Monday, June 4, 2012
How does the world look when you don’t need anything from it? So much of so many of our lives is spent pursuing. There are more ways to pursue happiness than there are people. Most never find. Perhaps they find moments of happiness or a break from the drum of stress, but daily life asserts itself once again and the constant stress and threat that many live with rises to the foreground. I once had a friend describe his capacity to worry like the law of the vacuum wherein empty space is abhorred. In her life it seemed like the moment she let go of one worry another popped in. She even noticed that the character of her worries had changed over the years as her situation improved and stability increased . But despite the character change they were no less frequent or aggravating. I think her situation is similar to many. We worry about things because we believe it will give us an manner in which to control that which Is beyond us. Its as if worrying enough we believe we will affect the outcome.
But if I don’t worry how will I change the situation I am in? Doesn’t worry enable me to produce solutions? Besides I do not know how to stop worrying?
I might differentiate here between worry and analysis and action. Worry keeps one in a loop of fear hyped up on potential outcomes none of which you can know in advance. Analysis looks at the same data and says at the moment I can do a, b, and c and after that I will do 1, 2, and 3. Analysis can even look to the future to say if a, b, or c happens I will do 1, 2, or 3. But notice that in each case there is not really a problem. There is simply stimulus and response, a cause and a map of potential courses. We are so conditioned to analyzing within the context of our worry that we lose sight of how to separate them. With analysis the mind is not spinning and the body is not contracted around what might come to be. The truth is we never really know what is going to come to be yet we delude ourselves into thinking we know all the time. Perhaps if the sense of no control pervaded the mundane more clearly it would not be so acute during crises. The not knowing, the uncertainty could make its all so much more of an exciting adventure but usually people stress. It is a mistaken sense of self that turns everything into a problem. It is a mistaken sense of who we are that obscures our ability to simply act in concert with what the situation asks. The heart does not worry about pumping? And as for stopping worrying you don’t. It too is a magical part of the fabric of life. You simply notice it when it appears and get curious and kind towards what the worry thinks it will accomplish. It will either go away then or not, in either case it is again , no problem.
Worry is incredibly well meaning, it thinks it can protect you. It thinks it can help you resolve something out there in the future that is the source of anxiety. It cannot. It does not realize that it IS the cause of anxiety. But rather than make worry an enemy and try to rid oneself of it sidle up next to it and take it into your heart. What happens then?
Why do we go to the movies? What kind of movies do you like? Do you read fiction? Movies come in all shades, shapes, colors, themes, topics and perspectives. It is the same with books. Do we watch movies to escape? Maybe, but often movies are just depicting slices of life. It is the same with books. Even if the situation is fantastical or completely imagined it still depicts some aspect of existence otherwise it couldn’t be written. In these movies or books we often experience a range of emotions and thoughts from sadness to elation to fear, happiness, righteousness, anger or anxiety. In the context of the movie or book it is part of what we actually pay for. When we go see a romantic comedy we understand that at some point two people will meet. At some point there will be difficulty in their relationship and usually they will get back together at the end. In the horror film we go to be scared or to see if the movie is capable of scaring us. In many ways life is not much different except that we come to believe that the story is solid and real. In a movie or book at the end no matter how enchanted we were , we are able to separate the movie from who is watching the movie. What capacity allows you to identify with the characters in the movie or book? Who/what is it that identifies with characters in the book or movies? What capacity is it that enables you to identify with your own story? Who or what identifies with your own story? I have often said that with the right editing a compelling movie could be made of anyone’s life. So if we go to the movies or read books and enjoy them are we not paying for the emotions and experiences that in another context we are often trying to rid ourselves of? In its essence there is nothing wrong with any emotion. They simply are and they are not wrong or problematic for being there. We only struggle when we see the emotions as something that we need to overcome. As the movie demonstrates they are part of the wondrous fabric that keeps life real, beautiful, engaging and dynamic.
Even when discontent shows up do not fret. It does not mean you have done anything wrong or that you are less spiritual or that something is wrong or fill in whatever sweet treat one’s ego is feeding itself on at the moment. They are all ways of strengthening a self if you bite. That which is capable of noticing the discontent, your true essence, is capable of holding it all, the contentment and the discontent. If there is discontent, ask if you are identified with the person/body/mind whose life-circumstance does not have everything lined up perfectly or are you aligned with that tender and compassionate “space” which can see that discontent and offers up its heart to it. It offers its heart not to necessarily change it or eliminate it but simply because that is its nature; tender, caring, kind.
How would it feel if you knew in your deepest depths that everything is ok. Not that it would be ok when you got to heaven or that it would be ok in 10 minutes or in two days or after you accomplished this or read that book or finished this meditation, but now. Actually it is more than ok it is absolutely beautiful and perfect. It does not mean that there won’t be be pain and dread, difficulty, sadness, hardship, grief, and sorrow but in a way does that matter. It means that there is less of need for it to be different than the way it is. It means that when change needs to happen it happens and is not a source of worry or anxiety. Unless of course it is a source of worry and anxiety in which case it still is ok. :-)
There is nothing to get, nowhere to go. All you ever needed is right here. They say home is where the heart is. Well, we live in the Kingdom of Heaven. We just forget our address sometimes.