2 — The space we fall into …

The space we fall into
s the thought struc­tu­re is tran­s­cen­ded
is warm and ful­fil­ling
all by itself.

Dale: There is an expe­ri­ence going on which at this point in my life is caus­ing me some pain. I want to talk about it in terms of what we have been loo­king at here.
I keep focu­sing on wan­ting to have a rela­ti­onship with some­bo­dy and put­ting mys­elf kind of on the back bur­ner. Sometimes the desi­re mani­fests its­elf as wan­ting an actu­al rela­ti­onship and some­ti­mes it mani­fests as wan­ting a sexu­al rela­ti­onship only.
I am at the point of being able to let go and I feel like I keep wan­ting to say to mys­elf that the only per­son I need to have a rela­ti­onship with right now is Cod. That usual­ly works, except then I get real­ly anxious about when will Cod pro­vi­de me with the kind of per­so­nal rela­ti­onship that I want.
I think I alre­a­dy under­stand my situa­ti­on in cer­tain ways but I want to open it up and see if you could shed some light on it in a way that is heal­ing so that when I am alo­ne, I feel more com­ple­te.

Are you say­ing to me that when you are alo­ne you don’t feel com­ple­te? I just want to be sure that I unders­tood the last state­ment you made.

Dale: Yes, I feel like I am not enough when I’m alo­ne and I feel very nee­dy in that way.

In order to under­stand what you are say­ing, it is very important that we enter into a refi­ned and deli­ca­te com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. If you don’t mind, I need to ask you a ques­ti­on or two and then let’s see if we can unstrand the threads of what you are going through.
When you say that you feel incom­ple­te, how does that feel? How do you know you are fee­ling incom­ple­te? I don’t under­stand what it means to feel incom­ple­te. Can you try to express that to me?

Dale: It feels uncom­for­ta­ble. It’s like not having or fee­ling enough love for myself.

When you say, “I don’t feel that I have enough love for mys­elf” — just so that you and I are very clear—is that a thought or a feeling?

Dale: It is pro­ba­b­ly more a thought.

There is a thought the­re. In other words, some­thing is being explai­ned by that thought. Now when we speak of the fee­ling, whe­re do you expe­ri­ence it? How do you know you are having a fee­ling and not a thought? Discomfort. The dis­com­fort is where?

Dale: It feels.… it feels alo­ne. I feel.…

Okay, I under­stand what you are say­ing, and for­gi­ve me for prod­ding, but it is the only way we can real­ly under­stand. When I hear you say, “It feels alo­ne,” I don’t know what you mean. I am not clear and I want to be very clear with you.

Dale: I under­stand. It feels like.… anxious.

Okay, and the anxie­ty is where?

Dale: It ends up sur­roun­ding my chest, not kno­wing what to do.…

But the “not kno­wing what to do” is dif­fe­rent from that which is sur­roun­ding your chest, isn’t that true?

Dale: Yes.

I mean the “not kno­wing what to do” is a spe­ci­fic kind of thought pat­tern. That which is sur­roun­ding your chest real­ly does­n’t have a “do” or a “not do” atta­ched to it. It is an expe­ri­ence in and of its­elf.
The “not kno­wing what to do” is a rela­ti­onship to a par­ti­cu­lar fee­ling expe­ri­ence. It func­tions as a habit. “When I feel this sen­sa­ti­on, then I have a par­ti­cu­lar stream of thoughts about not kno­wing what to do.” An asso­cia­ti­on has been made bet­ween a cer­tain bodi­ly expe­ri­ence and a clus­ter of thoughts. This is con­di­tio­ning. The two seem to emer­ge simul­ta­neous­ly, but they are actual­ly dif­fe­rent. Do you fol­low what I am say­ing here?

Dale: Yes.

The anxie­ty— what you are cal­ling anxie­ty— is not con­fu­si­on; it is some­thing else. The con­fu­si­on is on the level of thought.

Dale: Yes.

So in order for you and me to real­ly under­stand what it is we are tal­king about, it may be neces­sa­ry to free the bodi­ly side of your expe­ri­ence from the word “anxie­ty” or the thought, “I don’t know what to do.”
Here, we don’t want to defi­ne your fee­lings in a way that is pat, easy and tri­vi­al. We want to know you and to feel you as a uni­que­ness, but to do that we must come into the uni­que­ness of your expe­ri­ence. We don’t even know what anxie­ty is. All we know is that you are having an expe­ri­ence at the phy­si­cal level and that you can loca­te it some­whe­re in and around the chest. Are you fee­ling it right now? Is it the­re in a strong way?

