Q: I’d like to share an experience I had maybe about a month ago. I was watching a nature program. They had been following a pride of zebras in Africa and the head male had just died and a new male had taken over. One of the mares in his newly acquired pride had a very young colt from the old male that had died, and one of the first things that this new male did was he stomped the colt to death. As the colt is lying on the ground, dying, his mother is standing over him, keeping vigil, urging him to get up, nudging him, and her vigil lasts all day long and the narrator is saying that even though it’s incredibly cruel as this appears, it’s hard-wired in the male zebra’s brain to do this because life is so difficult in this environment. As the sun is setting the new male swings back to her and beckons that it’s time for her to come. She is reluctant to leave her now dead foal, but she eventually does go off with the male. The last line that the narrator says just slays me. He says: “More vultures arrive, wiping away the sorrow from the land” and the floor just dropped out from under me. All these core beliefs: good and evil, right and wrong, revulsion and attraction, got turned on their head and felt like everything crumbled. The other interesting thing is the likes, the dislikes, the pulls, the wants…all of those things have lost a lot of their power. It’s quite disorienting and yet somehow it feels very okay, as well.
John: The more core beliefs that you have, beliefs that you’ve adopted or crafted based on a polarized attraction – a polarized need to cope just on a very surface level – the less that you’ll be able to read your self, and deeper than that, to read what you really are. You won’t really be able to read anything outside of your self. Everything that you think and feel and see is an interpretation of reality through those core belief structures.
With the core belief structures in place, put in place by you, your real purpose in being in a body, being in life, will be covered. You won’t be able to see. You’ll be performing as the belief structure, constantly surviving through interpretation, so survival really has to do with the survival of your beliefs – a whole life facade.
Once embedded in that, put together through all of your underlying fears that protect those beliefs, that you would much rather die physically than to be completely without all of your beliefs, to have none of their structures; that all that you have is what you quietly know the truth of deeply in your heart, and you don’t really have anything else.
Q: The disorientation only exists when I’m in my self?
John: Your whole make-believe garden that exists in your interior – all put together by you, adopted from others – all of that needs to pass away for you to have a real garden of meaning, within. You can’t grow both at the same time. As you let it all go, based on a core honesty that splits through everything, all that remains is perhaps one real seed. All else might be gone. That one seed that remains, being planted by your response, your belief, you being absorbed only in that tiny little bit, within, that you actually know the truth of, enables you, that seed, to germinate and grow.
Then it’s as what is real. You know reality from the inside out. There’s no longer the need to interpret what is real, to project what you think and feel onto your self, onto others, onto everything outside of your self for you to be in relationship with what is real.
From the perspective of everything invested in your self, from the perspective of your underlying beliefs, that is a much worse death than dying physically because all of your core beliefs are integrated in your nervous system. When they die, that’s like your whole reality dying. All through your nervous system you can feel it. It isn’t, in your experience, illusion passing away; it’s your whole made-up core that holds everything together that’s passing away while you still live.
Q: Is there a quality of numbness to that?
John: If you have any need for a feeling of safety while you enter that process, then you’ll come into numbness, having a break from feeling so much that is so dark and so devastating. What works instead of waves of numbness, waves of being stunned, with the numbness, your thinking, your feeling and your seeing are dulled, but when you’re going through waves of being stunned in your self, you have a heightened seeing. It’s like a super-seeing that is very fine, where you’re able to perceive way beyond where you presently are. While you’re stunned, your usual forms are not in place. Your usual way, within, is gone and you have a depth perception that is based on what you know, and it’s all unencumbered by anything that you’re used to, and it informs you.
Q: When I’m in my heart that’s exactly what it feels like. Stunned is a good description. The patterns don’t have any power any more.
John: While you’re stunned, you can see for real.
Q: And what I’m seeing is the incredible amount of illusion everywhere.
John: You can see illusion everywhere and you can see right through all of it.
Q: It’s all nothing.
John: Once you know and see, as the stunning effect passes away, you’re free to live by what you knew in what you saw or slowly put it all back together again.
Now is your time to drop the plumb-line alongside of everything that still remains, and that all you’re open to is the truth, and whatever that is, you’ll be only in that, and you have no idea how far that goes. You have your glimpse and you’re free to continue without a stop.
In anything that you’re even slightly uncomfortable with, all you need to do to secure a reprieve, a little favour in your self, is to rest in a belief, lean on a belief just a little bit.
Q: One of the things I’m noticing is I become much more aware of how easy it is to draw conclusions and how often we’re all doing it, and the damage that that’s doing.
John: It is catastrophic to real, clean awareness.
Q: Why do we do that? Is that just pressure relief?
