A conversation (cont.)

Do you think it matters who the person is you go into that deep commitment with?


Just that both are willing.

Not even both. One is enough. Even if you both say you want commitment, each will have a different idea of what commitment means.

You talk about staying, right?

I talk about not moving.

OK, but every time I’ve left a relationship it has been beneficial. It was much better that it ended.

What was better? You felt better, that is what was better. So as long as you believe you need a good feeling to be with someone, so long as the ground of a relationship is thoughts and emotions, the ground will change as soon as something is touched in you. If this is the foundation on which we have built our house, the house cannot stand.

Sometimes I had a strong knowing in my belly that I needed not be in that particular relationship. It felt like an intuition.

Where do you experience intuition?

It feels like a massage from deep within me.

And where do you find it; where do you recognize it? Where do you hear that voice?

In my belly.


I don’t understand.

When you have a feeling, who is it recognizing the sensation? Do you really meet it or do you interpret that feeling? There is a feeling in the body; if you just meet this feeling without any interpretation, what does this feeling tell you? If there is no interpreting and no labeling, what does the feeling tell you?


Exactly. This sensation is not speaking with you. What you hear is the interpretation you put on to the feeling. You believe in the interpretation and then it feels as though this interpretation tells you something, according to what you like and what you don’t like. It is your likes and dislikes that are speaking.

That very sensation you are having in the body right now, let us see who is communicating with whom? Again, does that sensation speak to you when you don’t interpret it, when you don’t give it a name?

That’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about intuition. There’s a difference. Sometimes I just suddenly know something.

Is it intuition? If there has been any psychological process before a decision to go, then you are listening to an interpretation of your feelings; trying to get an answer from it about what is right and what is wrong. Now look at those moments when you left your boyfriend or you made him leave. Was it that everything was fine and the next morning you woke up clear, with no agitation, and said “I’m leaving”?


No, there have been lots of emotions involved, lots of thoughts, lots of pain, a lot of projection. All this came together and you did not know how to meet these sensations. There was a lot of confusion and the only way you knew how to get out of this confusion was to leave. There was a listening to that, so to say, “voice”. But there is no voice, because our emotions don’t speak to us. We speak to them. In a relationship, knowing does not need any thought or any emotion. In a relationship, it knows whether you are living your truth or whether there is a little trick involved. Living your truth means being really willing to face what shows up in you. The trick that stands in the way of this is believing in justifications, believing in the emotions – that they are true – and believing in thoughts. That very knowing knows if you leave because you don’t want to experience some patterns in you or if you just leave. If you leave and there is not the slightest residue in you; if you are perfectly clear of emotional stuff with your partner – complete, no blaming, no bitter taste – then you know it is true knowing: that still, small voice that is free of emotion, free of movement. When there is disagreement, when there is a taking up of a position, then there is a trap. If you think about your ex-boyfriends, are you totally complete with them? Do you feel that they did something wrong or that you did something wrong?

Yes, there is some of that.

That shows that there was some not meeting of a pattern. There is nothing wrong about that, but in each relationship, sooner or later, you have experienced the same; and the pattern will return again and again until you face it. You have not seen the pattern, so you believe in it and you move. If we don’t move when the emotion pops up, in that very friction between the clarity of not moving and all the pressure to go, charcoal turns into a diamond. If we leave when the pressure shows up, the charcoal remains charcoal. Only because we have such a smart mind and we believe our own justifications, do we leave one relationship believing the next one is going to be better.


A conversation

To E.

I have lots of questions about relationships.

We all have.

One of the questions I have is about how I often feel that I want to give more affection to other people than they want to receive.

Do you want something from the other?


So what do you want when you give more affection than the other person wants?

I want to feel loved or OK.

Does that work?


No, and actually it is manipulation. We give to receive; and if you don’t get what you want, what then?

I have to meet the feeling inside me.

Do you meet it? Really meet it? It shows up, sure. Do you really experience how it feels when you don’t get what you want?

Not fully, because the pattern continues.

This is good insight. It will repeat, wherever we are, in whatever group of people we are with. It will show up again. Whatever wants to be met, will have to show up. I cannot promise anything else.

Thank you.

Some people like to hear that, some people don’t. In the lunch break I was speaking with a friend about relationships and I could see I had checked for myself every type of arrangement in our culture, and some outside our culture, to deal with a relationship. Marriage, open relationship, closed relationship, no relationship, being a monk, being on my own, sleeping around. Maybe there are some other options I don’t know about, but I have checked all these. The last thing I checked was what I wanted least: to be absolutely fully committed. In the present partnership, a thousand times I have had the impulse to leave or make her leave. And somehow I didn’t leave, and somehow she didn’t leave. I cannot foresee the future, but that very commitment has caused such an immense pressure in which I could see every possible justification to leave or make her leave. But we didn’t leave. It is just a willingness to experience whatever comes up; not to move. It is a knowing of the truth that leaving or looking for somebody else will not end the need to face whatever needs to be faced. And somehow things have been met inside myself that I could not ever have dreamt of. I could not have had the slightest idea that those patterns were there.

Sometimes it was hell for me and for her. So when we speak about relationships – all types of relationship, including friendship, teacher and disciple – only a few will stay with you long term. As long as we get what we want, everything is nice. The moment something shows up that is not comfortable and you are not clear enough to stay, either you go or sabotage things to make the other one leave. Nothing else is possible until we know about the possibility of living as awareness amidst the greatest pain. Some say that is the biggest power in the universe.

