Louise Kay: Awakening Together Guest Satsang, July 2021
Anne Blanchard 00:00
Wonderful, thank you. Thank you very much. I tell you, I feel like I'm just bursting with excitement. We are in for a treat. Our guest tonight is Louise Kay. She is a teacher who has a, just a, I've never heard someone who reminds me more of Regina, who's the one that founded this organization. There's just this purity and this authenticity, and this wide open, you know, come jump in the water, you know, it's just fine, kind of feel, and I'm just thrilled to welcome you Louise and welcome you to Awakening Together. And I'm going to make sure I can hear you because I can't right now.
Louise Kay 00:55
Hi, thank you, thank you for the lovely introduction. I'm very happy to be here.
Anne Blanchard 01:00
Ah, well wonderful, and I just want to say before we get started, to everyone, that while I and Rhoda get the privilege of asking questions, you know Louise is here for the entire community. I trust your, I trust your guidance. If you feel prompted to ask a question, please just raise your hand and Saina will help me out looking at hands because I will not have my eyes on that. But, you know, if we get an hour and a half with Louise, and I just really, I actually feel like I can speak for Louise when I say she invites people to be participatory and to listen inside for if you're getting the prompt to ask something, trust that and speak right up, and she's right here.
Louise Kay 01:44
Absolutely. It's all welcome, everything's welcome.
Anne Blanchard 01:48
Well, wonderful. Well, you know, there's always a temptation to jump right in the deep end with the teachings and the practices. But I know I've gotten a chance to get to know you in the last couple of weeks getting ready for this interview and it's always helpful for people to know kind of where you come from, a little bit of a backstory, and a little bit of how you found yourself where you are, where you are today, being a teacher, you know, sharing your gifts and asking us all to look inside and find ours. So perhaps I could just let you just give us a little brief summary, whatever you feel to say about what brought you forward to this work, and kind of how that evolved and where you find yourself today.
Louise Kay 02:35
Okay. It's difficult to pinpoint a starting point to say, okay, my journey started here, in this moment. In a way, it feels like it started the moment that I was born. But the, one of the key pivotal moments that really catapulted the deeper search was when I read Eckhart's book, The Power of Now, and that had an incredibly profound impact on me. I'd already begun asking these big questions: What's the meaning of life? Why am I here? What is my purpose? And when I read his book, it just made so much sense to me, it spoke to my heart, and something in me knew, this is deep truth. And I, I got a taste of it and I just wanted more. I was so hungry for it that that began a search, a search to know this truth, not just read about it, but know it for myself.
And at that time, I was teaching English as a foreign language. I did that for 15 years, and I loved that very much. And looking back, it kind of feels like that was a preparation, in a way, for the work that I'm doing now because I learned a lot of skills that are really transferable, and somehow it feels like everything was kind of in preparation or lining me up for this, when I look back on it. And after reading that book, I was looking on YouTube, and I started meditating and doing yoga, probably like a lot of people here, you know, the same interests.
And when I first met my partner, I'd decided I had to go to India and I felt this calling in my heart, this longing to go to India. I'd heard so many stories about it being the homeland of spirituality, the birthplace of so many of these teachings that resonated so deeply. And the first night we met, we had a conversation about India and I said, I'm going to India, and we decided to go together. And I quit my job and I left my apartment and I got a one-way ticket. And that was the start of an incredible adventure.
And we went to a place called Rishikesh, which is at the foothills of the Himalaya, you probably know it, maybe you've been, probably many people have been there, it's a very special place. It's a place that's very dear to my heart and the energy there is very special. And being there, I was immersed in this world of satsang and meditation, and you know, you wake up in the morning, and you hear the bells from the temple, and the sun's going down and you hear the Gayatri Mantra. And it's just, these teachings are so imbued in the lives of the people there.
It's, it was incredible for me, and it was on that trip where I was attending a Satsang with a teacher of non duality, and in the meeting, I was following pointings, and a big opening happened. It was like being touched by grace, and there was transcendence of the mind, and it felt like everything that I wanted to understand, I understood then, through knowing it through direct experience.
And the days that followed, felt like I was in a dream, everything took on this dreamlike state. And it was like walking in a dream. And now I see that, that wasn't "it", that was the beginning. That was the beginning of what I now understand to be a lifelong journey of healing, of integration, of deepening into presence. And something profound shifted, which seems like it's non-reversible. It's like, a curtain opened and there was a seeing beyond this veil. And it was clear to me that I wasn't going back to my old life, it just wasn't relevant anymore. I wasn't going back to being an English teacher.
Anyway, we left India, we went to Israel from there, to my partner's home country. And I was living on my savings then and they were starting to dwindle. And so I began to question more, "Well, I know this truth, I discovered this truth, but what am I gonna do with my life? I need to make money." And I really didn't know, I had no clue, so I made a prayer. I really made a prayer from the depths of my heart, and I asked for guidance, I said, "Please show me, what do you want me to do? How do you want to move through me? Whatever is your will, I'll do that." And I really meant it, like I would have done anything if it just felt true, if it felt in alignment.
