Introducing the Awakening Clarity Zen Frogs.
One of my clients is a graphic artist, Rupert Peene, who lives in San Francisco. Rupert has graciously allowed me to use his wonderful frogs as text separators on AC. I’d been looking for something like this, but had no idea what it would be–until I got an email from Rupert with a frog in it. I hopped right on acquiring them for use here. They’re vibrantly alive, always happy, and always on the move–just like our true nature. They’re perfect. Thank you Rupert! You may not be famous yet, but you’re useful. That’s the way it is with me, too. (Useful is actually as good as it gets for any of us.)
We have a great issue for you this time around, featuring my friend, Scott Kiloby, and a guy I don’t yet know, but whom I have a lot of respect for, Jon Bernie. This is Scott’s third official visit to Awakening Clarity; he’s extremely well known, and needs no introduction from me. Nonetheless, I notice this unit does what it does, and one of the things it does is write introductions. So, although many of you already know it, and are probably tired of it, I’ll repeat a short version of My Scott Kiloby Story for AC’s burgeoning audience. To my astonishment, thousands of people in 110 countries now read every post, with more coming every day.
An Old Friend
I originally woke up in a large way in 2006. I then spent several years in oscillation, moving between peace and misery, clarity and confusion, dependent upon whether I was identifying as Fred or our true nature. I finally saw that I was getting nowhere on my own, so I sent ego out on an errand while I called Scott! In less than an hour Scott helped bring me to stable with Nondual awareness, and that has never wavered. My clarity within that stability has sometimes fluctuated between sharp and dull, but the Understanding itself has never waxed or waned. Needless to say, I am eternally grateful. For the record, Scott helped me release The Last Core Story. Of course it was based in fear; I think they always are.
Scott’s post this time around is from his new book, Natural Rest for Addiction. It’s followed by a in-depth look at the Compulsion Inquiry–how it works, how it was developed, and how you can experience it for yourself with a facilitator if you feel so drawn.
Just to finish out my Scott story, I spent a lot of time with him over the next year or so in online meetings. Like me, he’s not at all fond of email as a teaching medium. Interestingly enough, during that time when Scott and I were seeing each other a lot I read Jon Bernie’s Ordinary Freedom, which is this issue’s First Chapter Preview. Scott read it as well, and we talked about it at the time. We both enjoyed it quite a bit, and I expect you’ll enjoy the sample chapter that Non-Duality Press has so generously provided for us. I expect you’d enjoy the whole book, too! There’s something to be said for finishing what you start. Smile.
A New Friend
Don Wolfe, who lives in New York State, wrote me for the first time a couple of weeks ago. He’d read my book and just knew he needed to talk to me. One thing led to another, and after a bit of initial confusion, we finally met via Skype on this past Tuesday afternoon for a Direct Pointing Session. Don has graciously allowed me to tell you a bit about our meeting.
What I do in a Direct Pointing Session is go through a series of inquiries designed to help the client catch a glimpse right then and there, of our shared true nature. Those inquiries, in a form close to what I use today, are contained in Beyond Recovery. Regardless of the title, that book is not about recovery; it is about waking up. Right now. This is what happens, at one level or another, in a fairly high percentage of Direct Pointing Sessions. A few clients have woken up shortly afterward. Some are still mucking about, but I’ve never had anyone tell me that their dial didn’t at least move.
The entire meeting happens spontaneously, of course. I have a course of action in mind, and while the meeting runs along those lines sometimes, at other times it varies quite a bit. When Don and I were going through just a little how-do-you-do, he said something that caught my ear. He said, speaking of awakening, “Sometimes I don’t think I deserve it.” And that was Don’s precondition for awakening. He would never wake up until he earned it, and he would never be able to earn it. It was a perfect cul-de-sac for remaining asleep in the dream forever.
