning, fictitious concepts of partiality and lack. When we allow conditioned conceptual ideas to use us as their plaything, how deep does their reign of terror go? What scares us? In the depths of our private thoughts? The anxieties that arise unbidden and pull us around like an evil, unseen puppeteer? That’s how deep it goes. Is what scares us happening right now? In our immediate experience? Probably not. However, there’s still automatic, unconscious reaction to these thoughts that automatically arise. Is this what we signed up for? Many of us certainly appear to think so. The truth, when we experience it, is both staggering and utterly liberating: ego: our misplaced sense of lack and partiality is itself an unreal thought, and so, its reality consists of misplaced thoughts, which are simply other thoughts derived from a dream universe of lack and partiality. What are the ramifications of this? When this unfortunate, unreal and fear-filled dream dissolves, we realize: Living Is HarmonyKnowing Is UnityAwareness Is Wholeness And even more importantly and applicably, we realize in experience: We are Living Unbound as the very real Freedom Beyond conceptually-conditioned Imagination. “Freedom Beyond Imagination” is more than a catchphrase; it’s a very real key to understanding and experiencing Living Unbound in reality. Living Unbound is only found in the Freedom that is Beyond Imagination; in the reality that is beyond and before the distinctions of language and language-based thinking. Mind and language are cutting-instruments. They divide, decide, define and distinguish. They can therefore be useful in creating specific facets of our lives, but are not suited to be arbiters of the wholeness of reality. How can we know this for ourselves? By experiencing, by understanding. How can we bring about this experiencing, this understanding? Practices, Practices, Practices. A little bit of time, sincerely devoted every day, results in Living Unbound; in Freedom Beyond Imagination, in reality.
  13. Our Mind Window

    Living Unbound: Accepting Reality on Main Living Unbound Site Living Unbound: Accepting Reality As talked about in the teachings we saw how we need to look for happiness within us. All our lives we look outward for happiness. If that really did make us happy, we should have been the happiest people alive, after manipulating ourselves and the world around us we should have it all down to a fine art to finding happiness. And yet, happiness is always just beyond us. Even when we do catch up with it, it slips away real soon. So is “happily ever after” possible? Yes. It is possible to be happy exactly where you are. How? Shift the way you think. Instead of “what can the world do to make me happy?” or “how I can change myself to gain the love of the world?“, look into “how can I accept the world as it is, and myself as I am?” In all of the example statements we talked about in Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In Reality and Living Unbound: Identifying Mind Stories, there was one part called “reality” … which was the actuality of the situation, free from any interpretation about it. Accepting this part, the reality of the situation, will make everything different. Acceptance doesn’t mean being weak, or allowing others to use us as doormats, or not acting when action is needed. Acceptance means dropping the mind stories that makes us suffer by keeping us mentally and emotionally bound to a situation. Being attached to the mind stories uses up energy needlessly, clouds thinking and drains energy; acceptance helps get past the mind story and address any moment or situation with clarity. Things happen around us without our help. We may believe we are making things happen, however life just keeps flowing with or without our help. We believe we actually carve the path of our lives, however, look back and be honest with yourself… how much of our lives has been as we had planned? How much of our sadness is because we are still clinging onto the dreams (“mind stories”) we had of our life, partner, kids, parents, siblings. What happens if we drop the ideas (“mind stories”) we have. It’s a slight shift in our focus. We put all our attention and energy on our mind stories and see our world from this place. All we need to do is shift our focus away from the mind story and accept the reality. Let’s look into this: “I feel sad because I am disappointed that my mother is not around more to help me with my kids.” emotion = sad label = disappointed mind story = mother should help more reality = mother is here once a week/month, never. So you are sad because you cannot accept the reality of what is going on. Your mother is doing what she is doing. Maybe she does not want to go through bringing up children again. Maybe she feels unloved because she feels you are using her to take care of the kids. Maybe she is old and does not have the energy to take care of the children. Maybe she is afraid she is old and may not be able to keep up with the children. We know how tired we get taking care of the children? Well she maybe double our age… and with half our energy. Or maybe she just does not care. All the above statements are to help you see what she may be going through. But it does not really matter what she is going through. We can only speculate what someone else is feeling or thinking with our mind stories. The only thing we can be sure about is what is going on. My mother is not involved with my children as often as I would like her to be. Can you accept this? For even a moment, drop the thought “my mother should help me more” and