And a few days later, in meditation, I had an experience where I started channeling. And I knew what channeling was and I'd kind of seen people channeling, heard it, and it was kind of interesting for me. I didn't make the connection at the time that this is related to this prayer that I'd made, it was just some phenomena that was happening and I started having fun with it, exploring it with my partner, and asking questions to these beings. It was just like another world had opened up to me and it was fun to explore it. And I told a few people and they wanted to play with it, too, so word began to spread, and more people wanted to interact with these non-physical beings that were kind of communicating through me during this meditative state. I think I put some videos on YouTube just for fun and somehow it began to grow and I began to do it as my work, doing sessions with people like this.
I did that for two years, I was doing events, and I enjoyed that very much. And during that time, I was continuing to integrate a lot of traumas that were releasing, because my system had opened up in that opening experience in India and stuff was bubbling in the system. As it came up, I would apply the teachings and surrender to it, meet it, and it would release, and new layers would be revealed. So I was going through this very intense process during this time on my own personal journey and I was beginning to see more and more how masks had been put in place and how I'd taken on unconscious beliefs that were acting like veils through which I was perceiving reality, which was affecting the way I was relating with people, the way I was relating with the world. And so it was like, this light from within was shining on unconscious aspects of my expression.
And at some point, I began to feel like the channeling wasn't true anymore. I felt something wanting to arise from my own heart, an expression wanting to come through from deep inside me, you could say. I got a clear knowing that it's time to stop. And actually, when that clear knowing came, I was scheduled to do a group event, and so I showed up at the event and I said to everyone, hey look, I know you've come to see this channeling, but it's not true for me anymore. I'm not doing it. And some of them walked out and that was okay. And they asked me, "What are you doing now?" And I didn't actually know what I'm doing now but I said, "I just love to be in presence, let's just sit together in presence, and we’ll see what comes up, we’ll see what wants to be explored in the moment, fresh." And then some people had questions and we started to explore and that was the birthing of what's being offered now. The journey continues and it continues to unfold.
Anne Blanchard 14:07
Beautiful, thank you. So the work you're doing now, the words you put on it, are embodied awareness which you can see the threads and the organic way that that kind of either wove itself or unwove itself to be available for you and to offer others. I mean, it's an offering for others to look and see with you that we're all looking ah, look at that, we're all looking at the same thing. Oh, we're all looking from the same place and a slow, or fast, or whatever timing comes
But I'd love to stop for a moment, though, because you know, you can hear this, and one could hear this and think oh my God, I haven't been to India, and I've never channeled, and I, you know, and my gosh, it can become this like thing outside and then mind can get in there and make up a story about how we're not it, Louise is it, and she's had these special experiences, and not special to put them down, authentic experiences, but mind can so quickly divide from that and say, "Oh, isn't Louise something," and Louise is something, and yet the truth is, if we go back to the genesis, it sounds like from what you're saying, the genesis of all of this was reading The Power of Now.
And I mean, in your work now I can just see like the two things I get out of that book, I can see all through your work. And I could tell you what I got out of the book, but can you remember what you got out of the book, when you read The Power of Now? Can you remember kind of those fundamental distinctions? Because that's not exotic, that's not India, that's not channeling, that is an open heart reading a very clear message and taking it inside and saying, "Is this true for me?" and confirming it for yourself. And that is a very accessible experience that takes it out of the realm of exotic and into the open-hearted looking. So I didn't know if maybe you could speak a little bit to that?
Louise Kay 16:42
Absolutely, and I am really happy that you brought up this point because it's very important to clarify that in order to recognize our true self, in order to know it, we don't need to go to India, we don't need to channel, we don't need any of these exotic experiences. Yeah, some people experience that, but it's absolutely not a requirement for awakening. Everything we need is right here, right now in this moment, and it's accessible to everybody right now. And it's incredibly simple, it's so much more simple than our mind would have us believe.
And it's understandable when you look at how we're kind of conditioned from growing up, and we take on these beliefs that anything of value, you have to work for it, and it takes time, you’ve got to work hard, the harder you work, the more you're going to achieve. Our society's kind of oriented in this way. And this is the opposite. This is about letting go and stopping. And so it throws the mind a bit, and the mind is looking for something to grasp at like, "Okay, tell me what to do." "No, you don't have to do anything, you just be." "But yeah, then what?" "Then what nothing, you just be, that's it." And it's so incredibly simple that the mind can't get it.
And that's one of the things I love about Eckhart's teaching, is that he points to this simplicity - The Power of Now, the title of the book. And for me, what I got from that book was two main things which I think, have become core aspects of the teaching that's expressed here, and that are relevant to this term, "embodied awareness". And one of them was, for the first time, I was able to observe the thoughts. Eckhart invites that in his book, can you observe the thoughts? And that was a huge revelation. Space was created between the thought and me - wow.
Now in the beginning, the mind observes itself, the mind observes the thoughts. And as we inquire deeper, "Who am I? What is it?", there's transcendence of the mind altogether, just pure awareness. And so that is the awareness aspect, the self inquiry, "Who am I? What is it that's perceiving? What is it that's aware? What is here without any thoughts?"
And the second thing that I got from that book was, in the book Eckhart asks you to try to see if you can feel inside your body. He said just see if you can feel the tingling sensations in your hands, and see if you can feel it in your arm. And that was another huge revelation here. "Wow, I can feel the inner body, I can feel the energy." And from there, there was the understanding of what he calls a pain body and the practice of consistently meeting the pain body, surrendering to it, consciously feeling it, and seeing that, oh, yeah, it works, it dissolves, I'm not getting triggered where I used to get triggered.
