What I am finding out in my own practice is that there is something already always with/within me that is very kind, loving, generous, wise, nurturing, healing.... I don't make a belief system or a religion out of this mysterious "something," rather, I try as much as possible to feel/experience/sense this in/around myself which is healing and nourishing and nurturing, etc. I suppose it could be called "intrinsic goodness" or "fundamental goodness". It can also be called "freedom," "joy," "happiness".... But the important thing here is not what we call it. In fact, all words and concepts can help to conceal this "intrinsic goodness". The important thing is to "tune in" to basic goodness --the always already existing basic goodness of being alive. The more I do this the more available that awareness/sensation becomes. I find that I can often just let go into it, allowing it to hold and heal me. By "letting go," I mean that I am trusting this mysterious whatever-it-is to work for me without my having to put effort into it. It can be like lying down in cool grass at a park in the summer, and letting gravity and the earth have your body and support you. It's also like allowing the body to breathe itself, which it does ... and the heart circulates breath ... all without effort. Perfect support without effort.
What I have just said is an essential part of my own way of practicing -- and this is so for me, probably, because I lost contact with "basic goodness" somewhere along the line, except perhaps having the faint whiff of it now and then--often as a memory or only as a future hope. So if one doesn't have a solid growing relationship (it grows and expands as we allow and open to it!) established, this is a crucial part of the practice of learning to live After Lack, or put positively, in a bun dance.
(I avoided calling this topic something like "How to live in abundance". I don't like how the concept of abundance is popularly used... so I prefer to call it a bun dance, 'cause that's just silly and fun. And people often talk about abundance all wrong 'cause the concept sits in the lack perspective. More on that later.)
So let's just call this first part of my practice Opening to Basic Goodness. We always start where we are in this practice. If you have little or no contact with Basic Goodness, that's fine. That's where you start to learn how to sense it. It is felt, sensed. And learning to sense or feel it if there's little awareness of it is like listening very carefully and sensitively. You listen with your whole being, not just your ears. Once you get a whiff or a taste, you keep practicing, a little each day, until you see that it teaches you how to open to it further. Yes, it teaches you. Isn't that fantastic! And it knows how to teach just to and for you -- in your uniqueness. There is no right or wrong way to open to Basic Goodness. Only it itself is a good teacher of itself. So stumbling upon it if it has been submerged is a happy accident. All we can do is hope to become accident prone.
Another crucial part is the practice is mindfulness. I recommend combining mindfulness practice with some sitting meditation -- and there are plenty of writings and teachers on these subjects and I don't really want to advise much on this right now. Find writings or teacher/s who support your practice and practice.
The part of this I want to talk about is the importance of bare witnessing of our habitual patterns of self-talk and emotional reaction. Bare witnessing means that you are only noticing these patterns, without adding insult to injury by noticing them and then transforming them into further self-talk, of the sort that says, for example, "I'm no good, just look at me running that old tape again! What a pile of shit I am!" If self-talk arises of this sort while you are noticing a habitual pattern in yourself or your life which you do not like, drop it immediately! That is, let it fall away by not feeding it. Imagine an electrical switch. Imagine reaching and turning off the electricity or food supply for this internal self-talk. Get up and walk away from this voice. Say to it, silently, "No thanks, not today".
We humans generally identify ourselves with these mental-emotional habit patterns, and so they (which we mistake for ourselves!) feel existentially threatened when we stop feeding them. They will try and try to get our attention focussed on a lack story or a lack drama. Your job in practicing is to catch them in the act of stealing your energy and your choice. You really can take your life back from these theives who have stolen your Freedom in the night. Freedom is a facet of joy and of love and of kindness, etc.... It is happiness and Basic Goodness.
These two primary components of my practice are mutually enhancing of one another. I have come from chronic sub-clinical depression and basic unhappiness to being happy almost all of the time by practicing in this way. My joy grows a little each day, as does my freedom. I only want everyone to share this joy with me. But, of course, I have to allow everyone to be just as they are if I am to remain happy.
Joy to you!
Last edited by River; 05-12-2009 at 02:50 AM.