14 July 2006

Beyond Thinking...Beyond Feeling

After writing the post "Using Spirit Knowing" yesterday, later in the day I suddenly remembered a time when I didn't know how to know.

Though I have been aware I am a spirit since I was six years old, what I didn't know was anything about what a spirit was or how to be one. And for many years it didn't even occur to me to find out.

Then in 1985, after attempting to live on Earth in my body for thirty years without much spiritual knowledge, I decided to withdraw from my busy city life in San Francisco and move to a small rural village across the Golden Gate Bridge in the west side of Marin county. My intent was to have some peace and quiet in a more natural setting, live a simpler life, and have time and aloneness just to learn about myself.

My first attempt at finding our about how to be a spirit was to take a series of weekly workshops, given by a well-known spiritual writer who happened to live in a nearby town. At each workshop, we were led through various group processes designed to get us past our habit of thinking with our minds.

The one thing I remember about these workshops was the constant admonition "Don't think--feel!" At that time, I was doing a lot of thinking with my mind--being aware of actual words chattering along. This whole idea of feeling was completely foreign to me, and most of the others in the group. But soon I was able to feel various emotions, actually feel them wordlessly in my body instead of thinking them with my mind.

Many years later I learned that there are various layers of awareness for human beings. We can see our bodies, so they are very real. Then we can observe our thoughts because they contain words. If you think, for example, "I am sitting in this room," these are words with meanings, there is something tangible. And then at a deeper level there are a whole range of feelings that are actually emotions that go from feeling useless and apathetic to complete serenity. But spirit is deeper still and has it's own set of characteristics and abilities. Spirit is that which is aware of body, mind, emotions, and the entire physical universe. What I eventually found, when I dug deep enough, is the center of me that brings life to the physical aspect of myself. But these physical world aspects are just attachments through which I operate...they are not me.

Being aware as a spirit is simply being aware that I exist as a unit of awareness. At some point I began to realize that no matter what was going on or how old my body got, there was this "me" that was always there, being aware of what was going on. I could be happy or sad or well or sick or rich or poor or in a relationship or alone, but these were all temporary changeable states. I always came back to this center that was me.

Now that I know the difference between myself as a spirit and all these other things that surround me in the physical universe, I am exploring how to be this entity that I am and how to both be a a vibrant, powerful, limitless, creative spirit, and interact in the physical world that is full of limitation and obstacles. But at least now, I know what I am and am certain of that.


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