So, before ever going into inquiry, I worked with Don to help break this impossible precondition. This is something I’ve just learned about how to work with in the last few months, and it’s been really helpful in delivering freedom to the people I work with. Everything “I do” is constantly improving, changing, refining itself. When I felt that Don has satisfactorily seen through the futility of that precondition, I took us into inquiry.
Ten minutes in I could see that Don was waking up. He knew, but he wasn’t yet telling himself openly.But I could see the progression. This is one of the reasons I now use only Skype for teaching. I’ve found out that it’s really, really helpful to be able to see the other person as we talk. I can see what’s getting through, and I can see where they’re lost. I need all the help I can get; none of this is as easy as it sounds. And I can often see when awakening is starting to occur, allowing me to stretch or hammer what’s working in order to pull the client on through the elusive Gateless Gate. I am, of course, speaking in metaphor.
In another ten minutes Don knew exactly who he was. We then spent another hour working with that seeing, bringing more clarity to it, helping him see the ramifications, clearing up current misunderstandings, and talking about ones that might come up later. This guy was SO HAPPY! He was also completely stunned. It’s all so obvious! How could he have missed it? And on and on… That’s the way of it. We can’t see it until we see it, and then we can’t see anything else.
Don’s awakening was a really bright one; I don’t see many like that. He didn’t have angels visiting, or a fireworks show, but he was seeing–and last I heard still is–with a really bright brand of awakeness. He had a lot of context for all of this to fall onto, which is particularly helpful. Context can actually become a hindrance to awakening if we get married to it, but it’s a great blessing afterward for helping us fathom what has happened and what it means.
To conclude, the other thing Don and I did was break up belief patterns that immediately came forward in the wake of coming to see his true nature. It almost always happens. I saw it happen last Saturday with a guy in Tennessee who came to know his true nature, and then, just as we were about to say goodbye, he manufactured a hypothetical situation involving a wasp which his mind though might somehow negate what he’d seen. I asked him, “Steve, is there a wasp in the room?” He saw what he’d done and immediately broke into laughter. It doesn’t always work like that, but it did with him.
Sometimes we’re willing to drop our favorite beliefs and sometimes we’re not. That’ll be a topic in the future.
Clarity can become a choice.
This is really hard to believe, but that’s my experience. It’s not a choice until it is. And then it is until it’s sort of not again. In other words, our default position is identification as the “little self.” Then, with an authentic breakthrough, even a subtle one, identification can become a choice. We can stand as awareness, or we can stand as little self. We have to work at it, and with it. We are required to remain alert, and we are required to investigate–to see and see through beliefs–as they arise. If we do this long enough, or well enough, or however that plays out, then our default identification shifts to our true nature. Almost unbelievably, the world will then begin to meet us where we are: it begins to conform to our seeing. There’s no way to put this into words in the space available here, if I could do it at all.
Now let’s dive into our Guest Teaching!
NATURAL REST FOR ADDICTION
Excerpt from Chapter Four of the book, “Natural Rest for Addiction:
A Revolutionary Way to Recover Through Presence”
An Identity Crisis
As addicted humans, we don’t know who we are. We live in an ongoing identity crisis and we’re barely aware of it. During the course of a lifetime, our identities change often. We go from child, to friend, to spouse or partner, to employee, to addict, to recovering addict, to sick person, to dying person. None of these labels are our real identity. They’re nothing more than temporary concepts.
Seeking is based on a desire to find a solid and permanent sense of one’s self in time. We keep looking to the future in hopes that we’ll find out who or what we are. We keep looking for that next label, relationship, fix, or awakening. Yet, we never find the answer. The most we ever find is another label to identify.
Natural Rest is about solving this identity crisis once and for all.
Through the practice of brief moments of rest, presence is realized to be our essential nature. It’s our real identity.
We’ve falsely assumed that our identity resides in thought or in the body. Yet, presence is that which sees each thought and is aware of all the sensations that make up the body.
Thoughts are words and pictures that temporarily appear and disappear within presence.
How can you be a temporary word or picture?
