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Monday, February 28, 2011

Tea with Ang Ziety

Maybe you know Ang Ziety? She hangs out a lot with me. She’s like an undercurrent hum of an electrical buzz – the neurons on overload and over-stimulation, misfiring, creating havoc in this body… She’s been with me all my life actually, you’d think we’d be in better relationship by now. But, she’s unpredictable and neurotic so I never know what to expect. And I tend to try to keep a lid on her, relegating her to the underground so she won’t spiral out of control. But she refuses to stay there, which actually is a good thing.

I have had tea with her many times before, befriending her. I danced with her in the shower, and met her in “The Cave.” I have used a variety of techniques to address her throughout the years: Byron Katie –Loving What Is - the 4 questions work (read it 3 times); Tara Brach’s wonderful book – Radical Acceptance; Pema Chodron – The Places That Scare You; Richard Moss – The Mandala of Being – love this book; Debbie Ford – The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is a particularly good book for understanding and working with shadow aspects. And then there’s always the “inner child work” books, and so forth. And, I’ve had lots of “therapy.” :) I know there is much debate out there on the efficacy of “the psychological approach” for what ails mankind – I found it helpful. All the teachings, techniques and therapies seemed to help when I was working with them – easing the angst of anxiety for a while, but never really “curing” it. What I mean by “cure” is a deep abiding shift in perception and a re-identification with our authentic Being. Anxiety, despite all my insights and practices has not significantly shifted. The anxious mind still wreaks havoc like a child with ADHD, constantly needing re-direction and re-focus. So there must be something deeper that needs to be addressed.

Over the years I have developed my own ways of addressing her. I do not presume to tell anyone how to work with their demons. We each have to find our own way. I am just sharing my experience here. When I’m not frightened by my little gremlins of fear, I see them as little orphans who just want to be acknowledged, embraced, fed and loved. Their underlying issues have been disowned, roaming out on the streets, homeless. They need to be brought home to the Womb of the Heart again. So I welcome them by recognizing their presence, dialoging with them in my journal, holding an energetic space for them to be here, and introduce them to the Heart of Being once again.

Anyway, Ang and I sat last Wednesday.

Initially I ask a few general questions like: What is the truth of this anxiety? What is needed here? Or, more specifically - what does Anxiety want/need – sometimes giving her a name. I mindfully ask questions until the “right” one resonates from within. And then I sit, waiting for the “answer” from within. It became clear that the “answer” this time was that she needed a sense of security and stability. I could not offer her those biscuits at the moment. Life just isn’t that way right now.

In sitting with Ang, acknowledging her fear, feeling her in my body, moving with her, the image of a hyper child, or a hyper puppy, experiencing separation anxiety emerged. Over the years I have discovered that Ang needs lots and lots of reassurance to *not* feel separate, abandoned, or threatened by life’s changes. She needs to learn to trust that she is in fact not separate from Source at all, and that she will be supported by That… Convincing her is not easy however. Life is pretty groundless at the moment.

Each time I sit with Ang and look into anxiety I discover the same root cause of Ang’s angst: a deep sense of separateness from that which I *know* myself to be – the True Self – Being – pure Awareness. Ang somehow feels “disconnected” from this felt sense of the deep Stillness of the Inner Being – our True Nature - and can’t seem to find her way back Home. She is like a frightened child that, once separated from the womb, did not develop a sense of security, stability and trust in her inner Knowing Awareness. It also became quite clear that “I” had identified with Ang, with anxiety. “I” became her. “I” bought into the identity of being an anxious, separate person, developing a kind of attachment to anxiety. And when “I” *believes* her thought streams “I” feels separate. I can’t explain it, it just happens this way – despite *knowing* that we are never separate from Source. Separation is evidently a very deeply engrained neural pattern in mankind.

Tara Brach says something to the effect that it is harder for people who have experienced serious trauma early in life to trust their inner Being, to trust that “The Beloved”, is there for them. That is - seeing “The Beloved” inside themselves - *as* themselves – knowing That is who they are, and trusting That. I understand this…

I end by asking: How does Being want to relate to this anxiety? The answer is always – with compassion, gentleness and love – not trying to get rid of her, or make her behave, but seeing what the deeper need is and addressing that – the wound of separation. And evidently what Ang needs is some experiential re-programming from within. Ah-ha!

Ultimately, what I understand over and over again is that it all comes down to – “entrainment” – entrainment with Being. By that I mean experiencing a *felt sense* of Inner Beingness – beyond training the mind in methods and techniques – an actual, felt experience of the Stillness of Being that we are. This comes through a willingness to sit with That which we are – our Beingness/Source – until we are fully established in That; re-identifying *as* That which we are. The only way I have found to do that is to actually get a felt sense experience of what “That” feels like. So the more I relax into Being, meditate on what this BEingness that I am feels like - becoming aware of the Spaciousness of pure Awareness - the more I entrain *experientially* with that which “I” is – eventually *re-cognizing* a seamless intimacy with That.