And that's become the embodied aspect of the teaching. So it's embodied awareness, it's the recognition that I'm not the body, I'm not the mind, and I am the body and the mind. And then we can inquire and see where there's unconscious beliefs in the system, where there's some unprocessed emotion or energy that needs to be met.
Anne Blanchard 21:51
Beautiful, thank you. So that brings me to your process, the process that you're kind of guided to offer, which is always, you know, one move, you know, it's never out, it's relax that and come in, relax that and turn attention inward. And, like you were just speaking, to meet the energies, meet the agitation, meet the trauma. And then when one does that, oftentimes, the story, the circumstance, the, “Oh my God, I can't believe it,” just that playing over and over again.
And I just wanted to give you a chance to speak to the interplay between, because your pointings are not saying bypass anything. They're not saying, "Oh, just push this away, because you're just awareness over here." I mean, it's actually the opposite, it's almost tantric, almost, it's like, bring it right in. And yet at the same time, with the story, we bring it and look at it, but then there's a little bit of letting it go too, and I just wanted you to speak to kind of the paradox of what we bring forward, what we look at and what at the same time, paradoxically, we allow to fall away.
Louise Kay 23:31
So we start by recognizing that I'm aware of the thoughts. And I'm aware of the experiences happening in the body. Just like I'm aware of sounds, I'm aware of smells. And we inquire into this “I” that is aware. What is it? Now it's not anything that changes. Anything that changes is an experience. It's an object that this subject "I" is perceiving. So the thoughts, we see them, they come, they change, they go, they're noisy, they're quiet. The emotions, they come, they go, they change. So we're looking for that which never changes. That which is unchanging, unmoving.
Now, when we start looking, usually there's a looking externally, "Where? Where do I find it? Is it here, is it here?" Now we can't find it anywhere, because we already are it. So we have to draw the attention back into that which is aware, which brings us to being "I am", just knowing I am.
Here, we discover there's a peacefulness, and from this peace, we include the experience that's happening in the body. So we're going into it with our attention without identifying with it, so we don't make it personal. And the same with the thoughts, we can explore what beliefs are held in the system, without making them personal.
So this, this presence, pure awareness, is totally impersonal. It just is. And it includes everything, it doesn't say, "I want that, I don't want that, that's good, that's bad, that's spiritual, that's not spiritual." This is how our mind labels and identifies and divides up our experiences to create a sense of separation. So without perceiving through that filter of the mind, there's just awareness, which just is, being aware that, oh, there is a sensation in the body, or there's an emotion, and we include it.
Now, as we include it, and consciously feel it, we create in the system, the optimum environment for healing. And the body knows how to bring itself back into harmony so we don't have to do anything, we just stay present with the feelings and open to them, consciously including them, and the energies start to move, and they start to release. And insights arise, seeings spontaneously arise. "Oh wow, that's why I've been afraid of this, because of what happened to me when I was three years old. That's why I've been creating all this drama in my life, because of this belief." And it unravels itself to show us, when we rest our attention as a light of consciousness, just being, so there is no doing involved, it's an allowing of the unraveling of the unconsciousness and the transformation which takes place on the human level.
Now, on the level of truth, there is no transformation, there's nothing to transform because we're already perfect, already totally whole and complete. And that's our starting point. Now, many people have the idea that I need to fix the body, I need to fix the mind, in order to get to this point in the future when I'm at peace or when I'm happy, when I made it. But that point will never arrive because we're trying to fix something that's perfectly imperfect, it's flawed, The human aspect is flawed and it always will be. Sure we can become more loving, more compassionate, but we're looking in the wrong place if we're trying to fix this external form which is not what we are, it's temporary, it's going to wither and die. The deeper aspect of us, which is our true self, is eternal, and that will never die, that was never born, and that's where we discover the perfection. And we can only discover that in the present moment, right now, by becoming still and stopping and just recognizing this beingness.
Anne Blanchard 30:02
I could just stay right here, but I can feel the pull of doing an interview. But thank you for, yeah, it's kind of just mesmerizing, isn't it, to be in that truth.
Louise Kay 30:15
Yeah, and once we land here fully in the present moment, and we're being, then we can live from here, so we can speak from here, we can listen from here, we can eat from here. And this is one of the practices, I invite people, live this. It's not enough just to, you know, come to the Zoom meetings and do your meditation, and then go back into life. No, this is a way of living. This is living truth. This is your whole life is dedicated to this truth. Every single moment. So life becomes a meditation in motion, where we're constantly checking in, "Am I remembering my true nature?", so that we can live from this truth as this truth.
And sure we forget, it's natural. And we find we're caught up in our thoughts, miles away, and suddenly, we wake up again, "Oh, I'm back." And that's okay, because every time we get lost, we're learning by forgetting. And the more we have this dedicated, focused intention to be present every moment, to live in this truth, then the more we remember to come back, come back, come back to now.
And our presence power increases. As our presence power increases, we don't react so much anymore, we're able to recognize, "Ah, something's triggered right now. Let me take a moment just to meet this." We don't speak hurtful words, we don't speak out unconscious blabbering, there is a depth to us. And that is what brings peace, it infuses peace and love and compassion into our own inner experience, which then overflows to everyone, everything around us and how we relate to life.
