“Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it when we embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that is called enlightenment.” Pema Chodron
The “Uncomfortable I” is who we ‘think’ we are. First and foremost, it is the conjecture of “thinking”. Who do we think we are?! The tell tale idea that ‘it’ is thinking and therefore is being reduced to an idea, is compelling information.
Thinking is not Being. Thinking is consequent to using the structure of the mind and is reductionistic when having the experience of self and Self. The two selves or identities will be in conflict due to the competitive nature of false identity. It is the Truth Or Consequences show of “Will the real identity please stand up.”
There will be a show of resistance, righteousness, and false testimony. The charlatans of the false self may be numerous and hiding in plain sight, revealing disguise after disguise, until the falseness becomes staggeringly evident. The struggle is the show and the show must go on, as it always does. When we see the schtick, we see that is was supposed to be uncomfortable. If it wasn’t uncomfortable we wouldn’t have a clue that something was wrong. It is (was) naturally wrong.
All ’that’ takes place in the spectacle of bright lights and drama. Again, that venue is not The Venue. ‘That’ is the parade. Since our consciousness is evoking the parade most of the time, the ridiculousness of it all presents itself in that venue. It really doesn’t seem to make sense. But having said that, it makes completely appropriate non-sense.
We are loading ourselves up with the cheapest rhinestones and superficiality of life when we indulge the ego/mind. The ego separates us from life and everyone else. The constant judging, blaming, escaping, magical idealizing, and depression of our moments, contributes to the most common and major delusion we can experience. That is, the simple but compelling deep under-toe of “things just not being right.”
Something is wrong. When we course the lesser energies as our go-to source, we cut off who we really are always and forever more. That is no fairy tale. The transitory, the impermanent, the glitz cannot satisfy like “the fullness of nothing more can be added.”
Awareness and it’s abiding in, sees the above and radically reduces the insult and pernicious influence. When we ‘sit’ in the Silence, wherever and whenever, we inculcate the backdrop of all potentials. We Are It, then, now. We are not the impostor of lesser vehicles. The Director shows up and is seen in the ‘show’. Now, we know what the real deal is.
Seeing more clearly, we see that ‘we’ have this driving, pushing energy that is often expressed as our personal will. If we can see this foreground of who we think we are, we see this over-personalized fictitious self that is aggrandizing and corralling life for itself. This is the foreground of our own fiction. It is derivative, false, and overwhelmed by itself. Welcome to who we think we are! Doesn’t sound good, does it? What is not true?
What is true is that the timezone is not daylight savings. It is more like darkness looking for light. Since we create a false reality, this false reality can only somewhat successfully, be transacted in the ‘unreality’ of the past/future. The Reality of Now cannot accommodate this unfitness for authenticity. The brevity and eternity of Now has no room for the distortion.
All this pushing energy we call the self, is all reaction of over-thinking and over-doing ideas that are extremely limited as to whom we are. A reaction cannot be the Self. Self Is. Om Tat Sat.
When we source the stream of the Absolute, we become the Cause/Action without the baggage of reaction defining who we are. This energy is First, always. To try to connect to It when we refuse to disconnect from the lesser vehicle, is to presuppose the choice. This is not even a fact. That would be a lesser vehicle. It Is. See It. The awareness of right now is the ticket to get the best seat for the show.
Enjoy the drama. We have put together a nice play. “Act” and dance effortlessly. The role was made for us but it is not Us.
The reaction is the play. Action ‘kicks it’. See It.
“Freaking out is a process whereby an individual casts off outmoded and restricting standards of thinking, dress, and social etiquette in order to express creatively his relationship to his immediate environment and the social structure as a whole.” Frank Zappa, Iconoclastic Musician
Unlearn, un-think, and undo.
In the course of life we learn new things. We are conditioned by the regularity of appropriate responses and establish our identities based on the seemingly solid ground of our paradigms. Do we ever see the need to possibly unlearn some seminal assumptions we have about ourselves? Consciousness is not so much learning new things as it is understanding old patterns and established behavior. It is the learning of and implications of habitual reactions based on ego/mind that have created the unnatural interference with who we really Are.
