Question from a course attendee: Can you expand a little on the concept of “inner silence?” Is “inner silence” something that is practiced not only when interacting with others, but also when we are by ourselves? If so, can you give an example?
Belsebuub’s answer: Inner silence can exist at any time; it is when everything is still within. To interact with others and not to have our inner state dependent upon theirs, but to be clear, without ego reactions, and responding intelligently, is to be psychologically sealed to the outside world. Being that way, we can maintain an inner silence.
When we’re alone it’s easier to get drawn into daydreams unless there’s something specific to do, so to be in inner silence during those times it’s best to be in self-observation and focused upon whatever you’re doing. It also helps to keep active and to watch the inner states and thoughts that allow the egos to indulge.
Question: I find over the years, I have been through periods of being clearer and more detached. It is when situations requiring much thinking and decision-making come up that I sometimes feel unbalanced and less able to feel detached and observe from a point of awareness. At the same time, it seems after a period of feeling some balance and stability within, more challenges arise, almost as a test of where one is at. These times I think it can seem easier to get carried away with the egos, and the processes of detachment, observation, and self-awareness can be more difficult.
Belsebuub: What you say is very true and is a common problem. There are strong emotions in the decisions you are trying to make and in your responses to the situations you are facing.
They will rob you of your ability to think and act intelligently. It’s a matter of gradually learning by observing and understanding yourself more. It takes time, but the better you get at it the more you can respond without egos, which distort the ability to think and perceive clearly.
Question: I was at the mall yesterday with my wife and became aware as many times as I could, and realized how people were acting like animals with clothing and merchandise. I found myself sometimes doing the same things. Scary.
Belsebuub: When you become clear in yourself you can see the state of others more clearly. Without having self-observation, people who are in ego states are usually unaware that they are in them. But those who are in self-observation can see the egos in themselves and can see other people’s egos when they appear too.
Question: An experiment I do to keep me aware is as follows. I have a cell phone for work, which has an alarm on it. When I go to work I set it to go off after half an hour (I start it at nine o’clock on the dot). Then when it goes off it gets my attention. Then I ask myself the questions: “Am I awake just now? How aware was I for the last half hour?” and digest the result for approximately one minute. Then I set it for another half hour and continue the process for the whole workday. This really helps me to remain focused on being conscious.
Belsebuub: Many people have found reminders like that to be useful; there is a chance that you will ignore them after a while though. What helps most is to make your spiritual awakening the center of your life.
Question: Should I try and cut down the amount or type of TV and movies I watch?
Belsebuub: It depends on how much you watch and what you watch. Try to avoid movies and documentaries that stir up very strong lower emotions such as ones involving horror, lust, and crime—they will feed those egos within you when you watch them. Another thing to look out for is that watching too much television, or watching too much of anything, makes people passive. Another thing is that the content of what you’re watching may contain misinformation that has the effect of dampening your drive for truth and spiritual awakening. So you have to use your discrimination to work out what you want to watch and how to understand the content of it.
Question: I don’t know if I am doing it right. I make myself notice what is around me, the sounds, shapes, feelings in the body, and then thoughts come up, and I use the dissolve technique, then get back to noticing what is around me again, particularly when walking.
Belsebuub: You need to make sure that you are not just thinking about being aware, as the way you describe how you try to be aware sounds like it involves a lot of thinking about it.
You should search and explore the practice of self-observation, so that you’re sure that you’re doing it properly. See if you can get to moments when you are clear and you become aware of any sensation that alters your clarity.
Question: Have you any suggestions about how to try to maintain awareness/self-observation?
Belsebuub: Set aside a period or periods in the day when you concentrate only upon being aware. For example, go for a walk, or have things you use to remind yourself, such as washing the dishes, putting your shoes on, etc., throughout the day.
Question: They say that the beginning of true wisdom is to realize just how little you truly know. Well I’m definitely at that stage at the moment.
Belsebuub: Realizing just how little we truly know is not only the beginning of wisdom, but it is a requirement of wisdom—the knowledge is infinite.
Question: What approach should we take when dealing with people in everyday situations? If we truly try to remove the egos, then it seems as if we will have to be very blunt, and maybe even hurt some people’s feelings, because we will have to give up flattery, indulgence, and the interpersonal games that go on every moment of interaction with those who are not seeking enlightenment. How should we handle these situations?
Belsebuub: When you’re dealing with people in everyday situations, be in self-observation and maintain your awareness and clarity of mind. Then you’ll be in the right state to deal with whatever situations arise; that’s because your inner intelligence will be activated and the influence of your subconscious will be absent or minimized.
It’s the ego of fear that usually causes the worries about how to relate to people. Your intelligence will tell you what to say and how to act, but you must be conscious and self-aware for it to emerge through the fog of a mind that’s filled with thoughts driven by emotion.