feel the release and lightness. Try thinking in another way… “I should not expect anything from my mother and accept that she is loving us the best she knows how” or “I should love my mother no matter what she does or does not do”. Or “I should love myself and drop the expectation, because it is hurting me to keep the expectations in place”. When you can identify the mind story and let it go and accept the reality that is beyond the mind story, you will feel an instant release in tension in yourself. We will see how we cling onto these mind stories and keep our suffering in place. Another wonderful thing that we will start to experience is when the mind stories are not controlling our every move, a kind of freedom comes into our lives and we can just flow with what is happening. Once this happens… once we have loosened the grip our mind stories have on us… everything starts to unfold in perfect harmony. It has always been unfolding in perfect harmony, we have been so caught up in our mind stories that we haven’t noticed. Another example of accepting reality: >”Our children should respect us.” Again, look at the reality of how our children are treating us. Maybe because they are teenagers, and have not yet found their place in life, they are at an awkward age and unclear on how to relate to almost everyone, including their parents. They are no longer children and they are not yet adults. They are confused. Or maybe they never did learn to respect, because we as parents never showed them any respect. Accepting children as they are and showing them unconditional loving will help them get over the confusing phase that can go with certain parts of their teenage years, and respect us even more than they otherwise would, once they are out of this phase. However, our mind stories have defined what the behavior of children should be like… and we are sad and disappointed and angry because they don’t fit into that mind story. Accepting what is … accepting reality … will help us drop the mind story, and will help us operate from a place of clarity. From this place of clarity we can take further steps of talking to our children, showing them unconditional loving, and offering loving guidance. When we talk to them with our mind story of “expected behavior” in place, we are not listening to what they are saying nor are we working with the reality of the situation. However, when we drop the mind story of “acceptable behaviors”, we actually have a wonderful chance of getting closer to our children. Even the most rebellious kids just want to feel that someone is on their side, no matter what. If that “someone” is us, and they know it, they won’t shut us out, and we’ll be able to offer them input and guidance. >”My partner should not leave me.” Look at what the reality is. Our partner has decided to move on. Look at all the stories that are holding us back and keeping us sad. Life is moving on but we are caught up in a mind story of what a relationship should be, and we beat ourselves up when things don’t go as per the mind stories we made up on how life should be. We have our definition of unconditional loving, and all of that revolves around how our mind stories define loving. If we let go the mind story of how our partner should treat us, and accept what is going on… we can be free this minute. If we still want to try and make things work out in our relationship, we can then, from a place of acceptance, go forward with therapy or counseling. If it does not work out, or if our partner is not willing to try along with us, it is best to accept and move on, rather than cling onto a mind story that we created based on memory and imagination, and which only causes suffering in the present. >”Our children should take care of us when we get old”, Or > “Our children should give us more time/visit us more often.” What’s the reality? Our children are not taking care of us. Can we change this? Our mind stories have defined what our old age should look like. But even after spending all our lives seeing how things never go according to the plans of the mind stories, we are still disappointed because our life this moment is not the way our mind story defined it should be. When will this stop? When will we actually be happy? As a child we look forward to being out of school, working, having our own money. Then we say we will be happy when we have a partner, then kids, then kids settle down, then grand kids, then… we finally rest when we are in our grave. If we can accept reality this moment, if we can let go the hold on the mind stories and accept reality right now… we can be completely fulfilled right here, right now… not somewhere “out there” in the future. Teachings: Our Mind Window Techniques: Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In RealityLiving Unbound: Identifying Mind Stories Resources: The Work ~ Byron Katie
  14. Our Mind Window

