Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let It Happen

Something really came together for me very recently. I'm navigating an intricate maze. Let me start by piecing together some of the great teachings I have taken to heart in various forms, but haven't begun to understand how to marry to each other within myself. Until now.

Jesus: "Love God, love your neighbor.... The kingdom of Heaven is within."

Mother Teresa: (The people she served are:) "Simply Jesus in his distressing diguise."

Abraham-Hicks: "You are here to serve yourself. You are selfishly oriented and that is a good thing. It's not your work to make anything happen. It's your work to dream it and let it happen."

Dalai Lama: "There are wise selfish people and foolish selfish people. Foolish selfish people act only for themselves thinking they're advancing their cause. In contrast, wise selfish people understand that serving others first is in their own spiritual best interest."

Ram Dass: "Being conscious is cutting through your own melodrama and being right here. Exist in no mind, be empty, here now, and trust that as a situation arises, out of you will come what is necessary to deal with that situation including the use of your intellect when appropriate."

Joseph Campbell: "The best way to help others is by perfecting yourself.... Follow your bliss."

Stephen Levine: "Let the mind sink into the heart."

Joseph Campbell often talked about the importance of digging one well and digging it deeply. Through my own exploration and intuition, I've come to really believe and trust this way of approaching life. It's not about "choosing a religion." It's a principle. You can apply it to anything.

Take sex and monogamy as an example. For me, I feel that a mate who I know I can dig that well deeply with, with whom the connection far surpasses the exterior but translates to something that will create that expanding, profound bond that can remain real until your ass is down to your knees and they're still the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on-- pouring all your sexual energy and intimacy into one "well"-- is what creates something truly rich. Rather than, as Joseph points out, hundreds of shallow mud puddles that add nothing to your life and leave you lacking in a profound manner. The ability to deepen gratitude, to be blown away by the essence of another being, on a daily basis. Until it grows and grows and grows and the energetic mark you leave on the planet literally adds to the possibility of what love can be.

I believe this principle applies to everything in life that really matters, that you do for the long haul.

So for the thousandth time, I am rediscovering a signpost on my path pointing me back "home." My path, the well I'm digging, is definitely centered around mindfulness/vipassana meditation. As Joseph Campbell also shows us, a truth is a truth. If I describe it to you as a Buddhist or a Christian or an Agnostic, if it's really truth, it doesn't matter. Mythology and perspective- places to stand and view these truths from- are both important and still incidental. And the key truth I'm relearning yet again is that whatever is happening... to let it happen.

It sounds so simple. And it is. But not necessarily easy.

This is such a big lesson I keep returning to as I wander away, like my mind wandering off from the breath. I think I first really got this in reading Stephen Levine's seminal meditation book, A Gradual Awakening, almost ten years ago now. This is the book I never have in my possession because I always give it away (except thanks to my dear friend Erin, who gave ME a copy as a gift so I would keep it, I now own it).

Letting it happen is terrifying. Sometimes it's easy. Mostly, it's just hard to remember. Most of us aren't ready for nirvana this lifetime (myself very included in that, though I'm sure it's lovely) and usually, we're all id. There's an itch, I scratch it. I want something, I reach for it. Someone says something insulting to me, I react negatively. "I" have "my" pain. "I" have "my" desire. "I" have "my" aversion. Etc. ad nauseam.

And it's such a strangely freeing moment when you ACTUALLY take the seat of the observer and watch it all unfold and everything you observe that comes, you greet with "Okay." Or "Hmm, this too." There's no trying to change it. Just seeing whatever is and allowing. In meditation, you lock onto some area of one-pointed focus, for me (and in many meditation teachings), the nasal breath. "In, out. In, out. In, out." But in meditation, the truth is more something like "In, out. In-- hey, why haven't they called me back yet? Oh God, did I do something wrong? In, out. In, out-- will they like me? In-- Jesus, the laundry. Got to do that fucking laundry. Out. In-- you know what? I'm freaking hungry... In..." And so on. And it's often this little tennis match, consciousness bouncing into mind and out of mind and being able to instead observe it thinking rather than being the thinker. And finally, as the meditation deepens, being able to even stay with one thing for a while because the mind gives up a little. And a little more... BUT that's not what I'm talking about.

In "taking the meditation off the cushion" and into everyday life, being present, letting it happen is trickier. I can be incredibly reactive. If I manage to gain enough perspective to see that, finding a way to gain further perspective and ALLOW my reaction, my negativity, whatever you want to call it, that's where it gets interesting.

The Dalai Lama's quote and Ram Dass' quote, and Eastern teachings in general (which continue to be amazingly helpful to me, as does my Buddhist-based meditation practice), tend to lead people to this place where taking the seat of the observer means while you observe and allow WHATEVER is happening, what you are actually doing is "trying" to eradicate something unwanted, not allow whatever comes up. I've done this. A lot. "I will meditate to become more peaceful (and thereby get rid of these icky feelings.)" In an oversimplified nutshell.