Dale: No, right now I am fee­ling very supported.

Very sup­port­ed. And how do you know you’re fee­ling that?

Dale: I feel warm.

Do you feel warm in the same phy­si­cal loca­ti­on that you were fee­ling the anxiety?

Dale: Yes.

In other words the pro­blem doesn’t exist right now.

Dale: I can feel it slight­ly, but the­re is real warmth right now. I feel cared for.

So in this pre­sent moment, as you and I sit tog­e­ther, the­re is no problem.

Dale: Right.

And you feel warm and cared for. Let’s go to that tog­e­ther for just a minu­te. Let’s actual­ly share that. This is the expe­ri­ence of not having a pro­blem. “I feel warm.” And that warmth is a living expe­ri­ence, not a thought. Its a warmth in the body. Do you feel con­fu­sed at this moment?

Dale: Not right now, no.

So as you sit here, even the con­fu­si­on is gone.

Dale: I feel a litt­le light-hea­ded, but not confused.

Now when you brought up the pro­blem, you brought it up in terms of some­thing that kind of men­aces you “out the­re,” but it isn’t men­acing you right here, now.

Dale: Right.

So we are spea­king about some­thing that you anti­ci­pa­te is going to hap­pen in the future becau­se it has hap­pen­ed to you so many times in the past.

Dale: Yes.

But you weren’t spea­king about what is actual­ly here with you at this moment. The obser­va­ti­on we can make, which is a beau­tiful obser­va­ti­on, is that the warmth — and cor­rect me if I am wrong and what you were cal­ling the anxie­ty, take place in the same phy­si­cal space.

Dale: Yes.

Now this could lead to one of two con­clu­si­ons: a) the warmth and the anxie­ty are dif­fe­rent and, when the warmth is the­re, it is the­re becau­se, in some way, it has pushed the anxie­ty away, and the anxie­ty is the­re becau­se it has pushed the warmth away; or b) they are dif­fe­ring ver­si­ons of the same experience.

Dale: Yeah, some­ti­mes recent­ly I have come to feel that they are dif­fe­rent ver­si­ons of the same fee­lings. When I ran away, it beca­me alo­nen­ess; other­wi­se it was very dif­fe­rent. I real­ly saw that.

Now it’s inte­res­t­ing that when you call it alo­nen­ess and you run away from it, the­re is only one place to run to — into thoughts whe­re the fee­ling doesn’t seem to exist. When you run away, the ear­mark of your run­ning is, “I don’t know what to do.”

Dale: And then I prac­ti­ce cer­tain beha­vi­ors that sort of push the fee­ling more into the back­ground. The thoughts get stronger.

Exactly. The cycle that you go through is an attempt to make for­eign and push away that which you think you don’t want to expe­ri­ence direct­ly. Now, that’s alo­nen­ess. That’s a cer­ti­fied lonely expe­ri­ence — to have some­thing going on in the body which we feel we don’t want to have going on the­re and then to push our atten­ti­on into thought and fan­ta­sy so that we stay dis­trac­ted from our own body.
The thin­king mecha­nism sug­gests that the fee­ling is about some­thing you do in rela­ti­onship, or the need for rela­ti­onship, or a pro­blem that you have. Thinking is describ­ing it for you. But when you allow yours­elf, as you have done tonight, to sim­ply come to the pre­sent, to the bodi­ly pre­sent, you dis­co­ver that you feel warmth.

Dale: Just sit­ting with it and allo­wing it to be the­re and being sur­roun­ded by others and sha­ring it feels warm.

Yes, this warmth is some­thing that feels rela­ted, does­n’t it? The warmth that you’re fee­ling now is a con­nec­tion bet­ween you and me as well as a con­nec­tion with the others who are here. The warmth is not loneliness.

Dale: It’s fullness.

It’s full­ness and so you don’t feel incom­ple­te as you sit here right now. This is not a face­tious ques­ti­on; it is a genui­ne ques­ti­on, and it’s an important one alt­hough it may have a cer­tain humor to it: What is the pro­blem? I don’t remem­ber any­mo­re what your pro­blem was. Do you?

Dale: No.

I mean, is that true? In order to come back to the pro­blem would you have to manu­fac­tu­re it?

Dale: I would have to make it up again.

