Menopause can be HOT! Yet, even with the physical symptoms which present at this time of life, what if the experience is a blessing in disguise?
Admittedly, a very hot disguise!
But the word “pause” is a hint. What if the blessing is, being reminded to pause? If you are living an inquiring kind of life, you can appreciate any reminder!
Inquiry is all about pausing; about interrupting the momentum of thinking which “knows” how things are, and tells you with its constant hum, “You are a person, you are this body-mind.” Inerruting and questioning this steady hum of thinking is the fastest way to liberation.
With inquiry, we can ask, “Who is going through this experience?” “Who is saying “no”? What am I—am I the body that registers this? Am I the mind which judges, comments and resists?
And we can wake up to the truth, that everything and anything the body experiences is constantly changing; that the mind is a limited interpreter. Something which depends on the movements of limited thought? Can I be something that constantly changes?
Menopause is a big change. It’s so hot that you can’t miss it! Maybe we missed that our 5 year old self, our 35 year old self, our 35 year old self, our much thinner and healthier and more attractive “self” is dead. Is completely gone. Maybe we missed the significance of that—that these disappearances are trying to wake us up to WHAT IS ALWAYS HERE and cannot come, go, appear, disappear, or suffer along with the body.
Follow along with Andrea as she discovers the truth about menopause.
Andrea: I’ve been waking up at night with symptoms of menopause, and then a thought comes, “I can’t stand it.” And when I do inquiry and look for the space, it’s like, “Fuck the space!”
EJ: To whom is this voice speaking? Is there not something that hears this voice, these sounds?
EJ: So when you hear this voice speaking, you might ask, “What is aware?” to instigate presence. Whereas before you would just go along with it. Do you see now, that this is just a sound?
Andrea: Yes, I see it written as words. “Fuck the space.”
EJ: And before you learned language, you might see those symbols and not even have the concept, “Those are words.” Or you would hear it as sound and it wouldn’t have meaning. But now you have learned to give the shape of letters to sounds, and to give meaning to those sounds. So what happens when you believe the meaning of the sounds now? When you believe, “I can’t stand it” or “Fuck the space”?
Andrea: I get a contraction in my chest, and it’s soooo hot, it’s like a fireball.
EJ: So take a couple of deep breaths. [pause] And simply acknowledge that this energy is here. It came from nowhere. It’s God’s business—it appears. Now, say silently, as best you can to the energy, “Thank you for being here. I’m sorry I tried to control you.” Feel it.
And see if you can sense an openness all around the energy, that’s just open and allowing—even if the energy is screaming and heating. Or getting more intense. And remember, you have offered it the space, “I used to hate you, but I am open now.” See if that’s true for you now. [pause] Allow the energy to just pour into the openness. See that the openness doesn’t have any agenda. It’s not mixed up with the energy, is it?
Andrea: No, and the space is so much bigger.
EJ: What happens when you allow it to be however it is?
Andrea: It feels like it’s expanding but dissolving. In a way that’s flowing, and very peaceful.
EJ: And that energy that’s flowing, dissolving, is that you, a someone who “Can’t stand it”?
EJ: So can you get a sense, that all of these sounds, “Can’t stand it,” “I can’t do it,” that all of these contain the word, “I,” but is there an actual someone they define? Or is this just an idea of a someone?
Andrea: Yes, just an idea.
EJ: And this openness that you’re now tuned in to. Does that come and go? Did you have to turn it on, or go and get it?
Andrea: No, it was kind of just waiting.
EJ: So it doesn’t come and go. And is it changed or hurt in any way by the unraveling of the energy?
Andrea: No. No. It feels like it is eternally the same.
EJ: Was it born?
Andrea: It seems to just be there.
EJ: Does it need a story to be what it is—present, always here, open, never born?
Andrea: No. No.
EJ: Okay. It is inside the body? Is this presence an idea in your head? Or is it living inside the body?
Andrea: I don’t think I can locate it.
EJ: If you can’t locate it, is it inside the body? Or is it more true that the body, which you experience as images, sensations, perceptions—is it not more true that all of these occur within this presence?
EJ: See if you sense that hot flashes in the body is a wake up call. It’s like, “Oh, here’s a change to the body that’s so obvious that you can’t miss it.”
EJ: But are you these ever-changing bodily experiences? Is that what you are, in reality?
Are you the body that moves about from one country to another? Or from the bedroom to the living room? Are you this moving image and moving sensations?
Andrea: Right now, I can see that I’m not that.
EJ: And then a thought comes…
Andrea: Yes, it says, “But it FEELS like I am the body.”
EJ: Yes. Look at that idea.
See that it has the word “I” in it. What is aware of the “I idea”? Is there not something aware of the idea of a someone?
EJ: Is this idea “I feel like I am the body,” always here? Is it aware and conscious—for example, is it aware of other thoughts, aware of sounds in the room, aware of what you sense and perceive?
Andrea: No. It feels like a tape right now, running. There are all these tapes running.
EJ: Exactly. Like little apps or programs installed on your computer—the computer of consciousness. So you could have experience. And the experiences will run as long as they do. But do YOU share the destiny of the experiences? Where is the experience of a 17-year old? Where is the experience of you, the movie of yesterday?
Andrea: It’s gone.
EJ: But have YOU gone?
Andrea: No. I just feel the spaciousness that’s here.
EJ: Does the spaciousness feel alive?
Andrea: Yes, very alive.
EJ: Does the memory of you, yesterday, feel alive?
EJ: So is it true?—can you be an image of me, and idea of me, a memory of me? If they have NO life can those be you?
EJ: But you found that this, the what is aware, you experienced that as undeniably alive.