Words and pictures tell a story of past and future. Past words and pictures contain the sense of “who I am.” Future words and pictures contain the sense of “who I am going to become.” These thoughts are all temporary. They arise in a series. The fact that they arise one after another in a series doesn’t make them truer. They’re still only fleeting concepts that come and go.
Every word and picture that appears within our self-centered stories is appearing to a selfless presence that sees the word or picture. This presence is what we really are, not any of the words and pictures.
Through identification with words and pictures that make up a story, we’re seeking in time to fulfill a self that’s illusory, a self that’s being created by the activity of thinking itself.
We’re constantly looking for ourselves.
This is the cycle of seeking. It’s our addiction.
It may not be obvious now, but addiction is more than just a compulsion to use or engage in certain substances and activities in order to feel better. It’s based in a deeper misconception about who and what we are.
We’ve been chasing our own thoughts.
By repeatedly relaxing into the natural rest of presence, we end this chase fully and finally. The identity crisis is over!
An Important Question
Ask yourself this question (it’s the most important one you can ask in recovery):
What am I seeking?
You may respond that you’re seeking to feel better, have fun, or escape boredom, or to find happiness, freedom, love, peace, fame, good health, material success, or something else—even recovery.
But what are you really seeking? Look more closely. If you felt better, you’d actually be experiencing the end of seeking to feel better. If you found peace, you’d be experiencing the end of seeking peace.If you made lots of money, you’d be experiencing the end of seeking money. If you found recovery, you’d actually be experiencing the end of seeking recovery.
The Problem with Temporary Fixes
We’ve been operating under the false assumption that a temporary, pleasurable fix can give us the relief we’re really seeking. The fix could be anything from a drug to buying new clothes to seeking praise and attention from others to spiritual experiences.
We can certainly satisfy the sense of deficiency within us temporarily in this way. But temporary pleasures cannot provide deep, lasting relief from seeking. In fact, they perpetuate more seeking.
Each time we temporarily satisfy an urge to feel better, we falsely believe our contentment comes from the addictive substance or activity itself. The mind associates relief from seeking with the substance or activity. Then we’re off and running, seeking more temporary fixes.
Through resting repeatedly in presence, we start to see what’s really happening.
Our contentment doesn’t come from the substance or activity.
When we temporarily satisfy an urge by indulging in an addictive substance or activity, we’re experiencing a brief rest from the seeking toward that addictive substance or activity.
This is an important insight. We must discover this for ourselves.
This rest from seeking itself is what we’re really seeking.
True contentment is not temporary.
Repeatedly resting in the present moment provides deep, lasting relief from the cycle of seeking.
We’ve been trying to avoid the pain of our past or recreate pleasurable past moments. We’ve been seeking the future to feel better.
We’ve been returning again and again to temporary fixes. We’ve been returning to drugs, food, work, shopping, fame, gambling, or some other addictive substance and activity.
Temporary fixes will never resolve a lifetime of seeking. Temporary fixes are tiny pit stops along the endless path of seeking the future.
This chase exhausts us. It often has a detrimental effect on our health and relationships.
Temporary substances and activities are only symptoms of our real addiction. We’re really addicted to thought. We’re addicted to incessantly thinking about ourselves including where we’ve been and where we’re going. This thinking is based on a present sense of deficiency. But instead of looking at the story of deficiency and seeing it as just words and pictures, we believe it. And deficiency, because it’s accompanied by painful or uncomfortable feelings, makes us reach for more temporary fixes
In seeking these substances and activities as a source of temporary relief from the sense of lack, we overlook simple presence, which is where stable and permanent relief lies.
In the Natural Rest way, the solution is always the same: Take brief moments of thought-free rest and let all emotions and sensations be as they are, without labeling them.
We must discover the benefits of presence for ourselves.
We must take up the practice of repeatedly resting in presence. This provides experiential rest in the present moment—the key to freeing us from the cycle of seeking.