    Living Unbound: Identifying Mind Stories on Main Living Unbound Site Living Unbound: Identifying Mind Stories Once we can separate the emotional reaction from the label, and the label from what is actually happening, the next step is to identify the mind-stories; the specific storylines that conditioned mind uses to distort the simple actuality of circumstances. Now, we’re going to do an exercise. You can either read it and then close your eyes and go through it, or ask someone to read it to you while you follow this exercise. Alternately, you can record it while reading it out loud, and then listen to the recording, in order to do the exercise. ******************************************* Close your eyes.Now think about something that you enjoy doing … like eating your favorite food, watching a sunrise/sunset, enjoy a warm day in the middle of winter, a day at the beach or sitting by a river enjoying nature.Apply the separation technique we talked about in the previous section.See the emotions arising.Watch the labels the mind attaches.There may be a smile on your face.Feel your muscles relax.Enjoy the peace for a few minutes; the silence. Relax Now think of something you are not looking forward to:A family reunion, a job interview, asking permission from (someone you think of as) an authority figure (for something you think they may give a negative response to); imagine a trip to the doctor or dentist, a visit from a friend or relative who is judgmental or annoying.Watch the emotions arising.Watch how your body reacts. The discomfort you feel.Identify the emotions: scared, intimidated, nervous, restless.Be with it for a few minutes. Relax. Now think of something that makes you angry or scared… your relatives, a bully, the economy, the government, injustice, an accident, a fire.Now notice the emotions arising.Apply the technique of separation and realize the actual emotions that are arising, and the mental labels connected with them.Feel how the body is reacting.Your muscles and jaws tighten, heart rate goes up.Be with it for a few minutes. Relax. Now think of something that makes you sad…a death in the family, the loss of a loved one, or some objects you really treasured.Try and identify the emotions.Watch how the body reacts … the tears, the heavy heart, the pain. Relax. Now bring yourself back to the room.Here.Be aware of your presence in the room. ******************************************* Do you realize you were not here as you lived through the above experiences? Do you see how your mind controls so much of you? Right now, right here, are any of those things happening? Yet, the mind can completely change your physical and emotional state, just by bringing up some thoughts from the past (going forward we will refer to this as memory), or by projecting how you will feel in the future (this we will call imagination). We have all experienced being terrified of doing something, or seeing someone who intimidates or scares us (mind story), and yet … when the moment itself actually happens, it does not seem as bad as the mind imagined it to be. Or, we’ve also experienced letting the mind create the wonderful stories about what something in the future (vacation, date, dinner, movie) is going to be like and are disappointed because the actual moments don’t go like the ones we imagined. If we had no expectations, then perhaps we would actually enjoy the given moment. However our mind does not give us a chance to enjoy something fully, because it has pre-judged the current moment and even though this moment could be a lot of fun, our mind won’t let us enjoy it completely. So based on memories and imagination, “mind stories” are created. As a part of this exercise, we will try to identify mind stories and write them down. Separate the emotions, from the reality and identify the mind story that is labeling the situation. The difference between a “mind story” and a “label” is that a “mind story” is story based on memory or imagination and a label is what we attach to the current situation from that mind story. So as we go about our day, any time we suddenly feel disappointed or sad or happy… any time there is a sudden change in our emotional state, we will try to identify the emotion, the reality, the “mind story” and the label that is causing the reaction. You are happy, and suddenly you feel your heart sink. Look at what just happened: did you read something or hear something or see something that made you feel threatened? Have an unhappy memory? Identify the emotion, and the label the mind is attaching to the situation. Identify the story the mind is making and see if the memory that brings you down fits into one of the situations we talked about in the exercise above? Again, develop the habit of writing this down; the mind has a way of twisting things, so writing things down as they arise will help you see the emotion, the situation and the “mind story” clearly. The mind is like a child making up stories. We don’t invest too much in way of upset and emotions in the child’s stories … similarly once we identifying the mind’s stories, many times that is enough to get us free from the suffering created by that story. Teachings: Our Mind Window Techniques: Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In RealityLiving Unbound: Accepting Reality Resources: The Work ~ Byron Katie
  15. Our Mind Window

    Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In Reality on Main Living Unbound Site Living Unbound: Dissolving Emotional Reactions In Reality Our mind, through years of conditioning, has defined what it thinks is needed for us to be happy. We then define who we think we are with these thoughts. The mind works hard at keeping up its images, based on who it has been conditioned to think it is, and it becomes very unhappy when these images are threatened. We’re not talking about the basic, linear type of thinking that adds and subtracts and remembers grocery lists and birthdays. We’re talking about the mind that piles labels and stories on top of simple actuality: “If I don’t solve this algebra problem, I will fail my math test, and then I won’t get into any college; I’ll never get a job, and I’ll be a failure!” Conditioning has us believe we cannot function without the mind. Guess who came up with that story? However, many of us have