Anne Blanchard 32:46
As I listen to you, I can hear kind of two threads, of how you react to this, there's the thread of really centering and stillness, having the attention inward. And just that kind of freefall surrender into being. We notice doing this, that's okay, we let that go. And at the same time, so there's kind of a beingness that leads to a discernment, and I wondered if you could speak to, you know, the sense people could have that, like, yeah, I can get there in meditation, and yeah, I can get there when I'm, you know, having Louise Kay holding my gaze, yes, I can find that. But then I go out and you said the whole point is to live it, not just be in satsang or be in meditation, but it's getting up off the cushion. It's getting up out of satsang. And it seems like discernment is just a critical component to this. And the other aspect seems to be really having a true desire, like an anchor of knowing what you want, and knowing where to look, and knowing that the path of the heart is what you want to follow. But it seems like there's an interplay between those two and I thought maybe you could speak to that.
Louise Kay 34:24
Yeah, yeah, you, you must have this clarity inside of you that I want this, like this is the number one important thing in my life, to live in truth, more than my relationships, more than my family, more than money, more than anything. To live fully in truth. If you want it half, it's not going to work. Even if you want it 99.999% it's not enough. You've got to be all in - 100%, 100% dedicated. And when we are so dedicated to something, when we feel in our heart, “This is the truth,” we don't forget so easily. Something is really important to us
So every moment we're questioning, "Can I recognize this deeper presence right now? Am I aware of my breath right now? Am I observing thoughts right now?" No matter where we are, no matter who we're with, no matter what we're doing. This is what's important.
And this is a love for truth that, really it's like being touched by grace.This love for truth is born from the heart. And I don't know if we can just decide, "Yeah, I want that." The mind sometimes thinks it can decide, "Yeah, that sounds nice. Ooh, enlightenment, that sounds attractive, maybe I'll go for that. But often, the mind seeks enlightenment as a distorted idea that when I get that it's going to solve all my problems, life will be easy, I won't have these challenges, so it's more of an escapism. And that's one of the greatest misconceptions, actually, in spirituality, that if I recognize my true self, then I won't have to feel unpleasant emotions, I won't have any challenges, life will become this magical, mystical bubble of miracles wherever I go. And it's a fantasy of the mind. It's not like that. The nature of this reality is full of challenges and suffering, it's going to be there. It's just that the way that we relate to it changes.
So it's like we are seeing through the eyes of clarity, through the eyes of truth, without this veil of distortion that causes our suffering. And all the past trauma, it's there in the body, and it has to be met, there's no way around it. So it really requires dedication to have the willingness to feel what is incredibly painful, all the past hurts that haven't been processed, we have to feel it all. So somebody that's not really into it, they're not going to really see a lot of result in the way that they're living. Maybe I went off track a little, did I answer your question? I don't remember it anymore. (Laughs)
Anne Blanchard 38:17
No, it's perfect. And there's two points I want to pick up on. One is that when we're in process, the process is ongoing. It's only mind that says, "Okay, I got it, and it's over." But I want to come to that second, if I could. Firstly, I want to turn back to what I hear you pointing to as the most important thing, which is getting clear within yourself, within your heart. Just you and you. What do you want? What's most important?
Louise Kay 38:52
Anne Blanchard 38:53
And in prepping for this, and I had the great pleasure in prepping for this and listening to you, I was also in a retreat the last five days of "In the World But Not of It: Embodying Truth". And so everything that we would study all day in the retreat would then be echoed in your teachings all night as I was preparing for this and I'd go back into the retreat and hear teachings from an entirely different source, mostly from our founder, founding minister Regina Dawn Akers, who has scribed two different books of truth teachings, and what I felt very, you know, invited to do, is just like you, there came a point where, and you told us this earlier, you made a prayer, you felt a prayer rise up. And that is exactly what has happened to many of us, but specifically what's happened to Regina as well. Her prayer was something like, I will go anywhere, I will learn anything, just make me useful for the rest of my life. And when I read the words of your prayer: please show me whatever it is you want me to do. I'm here, I want to do it. I'm available, whatever it is.
And I just wanted to take just this moment to ask you, and all of us, to invite that in. I mean, yes, mind can't decide to want this for us. But we're all invited. If we're hearing this, we're all invited to check in with our hearts to see if there's a prayer that wants to be spoken like Regina, like Louise. Is there a prayer there? Have you spoken it? Are you listening? Is now the moment to listen to it and to speak that. And I just wanted to let you speak to that if you would?
Louise Kay 41:08
Yes, yes, yes, this is the power of prayer, to get the invitation to get clarity inside of ourselves on what this life is for, what I want to use this, every sacred moment (for). We don't know how many of these moments we have. We don't know which breath is our last breath. What is important to me? What is the best use of my time, of this lifeforce energy? Is it to sit watching YouTube videos all day and play video games? Is it to, you know, there's so many distractions in our modern world, pulling us here, there and everywhere, and our mind can so easily be pulled into the illusion that, oh, if I get that, what that other person has that looks so happy, then I will find my happiness there, in that fortune of millions, in that nice house, in that relationship. And so we start seeking externally the satisfaction that we long for.
