The Empty Chair Teaching Foundation

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  1. These matters, from a somewhat different angle, have been exercising me quite a bit just recently.

    Mostly I can space out my patients’ appointments but on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings I often see three, four or even five people back to back. This can leave me feeling very ‘out of it’ or ‘spacey’.

    Last Friday I got to thinking about this ‘spaciness’ and asking, just what is this? How dangerous would it be were I to drive the twenty miles home from here in the rush hour traffic. The surprising answer was that what I was feeling/sensing was actually free floating Stillness, and that, in fact, yes, I would be very safe driving home in that state.

    Stillness has sensations!

    Now that I have seen/sensed them, it is easy to be aware of these same sensations in meditation, not as distractions but simply as Awareness being aware, in Stillness, of things exactly as they are.

    Jon

    Comment by Jon Cassell — March 1, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  2. As I listen the body gets louder. It speaks groans shines laughs cries and i am in it. or moving through it shining thorugh it. presence moving shining laughing crying
    presence listens. heart beats, something moves shifts changes awakens excitement
    back to stillness, presence listens, heart beats, life happens, and we dance.

    Comment by Katie Stewart — March 1, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

  3. These two responses, from very different places, speak to the statement that awareness is all. This is what is. What is is the truth. Presence.

    Love and thanks,

    Mike

    Comment by Mike — March 2, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  4. Dear Sunil,
    You are absolutely right; which is why, throughout the teachings, we talk about revelation from the core of being rather than the acquisition from elsewhere.

    The truth is here and available. It needs to become the embodied experience or it remains a concept. This is why we practice.

    Love,
    Mike.

    Comment by Mike — March 12, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

  5. This is from Amanda Biggs, it has just come in on the day that I have posted a new Intermezzo, As it is! I love it as it contains both Awareness and Surrender. Two subjects that I tend to be Attached to!

    Dear Mike

    I too have found myself sitting with ‘what is, is the truth’ lately. How we want what we want and not what we don’t! We either seem to be attached to form, or to emptiness, as though one or the other contained more truth – either chasing the identities you mentioned in your piece on attachment, or chasing an ideal of emptiness, or ‘spirituality’, which turns out to be just another identity. The other week I was on the bus and the thought came ‘What if this was enough?’ – this, the London dirt and noisy bus and all the messiness of this world of form, inherently dualistic and polarised. All of this is the truth, the truth is not some purer or tidied up or more politically correct or spiritually superior version of this, this is it. And it is also the emptiness, spirit, this messiness, just as it is.

    Then a few days ago walking around came another thought, ‘What if this is all there is!’ No path, no progress, no ‘enlightenment’ (just a collective delusion), no future actually, and all there is, is……… well, this. Then how do I want to live, how can I live, if the only ‘point’ of life was simply life, as it is, just here and now – but not a spiritualised, glorified This, Here And Now, with its at times subtle agenda of ‘living in the here and now in order to get somewhere (!)’, just small insignificant this, here and now. This walking, this grass, this person, this form, this email, just this.

    I am aware of about 20,000 judgments a minute that pass through my mind! We often respond to ‘out there’ depending on whether it reinforces our identities, ah you confirm me then I approve of you, oh you deny me then I feel threatened and disapprove….. but the truth is, this is the truth. I think we sometimes want things to make sense and of course life makes no sense, sense is just a limitation we try to put on life, and life carries on not heeding our limitations. In the truth, the world is not going to conform to my idea of what I think it should be, people are not going to act how I think they should, life is (thankfully) bigger than me and won’t contract itself to reflect the mind’s limitations. But the heart knows simply that this is enough because it is what it is, there is nothing to compare, only uniqueness which, it seems, is also unity.

    love
    Amanda

    Comment by Amanda Biggs — March 31, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

  6. Dear Mike, dear Amanda,

    I like a line from Eckart Tolle’s Stillness CD: “the aim is to want whatever arises, because that is all there ever is.” Who needs a past or a future if they can embody that!
    In light love and sparkling qi Michael

    Comment by Michael Homfray-Davies — April 7, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  7. Intermezzo 1 really resonates with me at a deep level. My work and profession is as a dancer and dance choreographer, and as I journey through my field of work and through my life, I am forced to journey further into my body and it’s possibilities in space and form. But I think the more powerful and scary aspect of my work is to be forced to journey into my body’s possibilities and potential in space and formlessness. At some point when one dances, really dances; not for an audience, not to accomplish some goal or do three more turns than the last time, but when one really is the dance, embodiment just sort of happens.

    I’d like to thank you, Mike for helping me to conceptualize this experience I have, so now I can let the concept go and be the dance.

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Foster — May 28, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  8. Thank you, Michael. A number have dancers have been/are interested in this work and I am very pleased. It seems to me that dancing is like teaching in the sense that when we come from the right place in ourselves, the work does the work and we can just watch the revelation in some awe, sometimes, as it reveals itself. The “Teaching not the Teacher,” expresses this.

    I wonder, do you ever say to yourself “I didn’t know I could do that” or “where did that come from?” I do, sometimes.

    Mike

    Comment by Mike — May 29, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  9. I get the feelings you mention sometimes when I’m dancing, and something is given the space to move through me. In a way, it’s like stepping out of my own way and letting myself dance. I think that it is the nature of life to continually practice to be able to exist in this space as long as often as possible, whether it be with one’s profession, relationships, or spiritual life. In a way, I have come to think of this as the true nature of faith. Faith means trust. Not in a story or concept, but trust in one’s self to be able to be… a conduit for something deeper, or something in the background that is actually one’s true self.

    Comment by Michael Foster — May 30, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

  10. Thank you, beautifully put.

    Mike

    Comment by Mike — May 31, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

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