“So this is it?.. so what”, said a man bluntly at the beginning of one of my recent meetings.
As we began exploring together it became clear that he had long understood the notion of Wholeness, that life is truly undivided, but deep in his heart he still felt separate, still felt isolated, yearning for a deeper connection with others, with life, longing for love, longing to come alive, longing to come home. The anger, irritation and resentment he felt was for a lifetime of seeking, a lifetime of spiritual paths, books, videos, teachers, practices, a lifetime spent craving some great epiphany, some permanent transcendent experience which frustratingly continued to elude him.
But what if what we long for doesn’t need to look a certain way, doesn’t need to be attained, developed or cultivated? What if the anger, irritation and resentment, the frustration, worry and anxiety are all equally as valid an expression of life as the peace, joy and bliss? What if it’s the very looking for some special state, for some extra add-on to life that continually blinds us from the sheer obviousness of it all?
When we no longer try to deny, escape from or reach for anything, we find ourself here, with nowhere left to turn. The invitation then is to feel whatever arises, feel the boredom, the dis-ease, the fear, the discomfort; it’s in that absolute opening to life that the real miracle takes place. Life absorbs us into its arms, and in that total embrace, that merging, all the seeming divisions dissolve away; in our human vulnerability we discover our invulnerability, in our human limitations we discover our infinitude.
Then our sense of vulnerability no longer need be resisted or denied, for who we really are has nothing to fear. Does the sky fear the crack of thunder and stroke of lightening of a passing storm? Does the screen fear whatever scene of horror its pixels give expression to? Then Wholeness, this Knowing beyond understanding, is no longer an idea or belief, no longer something that the one at the front of the room who seems to have all the answers has got that we need to get, but it becomes ours, our own lived reality.
We are our experience: every sound, colour and texture, everything and everyone, black/white, rich/poor, Christian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, gay/straight, genius/fool, every colour, every creed, the achievements and the set backs, the delight and the heartbreaks, the certainties and gnawing doubts, and yes even the very misunderstanding that we are exclusively contained inside a body of flesh and bone, along with all the defensive patterns and behaviours which that belief engenders! This is not a mistake, a universal error, but yet another expression emerging out of our endless creativity, and so too of course, in true dualistic fashion, is this message of freedom, releasing us from that inhibiting belief!
All is ourself, our primal, original nature, shape shifting into a myriad of seeming forms, characters and circumstances, a cocktail of emotion and sensation creating this rich play of experience in all its tragicomic splendour, every scene, every entrance and every exit of this masterpiece of drama that is life.
And what wonders unfold as this understanding deepens and matures: in seeing that there really is no autonomous controller, no one to negotiate with life, that the deal has already been done, all is forgiven. Forgiveness for a lifetime of beating oneself up for not being good enough, beautiful enough, successful enough, exciting enough, for whatever our particular hang ups might be; forgiveness for ‘others’ too who have supposedly hurt us or done us wrong. In the end even forgiveness falls apart: we are the guilty and the innocent, the attacker and the victim, the repressor and the repressed, the judger and the judged, there is no ‘other’ to blame or to forgive.
In recognising that we are only ever meeting ourself, closer than close, more intimate than intimate, the longing for something more dissolves, swallowed up in fathomless depths of love.
Then “so this is it?” is transformed from a glib mental complaint into a joyous celebration, exclamation, exultation of the magical wonderment of this eternal present… THIS IS IT!
Image: fir0002, flagstaffotos.com.au