To understand, if we can call it that, that we have an inherent wisdom built-in from birth, is to acknowledge the ‘Being’ state in a less direct way. It’s kinda like guilt by association thing where if this permanent piece called ‘Being’ is really there, then the part of that, that also must coexist, is this perennial wisdom which is awakened as well.
So the learning of unlearning is essential in order to reveal the permanent substrate of the wisdom of un-acquired knowledge, in addition to the ’stops’ we put in our Way.
The process of thinking with the tool called the mind, has had a history of overriding it’s framework and natural limitation. The utility of the mind is essential for certain obvious processes we must address in this plane of action. However, it is overwrought in it’s use as a be-all and do-all device. This glaring over-clocking has contributed to anxiety disorders, depression, and our global affective functioning in society. It has been the first and last choice of our industrialized society. However, it is not nearly the best choice in our spiritual development.
When we get hit with cupid’s arrow should we get Mr. Spock-like in our response? We could, but it would not play well with most relationships. When we begin to meditate should we try hard and really think it through? No way Jay. The effort and cognition are both detriments to the process of letting go and seeing. Too many times in our lives we feel we have to over-think things to the demise of openness and spontaneity.
So the un-thinking of some of our patterns would provide utility to ourselves in the change in landscape that would occur. Our tireless assumptions and judgments can finally take a well-deserved break.
Un-do the doing. Have you ever felt that you’ve been treated like someone ‘did you’? Like you were an object with no feelings or warmth? The world does have some things that must get done. If we do things mindlessly, recklessly, and without conscience, how does it feel? There is an ethic, a universal human value that abides in the connection to Self. Giving some mandates to do, we understand, viscerally and deeply, the implication of no connection to our humanity. Our humanity is the constant reference to whom we all really are, always. That is, we are ‘Being’ effortlessly and always, in every Moment. Without this divine connection we are left to our lower instincts.
Ergo, un-do the unreferenced ‘doing’. When connected to the Eternal Absolute, the ‘doing’ is invigorated with the energy of fullness resulting in value added. ‘Doing’ becomes more effortless and informed along with the affirmation and timing of the Universe.
We strive for peace without having a viable sense of peace for ourselves. We dance with the stimulants of the external without the backdrop of viscerally knowing the limitations of the external when not tempered by the freedom to Be without it. We lose ourselves in the play of life making the temporary a priority and the permanent a luxury, that we can get to ‘whenever’. Our starting point is not the thinking, doing and learning that results. Our starting point is before these mechanistic choices. Can we ‘See’ that Now?
The Age of Aquarius occurred in the mid-sixties and early seventies. The time was smitten with revolution of self, independence from institutions and institutional thinking. Not selling out, being true to self, and directly challenging authority and the status quo of complacence, catapulted the baby boomers into a polarized society that saw a generational rift never seen before. This was the zeitgeist that advertisers had to address to sell their products. This new generation had enormous numbers that demanded attention.
Whoa! The “7UP Uncola” concept was born. It was radical. It was challenging to the established giant brands of Coke and Pepsi. It was different in that it did not want to fight directly but rather establish itself as ‘unlike’ the others and ‘unlike’ the previous generation’s tastes and preferences. This was an alternative that was kin to the alternative type of lifestyle that this cool generation espoused.
It was a campaign whose time had come. The “Uncola” was not a cola. And it fought for the market not as a 3rd brand, but as a drink that looked different, tasted different, and provided an identity that distinguished its buyers from the staid past. 7-Up’s challenging the status quo resulted in a successful marketing campaign that resulted in an unprecedented leap in sales, to the chagrin of the 2 Colas.