But we can only know temporary satisfaction from something that's external. And sometimes we have to suffer in order to learn this lesson. Many people find themselves on this path through suffering. And that's the gift in disguise. So when we ask, "What do I want?", and we find this clarity, "Wow, I've been blessed to come across these teachings, these teachings of truth have fallen into my lap somehow. I've been touched by grace. Wow, thank you so much, thank you, thank you grace. Now, am I willing to give up my mind's ideas of how my life should be and what I should have, what I should be doing, should, should, should, and surrender it all, to this divine. Give it all up to this greater power. As in the words of Jesus, “Thy will be done.” So, what you want from me, I give you everything, everything. Not 99% – everything. And that's surrender.
And that can bring up a lot of fear inside of us because the mind wants to control, it wants to feel safe and secure. And there is no safety and security in this surrender. It means diving into the absolute unknown. The only thing I know is that I Am, the future is unknown. And that fear must be met.
When we open to that fear, then the ego structure begins to collapse. When we do let go fully, when we do surrender, we discover the safety and security that the mind longs for, and tries to fabricate in external circumstances, in this beingness, because it's the only thing that will never leave us. It's the only thing that actually is real, that's unchanging.
And I'd like to invite everybody who's here now with us to close your eyes for a moment. Bring your attention into the body and just become aware of the body breathing. Feel the gentle inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Become aware of the thoughts, if there are any. Notice this underlying stillness, this deeper presence. Become aware of the aliveness in your body. Now feel your heart - you might feel the actual beating from your physical heart. Connect with your energetic heart, your heart chakra, the power center inside of you. Now, open to the depths of your heart and really ask yourself, what do I want. Make a prayer from here, in your own words, direct to the divine.
Jesus also said ask, I think it was Jesus, ask and you shall receive. And when this prayer is made from the depths of your heart, when it's truly authentic, life will bring you everything that you need for your awakening process. Now, often that looks different than our mind's idea of what the awakening process looks like. So the mind has this, again fantasy, that my awakening will be me experiencing ecstasy and bliss and dancing with the angels and feeling unconditional love for all that is. And this is not the case.
What we need, in order for our awakening process, is to see how we are behaving and speaking in a way that does not align with the deeper truth. And a way that life shows us this is by bringing us people that trigger something inside of us, by bringing us the challenges that we need, in order for us to see where we're holding onto unconscious beliefs, identifying as a conceptual self, identifying with a self image about me.
Now, whatever you personally need for your awakening journey, that's exactly what life will bring you. So, when we understand this, everything that comes our way is received with a deep gratitude and humility. Thank you, thank you, thank you Life, my prayer has been answered. It might be uncomfortable, but my prayer has been answered. And I'm grateful because this is what I want. I want to meet these unprocessed emotions. I want to see how I'm living out of alignment.
Now, I just want to mention one of the great paradoxes of this teaching that could cause some confusion. It could be understood that in order to know our true self, we have to overcome challenges or release unconscious beliefs or meet trauma that's held in the system. But these are not requirements for recognizing ourself as pure awareness, these are opportunities for us to deepen in presence and they're part of a process that takes place on the human level, before, during, and after awakening.
To know our true self and to know freedom is instantaneous. And all that's required is just to be, and to see where we are identifying as an "I", which is a self image, a conceptual "me". And once that's seen through, the veil falls away, and it falls away instantly. So there's these two perspectives happening simultaneously where there's the perspective of the absolute, which is the divine perfection, which is here and now, and there's the perspective of the relative, which is the human challenges and the integration and the growth on the human level.
Anne Blanchard 51:38
So this is what I hear you saying, I want you to let me know if this is true. What I hear you saying is, no matter what's going on, no matter what you've done, no matter what you haven't done yet, no matter what we've seen, whatever you haven't seen yet, that right now, as everyone sits here, divine perfection exists within them and is accessible. Now.
Louise Kay 52:12
Yes. If you could just stop for one moment, totally stop, stop all effort, stop trying to become something, and simply perceive, it's right there in that stillness. That which is perceiving is pure consciousness. And that same pure consciousness is what is the essence of all life forms. It animates this life form. It animates this life form we know as Anne and it animates every life form that we see in the zoo, nature, animals, beyond the forms. This formless essence, pure consciousness, is the same.
Now, you can't know it mentally. It's not something to think about. You have to go beyond the mind because the mind can only know what lies within its own confinements. So you have to go beyond the mind to know it. What does it mean to go beyond the mind? To stop engaging with thoughts and turn your attention to this deeper stillness – being.
Just watch – your body is breathing. There's no "I" that's breathing, the body's breathing by itself and you're aware of it. Sounds are being perceived. There is no "I" that's hearing, you – awareness – are aware. Thoughts are perceived. There is no "I" that is thinking. "I am thinking" is also a thought. If you look for that "I", see if you can find it. It doesn't exist except as a mental concept, mental idea.
Now have a look, what is it that's looking? What is it that's conducting this investigation? That's not a thought. What is it that's aware right now, in this moment? Is it separate from you? Any thought that arises in answer to these questions is not it. And it can only be known through the Beingness, through directly knowing it, not thinking it.
Anne Blanchard 56:37
So there's the that which happens, the manifestation is realizing, something sees that something sees all of it. And if you pull back a little bit, there's even something that sees. So there's that which happens, there's something that watches and there's frankly something that includes all of that, including the seeing of the something that watches. And in Mooji's analogy, there's the first bird that's real busy. There's a second bird that just sits there, isn't real busy, just watching that first bird doing its thing, just watching, just watching. And then there's a third bird, just kind of taking it all in. And so my question is, no doubt inartfully asked, is there something beyond that?