Recovery in Natural Rest Isn’t a Seeking Game
We don’t want to treat recovery as another form of seeking the future.
Presence isn’t self-improvement. We’re not trying to improve the time-bound story of self. That would be more seeking.
Many recovery programs make us believe we need to seek the future to find transformation. But seeking is seeking, whether it’s seeking the high from a drug or seeking a better, more spiritual version of ourselves in the future.
In treating recovery in this way, our drug of choice simply changes from heroin, work, or shopping to recovery, self-improvement, or spiritual awakening. We’re just substituting content. The same dynamic of seeking is present in each of those situations.
How to Notice Thoughts
Presence is a spiritual awakening.
We’ve been asleep within our time-bound stories all our lives.
The self-centered story continues only because the words and pictures within the story remain unseen.
Whenever thoughts remain unseen, we believe them. We have no choice. We’re at the mercy of whatever they tell us. They often tell us that the present moment isn’t good enough, that we need something else, and that we need to seek the future to find it.
In noticing a thought, we finally have a choice! We can choose to rest in presence in that very moment instead of emphasizing the thought.
How do we notice a thought?
It doesn’t happen through more thinking. It doesn’t happen through effort.
Throughout the day, as often as possible, we simply notice that we are thinking. We let the current thought come to rest by watching it fade away. As it comes to rest, for a few seconds, we relax without thought.
Through repeatedly resting in presence, our bodies and minds start to be experienced from within us—as an awake and alert space.
We’ve been suffering and seeking because we aren’t aware of this space as our deepest essence.
We’ve been preoccupied with the temporary, restless energies that appear and disappear within this space.
This present space is naturally at rest. This is why resting in presence is effortless. We simply relax our bodies and minds repeatedly throughout the day and notice this space as always and already at rest.
By repeatedly resting in presence throughout the day, our bodies and minds become more relaxed internally. We become alert and aware of the inner space within our bodies and minds. When our bodies and minds are relaxed, the entire world seems more relaxed.
The more we take brief moments throughout the day to naturally rest in this way, the easier it becomes to notice thoughts. We start to experience an automatic, effortless return to this restful presence.
As the moments of rest get longer and longer, our ability to notice thought gets easier and more effortless. From the natural rest of presence, where we’re completely relaxed internally, we find that thoughts arise all by themselves.
We’re finally hearing the voice in our heads. This voice has been telling us that this moment isn’t enough, that life isn’t enough. We let that voice tell its lies. We simply rest in presence whenever we notice it.
How to Notice Emotions
Emotions are energy movements within the body that often arise in conjunction with thoughts. The thoughts and feelings seem stuck together.
When emotions remain unseen, they provide the perfect fuel for thoughts. They drive the incessant thinking about the past and future.
Grief, loneliness, resentment, or sadness often arises in conjunction with thoughts of the past.
Frustration or anger arises when we resist something that’s happening now. Fear arises in conjunction with thoughts about the future.
How do we notice emotions and bring them into the light of present awareness?
Through the practice of repeatedly resting in presence, our attention is placed in the space of the inner body on a more regular basis. Remember, the space of the inner body is the space of presence.
By resting in presence on a regular basis, the space of the inner body becomes relaxed, yet aware of itself and alert to what’s happening within that space.
We start to see emotions as soon as they arise within this space or shortly after. We don’t try to label the emotional energy. We don’t call it “anger” or “sadness.”
We experience the raw energy itself without attaching any words or pictures to it.
We may not always notice an emotion when it first arises. Instead, we may find ourselves replaying thoughts of the past or emphasizing thoughts of the future. And those thoughts often arise along with emotions that seem stuck to the thoughts. When this happens, we observe the current thought until it fades into the space of thought-free presence. As it fades, for a few seconds, we add no additional thoughts. This moment of rest lets us then bring attention into the body, allowing the emotion to be there without any words or pictures attached to it. This allows the emotional energy to arise and fall into presence without hooking back into the story.