The “Uncola” of consciousness is much the same thing. We do not want to push and fight directly with the ‘overt’. It would be unskillful. We ‘see’ the giant competitors of Coke/Pepsi analogous to mind/ego. We ‘see’ that going head-to-head with these giants would be unproductive. Ergo, we open our consciousness to the window of Now and connect with the independence and ‘true to self’ qualities we all universally espouse. We know the ‘product’ will be different and good due to it’s connection to whom we already are Now. Our choice is an alternative to the brashness of over-marketing of thinking, doing, and learning dysfunctional patterns of being.
Drink from the pure Source of this Moment. Always.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” Albert Einstein
Is the universe all separate and disconnected, working at different purposes? Or are there essential principles that explain the variations and diversity? Calendars, the measurement of time, and solar/lunar predictability, all are derivative of the laws of the physical universe. Tides, seasons, and the flunking of planets have their source in these astral studies. There is an underlying coherence and value that is not discernible to the naked eye, when we view the diverse peculiarities of galaxies, novas, black holes, and quasars.
If we are stardust, why does it sometimes feel so separate? If we are the universe where does our agenda come in?
The end of compassion is the complete lack of separation between self and others. It is the point of selflessness in action/being. It cannot be that the ‘physical’ universe has all the answers. The ‘outer’ phenomena is the outcome, the reaction, the result. It is not the progenitor or the Cause.
If we are the Cause, then we are the Universe. The physical part is not the substantive part. The seeming separation is also the phenomena, which makes it the physical universe. This is not the full reality. Reality is Oneness, the unity in the diversity, the subtleness, not the parade.
But looking at all the above, what are we constantly soaking in, most of our life time? The clear majority of our time is probably being spent in striving, jiving, and conniving self-aggrandizement. This of course is the parade. The parade is just a show. It is not where the real ‘action’ takes place. It is more like reaction. How we handle the phenomena, is imperative and has long-term implications. There are physical and cosmic consequences to our actions, inactions, and reactions.
The results of this external cosmic play are the ‘residuals’ that keep the game going on, the futility compounded, and the cost of suffering squared, that is, the cycle of birth and death regenerating. Not too cool.
“I strive to do good.” That can be analogous to striving to breathe when we already are doing the breath thing effortlessly. The ’striving’ is a loading on the “Being”. We know that striving ‘appears’ pedestrian and totally utilitarian. But it is not useful in the least when it interferes with a process like breathing, that needs no additional complication/direction. In other words, forcing or “pushing” even in so-called traditional ways, is not the ticket. The “I” does not feel any less uncomfortable than it usually feels when we unnecessarily ‘push’. Striving in spirituality finds the “I” aggrandized.
“Being” is enough. “Being” is just happening effortlessly. It is us ‘unplugged’ and un-programmed by our conditioning. Part of Being is Seeing. Without “Seeing” there is no “Being”. Neither characteristic can be separated. In this type of “Seeing” there is no loading of “Seeing”. Loading would be superfluous in that “Being” is always complete. There is one word for this in Sanskrit, Satchitananda (Being, Awareness, Bliss). The separateness is in the mind.
Connecting to the here and now is the access needed to pursue the connection to the industrial strength qualities present when aligning with the “Universe”, sometimes known as ‘Self’. Awareness changes the way we process internal reactions. Interestingly, the content of an old reactive pattern that seemingly won’t go away, can be neutralized with the vigor of the reaction. As the destructive conditioning goes deeper, the reactiveness is stronger. When seen “fully”, the strength of the reaction can pull out the slipperiness that has contributed to its elusiveness and chronicity. The fullness of unbridled Awareness coupled with a predictable over-the-top reactivity, can unload the stuck energy pattern, making it appear as unnecessary, ridiculous and superfluous. The subsequent ‘aha’ moment is the realization of the futility in our life as it really is, anyway. The key being the utilization of all the tools the Universe has given us in ‘any’ Moment.