Louise Kay 57:48
Well, we can ask this question:, Is there anything that is perceived outside of awareness?
Anne Blanchard 58:03
And I would say, Oh no, no, no, not at all. However, there's a notion here, there is not a direct experience, but there's a teaching and learning and a concept here that there is an absolute. And again, absolute is a concept. But I wanted to give you a chance to speak to whether having an experience of the absolute which, of course, wouldn't be a "me" having an experience of an absolute, it would be ... does experiencing "absolute", is that available?
Louise Kay 59:10
So when you say absolute, do you mean in the analogy, the third bird or you mean something beyond that?
Anne Blanchard 59:16
I mean, beyond I mean, we're kicking out past the third bird. We got the first bird, we got the second bird. We even have glimpses of the third bird and I'm talking about blowing out the birds.
Louise Kay 1:00:09
So I guess the closest reference we could give to this, is to think about when we're in a deep sleep. So there's no third bird, there's not awareness of that mind watching itself and the activity.
Do we exist? Yes. We go to sleep every night knowing that we're going into this absolute nothingness. We don't question it. We go to sleep and our identity falls away, our whole life falls away, all our memories fall away, all our fears fall away, everything is gone into nothingness and yet we exist. And it's interesting that we don't have fear of this nothingness. We just go to sleep expecting to wake up again in the morning. Then the moment we open our eyes, it's all back. So we all know it, every single night. When we're in deep sleep, we're not aware that there's a body. We're not aware that there's a mind. There's just nothingness. And it's that nothingness from which all of life is born.
Now there's an element of mystery to it. No matter how deeply realized we are, no matter how many peak spiritual experiences we have, there remains an element of mystery. It's like, somehow we can't quite fathom this play of life, the formless and the form. We can't ever quite fully understand it. And to me, that is part of the beauty of it, that not knowing. We sense the immensity of it. This intelligence which creates galaxies, which is so vast we can't even mentally comprehend the size of our universe. If you see these videos on YouTube that zoom out, zoom out, zoom out, you see one human is a microscopic, nano-germ. We're so insignificant, and yet at the same time, our whole life is the universe, it's all we know. And that magic and that mystery is so beautiful in itself. And I think if I could have all the answers to the universe, I would prefer not to have it.
Anne Blanchard 1:03:48
What I hear you saying is that you find your life in a thrilling, trusted mystery,
Louise Kay 1:04:00
Yeah, I love that, yeah. Because that's where the magic is, we're like children in awe. Wow. I mean, just look at a blade of grass - the color, the texture. How did that appear? The sun? We're surrounded by miracles, by abundance, by beauty. If we just take a moment to notice the colors, it's just mind blowing how all this got here, how all this is functioning. Our mind can't comprehend it.
And in a way it brings us back to this, this quality that all of us embodied when we were very young. And if you look at any young child, you see this excitement for life, this curiosity that gets us in touch with the magic, the beauty, where we can appreciate the miracle of the breath, the miracle that I am alive experiencing this body. And the gratitude that comes with that. The magnificence, the beauty.
Now it's easier for children because they're not caught up in their mind. They're not thinking about the conversation I had yesterday, or what's going to happen tomorrow, they're there in the moment. “Wow, look at this rock. Mummy, Mummy, I want to gift you this rock.” They see the beauty and the magic.
Anne Blanchard 1:05:57
Another place you pointed to very directly where the magic lies, is in the pain, is in the trauma, is in the energies that have kind of found their way into the viscera, and as we open, as we have this prayer in our heart to know truth, as the universe lines up exactly what we need to experience, to see, to have come in, emotional, physical symptoms, you know, psychological pains, all of that can still come up. And what I heard you say is it was there before awakening, it's there during awakening, it's there after awakening, in that it's a process of just everything unlike the heart, the heart's gonna bring in, to purify, to let it go, to release.
And I'm wondering, at this point for you, if you don't mind me getting a little personal, but again, to make this real and not just exotic, like you say not just be like what they call bliss ninnies, or whatever. Not to give bliss ninnies a bad name, but that's not what awakening is. Awakening is being with what's happening. And so I'm just curious, if you feel comfortable, maybe giving us an example from your life of what kind of you find yourself getting caught on. And do you find that very often? And how does that arise for you?
Louise Kay 1:07:48
Well, at the beginning of my journey, there were a lot of traumas in the system. And it all had to be met. But there was this absolute dedication to meeting it. One of the core traumas that was experienced, and which is very common, a lot of people experience it, is the feeling of abandonment. Like I've been abandoned by my parents, somehow, somehow they weren't there to support me fully how I needed, and that transfers, then over to feeling like I've been abandoned by life. God is not there for me, I'm not getting what I need.
And every time that feeling gets triggered, whether it's through a breakup, whether it's somebody rejecting us, then if we're dedicated, the process means we say, “Thank you, I'm going to use this, and I'm going to feel it. I'm going to surrender to it.”
So for me, every time that was felt, every time there was a recognition that the pain body is activated now, I would just leave whatever I was doing, I would go and lie down and feel it and be with it for hours. Like I would lie on the bed for hours, literally hours and hours and hours, or days, surrendering to absolute pain held in the body
Now, many times there's a fear to meet this pain because it feels like, if I feel that I'm going to die, it's too much. And so we have resistance rising up and resistance comes in the form of thoughts. "Oh, I need to go and do this right now.”