Question: I am mostly catching myself after I have already spent time daydreaming, or after I have been caught up in anger, defensiveness, etc. I think that the goal then should be to develop the ability to watch it as it arises, and let it go. Mostly I am not able to do this, though maybe a bit more than when I first started. Is this something that begins to arise naturally as we progress with self-awareness, or do you have some thoughts on how to help develop this ability also?
Belsebuub: As you practice you do develop the ability to watch an ego as it arises. Self-observation is a sense that is atrophied and develops with practice. If you are clear and aware, you are already in the state to see anything that arises, because any ego alters that state of clarity. Once observed, the egos should be removed.
Question: When I listen to music I tend to daydream and feel emotions (connected to the music, lyrics, beat, etc.). Should I not do this? It feels natural. Is it a distraction from consciousness by an ego?
Belsebuub: Some music, particularly the instrumental kind, can be difficult to concentrate on, but there’s generally no need to concentrate on it—you can even get into a conflict in your mind if you do. It’s better to just naturally listen to music. Music is very powerful in evoking thoughts and emotions, and it has effects that are either spiritually beneficial or detrimental depending upon the type. Observe yourself to see what it evokes in you.
Question: It is not possible for a writer to function without daydreaming. A rich inner “fantasy” life is crucial to the act of writing. So how do I balance the necessity of having this inner world of my own creation, daydreams and all, in order to produce quality fiction, and the gradual reduction and (presumably) eventual elimination of this part of our mind, toward living in the “eternal now” of the Buddhist philosophy, in which daydreaming is eschewed in favor of total immersion in the present moment? Your advice would be welcome.
Belsebuub: I find that writing is best done with clear thought and imagination directed to what you’re doing, as daydreaming off the subject can quickly take you on its own track away from what you’re writing about.
When your mind is clear and you feel quite free of the influence of egos, you can enrich your writings with greater wisdom.
Question: There are times when I feel aggressive—the feelings will last a few minutes until I realize what I’m doing and then I change my thoughts. How can I effectively address this behavior?
Belsebuub: There will also be small elements of that anger that appear in different situations, not necessarily large outbursts, but irritation and the like. You should watch out for these as well as the type of thoughts and feelings just before and during an outburst. You will then get to recognize the pattern, which will help you to uncover and overcome it.
As you’ve seen, being aware of it can help it to go away a little quicker, but to really get rid of it from the subconscious you need to remove the egos, and to practice alchemy, which I explain about elsewhere.
Question: On the one hand, this seems to be telling us to access our dreams, to make them more vivid and real, to enter fully into our inner dream life. Yet on the other hand, we are instructed to reduce daydreaming, to curtail fantasy, to work on anchoring our consciousness in the present moment, to ground our awareness in the eternal now of the real world around us. Pardon my impertinence, but this seems contradictory to me. Could you explain?
Belsebuub: When ego states are reduced here in the physical world, then their compulsive fantasy is curtailed and there is greater clarity in the present moment.
This makes dreams during sleep clearer, so that instead of them being basically projections of the subconscious, you see more of what’s really there. To a certain extent it’s like coming out of a daydream and being aware in the physical world, although the influence of the subconscious is obviously greater in dreams. When they are clear and relatively free of the subconscious, dreams are no longer something you have created, but are real events that you partake in. In this way you can receive spiritual teachings and you can open the doors to a greater learning for yourself.
But it’s always helpful to remember any kind of dreams, because they contain psychological states such as anger, fear, etc., which are useful to study for self-discovery. As those states are gradually reduced here, then they’ll begin to disappear from your dreams too.
Daydreaming comes from stored mental impressions. In a clear state, thoughts become more ordered and effective, so if you are thinking about something you are less liable to drift off into daydreams.
Question: I heard that doing favors for people and giving to charity can be an ego because sometimes we do it (even if we don’t realize it) to feel good about ourselves or to get something out of it. If this is right, how do we get around this? Surely it is possible to give without it being an ego. Humanity would be in an even worse state if there weren’t all those charity and relief workers out there. It seems that in this case the egos serve to benefit society.
Belsebuub: Yes, charity can be done through egos, such as when it is done to feel good. But still, charity helps even the giver who does it in this way, as long as the outcome of their charity is beneficial, because actions are what count.
People are not just egos though. There is consciousness, from which stems the capacity for love and a genuine care for others, and so selfless good deeds take place all the time around the world. As the egos are reduced, consciousness increases and so does the capacity for love and all the other virtues that it contains. The world would be a far better place if more people acquired self-knowledge and changed.
Everyone can only act according to their understanding and can only do what they can, including helping others. You don’t have to feel unable to act because of good egos—act in the ways you see fit. Do your best in whatever ways you can, and strive to increase consciousness and self-knowledge as you go along. The more you do this, the more you’ll learn to act objectively and with intelligence, without good or bad egos interfering.
