The Macchandanatha Mahasiddha Temple,
Kailash Akhara, Thailand
This is the 6th in a series of blogs (1st blog here) that will demonstrate the live-process of “recovering” from a two month stint of intentionally performing “Crimes Against Wisdom.” The former “Crimes” series detailed the absurdity of my experience of daily, moment-to-moment, purposefully ignoring 10 years of training in yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and psychology. This blog series can be laughed at, here. You can sign on for the RSS feed of this current series, here, by choosing the appropriate link in the upper-right corner of the page. And, please feel free to “like” what we have to share on Facebook, here and follow us on Twitter, here. Thanks.
It all Boils Down to Fear of Death
What do we do when our “treasury of worms” crawl to the surface of awareness? These are the times when we find out who we are. In uncovering our True Nature of unconditional love and contentment we must wade through the cesspool of our nasty habits. This is not comfortable. Growth hurts. Anything worth having, though, is worth working for. So, mustn’t that which is most valuable – deep, nourishing satisfaction – be worth working for most?
This morning, however, I am wondering if it is not all too much. I feel the weight of what feels like aeons of patterned suffering writhing on the breathe of the frustration, impatience and despondence that characterize my meditation practice. If anyone ever told you that meditation was full of bliss they probably were suffering some sort of delusion. They could have been enlightened and in touch with the bliss that is beyond and inclusive of both pleasure and pain – but they may likely have been contriving a false sense of peace based on their idea of what spirituality is supposed to be.
Adhering to Natural Wisdom is about getting real. Our egos contrive some very good reasons to be fake. We are probably quite convinced of the validity of our ego stories. Cutting through our appearances to expose naked reality may feel about as good as open heart surgery. But, man, once those channels are clean… it will have been worth it!
When we’ve awoken to the necessity of inner growth, we know that this is the work we must do. Otherwise, we are procrastinating, which always makes what is inevitable much worse. I do not wish to limit you by implying that suffering is necessary on the path of wisdom. Of course, the possibility of going directly to Source is always available. But, even in our ultimate potential discomfort is a natural part of life. Most of us are in the predicaments we are in because we have strategized in a million different clever ways to avoid the pain of keeping it real.
On this path we can differentiate between pain and suffering, and adhere to the adage that, “In life pain is inevitible, but suffering is optional.” It is by trying to wiggle away from pain that we generate suffering. In relaxing into our situation, however scary or uncomfortable, we might have to take a deep breath and wince a bit as we swallow bitter medicine, but this is what is necessary to take us to a higher level of conscious, loving-awareness.
This morning the familiar foe of doubt is nagging at my insides: Why did I do this stupid experiment? I mean, to unconsciously create patterns of suffering is one thing… but to do it on purpose??? That’s just dumb. And irresponsible. And, anyway, who the hell do I think I am to think that I am helping people? What do I know? I am stupid enough to spend two months ignoring the gifts of natural wisdom in what was probably just a ruse to justify my own want for indulgence, etc., etc.
These were the sentiments storming through my bowels on this lovely morning of meditation. But, I stuck with it and remembered what I have been taught: the key to real development is to cultivate the ability to not believe our own bullshit. These words, eloquently spoken by my teacher resound deeply in my heart. So, when the crap hits the fan I anchor my awareness around this and other “pointing out instructions” and I weather the storm.
I don’t run away (usually:)) from the thoughts and feelings that scare me. I don’t numb out to them with platitudes or try to make lemonade from lemons. I don’t punish myself by attaching my identity to them. And, I don’t indulge them for longer than their natural course. I stay centered in Awareness and keep to the instructions of my practice and then I just let that shit be. I leave it alone and watch it with an interested sense of dis-interest – if that makes sense.
It is important that this stuff comes up. Our unconscious patterns are driving us to lead lives full of judgments, angers, disappointments, greeds, fears, compulsions, depressions, anxieties, jealousies, inadequacies, etc. We are dominated by that which we can barely even see about ourselves. So, the muck must be brought to up the surface in order to be consciously surrendered. In a way, we should celebrate its arising because we know, now, we have a chance to get free of what has compelled us to leacherous conduct and sorry dispostions.
It is by NOT REACTING that we get free. We simply feel, allow, watch and detach, “That is not who I am at Essence. That is just a habit of limitation. I do not need to understand why I generated that pattern. I only need to know that that is not who I really am and not who I want to be and I, of my own free will and power, resolve to drop this pattern once and for all.” We might need to perform this ritual a million times with the same apparent tendency – that’s okay. What matters is that we are in the game. We are alive. We are on our growing edge.
If we are not growing we are dying. There is no neutral – stasis is devolvement. Engaging in life this way keeps us ever young at heart. Then, the real tests come when our deep seeded tensions arise to the surface and we are not on our meditation cushions or yoga mats. We call the work of natural wisdom “practice” for a reason. We don’t have a fighting chance when our old, crusty habits are driving us mad in the middle of an argument with our partners if we have not practiced, thousands of times, this ritual of effortful surrender.
Or, forget the petty arguments that throw most of us around the bend, what about if the shit really hits the fan? What if your kid gets hit by a car and it is up to you to be the voice of sanity that soothes his fears on the way to the hospital. Or what about when you get cancer and you’ve got three weeks to live? Are you going to soil your pants and beg for a type of mercy that is not available or are you going to go in peace, with dignity – benefitting others with your last few breaths?
I ask myself these questions all the time. I am not saying I am convinced that I will be as cool as a cucumber when my deepest attachments are exposed. In fact, I know I am still terrified of dying. That’s why I practice! It doesn’t seem very natural to be so damn scared of something that is 100% certain. It seems silly when I think of that way. But, there is a disconnect between my logic in this regard and the actuality of the panic that comes over me when I consider the possibility of my child dying or being stricken with disease. What good will I be for him if I am a nervous wreck? This is why I practice.
For all of us the crap hits the fan in myriad ways, all the time. Avoiding it, which is inevitably the result of not actively and purposefully seeking to engage it, is not going to change the real gist of the matter. It all boils down to fear of death. We are dying folks. And, it is precicely how we live, full of wakeful-vigor and on our growing edge, that will determine how we die. Adhering to natural wisdom is really the only chance we’ve got.
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