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Shaking, Trembling

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Shaking, Trembling?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Shaking, Trembling

A Defenselessness that Will Feel Like a Kind of Vulnerability

When a defense is pushed against or challenged, it changes from a passive wall to an active resistance against what is arising, a resistance against recognizing what we think is—or could become—dangerous or threatening. The defensiveness is a hardening and a thickening of our consciousness, creating walls within us. If we recognize those walls and are able to understand them, they begin to transform and start to come down. As those defenses gradually dissolve, as those walls come down, we will have the feeling of no protection for a while. Without the walls, when we still do not feel the security of being ourselves, we will experience that as defenselessness. And that defenselessness will feel like a kind of vulnerability, a trembling emotional condition of the heart that makes us feel quite delicate. That delicacy, that trembling, means that we are open but we still believe that there is danger. So we are still tentative, a little cautious, a little reactive. That is because as we are approaching the delicacy of being ourselves, the delicacy of intimacy; we are approaching it by letting go of the walls, and we are still not used to being in that openness. Our defensiveness at some point becomes a wall against vulnerability. So to learn to be real, to learn to be ourselves, we need to come to terms with our vulnerability.

An Insight About the Interconnectedness of Heaviness, Shaking and Nausea

Now, the terminology, the words, the labels we use to describe what we are discriminating will depend upon our ordinary knowledge. And as we have seen before, our direct knowingness is not always immediate. This means that our discrimination is usually not pure; it’s a mix—the direct knowingness is mixed with ideas and associations. However, over time, our understanding will purify our direct knowing, freeing it from ordinary knowledge. By discriminating the various elements of experience clearly, you can see their individual significance and the significance of their interrelationships. For instance, you might be feeling heavy in your chest. Discriminating that sensation clearly, you might recognize that you’re also shaking, or that you feel a little nauseated in your stomach. Then the recognition can manifest, “Oh, I’m anxious”—and you realize that what you have been feeling is the energy of anxiety. The meaning of these three interconnected experiences—the heaviness, shaking, and nausea—arises as insight, but that insight includes the direct knowingness of these three elements. But the insight brings in a fourth element, which is the direct recognition of the feeling of anxiety. The insight reveals the presence of anxiety. So there is discrimination, knowingness, and also a comprehension or recognition of the meaning and significance of the totality of the experience.

As Brilliancy Begins to Arise, Many People Feel a Kind of Shaking, Trembling

AH: I understand. I remember when I first experienced Brilliancy. I didn’t know about it then; I didn’t know there was such a thing. I was standing in the middle of a room with some people, and I started shaking all over the place. I wasn’t scared of it; it’s just that my body was shaking. “Now, why am I shaking?” I wondered. After a while of just staying with the shaking, there appeared this immense and powerful presence. It had a sense of being big and expanded, a thereness that is big and expansive. It seems that as Brilliancy begins to arise, many people feel a kind of shaking, trembling.

Brilliancy, pg. 130

Experiencing Resistance, Contraction, Tension, Trembling

Almost everything that we explore can be experienced by a part of us as a threat. We can discuss sweetness or love, but for many of us those seem to be dangerous possibilities, just as tenderness and empathy can be. For many of us, desire and wanting are dangerous. The same is true about sexuality. Union, to which many of us aspire, can seem full of danger. “Unity . . . wow, that means I am going to die!” Unity sounds like a lofty and noble spiritual condition, but for the normal mind, it is very threatening. So if you are experiencing resistance, contraction, tension, trembling, anger, hurt, wounding, frustration, disappointment, or loss, that is absolutely fine. It is expected. These are the things that we need to metabolize, understand, and move through in order to activate within us—and to feel comfortable with—our eros in a divine way, in a way that expresses its essential nature.

Exploring How Vulnerability Manifests in Your Body

As you pay attention to yourself in the moment, notice whether you experience yourself as being open or not. If not, what is stopping you from feeling open—to your thoughts, to your feelings, to your sensations, to how you are impacted by your experience? If you are more open to the specifics of your inner experience, does that bring a sense of vulnerability? If so, what is feeling vulnerable like for you? Is it okay? Is it tolerable? If you find vulnerability arising as you explore, notice how the sense of vulnerability manifests in your body, your thoughts, your emotions, your voice, as you explore each aspect of your experience. This may include qualities such as gentleness, delicacy, fragility, fear, trembling, receptivity, sensitivity. You can develop this contemplation further by exploring any situations that make you feel vulnerable. As you do this, consider how vulnerability and fear are related in your experience. Do they always go together? Remember that vulnerability can mean freedom and openness as well.

Feeling the Heaviness, the Shakiness, and the Nausea, they Interact and Begin to Change

Knowledge can be a knowingness of one element, so it can be a static picture, but understanding is not static, it is always dynamic. As you are feeling the heaviness, the shakiness, and the nausea, they interact and begin to change. The shaking might move from your arms to your chest, and this may decrease the feeling of heaviness. Perhaps the shaking becomes connected with your nausea, and as that happens, you become more directly and specifically aware of the anxiety. The whole picture is always changing. It is a dynamic flow. So understanding is the entire dynamic flow of the comprehension of the knowledge that is discerned in experience and is also part of that experience. Understanding means that you’re fully aware, wholly cognizant; you are in touch with your experience and completely aware of its meaning and significance.

Some of the Somatic Manifestations that Accompany the Appearance of Space in Consciousness

We have described some of the somatic manifestations that accompany the appearance of space in consciousness, such as sensations on the top of the head and shaking in the body, specifically shaking of the spinal column. For most people the first sign that space is manifesting is the awareness of some definite sensation on the top of the head. It feels like a gentle tingling, or sometimes, as if something is brushing against one’s hair. If the person is ready for the experience, it will develop into more intense sensations at the top of the head which can sometimes feel painful. This will develop into the distinct physical impression of the presence of a hole on the top of the head, as if part of the cranium is missing. This is usually a gentle and pleasant impression, quite distinct and unmistakable.

The Void, pg. 55

The Courage of Discrimination

Inquiry is in some sense an invitation for our Being to transform our experience, to change our lives. If our invitation is limited, the revelation of our Being will be limited. However, if our invitation is completely open, then Being will be welcomed to reveal the fullness of its possibilities. Such a daring and courageous attitude, however, does not come from pushing yourself. It’s not that you grit your teeth, act tough, and stop feeling anything. It’s more that you’re courageous enough to feel, you’re bold enough to be vulnerable, daring enough to be open. The openness itself has a boldness; it doesn’t buckle under when you feel fear or terror. It embodies a fearlessness that has the capacity to be present regardless of the fear. We may tremble, but we keep piloting our ship. Furthermore, being courageous doesn’t mean being foolhardy—jumping into danger without understanding. The courage we’re talking about is the courage to recognize the situation for what it is, to be willing to see the truth as it is, regardless of how frightening it may be. This is the courage of discrimination. Another way of saying this is: Taking a risk is not the same thing as putting yourself at risk. The courage we need for inquiry is not a matter of being counterphobic, where you just jump into the situation without acknowledging your fear. That’s foolish, not courageous.

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