You would have to make it up again. That’s an inte­res­t­ing state­ment and a very important one. In order to expe­ri­ence the pro­blem, you would have to make it up again. Now we are in a radi­cal and deli­ca­te place — a place I know that could, on the one hand, sca­re someone off, or be stran­ge­ly con­fu­sing to the intellect. All we’re say­ing, howe­ver, is that as you sit here wit­hout the vehic­le of thought, tur­ned toward yours­elf in a direct and respec­ting man­ner, you dis­co­ver that the pro­blem was made up. I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I want to be sure that this is what you are observing.

Dale: Yes, this is some­thing that I pret­ty much knew.

That the who­le con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on of insights and ana­ly­sis, dif­fi­cul­ties and dis­tur­ban­ces, in rela­ti­onship to this par­ti­cu­lar expe­ri­ence, were all fabri­ca­ted. The truth is that cer­tain move­ments of ener­gy are occur­ring in the body and they are neither con­fu­sing nor not con­fu­sing. They are what they are. And when you allow yours­elf, in a sen­si­ti­ve and simp­le way, to expe­ri­ence what’s going on, the pro­blem disappears.

Dale: Yeah, I don’t have to tell mys­elf a sto­ry about it.

Right, there’s nothing.

Dale: There’s just expe­ri­en­cing the feeling.

Yes, this is self-care. You don’t attend to the con­flict. You attend to the heart, the area around the heart and the body, in a more gene­ral way. We are deli­ca­te beings, dwel­ling in a mys­te­rious place, and we expe­ri­ence waves of ener­gy in the body. Period. We have given the thought pro­cess a kind of per­mis­si­on to exploit tho­se waves for pur­po­ses which are not enti­re­ly clear.
When that which is exploi­ting the fee­ling is no lon­ger given per­mis­si­on to do so, the pro­blem, as we knew it, dis­ap­pears and some­thing else appears which feels cared for, ali­ve, warm and connected.

Dale: Yeah, it helps. I’ve heard you refer to the body befo­re as a holy ves­sel, and that Spirit is the essence which fills that vessel.

Spirit can be felt as waves of fee­ling. When we name tho­se fee­lings in demea­ning ways, we find our­sel­ves caught in chains. When we allow tho­se fee­lings to remain unna­med, they pul­sa­te in the body. Our fee­lings are waves of love being expe­ri­en­ced in a varie­ty of ways.
When a per­son is able to release them­sel­ves from pat­terns of demea­ning thought and to find the ener­ge­tic wave at the source of all so-cal­led emo­tio­nal expe­ri­en­ces, we have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to crea­te in free and unclut­te­red ways. When we are mana­cled by thought, caught in the clut­ches of old beliefs, we are mere­ly repea­ting some tea­ching that we took on in the past.
Coming to the pre­sent and reco­gni­zing the warmth which is the­re evo­kes the pos­si­bi­li­ty of a true crea­ti­ve act. We can begin to use both body and mind dif­fer­ent­ly. The impul­se of life, which we had bur­den­ed with our per­so­na­li­zed con­cerns now beco­mes an available crea­ti­ve force. This is the power of coming to the space in which the past no lon­ger exists. It no lon­ger defi­nes our cur­rent expe­ri­en­ces.
The space which we fall into as the thought struc­tu­re is tran­s­cen­ded is warm and ful­fil­ling all by its­elf. But it is also a place of poten­ti­al crea­ti­vi­ty capa­ble of mani­fest­ing new forms of ser­vice and love.

Dale: I like that.

I do too.

Mary: Often sit­ting in the­se cir­cles with you, the who­le front of my body beco­mes warm or even hot in just the way Dale was describ­ing. Is the heat an edge whe­re the force or the ener­gy meets the resistance?

The heat func­tions like a fever. It burns off den­si­ty and brings more open­ness or porous­ness to the body. It is heal­ing. After the fever has done its work, we may expe­ri­ence a con­sis­tent warmth in the fron­tal mem­bra­ne, the heart and the area around the heart. That warmth is our emo­tio­nal life when strip­ped of all demands from the past.
The inten­se heat burns off that which is den­se and obs­truc­ted. It opens pas­sa­ge­ways. It reli­e­ves inflamm­a­ti­on and con­ges­ti­on in the subt­le and invi­si­ble are­nas of the bodi­ly form and its radi­ant field.
As the body beco­mes tem­pe­red, the heat mode­ra­tes and beco­mes a ste­ady warmth. But even the word “warmth” is a litt­le con­fu­sing here becau­se it is more like a bree­ze — very soot­hing and gent­le. That warmth is com­pas­si­on, a deep attrac­tion to life — Eros.

From Stephen R. Schwartz. Angelic Dialogues – The Work of Compassionate Self-Care. Riverrun Press, Piermont NY: 1993. pp. 11–20.