The Raw Feeling
Thoughts arise spontaneously and we are not the source of the thoughts. We did not generate the thoughts, check the thoughts, approve of them and finally publish them. No - the thoughts just come. If we try and stop a thought - it comes anyhow. The thought generator in the head is very active and persistent.
If we could control our thoughts, if we caused them - we could stop certain thoughts and only have happy thoughts from now on. But it does not work out that way. Thoughts can be suppressed, but they were already thoughts before they were suppressed. And they come back.
Feelings arise spontaneously and we are not the source of the feelings. We do not generate the feelings, check to see if they are correct or appropriate and finally release them if they are OK. It does not work out like that with feelings too. Feelings arise - feelings that are "not good" but they do not leave straight away.
We do not cause thoughts or feelings - for the simple reason is that there is not an "us" there to bring them about. Our nature is universal, eternal and not personal. No-one there to create thoughts and feelings.
Our true nature - Aliveness - Awareness - Consciousness - is there through all thoughts and feelings. How else could we be aware of thoughts or "feel the feelings". Our nature is not in any was reduced by so-called "bad" thoughts or feelings. Consciousness is there - Aware of it all. Nothing is rejected.
Along comes conceptual thought to us at about 2 or 2.5 years of age. Pretty soon there is a concept of "me" and lots of other concepts as well.
As we grow older more and more concepts are generated. It is not that concepts do not have their place - they do - but in the spiritual quest that is not the case. The spiritual quest is not "sorted" by the mind or concepts.
Feelings that occur are conceptualised. A feeling comes up - at this stage it is the raw feeling - at this stage the feeling is non conceptual. The feeling is felt but there is initially no labeling. Just the raw feeling.
Very quickly a label is applied to the feeling. The words used may be "anger", "fear", "anxiety" or whatever. But the actual feeling - the raw one - is not a concept like these. The conceptualising seems to "cut us off" from the original actual raw feeling (in reality it does not do this). As we grow older the label is applied with increased speed so the amount of time experiencing the raw feeling seems to be reduced and reduced.
What is it like to experience the raw feeling? It is easy to do - in fact it is happening all the time - so there is nothing that you need to do at all. The initial perception of a feeling is always raw. Even when labels have been applied, the raw feeling is still there being perceived in the immediacy of the present moment.
You can notice the raw feeling, with no thought at all. Casually looking at the raw feeling. Once again, although it is expressed in these terms, nothing is happening that is different to what is always happening.
The raw feeling can feel like a movement of energy (best description) , a buffeting, a turbulance, a pressure or heaviness - or many others - but even these are in the realm of concepts being applied to the feelings. Just look at the feeling without thought and without conceptualisation (which also means no thought).
Looking at the real - the raw feeling - the mind slows down or stops. But this is not "mind control". It just happens. There is something very special about seeing the Real. We do not do it very often - maybe it is a shock to the system ! (joke)
Cats do it all the time. Dogs too.
Resist the urge to label the raw feeling, describe it, or explain it. If labels, judgments, descriptions or any other thoughts occur - just let them pass through. No-one there taking delivery of them, as Bob Adamson says.
Once again the pure perception always occurs and there is no labeling, describing or explaining. The usual deal is that the mind comes in and does all that, but it is always after the perception.
The raw feelings can change and morph while you are looking at them, or they can stay exactly as they are. It is very interesting.
Sometime the raw feeling will disappear completely (and not come back) and be replaced by a sense of joy, excitement or exhilaration. This sense of joy was in fact there all the time - and is your own true nature. It is always there, even if not noticed. It is the smile on The Buddha's face.
Sometimes the raw feeling will change when you look at it and move partially away and a feeling of Aliveness and excitement can be felt underneath it. This is difficult to describe - and words are always dualistic. Then the raw feeling may come back and at the same time the Aliveness feeling is there as well (as it always is).
Sometimes the feeling can feel like a movement of raw energy, but that movement changes in the way it moves, and in its intensity.
In doing this you are not being the "watcher" or the "witness", which are conceptualisations after the fact. All that is occurring is what always occurs, but may not have been noticed.
This is not done as a strategy, a method of getting rid of the feeling. There is no ultimate purpose for it and actually nothing is being done at all. It is not an investigation, not something that will build up your knowledge. Just a looking.
It is different every time and you cannot compare this time with the last - as this is just conceptualising it all again.
Only ever in this moment. Only a looking. It is not "you" looking - it is just looking occurring.
The feeling moves on - meaning the raw feeling - in its own time. It is not "our" feeling and never was. It may implode immediately or hang around for a day or so.
You may not notice the raw feeling go and only realised some time later that it has gone. Sometimes the raw feeling may suddenly disappear like the finale of a fireworks display.
The raw feeling is not a problem at all. In fact it is just sensation and can be quite interesting and even sensual.
The feeling is only a problem when it is conceptualised and when a story is woven around the feeling ("me" and my story). But all of this is in addition to the actual. It is the added conceptuality of the "me", the conceptual labels, and of course the story - which is conceptual. So just stick with the real - the raw feeling.
This is not to say that the raw feeling will not be painful. Pain is actual - it is real - but the pain can be conceptualised too, and story woven into it. So if the pain is there - just stick with that - do not multiply the pain with layers of conceptualisation on top of it.
Interestingly, the story does not run with the raw feeling. The story needs the conceptualisation (of the raw feeling) , which is the trigger into the mindstream.
As the conceptualisation of the feeling starts to fall away the perception of the original raw feeling may very well be enhanced. There is now no veil of conceptualisation there, which appeared to have a "deadening" effect on perception.
Sticking with the raw feeling is very interesting and good fun. All that is actually there (leaving out mind content, of course) is the raw feeling and Consciousness itself.
Normally both are conceptualised, but when the feeling is not conceptualised, the conceptualisation about our own nature can fall away too.
Very often it is amazingly clear, by direct experience, that "we are not the perceived - we are that which perceives ".
At that point the mind shuts down of itself.
Have fun with this.
Written by Mike Graham, 7 November 2009, last edited 14 November 2009