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Don: 15 Jan 2014. I continue to feel that six months of travel around South America is a lot to have bitten off, and I continue to wonder if we’ll get through it all, given our current states of health. We’ve both been doing a lot of letting go of old ways of being on this trip, and moving to new perspectives on the true nature of reality on this plane. I began re-reading Jane Roberts’ The Nature of Personal Reality some weeks ago and Ali has been having frequent encounters with her true self. So all that is probably distressing to the false self or ego mind of both of us. I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to say, of course, that I’m looking for underlying or psychological reasons for our health difficulties. Indigestion, according to Louise Hay, is due to difficulties digesting whatever is happening, while neck stiffness and headaches are due to rigid ways of thinking. So it would appear that my difficulties are due to holding onto some old ways of being, some old patterns of behaviour. Taking the next step, what might these old ways of being be? It would seem that I might be avoiding the obvious: that it’s time to let go completely of the old beliefs about the nature of mind-body relations and to embrace a new set of beliefs that view the body as a hologram, a structural representation of the mind’s beliefs in physical form, a body that changes as the mind changes. A body that is as healthy as I’ll allow it to be.

Alison came in to tell me that her mind keeps making up a story that she wants to go home, that she wants to have a home again, and stop all the moving, travelling, writing, blogging, being the person who does all that, because all of that forces her to be present, while her mind-made self wants anything but that.

Don transcribing as Alison talks: This is a lifelong pattern of the mind creating discontent with the status quo, which at the moment is being a nomad, moving around the world, being “the blogging lady”. Each time these thoughts arise she recognizes it as a mind story, but maybe she doesn’t recognize it clearly or deeply enough. There are tears. The tears are about the mind’s recognition that it’s not going to get what it wants this time: that there has to be a full recognition of life as it is. All the other times during her life the running away has been to try to fix the life she had, instead of a running towards “me”, to presence, to not believing the mind stories, to treating the discontent with the realization that this is something that has just been manufactured, and not something that can be fixed by a change of lifestyle. The egoic self just wants to survive, so it keeps making up stories of discontent and suffering, and of wanting a different life. This stops her from seeing what is right in front of her: the beautiful mountains, the beautiful old tiled roofs of Ollantaytambo. It stops her from really seeing just where she is, rather than wishing for some other life. The pain in her hip comes from denying what is going on, instead of looking at what’s really going on. The pain in her hip is part of what is and needs to be accepted, but then there’s the longing to step into that true emptiness and live from that place: just this, whatever this is, whatever is perceived, including the pain in her hip, without resistance or ownership or claiming anything. It’s facing the idea that there isn’t anywhere to go home to, internally or externally, just the acceptance of what is as is.

That’s the cry of all of us, to go home to a place that’s warm and safe and familiar, and in the end there isn’t anywhere to go home to except right here right now. So home is right here in front of us. Wherever and whatever I am in any given moment is the only true home I’m ever going to have. I just want to go home. “Here you are, here it is.” Life keeps saying “Here I am, here it is.” and we keep saying “No it’s not, that’s not it.” So in more or less subtle ways there has been this underlying mind message, sometimes louder, sometimes very quiet, that keeps saying “No, that’s not it” and it lodges in my hip: suffering that comes out of nowhere for no reason. Why don’t I pay attention to this? It’s because the mind stories rumble around and simmer underneath. The only problem is that I believe them, and believe that’s who I am. The pain comes not because I haven’t been paying attention to presence, but because I’ve believed the mind stories. There’s got to be a willingness to accept what is, including the pain in my hip, and an acceptance that there isn’t any home, except here now. Just a surrender into presence, a surrender into what is.

Post script from Alison: As always when we talk/feel our way through this stuff, and by doing that shine the light of truth upon it, it evaporates like a cloud in the heat and light of the sun. I no longer have the simmering unconscious mind stories of wanting to stop and go home. My hip pain is still there. It has eased somewhat but still remains a beacon calling me to presence, to acceptance, and to really be in the body. Don’s neck pain and stomach upset have gone. He no longer feels as if six months in South America is too much. In fact we are both excited about our upcoming itinerary. Beyond excited. Ten days in Puno for Candelaria, one of the biggest festivals in South America: Peru’s answer to Rio’s Carnivale. Nine days exploring the Amazon. Eight days on a Galapagos cruise, then finishing up with some time in Quito and Cuenca, Ecuador. Want to go home (wherever that is)? I think not!

Photo of the day: Some Candelaria dancers came to Lima. We got a little foretaste of the festival


All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.