John: Yes. We have imperfect selves; incomplete selves that are so not like our beings.
The real discomfort in not drawing a conclusion is that you’re left naked within the lack of your self and the incompleteness of your self. To be quiet in that nakedness is so uncomfortable. Everything outside of your self seems to be assaulting that nakedness.
On an emotional level, if you lean into a preference of reprieve or comfort, all you need to do within that need, that emotional and mental need of closure, is draw a conclusion and everything feels a little better, and with that conclusion in place, within that part of your self you are now blind. All you can see within that part of your self is your own drawn conclusion and how the need of it holds it together, and there is the birth of a belief that will master you in all of your life until you’ve died.
It will keep telling you what is real. It will keep enforcing its pattern. Within anything of life that touches that part of your self where you drew the conclusion, the enforcer is there to strengthen that conclusion because everything outside of your self and in your self threatens that conclusion, because it’s all held together by lack and incompleteness.
The fabric that holds the conclusion together is fear. The more beliefs you have in place, the more you live in fear. With these core beliefs you are not free to be in your heart. You can only be in your heart in those times where you being what you really are is within the kind of circumstance that doesn’t threaten a belief of yours. So being in your heart will be highly conditional. Your own core beliefs forbid you unconditionally remaining in your heart and in everything that’s deeper.
Q: That makes it pretty critical to address that, then.
John: But it is deadly to everything that holds your self together.
Q: Is it an active process in doing that? Or is it just a fruit of softness and openness?
John: It’s a fruit of unconditioned openness and softness that you would rather see, regardless of what it is that you will now see. If you don’t want to be devastated by what you see, then you can just snuggle-up into your beliefs. Whatever intricacies of self-importance that you’ve lived by through the decades, that tells you how much devastation of illusion there will be for you to remain quieted within a core honesty to knowing.
Q: There’s that devastation and there’s okayness with knowing that there’s nothing real
there. Can both exist simultaneously?
John: Yes. But that means also that while you’re in transition, while the two exist at the same time, you are in danger of fooling your self. You’re in danger of, in a new and sophisticated way, putting it all back together differently.
Q: Are there markers to assess if we’re doing that?
John: If you have any defense, if you’re using any defenses that justify and support annoyance, not to large degrees but in the little things – annoyance, frustration, dislike, preference for comfort – if that’s there, you support an internal cover-up operation. As long as that’s there, what you believe of your self – that you’re honest to what you know or that you want to be free of all illusion, or that it’s only the truth in you that matters – it’s not as real as you think.
Q: I am aware of them as they come up. As soon as I’m aware of them, they lose their impetus. They lose their strength.
John: As long as you are quieter, within, than that voice that you’re inside of. If you are quieter, within, than the irritation or the annoyance, that means that despite your nervous system, your patterns, all of your beliefs, you are open to see.
Then, when annoyance comes up or frustration, as you are deeply quieted within, without return and without result, you will again be a tiny little bit stunned, and again you come into a tiny little bit of real seeing. As soon as you wonder why you’re annoyed again, if you ask any questions, if you consult your past, your thinking, your feeling to try to understand why it’s there again, you are safe from being stunned, safe from seeing.
Q: I’ve definitely been feeling stunned a lot, not caring for the everyday patterned stuff. Is that normal?
John: Yes. What that means is that what used to matter just doesn’t matter the same for you anymore, and you are in transition as to what to do with all of that.
You won’t understand what to discard or what to clean up or what to fix or what to build differently. What you’ll have a lot of, is not really knowing anymore what to do. All you’re really clear about is what to be.
Q: That’s also changing the doing. It seems to be coming from a very different place.
John: And that very different place from which you come in your doing is going to sweep through all of your patterned doing. It’s going to clean it out. Move within that space in you through another old doing that hasn’t been around for awhile and immediately something is going to come up: a defense mechanism that protects a belief. As soon as it comes up, that’s like a bell-ringer, and that is not the time to wonder, to try and understand what’s going on. It’s your time to open and see, and you’ll be at least a tiny little bit stunned again.
Q: Is it possible for that stunning to be enjoyable?
John: There is in it the love of seeing, the enjoyment of what you know, the enjoyment of knowing, the enjoyment, in that moment of knowing, that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Q: I feel I know less and less. Is that the way it’s supposed to be?
John: If you could see all at once everything that you thought you knew, that you were convinced you knew, you would clearly know that in all of that you don’t see, so all that remains is what is actually real. If you could see that all at once in your self, you might easily throw up because your whole interior throughout your nervous system will flip right-side-up. Your whole nervous system would go through an instant purge. It wouldn’t feel good.