How are we doing for time? (Asking Anne, the host.) Are we okay? Yeah?
Or like a mind attack will come, trying to distract our attention from feeling it. And that's why it's important that we cultivate presence, so that our capacity to stay present with these overwhelming emotions that get awakened is strong enough that we don't get taken over by it in the moment, we're able to feel it.
So I was feeling, feeling, feeling, and after some time, there was a recognition, clearly, something shifted, it's not getting as triggered as before. It's not as intense. Now, once I had this seeing, things got much easier because I knew, I knew this teaching works, this is the path. And then I was excited every time it came up. "Oh yeah, now I really want to meet this."
And still stuff bubbles up sometimes. But it's much easier to meet it now. So, when you've been practicing presence, and there's something in the system, you can, kind of go about your day and just include it, you can feel it, you don't maybe need to lie down in the bed for hours at a time to surrender to it.
And I have challenges come in my life. One of the biggest challenges for me is I have something called dyscalculia, which is similar to dyslexia, but it's with numbers and time. So I experience time a little bit differently, and in the sense that I can't judge amounts of time. So someone will ask, like, how long did that take, and it's difficult for me to discern if it was 10 minutes, or if it was an hour. And, and so I often find myself being late for appointments, and I have to really be vigilant with that and it brings a challenge in my life. Or I can get confused with adding up numbers, for example. So I always have to double, triple check everything. So the challenges are still there, and it's good, they're welcomed, and the difference is the way that we relate to the challenges.
So we're not trying to run away from them, but we're inviting them. What is life trying to show me here? What can I learn from this? What can I see about myself? What does life want to show me? How am I acting out some unconscious pattern here?
Now, anytime there's chaos or drama in life, then there's something for us to look at. Anytime we feel the system activated or triggered, there's something for us to look at. And when we begin to use these opportunities, and we welcome them, that's when we go on the fast track, because we're not avoiding, we're not afraid to look, we're excited to see.
Anne Blanchard 1:13:26
Wonderful, yeah, that's what Regina has called being gangbusters for healing. And you just got to be gangbusters for it, you're just, you're just all in. It's not to be, “now maybe this, maybe later”. It's, “I’m in, I’m in, I’m in.”
Louise Kay 1:13:42
What's important for that is that we feel like we're supported in it. So the sangha, and the community, is really key in feeling like, "I'm not going crazy. I don't know what to do here.”
You know, we meet together with the sangha, we have our community and we know other people are going through similar challenges. I'm not alone. And that's our support system. It's like our family, our spiritual family. And it's important that we have that support.
Anne Blanchard 1:14:19
Yeah, that's so important, to have the support so that, support you and being gangbustered, because you know, when things come up, you're going to have that. Being held by people who know the truth for you.
Louise Kay 1:14:34
Yeah. One of my favorite quotes is that quote by Ram Dass, he said we're all just walking each other home. It's like, we're in this together, we're on this journey together. We've got each others' backs.
Anne Blanchard 1:14:49
Yeah, beautiful. I see our time is, we got plenty of time for questions. I have plenty more but let me just check in to see if anyone would like to ask a question.
Rhoda Makled 1:15:11
Louise, this has been delightful, I have to say thank you very much. You pointed to something very early in your talk and it keeps kind of weaving itself through here, which is that sometimes we will forget. And that we can use the forgetting for learning, which I think points back to what Anne was just saying about being gangbusters and what you were saying about, and the words that come to me right now are no matter what, I want healing no matter what.
So, I was wondering if you would talk a little bit more to this forgetting. Because the experience that is here is the desire for no matter what, but it’s still sometimes met with resistance. So I wouldn't necessarily call it...but there is also forgetting. So I was wondering if you would speak a little bit more to the experience of that.
Louise Kay 1:16:16
Yes. Great question, thank you. So when the forgetting happens, in that moment, we don't choose it. Clearly, we wouldn't choose to forget. And we're not aware of it, in the moment, it just happens all by itself. And so there's nothing that we can do about it.
Now, usually what happens when we wake up from that state of forgetting, it's a bit like a shifting between conscious and unconscious states, or asleep, and awaking, so we go to sleep, we forget, we wake up or remember. What usually happens in the moment of awakening, "Oh, I got lost in thought," is that the mind comes in and judges the "me" that I - this "I" is a conceptual "I" - I forgot, I shouldn't have forgotten. Now let me scold myself, let me beat myself up for that. I need to make sure I never do that again.
Now, the mind beating itself up, it splits itself into two, and that causes us to suffer then. And it creates a problem. Actually, there's no problem. There was just a shifting, that we didn't choose, it happened by itself, now we're here. So every time we recognize, in the moment that we remember, and we see the mind trying to go there to make it wrong, to make it a mistake, to make it a problem, then we can see, no, that's the mind, I'm not interested, I'm already here. It's trying to pull me back into forgetting. And to allow this backwards and forwards movement. And let it be a natural part of the process. Just like when a baby is learning to walk, it stands up, and then it falls down, and then it stands up and then it falls down. But each time the baby falls down, it doesn't say, "Oh, I failed. Why did I fall down? I shouldn't have done that. Now it's a big problem." No, it just gets up again. And it's walking, until it falls down again. And with each fall, it's learning how not to fall. It's learning how to get back up.