And it SEEMS like that is antithetical to allowing. So here comes the thing that was a bigger "Ah-ha" for me... IN THAT MOMENT where I saw myself meditation with a non-allowing goal of eradication... I allow that too. It's just saying the same thing: Let it happen. That does not mean "Let it happen until you see yourself not letting it happen and then choke it and judge yourself for it." OR if you do that- - and you see it- - THEN in that moment, as absurd as it might seem, I say "Okay: judging and punishing myself. Okay. Interesting. Back to the breath."

The funny thing is that often, the moment I see my "bad" stuff-- thought-patterns/behavior/neuroses/judgments/masochistic-tendencies/fill-in-the-blank-
with-your-self-torture-of-choice... at the moment I see that... WHICH IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT OF DEEP CLARITY that I can see that... I often tend to snap OUT of that deep clarity and BACK into the blindness of the id and into another form of judgment. Judging judgment. Feeling bad about feeling bad.

And I think of Abraham(-Hicks), and the non-physical faeries of the universe that must have such a chuckle. Because sometimes, in that moment when I've peeled back more of these layers to see what's there, all resulting in that I finally relax and allow and cut myself a break and just be happy because of ACTUALLY letting go and not trying to be happy. Happiness is, I believe, our natural state and what naturally arises when we simply step back and allow everything.

The seven quotes above have hung me up because I thought I saw contradiction between these perspectives. But to go back to Jospeph Campbell, what's true is true, regardless of the mythological origin from which we receive it. And again, it could all just be simpler if I could "allow" the contradiction and know that what feels true in my heart (despite the neurotic over-thinking voices in my head), always is. The heart has a way knowing deeply. The mind likes to jump into the fray and protect us and keep us alive, that's its job. But letting "the mind sink into the heart," is ultimately a much more satisfying, fulfilling journey. And there's my hang-up. Wanting... anything. Satisfaction. Desire.

So here's where Abraham, the Dalai Lama, Stephen Levine-- all of them-- meet. My big, big, big "Ah-ha" for the week that I want to articulate now while it's fresh inside me. The "desire" comes up, is born of the ego, the id, that thing we're crawling out of to observe. Without that perspective, it rules us. And it hurts. But even there within that hurt is the desire again. The ego-derived thing. The desire to become free, the desire that led me to meditation in the first place. And that's the big ah-ha. TO ALLOW THAT TOO. There's no place where the "Let it happen" principle stops. The ego/self-desire comes up to do something, and even if I am managing to maintain one foot in the perspective of "observer," I do that thing "I" WANT to do. And I allow that too.

I go further than that though. I JUDGE my action as GOOD. I APPRECIATE my action. I (ego/self-I) go as far as to CHOOSE a joyful response. And ALLOW that choice. And that joy is easily accessed BECAUSE I'm in that place of allowing. And in the allowing, my natural state of joy and happiness is already radiating. And sometimes it's radiating out even through some of the more painful stuff I might be feeling at the same time, and I'm allowing that painful stuff too. No resistance. I may even slip into a negative judgment about the pain I'm feeling alongside that joy and the lighter experience. And I see it. And I let it happen. I allow it. I say to it "Okay." "There's pain. Back to the (proverbial or actual) breath. Back to the moment. The WHOLE moment."

And I may not be "watching the breath" every moment of my life or "observing sensations in the body." But I'm more awake. And I like that. And I do feel a sense of momentum and slight goal-orientedness about becoming "more awake," and moving more consciously toward joy because it feels good and I fucking like it. I love it actually. I'm creating freedom and I love it. And that is desire. And that is self/identity/ego-born. And that is perfect. I allow it. And because I allow it, it grows.

That's another interesting effect. When you allow pain and negativity, you don't fight them, you seem them and you just let them run their course without getting too involved-- to the best of your ability from wherever you happen to be at the moment, in the light of awareness the pain begins to dissolve. Because in the light of awareness and allowing, we move back toward who we more fully are- - souls with feet- - souls that were born out of and made of "God"- - joy/compassion/peace/strength/gentleness... love. When you mindfully allow pain, it dissolves. It becomes merely vibration. And when you allow joy and desire born from energies true to our nature like creation, compassion, etc... it multiplies itself.

And instead of this inner-conflict I've fostered about thinking of these things as contradictory, not in SPITE of Ram Dass or Eastern thought, do I come full circle to the teachings of Abraham and "The Secret" and "the law of attraction," but I come to it with an incredible strength and joy BECAUSE of the tools of allowing I've fostered and grown from the rich soil of those amazing teachers from the East. And I'm so grateful. So grateful.

The universe is magical. This realizing itself all came about because a whole series of synchronistic things were sparked in me during a conversation with someone truly amazing who I met last Thursday under dense purple clouds and a cheshire cat moon. To whom I can only offer my deepest gratitude for being an unwitting teacher for me at a pivotal moment. Much like the parallel pivotal moments we unknowingly shared in 1998 at a Tori Amos concert before we met.

The universe is a mystical, vast place with so much mystery and contrast and magic, it could never be fully deciphered. Thank "God" for giving my overactive soul and mind enough to chew on.

Big love...

No comments:

Post a Comment