Question: Maybe we should laugh more often.
Belsebuub: It’s nice to have a good laugh, but if you want to understand yourself you should observe what kinds of things make you laugh—it can be fine, or it can be related to cruelty.
Question: I saw a man walking my way. He was trying to talk to people, but they were telling him that they were busy. When he came up to me he asked me if I was busy too, I said “yes,” but then I noticed the nervous feeling and wondered why. I was afraid this man was going to stand there and talk to me, but why did he make me nervous?
Belsebuub: Nervousness like this is a normal response to a threat; the emotional and instinctive centers were getting you to act. I’m not saying this was the case, but there are some people that we are better off not talking to or dealing with.
Having some understanding and intuition in a situation can help us to respond effectively in it, but ego states and a clouded mind can inhibit good judgment and get us into situations we are better off without. Having thoughts full of egos can ruin the ability to make good decisions, but with self-observation you can change that and be more able to act in the best possible way.
Question: There is someone in my life right now who is focusing on me strongly sexually. I can feel their thoughts and know that they are projecting their desires on me. Even though I am aware of this, I am still consumed by their fantasies.
Belsebuub: Because they are sending you those thoughts, you’ll feel them, as they travel in waves in the astral plane—that is, in the fifth dimension where dreams occur. You’ll then pick up on them, and if you go along with them, you’ll feel their effects and have related thoughts and fantasies. The egos are making use of this opportunity to feed themselves, just as other egos do.
With an understanding of the egos involved you can be in a better position to make the right decisions, or the best that you are able to.
Question: Do you feel all of your emotions in one place in your body or does anger sit in a different spot in your body than pride etc.?
Belsebuub: Emotions take place in the emotional center, and you’ll feel a lot in the area of the solar plexus, but we can feel the effects and the sensations from emotional egos spread out over the body, particularly when they work with the motor center and instincts, and when they give rise to physical sensations such as trembling, sweating, goose bumps, etc.
Question: Are there times we need to listen to emotions closely, for example when making a decision about a change? During times of change it can be difficult to detach from feelings. I also wonder about healthy emotions as expressing emotions is often seen as healthy. What do you think?
Belsebuub: Emotions will arise from time to time and bottling up emotions is to feed the egos. To try not to let them be expressed is not the same as, nor is it as effective as, observing and eliminating the egos. The normal working of the emotional center is fine, that’s what it’s for, but acting upon emotions when they have egos in them can be very harmful and often brings bad repercussions.
It’s better to be detached from them and to respond to situations with a clear mind and with the intelligence and intuition of consciousness. Objective and clear thought tends to lead to objective and clear action, and then the right decisions can be made.
Question: When talking about intelligence and consciousness, are these from the head? I wonder, does acting from the heart fit in with emotions and consciousness?
Belsebuub: The brain is the physical vehicle and apparatus of a multidimensional psyche, but the heart itself is another kind of simple brain—it has its own nervous system, neurons, and neurotransmitters, and it communicates with the brain and can act independently of it.
A good intellect is generally recognized as being the measure of intelligence, but there is another kind of intelligence that is an attribute of consciousness, and that is wisdom. Intellect removed from that kind of intelligence can be not only unintelligent, but also dangerous.
When the mind and consciousness are working harmoniously there is a higher intelligence than that of the intellect alone. But when the Being works through the mind, there is a greater intelligence still.
The saying “acting from the heart” can mean different things to different people, but the usual meanings are either acting from emotion driven by egos, or in its higher aspect acting from love, and from genuine spiritual feelings.
Question: I think self-observation is a profound tool if you use it to recognize and then shed the egos. I have started to reflect upon my responses to my co-workers and everyday interactions with all those whom I deal with. Once you start to travel down the road of self-observation, you start to evaluate your responses in terms of one aspect of an ego or another. You soon start to realize that most of your everyday reactions or interactions with those whom you deal with are aspects of your egos. Once you start to realize this and reflect upon this without the interference of the egos, it opens up your consciousness to a new level of enlightenment. This puts us upon the road to true knowledge and awakening into a new level of consciousness. It is so profound yet so simple, if we just apply it.
Belsebuub: Yes, you’re right—it’s simple, and everyone should do it.
Question: When observing myself I very rarely get any emotions, feeling, or sensations in the solar plexus unless it’s fear—mostly I don’t get any sensations at all with my thoughts. Any suggestions?
Belsebuub: Thoughts in themselves don’t have any sensations—we only feel things with thoughts if other centers are involved too. If there are egos in there, for example, by thinking of something that makes you fearful, you’ll get a feeling of fear in the emotional center as a result.
To see more of the egos in the emotional center, persist with self-observation as it’s a sense that’s developed with practice.