How does it feel to speak without illusion, without any promise that there is a realm of endless happiness in a relationship? How does that feel?

It’s a kind of relief.

Yes, otherwise you will be on the run for the rest of your life in search of some kind of perfection, or you will be constantly avoiding a relationship. To avoid any deep emotional connection, you can take some magic mushrooms or other drugs. But beingness is not the same thing as a good feeling.

Beingness embraces bad feelings also. So the invitation is not to relieve ourselves of bad feelings, because this is the trap, but to relieve ourselves of having to have a good feeling. Beingness embraces hell when hell is the reality and, in any profound relationship, hell will show up at times.

(From Florian Tathagata's book "Being")


Science - no fiction

During the past two years or so, I’ve been reading in parallel two kinds of books. One was rather metaphysical (mainly Florian Tathagata’s trilogy, “Being”, “Given” and “Space”) and the other one popular medicine (e.g. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My stroke of insight” and Norman Doidge’s “The brain that changes itself”).

To my bewilderment, I saw that these two kinds of books were entirely complementary. Not only did I find in the second reasons for the statements I encountered in the first, but also in the first exact descriptions of biological facts referred to in the second. This made me realize that the way we perceive the world has broader biological base than we are used to think.

As you probably already know, the brain has two hemispheres, the left and the right. These two communicate through an “information transfer lane”, i.e. a large concentration of nervous tissue that connects them, called the “corpus callosum”.

From the corpus callosum, information received through our senses is transferred to the gyrus cinguli which is part of our paleomammalean or limbic system. Now what this limbic system does is it attaches feelings to the information. That’s its job. And it does so before information is transferred to the external lobes where our higher cognitive abilities are to be found. This in simple English means that each stimulus that enters our brain is by default ascribed a feeling first. In this sense, we are feeling beings that think rather than thinking beings that feel, as is the common perception.

An important feature of the limbic system is that, although it operates throughout our life-time, it does not mature. Its neurons, just like most of the brain’s neurons, contrary to body cells, are not replaced. This biological fact explains why each time that our emotional buttons are pressed, we react as when we were 2 years of age. Luckily, the cells of the external lobes do mature and can recognize new information when they see it. This recognition ignites a process of comparison/contrast with information recalled from our memory, which leads to the evaluation of the situation at hand and (hopefully) the choice of a less emotional reaction to it.

Now the left and the right hemispheres of our brain are not in symmetry. The right hemisphere is designed to perceive things as they are connected to each other. This means that for our right hemisphere there is no time other than the current moment, which it sees as a huge collage of impressions and stimuli. As the borders and lines between things are blurred, everything is perceived as connected to each other, i.e. as a one and only thing. Mirror neurons, which enable us to put ourselves in another’s shoes or make us aware of another’s emotions, are also located here.

The left hemisphere, on the other hand, processes information in an entirely different way. It literally dismantles the general impression of the right hemisphere into details, which then links to details from the moment before. By organizing details in such a linear sequence, it creates the concept of time, dividing it into past, present and future. This hemisphere tells us for example that this must come before that and forecasts what is to come. In fact, our left hemisphere speaks to us incessantly, as it hosts the centers for understanding (Wernicke’s area) and producing language (Broca’s area), reminding us who we are and how we are connected to the world outside. Thus, it is the center of our personality.

Our brain’s left hemisphere also creates loops or mechanisms of automatic responses to stimuli, channeling our behavior towards ever the same reactions, based on projections of what feels safe (in this sense, we are the figments of our left hemisphere's imagination). Moreover, it is the part of our brain that categorizes information in every possible way, even quality-wise, including what we like and dislike. It is thus the seat of judgment and analysis - two functions that make it constantly compare us with everyone and everything we run into, keeping us informed of the parts in which, to its judgment, we excel or are lacking.

And while our left hemisphere is responsible for understanding the structure and the meaning of words, our right one is responsible for understanding non-verbal communication, e.g. the tone of the voice we hear, facial expressions or body language. Our right hemisphere understands the big picture and evaluates the consistency of an action as a whole. Similarly, while our left hemisphere perceives the boundaries of our body, our right one understands the place of our body in the space around it.

The invitation to be as space, located at the top of my blog’s right column, which is inspired by Florian Tathagata’s teachings, is actually an invitation to “step to the right”, so to say, in other words to commit more to the way that our brain’s right hemisphere perceives the world. Since it can’t speak (no language centre there), its way is the way of intuition, of the whole picture, of attention to the totality of everything instead of to individual details. Essentially, then, the invitation is to consciously shift our attention from the narrow focus of our brain’s left hemisphere to the way of the right.



I think I’ll take up James’ idea (http://my.opera.com/2logical/blog/survivor) of an imaginary scenario, only mine will be a little bit more plausible. Here we go:

Imagine you’re the working mom of three and your husband needs to go abroad for a month. You have practically no help with the children and the house.

Imagine now that somewhere out there you have a relative you can call in, in case of emergency or dire need, who does appear in such cases, only to disappear into intergalactic space again soon after.

Finally, imagine that this relative of yours calls you one night (always during your husband’s absence) and, in the midst of your panic (three children running around, you having to find ways to get them to and from school, drive them to their different after-school activities, do the shopping and all the chores etc), you hear her say “I’m glad to announce that at last I can help you! I can send you distance healing!”

What do you say?