Andrea: Yes. Wow. That’s nice. I’ve never felt that difference so clearly that before—like the image or memory of me on vacation last week—it’s so dead, it’s like a photograph or something. It’s just a thing. And then there’s that spaciousness that’s so….. alive.
EJ: Yes. So what about the possibility of taking brief moments during the day and just asking, whatever you catch yourself thinking, imaging, telling the story of “I,” – what if you catch it running and ask, “What is aware?” See that the tapes running, that those are trying to make what is not real, trying to make temporary experiences real. And the price for that, is you miss what IS real.
Andrea: So what if you let go the gripping onto any thinking, any story of “Me, a someone” and you let your whole body turn to jelly—become soft. A total letting go, asking the question, “What is aware?” and letting everything go into the silence. Many times a day.
Andrea: Yes, that feels nice.
EJ: And if it feels right, when you are tuned in to the silence and the relaxation, to say a silent, “Thank you. I love you.”
Andrea: Before I went on vacation, I was kind of able to do that. But now, the energy just feels somehow bigger. So when I can’t do it, when I ask myself, “What is aware?” and I just can’t find anything, because the thoughts are SO loud. What can I do?
EJ: The very first thing is to see if you can sense that “I can’t” is a program. See if you can sense that you—your unlimited consciousness—when you set out to play the game of being asleep, you installed all sorts of programs. To seemingly limit yourself. And the last program you put in, just to make sure the game was really, really juicy, was, “I can’t. I can’t be free.” You see?
Andrea: [Laughter] Yes.
EJ: So what if that’s all it is? A program.
Andrea: I think that’s true, actually.
EJ: Notice what happened when the thought suggested, “What about the times when I can’t?” You see how instantly you identified with that sound. As if, “That’s what I am.”
EJ: But isn’t “I can’t” just a sound, feeling and possibly some images?
EJ: But what is aware of that? Turn your attention directly to the energy of “I can’t.”
EJ: It probably has a compelling energy, because of many times in the past that you’ve just given in to it. You’ve been feeding it with your interest. So invite that energy to come into your awareness now. [pause] See that this is the first act of love—to open and invite it to be here fully.
Andrea: I feel kind of numb.
EJ: Invite numb to be here as just energy. Without any judgment or resistance. Is there any judgment or resistance?
EJ: What does judgment and resistance feel like?
Andrea: It’s in the chest, like a pushing down feeling.
EJ: Is it weak or strong?
Andrea: It’s quite strong. It feels like my head is not connected to my body.
EJ: So imagine taking your head off your body, and setting it down on a chair in the room. Like a hat.
EJ: And feel the complete emptiness of the space where the head used to be. Yes?
EJ: And you have not disappeared, You, whatever is aware, is just here. Yes?
EJ: Now envision the whole chest area. See the image of your chest and upper body, but now let the lines of that image expand in to the space all around the image. Feel and visualize the lines falling apart into the emptiness. Slowly expand, expand until the lines all fall apart in the openness.
EJ: What happens to the pressing down energy? Can you allow it to just press all it wants into the emptiness?
Andrea: Yes. I get a sense of the space all around, but there’s something that’s tight.
EJ: Okay, so something that’s tight. Good. And remember in this moment to keep the space of no head.
Andrea: Um-hmm. No, no, there’s no head.
EJ: Just a clear radiant emptiness.
EJ: Feel the relief of that.
EJ: Okay. So there’s the sensation of tightness. Now envision loving hands. Light filed hands, holding this tightness, and saying, “I love you. I’m sorry I tried to control you. I’m open now.”
EJ: And feel the truth in that. You are open—You’ve willingly surrendered the story, and the images of a container. You’ve given up the identity of “Me, a container of tightness, of thoughts.”
EJ: Feel the lovingness of the open, soft presence. [pause] And is the open, soft presence, it is entangled with the tightness?
EJ: Just breathing. [pause] And let this openness hold and permeate the tightness. Filling it with light and love. Holding it.
Andrea: Hmm. [long pause]
EJ: What happens?
Andrea: It’s all softening. I can’t remember what this was about. It’s just so sweet. It feels like the tightness is relaxing. It’s not gone, but it’s not clenched.
EJ: Yes. Just sense that the openness which holds it, has no agenda. Is the energy in its current form any threat to the openness?
Andrea: No. [yawning]
EJ: Just notice your freedom—to clench into the tightness, as if to control it, or your freedom to just be… the neutral softness. Without any story.
EJ: And the energy which is going through its own process, is that energy you, a someone who “can’t”?
Andrea: No. That doesn’t even make any sense. [laughter]
EJ: Yeah, but a few minutes ago you were so sure it was you and a problem.
Andrea: Yes, something shifted for me, to see that in these sentences, the “I” thought, that as a baby, that would be nothing.
Andrea: That’s really great to see. That’s nothing!
EJ: What you’re seeing is the power of the program, when it runs on automatic. And the program is, “Memorize the I-idea, and that’s YOU.” But now, whenever you remember, “Oh, The I-idea!” Who is upset? The “I-idea.” The idea of my self. The idea of a someone. And to be still as the witness of the I-idea, watching it present itself. “Who is upset? Who is this voice of condemnation talking to? It’s talking to an IDEA of someone!”—which I have built or empowered with my attention.
But right now I’m not empowering it. Right now, I’m aware. I’m observing, but I am not that. I am whatever is aware. And the idea of someone weakens when it’s not fed anymore.
Andrea: Cool. I’m just thinking, the idea of me, having the menopause. It’s like, “What?” That’s such an idea.
EJ: Yes, the body may be going through something. But can you feel the aliveness which is aware? Which is not going through any menopause? What is it that’s not entangled with that experience?
Andrea: Hmm. Thank you so much.
EJ: You’re welcome.