- by joeylott
Obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior used to dominate my life. If I wasn’t deeply asleep then I was involved in obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior. And it was hell.
This is why I’ve been so passionate about sharing with others the possibility of discovering true peace and freedom after suffering from obsessions and compulsions and the general hell of OCD.
Because hardly anyone else is sharing this information. And yet, it’s so much easier than you can imagine. In fact, it’s utterly simple. It’s so simple that you can’t do it. it’s not a doing.
Just notice that all the obsession and the compulsion is a doing. It’s very effortful. It’s hard work.
Hell. I used to work so hard at the obsession and compulsion – and the trying to get rid of it (which is yet another layer of doing!) – that I was exhausted before I even got out of bed in the morning.
“Oh, no! Not another day of hell!” I’d think. And then more thinking. And more trying to get rid of it. And more compulsion. And more trying to get rid of it.
For those who aren’t yet familiar with my story, let me briefly explain that it was extreme. I’m talking about sheer panic at least 50% of my waking hours. I’m talking about living out of a cargo van as a (very poor) strategy for dealing with anxiety. I’m talking about eating nothing but raw sweet potatoes for months at a time. I’m talking about paranoia so severe that I was all but certain that every drop of drinking water available was poisoned by someone or another…all one great conspiracy to cause me to suffer.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It was nuts.
It’s strange because after 20+ years of that nightmare, you’d think that it would be a big deal to now be completely and utterly free.
And it is.
But at the same time. It’s not. Because it’s now obvious that this is all that is.
When everything is seen to be simply this, then there’s nothing to compare anything to. I can no longer go back to any of those memories and compare them to the present. Because it’s obvious that the memories too are just this. They are not separate from the present.
And if that seems strange or incomprehensible to you. Then read on. Because I’ll explain.
What I’m talking about isn’t a theory. it’s not a new idea. It’s not a concept. It’s not a belief.
It’s direct experience.
And if you take a look right now then I’m betting that you’ll also find that it’s your direct experience.
Let me tell you my basic strategies that I used to use to deal with obsessive thinking. I would try to change my thinking. I would try to get rid of my thinking. I would try to improve my thinking. I would try to quiet my thinking. I would try to numb my thinking.
Any of that sound familiar to you?
And the same with the compulsions. I would try to get rid of them. Or change them. Or distract myself. Or numb them.
Again, any of that familiar?
If you said yes, then I suspect that what I have to say (or, more accurately – write) may prove to be very helpful for you.
None of those strategies worked. Ultimately. They failed. Because what I most wanted was true peace and freedom. And those strategies just resulted in more suffering over time. Louder, more disturbing thoughts. Increasingly more demanding compulsions.
Finally, I came to realize that all those strategies had at their core the same presumptions. And those presumptions are…
That thoughts have inherent power
That sensations have meaning
That thoughts can solve the problem
That action can solve the problem
That something was wrong
That it was about me
And more to the point, that there was a me separate from this present happening.
Upon discovering that there is only this, and that this is all there is – that there is no me separate from this – then all the presuppositions fell apart. It all becomes quite transparent. And then there is clarity.
The thoughts don’t have to change or go away. The sensations don’t have to change or go away. It’s all welcome. Because finally it’s seen that it’s all just this.
And this is not a thing. It’s not THIS. It’s just this. Exactly what is right now. Exactly this.
Before the thought about what this is there is just this. And the thought is just this.
Here’s my recommendation. If you suffer from obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior. Then start to notice that before the thoughts about what it is and what it all means, there is actually the direct, immediate experience of what is. It is so close and so direct that if you look to thought to describe it then you’ll overlook it. So just notice that there is a direct experience that you cannot describe or understand. But you know that it is happening because there is undeniable experience.
Then notice that what you have tried to solve with various strategies isn’t actually a thing. Notice that there is no such thing as a compulsion. There is only a sensation. But even the sensation is ever-changing. So to call it a compulsion or even a sensation is to miss what it actually is.
The only way to know what it actually is, is to remain with it directly.
Which is always happening. So just notice. And don’t try to add to it.
Begin to take a look and see who is it that all these thoughts and sensations belong to?
You assume that it’s you. You assume that it all is about you. It’s your experience. Your thoughts. Your sensations. Your compulsion. Your life.
But just look. Start to see what all of this actually refers to.
What do you find? Do you find anything there?
I discovered that there is no one there.
This discovery doesn’t change anything. Because this is always what is. There is only ever just this.
So don’t look for fireworks or psychedelic experience or out of body experience or any of that.
It’s just seeing what already is. There is no separate thing called me. It was only ever just a phantom.
Thoughts happen. Sensations happen. All of it happens. But it doesn’t happen to anyone. It doesn’t belong to anyone.
This doesn’t mean anything. It’s not about a better you. Or a new, improved, “non-existent you.” It’s just seeing what is as it is. Which is all that ever is. It’s not different than before. Because now it’s clear that there is no before.
“Before” is just this. Always this. And it’s not about someone. It’s just this.
And, incidentally, in my direct experience, it turns out to be the end of suffering. It’s not that thoughts stopped. Nor did the sensations of compulsion stop. But it is now clear that it isn’t about me. It isn’t happening to me. None of it is mine. That doesn’t mean that sometimes the same old patterns and behaviors don’t seem to happen. But there’s no suffering. Because it’s seen simply as this. And, strangely, it seems that the patterns and habits that you might call obsession and compulsion happen much less.
But that’s not important. That’s not the goal. It seemed like it before. But it turns out that in my experience true peace and freedom has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with less obsession or less compulsion. It’s just that those things show up less when it’s seen that they aren’t any big deal. They are just what is.
As always. Your comments and questions are welcome.