So Ang and ”I” meet in “the chair”, at the Pool of Awareness, bask in the beautiful Stillness beyond stillness, and relax into Beingness. It is the true Elixer for what ails the wound of separation…


~*~


Meditating is not the only way to experience our True Nature – Being.
There are many ways to relax into this Space.
Massage, Music, Nature, Contemplative Dance,
Contemplative Art and Photography…
Qi Gong, Tai Chi,
Energy work – given and received,
Mindfulness in daily living,
awareness of what in us is Awake and Aware – Being.



8 comments:

  1. Beautifully honest, as usual...it is true in this experience, as well, that traumatic memory and "identification" is easy to get lost in.

    I am a big fan of exploration and inquiry of the deepest aspects of self by whatever means possible. No matter what method(s) we choose, it seems to be the attending of whatever it is we are doing that brings feeling to light...and feelings are angels, even when they appear frightening or painful, leading us right back to our authenticity. Methods of inquiry, meditation, dancing, energy work, massage, art, contemplative reading, prayer, psychotherapy--anything, really, that a person does with a commitment to presence--reveals more and more of what we really are.

    I love that you can have tea with Ms. Ang, that you invite her as an honored guest into your mental house. That kind of loving is what Being is, and doesn't get any more real than that! :)

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  2. Nice inquiry. And I love that feeling of friendliness and curiosity that you have toward Angy. Lots of openness and exploration here which is so helpful.

    I have learned several new things since sitting with the Vipassana/insight group that you might find interesting. Even though I have sat meditation for many years I have not really been successful in training my mind. This feels important to me. I think it helps in dealing with habitual thoughts, just learning to be intensely present in the body. One funny thing suggested was if your mind is producing troubling thoughts, regard them as belonging to someone else, perhaps the neighbour! It takes away that identification you talk about.

    They also do what you are doing, just sitting with and feeling the emotion at a deep level. What does it feel like in the body? And just be with that for however long it takes.

    But the other new thing to me is "metta practice" where you wish yourself (or others) well, choosing phrases that resonate and repeating them to yourself and feeling that sense in your body. "May I be peaceful and calm" "May I be open & spacious" "May I strong & healthy" whatever seems to be nourishing to you. I have found this quite a delightful practice.

    For me it feels like my mind needs reprogramming and redirection sometimes, kind of like an unruly pet or out of control child!

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  3. Eloquent, Christine, with beautiful honesty. Thank you. I find it compelling to really 'meet' these children, these orphans . . . "Ang somehow feels “disconnected” from this felt sense of the deep Stillness of the Inner Being." Yes. From me to Ms. Ang Ziety, I offer a bouquet of Crowea . . . Blessings!

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  4. Maria ~ Ah-yes -- beautiful. I had forgotten about the "deep attending" that you have mentioned before. It does make a difference :)

    The only thing I feel to clarify here is that what I experience is not so much getting "lost in traumatic memories", as it is a felt sense of some kind of neurological chemical response that has gotten set up *in* the body-mind (nervous system?) - the neuronal groove type thing, where a mere trigger of stress sets off the "anxiety loop" whether memory is remembered or not. Could be cellular memory.

    Hugs ~ C:)

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  5. ZDS ~ Thank you for your helpful suggestions. :)

    Yes, being present *as* Presence to the anxiety and the body is important - as Maria has mentioned - "deeply attending," which comes from having awareness of this Presence that we are (the Buddha Nature - or however one knows That to be). And I find it's always helpful to give the mind some redirection when caught in the loop. :)

    Glad you are enjoying your Vipassana training.

    Hugs and Bows, C :)

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  6. Darla ~ I am not familiar with Crowea, but thank you for the bouquet :) I assume it helps with anxiety? :)

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  7. Thank you Dearest Beloved Mirror! Thank you for this beautiful and generous Hearted post. A sense of 'security and stability' is not even necessary when there is the wondrous feeling of 'trust that she is in fact not separate from Source at all...' -- even though there may be discomfort. However -- and it's a HUGE monster of a 'however' -- when trust in that support is challenged by some thought of the day...supported by what she calls 'evidence' of whatever kind...then 'Ang' needs some strong tea with a hefty dose of many in this glorious Hall of Mirrors for which she is deeply indebted to. Deep bows to my Dear Tea bearing Sisters and the Teachers of this heart.
    XOXO
    -Leslie

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  8. And thank you Leslie! Yes, Yes, of course, thank you for that - "A sense of security and stability is not even necessary when there is the wondrous feeling of trust that she is in fact not separate from Source at all..." Beautifully said. Made my heart smile and breath again :)
    Heart Hugs - C

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