We stop doing the opposite of skillful when we realize the choices we have been making did not have all the clarity needed, juxtaposed against the routinized society-driven and sanctioned prototypical responses. The allowance of giving ourselves greater consciousness allows the alignment of ‘everything’ to be available to be used just like the Universe uses, except through us. If we were the ones stopping this allowance, then we are the ones now allowing it to happen. And, it just happens, without ‘pushing’ or owning.
We all came in, as neonates, with the Universe and a Self that had no boundaries. Margaret Mahler’s separation-individuation theory of early childhood development contends that individuation occurs epigenetically forming a stability for adulthood. Jean Piaget’s object permanence and internal representation of ‘mother’ at about age 3 allows us further movement and independence. Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development stages state clear developmental tasks that need successful completion to become ‘normal’ adults without significant issues. All the above are necessary for individuation. However, the movement is going from the undifferentiated to the differentiated and never a thought again about the necessity of the undifferentiated potentiality. Theorists have not given any utility to the platform where everything has taken off from. That potentiality is everything. Is there no utility there, other than a starting point?!
Having the spaciousness to Be versus lacking the inner space to become, is the question. In order to Be the Universe we cannot conversely ‘be’ the ego/mind. The Source, the potential, the emptiness, is still present within us now. When we limit our Space we limit our potentiality to Be. We limit by controlling and owning from the fiction called the ego, which we have developmentally aggrandized to an enormous size. It’s falseness is made apparent with the unnecessary suffering which highlights it’s instability. There is no stopping it’s voracious appetite. It is uncentered and not content.
To pursue the spaciousness we need to Be, we create space. We create space by letting go of limitations and conditioning we have imposed on ourselves. Not unlike clearing our Mac of unnecessary files so we can have more hard drive available to do stuff we really like, we clear out the clutter by an increased level of Awareness. Our “Being” depends on it.
When we came into this world, we were the Universe undifferentiated. Upon leaving this world, we can be aligned with the undifferentiated and be one with everyone, no exclusions. The ‘separateness’ we think we now see becomes an identified illusion. The developmental task we all are challenged by, is going back to this undifferentiated state with consciousness. This is our greatest opportunity to do the greatest good for ourselves and others.
When we lose the artificial separateness that prompts the disease called hate and war, we allow the natural organic Love of compassion to fill the space we create, effortlessly. It does not descend from above or anywhere outside of ourselves. It emerges from within, the depth of Silence. This is the starting point of our life when we were born and it is the starting point of this very Moment where we are born and renewed constantly. It is a freshness that is authentic and holistically full.
“When you walk on the road in an evening and suddenly find a thick piece of long rope lying on the ground, instinctively you think of it as a snake and get scared! Where did this fear come from? How does it disappear? Did the snake change into a rope for your fear to disappear? No! The rope is still a rope, you mistook it to be a snake! The hallucination effect you had is a result of the worldly point of view. Realize that the whole world is a manifestation of the Divine (Brahman). Your vision is blurred by ignorance, illusion and hallucination, which sees the world as material objects and not as Divine Creations. Know that all you see in the world and think as real is actually unreal and false. The spiritual point of view clarifies your vision, and will let you experience truth as truth and will remove any fear.” Sai Baba 12-25-80
If all that we do or do most of the time, is to push forward to make progress, we engage in a one-trick pony. How many situations have we gotten ourselves into by being “brave” and going head-on in a situation? We often were ill-prepared, especially in reflecting on the merits of this technique versus another. Even if our choice modality is not to go forward blindly, we did so because we did not know of an alternative that could work, short of doing nothing. But that wouldn’t be brave would it? Bull-rushing responses are often characterized as meritorious despite their mediocrity in success.
We are made stronger, right?! We certainly are not availing ourselves of our options, options that may have a greater efficacy.
The prevailing problem in ‘pushing’ or it’s flip-side, ‘clinging’, is the near total ignorance of ‘the’ problem. The problem is that we are coming from the space and time of “problem”, not “fullness”. Secondly, we abandon ‘cause’ and deal with ‘effect’. That is, action versus re-action.