And so it's the same. So, all we can do is to make ourselves available, to align ourselves fully with this intention, like the prayer we spoke of earlier. This is what I want. Grace, God, divine universe, whatever language you prefer, please, bring me the presence power to stay in this awakened state. Let me live from here. I'm available for this to the best of my ability.
And it's okay when we forget, it's okay, it's part of the process. And the resistance that you spoke of, is also part of the process. So people tend to think that when there's resistance or forgetting, I'm getting it wrong, but you're not, it's a natural part of the process. When the mind gets strong and it attacks, often it's attacking for the very reason that we are becoming more and more conscious and it feels more threatened, so it has to attack stronger. And we just let it attack, let it act out like a little child. And when we notice the resistance coming, that's the moment to choose truth. If we have the possibility to choose, if the resistance pulls us, we don't choose it, there's nothing we can do about it until we remember again.
So we can only have this intention, and say, I'm available and dedicated to this. And to practice as much as possible every single day, every single moment, to stay present. And the more presence power, the more vigilance there is, so then we see when the mind is coming in with resistance and once we see it, it's already lost some power over us, we're more conscious. And so it doesn't pull us so much. And then we can choose to stay with whatever the mind wants to resist and surrender to it.
Anne Blanchard 1:21:28
Thank you. Rhoda do you have a follow up?
Rhoda Makled 1:21:30
Just a desire to sort of confirm what I heard, which sounded very much like allow life to lead the way, that the pendulum will swing, and trust that it will come back to center. So thank you for, thank you for that. Hugely helpful.
Louise Kay 1:22:07
Yes, yeah. It's, it's a bit like if we're, if you think about the ocean, and on the top of the ocean, there's the waves. And sometimes it's calm, sometimes there's little waves, sometimes there's huge waves, but it's always changing. And this is a level of form - the thoughts, the emotions in the body. Everything that's changing - it's turbulent, it's calm. Now, when we discover presence, we go underneath the water. And underneath the water, it's always still, regardless of whether there's big waves or little waves, or no waves.
Now, as we continue to maintain a state of presence, we deepen into it, like we're going deeper in the ocean, we become more and more anchored in this presence. This is presence power you're talking about. And so in the beginning of our practice, if we've been caught up in mind and story, and then we discover presence, if we get pulled back up into mind, it's quite easy for us to get pulled back into the waves, but as we deepen and deepen, minute by minute, moment by moment, day by day, if we're getting really deep, and then we're pulled by a storm on the surface, we can be pulled all the way up here, but we're still under the water. And we keep deepening, just by recognizing this underlying stillness, keeping our attention here no matter what's going on on the surface.
Rhoda Makled 1:24:13
Anne Blanchard 1:24:14
Yeah, what I hear you pointing to again and again, is it's all a function of where attention is.
Louise Kay 1:24:25
Anne Blanchard 1:24:27
We are casters of our attention. And we will get whatever we're fishing for. But if we're casting and we're just allowing it to be, that will permeate the experience. The presence will allow it all to be the way it is to be.
Louise Kay 1:24:47
Anne Blanchard 1:24:50
That's, that's just beautiful. Um, so let me, we have just two minutes left.
Louise Kay 1:24:56
Oh, you're muted, we don't hear.
Anne Blanchard 1:24:57
Oh yeah, I meant to push in your website into the chat. So, Louise for over a year has been extremely generous and has been doing regular Zoom meetings and from what I understand, is taking a little bit of a hiatus. But I want to give you an opportunity, I don't know if you have any events on your calendar. We've put louisekay.net into the chat. We'll also link to your information on our page. But I wanted to give you a chance to speak to whatever's next after this break that you're going to, that you are in the midst of taking. We appreciate it, you doing this in your break.
Louise Kay 1:25:36
Yeah, well, the break officially hasn't started yet. We have one more event next Saturday, but that one's fully booked. And so yeah, for a year and a half, I've been doing these open Zoom meetings, thanks to the pandemic, actually, because I couldn't do the group events anymore and everything was just done online. And it's been really beautiful within. Yeah, I've been doing an online weekend retreat every month, twice a week open zooms, and some intimate zoom meetings. And recently, the last few weeks, I felt this movement inside of some change or just life communicating something, “Take a step back."
So I've decided to take a little break, give some rest to the system. I don't know how long it's going to be but when I start again, anybody that would like to join the events, the best way is to go to my website on that link and then if you click "subscribe" on the top right, you can sign up to receive my newsletter, and then you will get an email when the events are starting up again.
Anne Blanchard 1:27:05
Well, thank you, I also want to say that in the meantime, Louise's website is replete with very, you can pick kind of the topic, they're short, it's very well organized, it's very clear. And so there's plenty to dig into if these teachings and pointings are resonating with you. And there's also a "To Read" button on her website and, you know, the blog posts are equally revelatory, clear pointings back in. So I invite everyone to take advantage of that.
And I see that now we're at 9:01pm. Let me wrap up, Louise, I cannot thank you enough, and on behalf of Awakening Together, I mean, you're just such a kindred spirit here and I mean the love you have just poured on us, we accept and we just, we pass right back, and I just, bottom of our heart, we thank you. Thank you for being here.
Louise Kay 1:28:00
Thank you so much. It's really been a pleasure to be here with you.
Anne Blanchard 1:28:05
Louise Kay 1:28:05