Thoughts on my own development - 10.23.18
We come back to ourselves in layers. Each level of understanding opens the doorway for 10 more to be explored, and it’s endless. It really is true what they say, that the more you know the more you realize you don’t know. The process of growing into a spiritual adult is the opposite of how we define being an adult in the material world. Being an adult in the material world involves spending years of your life learning the rules of society you live in so that you may conform to them and be accepted into it, and also spending years learning a skill that may be considered a useful edition to the members of said society. Becoming a spiritual adult means unlearning everything we think we know about the world. It means letting go in layers of all the psychic debris we have accumulated through our lifetimes. Letting go of the concepts of worthiness, earning, maturity, strength, work, and every other foundational concept we build upon. It ultimately means letting go of the concept of singular, objective reality itself.
It’s funny because I naturally have quite a sharp and discerning mind. I find it rather easy to make decisions and see distinctions. Once I have gathered enough information on a topic, it is easy to decide how I feel about it. This ability has been a gift and prized possession of mine. It has its shadow aspects, certainly, but it’s something I have relied on heavily in my life. The humor is that the further I walk on my path and more I learn and unlearn, unravelling and reweaving my understanding of the world, the more the multiplicity of every single thing becomes apparent to me. The further I go, the more I feel like there is no right, no wrong, no best path. I continue to realize that we simply are.
We spend so much of our energy attempting to avoid pain. First, we try to control the people and circumstances around us. At some point we realize that this is causing us more pain because it is impossible. The concept, “you can’t control what happens, you can only control how you react to it” sinks in. Then we move on to attempting to control ourselves to avoid pain. We will find a practice, discipline, or a belief system that seems attractive to us as it promises a way out. Maybe its military, martial art, psychology, spiritual practice, or religion. However, it is all still the same root. We want to avoid pain, so we desperately look for a way to control the outcome. For some of us we think, “if my partner would just do this, and if my boss could just see this, and if I just had some more money or some more time or had it as easy as the other people then…” and others of us think, “if I was just a little bit better, worked a little harder, gave a little more and was a little more disciplined then…” More and more I am starting to see that the truth is that it doesn’t matter. We may have come to a place in society where we are beginning to realize that there is no end game in the external world, that there is no perfect set of circumstances that will protect us from pain and yield our happiness. But there is also no perfect set of internal circumstances. There is no perfect discipline or practice that guarantees our entrance into a state of bliss or sheer impermeable apathy, beyond pain. All of that searching is merely grasping. Grasping for some way out of the pain we are in.
I know this may sound profoundly depressing. If the end goal isn’t real, then what is the point in trying anything? But that is something else I am beginning to see. The point is in the doing itself. We are going somewhere. We may be grasping at straws, running off on wild goose chases, searching for an answer that doesn’t exist… but that is because we are asking the wrong question. There is no answer to the question, “how can I avoid pain and find happiness?”, because as a state of being, that doesn’t exist. Pain and happiness are polarities of experience. We may experience the world through polarities but that is not the true nature of the world. As we expand our ability to truly see and experience the world more fully, we begin to step beyond polarity into multiplicity, into the all that is.
This confounds and frustrates my discerning mind to no end. My mind breaks down, separates, organizes, and distills things into their essence for fun. My mind is always looking for the one and the ultimate truth of something. However, more and more my mind has been running into the same conclusion for every scenario: it is as it is and as it should be. The multiplicity has been edited into the foundation of the program that my mind runs on and its forcing my mind into submission. More and more I find myself at a loss, with nothing to do but surrender to what is. What I mean to say is that, we are all going somewhere. We are changing, and growing, and evolving. But we aren’t evolving towards the circumstances we want or the goals we have set. We aren’t evolving beyond the existential pain of being human. We are evolving into it. We are evolving through it. The linear concept that we begin somewhere, strive, push, and grow to get somewhere else is only one aspect of reality. We are also already there. There is utter perfection and completion in each moment of our existence. Each step in the journey is equally as important as every other step in getting to the destination. Without just one step the journey would end, which paradoxically makes each single step a destination of their own. Each is necessary in its own place. Since we only experience one step at a time we think of them as separate states of being. We think of them as befores and afters. The truth is that they are all part of a single state, the state of BEing. There is an inherent quality beyond polarity that language cannot quite capture, but the word “being” tries. While to “be” is often considered a static state, it is a verb. “Being” attempts to show us the inherent multiplicity of existence by containing a dynamic action in a state of equilibrium long enough to be considered a fixed state. The wall my mind keeps hitting is the recognition that we are simultaneously in a state of utter perfection within in the tapestry of the totality and yet we are also in a state of ever expanding BEcoming.
To put it in plain terms, it is ok to grasp. It is ok to want, to yearn, to lust, to strive, to work, to despair. We are meant to do all that. It is ok to suffer, and it is ok to be the cause of it. That is part of the multiplicity of the experience of being human. There is no magic answer to our problems. The day will never come when all the circumstances will be just right, and we will feel better or be better. We cannot avoid pain, but it is ok to try. It is ok to cause ourselves more pain in trying to avoid it. It is ok. Each step is a destination in its own right and each is a step further on the journey. You can accept your life as it is, or you cannot, and both are fine options. The greater tapestry of the totality of life is bigger than any of us can see but it does exist. Each step we learn, unlearn, and weave together something important. I guess that’s why everyone seems to eventually come back to the same conclusion. If you are acting from love, then you know it is for the best. If you aren’t that ok too. But love is the way to step out of the mindset of polarity. Love is a guiding light through the overwhelming crush of experience that exists in the multiplicity that is the all that is. The best place to start is with yourself. If you are grasping, attempting to control, upset at the world or at yourself, that’s ok. If you are at rock bottom, that’s ok. If you are at the zenith of your career and you still feel like you are missing something, that’s ok. If you have everything you ever wanted and it’s still not enough, that’s ok. If you have nothing and you are angry at the world and the universe for how hard everything is, that’s ok. You are allowed to be any and all of those things. If you are afraid or careless or self-effacing or selfish, that is all ok. The truth is that none of those things will last. Life keeps happening and we grow and change and evolve whether we are conscious participants or not. If you are ready to start choosing a way out of the polarity of pain and happiness, choose to love yourself in whatever state of being you are in because it really is ok. You will be in many other places in your life, each with its own challenges and gifts, and you will get there whether you grasp or push or simply let life happen.