There is Buddhist thought that basically states that the majority of suffering is the result of ‘clinging’. Whether the form is ‘clinging’ or ‘pushing’, the core issue always boils down to attachment of ego to the phenomena. This ‘attachment’ reflects the desire to own and control and further belies the additional problem of ‘separation’ from Self.
Unconsciousness of our own desire to leave the ‘fullness’ with the apparition of mind that can never be sated, is the practice we engage in daily. Desiring, pushing, getting, wanting, clinging, thirsting for things outside of ourselves means that our starting point cannot be fullness. If our starting point were ‘fullness’, the meaninglessness of the above activity would be apparent to the degree that we would not be ‘so’ engaged in the drama. Effortlessness is not sticky and clingy and forceful like its counterpart of “pushing/clinging”.
Funny thing is, is that ‘fullness’ is our starting point and we don’t have to do anything to get there. Doing ‘something’ would be like Alan Watts said, putting legs on a snake.
When we push or cling, we are reacting to having a perceived deficit. We are no longer ‘Cause’, ‘acting’ or Being. We disengage, becoming ‘effect’, ‘reaction’, and ‘doing’. The “Fullness” just Is. When we misidentify ourselves with the stuff ‘outside’ and the comorbidity of ‘separateness’, we downgrade our existence to suffering and deficits. The ‘pushing/clinging’ model the ego/mind indulges in, is the abode of perennial suffering. The model is insufficient to sate ourselves deeply.
In Aikido, harmony with an opposing force is often first ‘stepping back’ in order to maintain connection with Self, the universe, and the aggressor. Stepping back is an extremely strong and effective technique. It creates space and reveals the intention and disharmony. It allows the opposing force to express itself fully and robustly. Then the harmonious movement of ‘two’ becomes ‘one’. Nothing was forced. The opportunity for ‘non-thinking’ Oneness appears with subsequent effortlessness of movement.
So, too, in disengaging the rant of the mind. We ‘practice’ in the Moment, seeing we are ‘in’ that open space that allows us to ‘see’ our hidden agendas of resistance to change and attachment to how we think things should be. We trade all that, for a ‘look’ at our reasons for feeling strongly about having this or that reaction. Why are we resisting helping this person? Do we really think that eating this cake will give us our missing part that we feel is gone right now? Why do we feel so compelled to talk ill of another when we know it’s negative effects?
Shifting out of our regular patterns allows us space to see our unconsciousness in action. We step back, ideally, habitually, to enable a bigger view of ourselves, so that we face ourselves and our less than heroic motivations. It is here where the purification and healing begin. The allowing and seeing, which is the effortless Cause, can now abide.
Through consistent practice of awareness and Being, we reveal the back doors of the mind where the light has not recently reached. We realize that the problems we have is not with others but with ourselves. We glare at the darkness that caused us to react the way we did and see that it began with us. ‘Us’ also is now expanded because we feel our separateness being reduced. We have become the Cause not the effect.
We can now love people as they are, without inwardly asking them to be different. We have made up that difference by ‘seeing’ ourselves more clearly by asking ourselves what our motivations and reasons are for feeling ‘this’ way. We realize that us changing inwardly changes the world outwardly to the degree we ‘see’ and ‘let’ it Be.
When we are ‘stuck’ we begin to understand that the universe is constantly changing and does not get ‘stuck’. The Universe changes. Our “stuckness” softens with forgiveness. Forgiveness for self and others is change. It allows us to go on and flex with the universe. The Universe is constantly forgiving and changing. Forgiving is changing, changing is forgiving, is letting go.
What we ‘think’ is real is not real. Be effortlessly the Cause. Step back and watch the drama unfold, let intentions be seen, and source the eternal witness and the plenum of fullness, constantly. This is the Real world. The Stillness and potentiate for everything Is always inside us. Attend to that. Stickiness and stuckness keep us glued to the ‘unreal’. Go forward by letting go and stepping back.