experienced driving to work, getting into our car and reaching the office, suddenly realizing we drove all the way without once thinking about the drive. We took left and right turns, stopped at stop signs and traffic lights, changed lanes, slowed down, sped up; yet we don’t consciously remember doing any of this. The mind would like to think it runs our lives and has us convinced we cannot do anything beyond the boundaries of what its conditioning has defined for us. However, somehow we managed to get where we were going without the mind’s running commentary on our driving; though chances are good that our driving was on automatic because we were listening to mind’s commentary on other matters. Similarly, we do manage to eat and breath and walk and sleep without the mind saying: “Okay, now take a bite, now chew, now breath in, now breath out now move the muscles to move your right leg, make sure the left arm moves with that”, and so on. Yet, thinking mind has us convinced that a thinking-based world is reality. Separating emotions from mental labels: The first thing we’ll begin to do, is to separate an emotion from the label that conditioned mind attaches to a situation. This is literally the key to discerning the real from the unreal, as you will soon experience for yourself. We associate many thoughts and words with emotions arising. In fact, most emotions wouldn’t arise, and couldn’t persist for more than a moment or two, without conditioned thinking artificially preserving them. We generally don’t separate the emotional from thinking-mind’s evaluation about the situation, and so, we confuse the conditioned label with reality. For instance, we might say “I feel like a failure”. Failure is not a feeling, failure is a concept. Conditioned mind has defined what it thinks success is, and when actual circumstances don’t fit into that definition, it applies a label: “failure”. The first thing to do in order to become more conscious of all this, is to separate the emotion from the mind’s evaluation, and the evaluation from what is actually happening. This is very simple, and can actually become automatic before very long. First, identify the emotion you’re feeling. So, we can rephrase that statement to “I feel angry /sad/afraid/ashamed/disheartened because I am not making as much money as I think I should be making.“ I feel angry/sad/ashamed = EmotionAmount of money = RealityNot enough = Label (Someone working in Wall Street may feel like a failure because she earns only $1 million per year, but feels she should make $10 million, like the truly successful people do. Many of the rest of us feel we should make a few thousand more than we do, and hence like a failure, and so, the label “not enough” is relative.) Similarly, “I feel misunderstood“. Misunderstood is an evaluation; a label. This is an example of the mind deciding what level of understanding another person has of us, based on what we think constitutes “being understood”, and how this concept matches up with what conditioned thinking thinks should be taking place. So a better way to say this would be, “I feel sad/annoyed/anxious because I feel people don’t understand what I am trying to say”. I feel sad/annoyed = EmotionWhat I say = RealityPeople don’t understand = Label (What people understand and don’t is relative. The ways in which we are expecting them to understand us is relative. Both are based on conditioned thinking; our conceptual thinking, based on our lifetime of conditioning, and their conceptual thinking, based on their lifetime of conditioning.) And so, as we go about our day, we will consciously try to separate and identify the emotion from the label the mind attaches to the situation. Doing this, we’ll soon notice our emotional reaction is virtually never, ever about what is actually taking place; our emotional reaction is always a reaction to the label that conditioned thinking has used to filter the actual circumstance. Right from the moment we wake up our emotions are determined by the thinking-mind labeling how it thinks the day is going to be, based on its conditioned memories and imagination. Thinking mind identifies the emotion that we have associated with what we think the day is going to be like: sad/happy/eager/excited/bored, and continues identifying the various emotions and labels experienced during the day, without ever being conscious of the fact that it is not reacting to actual circumstances but to its own labels. I feel sad/angry/bored, etc. = EmotionThe events of the day = RealityHow I think the day is going to go = Label If possible write them down; every time you feel an emotional reaction, note the emotion, the actuality and the label that caused the emotion. The mind has a way of distorting things when it thinks we understand its tricks, and so, writing down the reaction, the actual circumstance and the label that caused the emotional reaction is a very powerful technique for liberating ourself from the tyranny of conditioned thinking. So this is our first step. Separate the emotion from the label, and the label from the actual circumstance. How important is this? It’s fundamental. The distance between where you think you are now, and Living Unbound, is measured almost entirely by emotional reactions to conditioned labels. Thinking is a useful tool, but it makes a truly terrible master. This simple technique will help restore the natural order of reality; the simple harmony of living in actuality. Teachings: Our Mind Window Techniques: Living Unbound: Identifying Mind StoriesLiving Unbound: Accepting Reality Resources: The Work ~ Byron Katie