Whenever we feel an emotional charge in the body, we don’t try to modify, neutralize, resist, get rid of, or do anything else with the emotion.
We let the emotion be exactly as it is. We let it run its course completely. We let it dissipate on its own, without placing any mental story on it.
We treat every emotion like a welcomed guest in our home. We wouldn’t welcome our guests while also strategizing how to get rid of them.
A welcomed guest is accepted completely and allowed to leave whenever he or she feels like leaving.
We don’t push the guest out the door.
In restful presence, we find true emotional stability.
To transform is to change from self-centeredness to selflessness.
This doesn’t happen by chasing some better version of ourselves into the future. That’s only the cycle of seeking.
Transformation happens through recognizing and directly experiencing thought-free, selfless presence as who we really are in the deepest sense, rather than placing our identity in a conceptual story.
In the Natural Rest way, we find that presence provides an unconditional freedom from limiting self-concepts.
To live in presence is to be free to experience this moment with fresh eyes, to live in an uncontrived and unconditioned way.
When we live in this moment in an unselfconscious way, without referring to inherent self labels and stories, we’re free to experience this moment without the past obscuring our view
We are free to let thoughts, emotions, and sensations that carry an urge to find comfort in addictive substances and activities come and go, without following or emphasizing them.
The time-bound, self-centered story of “me” starts to seem less important. We stop acting from a role or story. We start responding from an authentic, uncontrived way of being.
Selflessness reveals itself automatically in presence. Selflessness releases addiction and solves the identity crisis—the addiction to “me.”
© Scott Kiloby, 2013
All rights reserved. Used by permission of the author.
The Compulsion Inquiry
How Was It Developed?
The Compulsion Inquiry (CI) is a unique way of looking into one’s present experience to undo compulsions towards addictive substances and activities. The CI will be featured prominently on Scott’s recovery site, which will be up and running in February 2012. Check Scott’s main site for details, http://www.kiloby.com/.
The CI was developed as part of Scott’s Living Inquiries, which can be found in his book, “Living Relationship: Finding Harmony with Others.” The Living Inquiries were initially influenced by Scott’s work with Greg Goode on Madhyamaka Emptiness Teachings and Direct Path Advaita. After working with Greg, Scott refined his own unfindability approach into a workable, modern, direct way to see the transparency of all things.
The Compulsion Inquiry was developed during sessions between Scott and one of the Facilitators of his work, Colette Kelso. Her site is at www.unfindableself.com. During the course of that session, Scott was explaining that each compulsive movement towards any substance or activity is preceded by a subtle, unconscious, quickly-flashing “ghost image.” This is a mental picture of the substance or activity or a picture of one ingesting or engaging in the substance or activity. When this picture arises, it is accompanied by emotions or sensations in the body that feel stuck or Velcroed to the mental picture, thereby creating the experience of compulsion. This is called the Velcro Effect.
As Scott was explaining this, Colette interrupted with a question, “But where’s the command in that picture to actually ingest the substance?” This question was a critical addition to Scott’s work with compulsion, as it encouraged a direct looking at the ghost image itself. When asking the question, “Where’s the command?” one is directed to witness the picture directly and examine it, seeing that the picture itself carries no command. Scott and Colette began asking the same question while looking at sensations and emotions directly, without labels on them. As they went through all the words and pictures of the mind and all the sensations and emotions in the body, no command could be found. The Compulsion Inquiry was born in that moment. With this Inquiry, Scott and Colette found a way to undo the Velcro Effect, providing a release from compulsions of all sorts including towards drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, spiritual seeking and a host of other addictions.
How Does It Work?
Scott and Colette began experimenting with the Compulsion Inquiry in private sessions with people suffering from addiction. They found that explaining it on paper was simply not enough. Because the ghost image is so unconscious, it became imperative to first teach clients how to see that image and then, once it is seen, how to ask the right question without making it intellectual.
