“These are the moments when we define the self:
• I want this.
• I feel this. (& judge as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral)
• I must do it this way.
This is the arising of the conditioned mind (marked by 'preferences'). There are other moments of direct knowing when we slip in and out of events smoothly, without conditioned mind impeding.
If it is a conditioned moment, we might inquire whether some fear is at its root, a fear that requires that I (behave) in this ‘particular way.’ ….
A good way to study the conditions in which we want things to appear or to not appear is through working with pain, the sensation of burning, throbbing, hot, stretching, tearing – however it is arising for you. What happens when consciousness dares to enter this throbbing, burning sensation? When you enter the shape of pain, you go past the shape in your mind; you go past the aversion and fear in your mind. This direct experience lacks aversion and fear. There is simply direct knowing.
When a part of consciousness isn’t holding out, saying, ‘Oh, do I have to do this?’ your whole being is hot, throbbing, on the verge. It’s on the threshold because you have entered the shape of pain in your mind. That experience goes beyond the appearance and nonappearance of conditions. You’re right on the margin, where your authentic life actually exists.”
Katherine Thanas. “The Truth of This Life. Zen Teachings on Loving the World as It Is.” Shambhala, 2018.