The only question that is asked during the Inquiry is this: “Is there a command?” The question is asked about any pictures, words, emotions, or sensations that arise regarding a particular addictive substance or activity. The asking of the question allows the thought and emotion to become conscious, or seen through direct observation. For example, if the addiction is chocolate, and the ghost image is a chocolate bar, the facilitator trains the client to retrieve that ghost image once it flashes quickly in and out of awareness. Once it is retrieved, the client is taught to look directly and unwavering at the image with awareness, asking the question, “Is there a command to eat chocolate anywhere on the image itself?” This is not a question for the intellect. Mere observation is enough because if there is truly a command on the image it will be apparent through direction observation alone. The key, of course, is to see that there is never a command on any mental image. There is only the appearance of the image itself. The sense that the image is commanding one’s body to use a substance or engage in an activity comes from energies within the body.
The client is then asked to feel into the body, noticing whether there is any energy such as craving, contraction, sadness, excitement or fear. The same question is asked to the client: “Is there a command to eat chocolate in or on the energy itself?” Again, the question is not intellectual because if there is a command it should be readily observable on the energy itself. As the client is gently observing the energy, without any words or pictures being projected on it, the client sees no command. At that point, the facilitator encourages the client to allow the energy to be as it is, until it burns out and disappears naturally, or morphs into some other innocuous energy.
Although it would be great to simply release a video or put out a writing explaining how the Inquiry works, Colette and Scott found that the Inquiry works best when a facilitator is taking you through it in private session, step by step, helping you look in a very direct way and keeping all sorts of mental overcompensation out of the way as you look. Being gently guided by someone else to let emotions and sensations be as they are is key. And having a facilitator ask you the questions makes the Inquiry very simple and doable.
Scott and Colette also found that a series of sessions (three or four) is the best approach for this Inquiry. During the course of those sessions, a facilitator weaves Scott’s Unfindable Inquiry into the mix, showing the client the transparency or emptiness of whatever deficient story lies at the heart of the addiction. For example, if the story “I’m not worthy” plays a big role in why someone is reaching for alcohol every day (to medicate personal pain), that story is seen through during the series of sessions, along with seeing through the command to drink. This is a doubly powerful way to approach recovery, because it targets both subject and object (the subject being the self and the object being the substance or activity to which one is addicted). By the third or fourth session, the client fully knows how to do the Inquiry properly on his own.
The CI is an effective tool for releasing compulsion. It is used in addition to the basic pointing found in Scott’s book, “Natural Rest for Addiction,” an excerpt of which has been provided along with this article.
Results of the Compulsion Inquiry
Since the Compulsion Inquiry was developed, it has been used by a multitude of facilitators in different private and group settings. The results have been very promising, if not astounding. It appears to work on virtually every substance or activity. Facilitators have followed up with clients for a few months after the initial sessions and have found that the Inquiry works on a long term basis. Some compulsions are seen through immediately and never return after those initial sessions. No ongoing inquiry is needed in those cases. The Velcro Effect has been undone permanently. Other compulsions, especially around the more addictive substances such as opiates and alcohol have generally taken a few weeks or a few months to release. But in all cases, the success rate has been very high. The clients are taught how to do the inquiry so that it becomes a tool they can use whenever they wish on any compulsion.
If you are interested in private sessions with Scott or one of his facilitators, visit www.livingrelationship.org or the recovery site, when that site is made public in early 2013. The “Natural Rest for Addiction” book, scheduled for release in early 2013, also contains detailed instruction on all of the Living Inquiries.
- Scott’s Main Website: http://www.kiloby.com/
- Scott on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kiloby
- Interview with Scott on Buddha at the Gas Pump: http://batgap.com/scott-kiloby/
- Scott’s Print Book Page on Amazon: http://goo.gl/WnUVI
- Scott’s Kindle Book Page on Amazon: http://goo.gl/MLd5z
- Scott’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@ScottKiloby01