Viva La Revolucion
There is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation in which you remember a time you were wrongly accused. You bring up this feeling, and in doing so, you identify what is called the False Self, the egoic sense of self.
“How dare they.” With just that thought, it’s easy to feel this false self very strongly. How dare they think the worst of me; how dare they misunderstand, mistrust. How dare they hurt me? Me??
Once you dial in that feeling, then it becomes easy to question this false self. Who is this Me? What does it feel like to feel injured? What am I attached to that has built this solid sense of self so solidly? Who is it who is injured? What if I let that part that can be injured go? And most interesting: what is there that can never be injured?
It’s difficult to ask oneself these things in times of personal upheaval, relationships dissolving, miscommunications and misunderstandings. That firm sense of self is so ingrained we can’t see beyond it. We call it reality, and we swim in the hurt, despairing that it will ever change.
It has occurred to me recently that as soon as I think I have this self-inquiry process down, I am challenged even more to let go of this reality. I uncover attachments that go so deep that letting go of them is wrenching. Maybe the further along you get in awakening, the more difficult the challenges become. Maybe it gets harder, not easier to do this. I’ve to let go of thinking I know anything.
I needed to lay low and investigate for a while. Thus, no blogs. Sometimes, creative output needs to be intake, I guess. I tried not to stress about it, and just followed the process as if it were outside of my domain.
(It made me happy when some folks reached out to ask about the blogs, though. Thank you!)
Anyway, there was a bunch of turmoil, tumult. My universe seemed to tilt violently to one side for a while. Big things, small things, wherever I looked there was so much upheaval. I went through a period like this many years ago and couldn’t help but equate it to that long-ago time, when I had half as many years to me. I have a pretty clear sense that I didn’t handle change very well back then, and I know I could have handled it all differently this time around too. I could have been smarter and kinder and all the things we always wish in retrospect. I beat myself up quite a bit for not being any more enlightened this time around.
There is one thing that is different now. I have learned to recognize that which does not change. That which stays true. That which sees emotion rise and fall and yet which stays even. More than before, this is where I live now. Mostly, peaceful. I move as much as I can from what I experience as truth, and watch as life unfolds.
I witness tinges of those “how dare they” moments as the false self rises up, but now it is all an attack against myself. How dare I be so thoughtless, unthinking, unkind, short, gruff, causing pain? How could I not, this time, be perfect, know the right thing to say, the better way of being? How could I not know how to make it all right?
I know these questions are pointless. The only question that means anything is to ask: to whom do these thoughts come? I know there is nothing I can do, except to fall into the heart. I acted from the heart as much as I knew how. This, I have to trust.
The ego exists only to confuse you and confound you. That is why it appears to exist. But to whom does the ego exist? Only to the mind, so we're back to basics again.
Destroy the mind by not thinking about it. If you do not think about the mind it becomes weaker and weaker and finally it's totally annihilated. When there is no longer a mind logic will be unnecessary, communication is unnecessary, everything is unnecessary. For everything works by itself. It takes care of itself, in its own time and in its own place. That is why I emphasize so much, turn into yourself. Turn within to yourself. Never try to solve your problems. You cannot do it, rather know yourself, be yourself and see if any problems disturb you at all. What I say to you sometimes seems to be ludicrous, nonsensical, but yet if you do it, if you try it, you will see if it's nonsensical. If you would only turn within yourself and stop trying to change other people or change conditions or change behavior patterns. Leave these things alone. Be yourself! Love yourself! Worship yourself! And then see what happens to you.
In the midst of this funny time, when life seemed to be an excruciating test to keep bringing my awareness back to rest in stillness, I went to Cuba for a vacation. The old man wanted to go for a landmark birthday, and so we went.
It was startling to be dragged away while it seemed like everything was so off-kilter. Still, I tried to wake every morning and sit in stillness on the cool tile floor. The practice was important, to watch what rises, what passes away, All day as we rolled through the holiday I kept remembering to ask: to whom does this experience come? I realized that I can do this work anywhere, that this is the most important work there is. For much of my time, I ended up being able to just be in the moment, and to experience the richness of the trip, and let go of everything I had been going through back home.
Being a mightily typical American with a limited idea of history, I didn’t know quite what to expect of Cuba. First thing I learned, as I expected, was that my government has pretty much made the people of Cuba’s lives crappy for many years. What I didn’t know was that the leader of Cuba had always stressed: it is not the American people who are doing this to us, but the leadership. I experienced openness, pride, solidarity, kindness, excitement, good humor. I wept several times as I discovered this country, and these people. I was moved at things that I take for granted. I don’t know how to explain the depth of my feeling about this place, but it was surprisingly emotional. I love this history of a revolution for the people, by the people. I always will.
Of course, as I experienced Cuba and this different way of seeing the world, I realized that everything I see, I see through my own history and DNA and bias, and that nothing I see exists the way I think it does. I am a political moron, a humanity-lover and a cosmic idealist. It was interesting to see my egoic self, and then practice what Robert Adams speaks of.
I fall beneath this bias, this ego, this Clementine. I ask, to whom do these thoughts come? To whom does this experience come? What is solid here at all?
I am a collection of molecules on a plane flying over the Yucatan peninsula, a little drunk on wine and looking forward to being in bed with a dog who smells like my childhood stuffed animals. I have been heartbroken and am coming out of a period in which I questioned my sanity and my motives and my choices in this life and yet here in my heart I can sit in stillness for long empty moments and trust that truth I find there.
The secret is to leave the problems alone and get rid of your mind. When you no longer have a mind how can you have a problem. It is the mind who has the problem not you. You are bright and shining. You are absolute reality, sat-chit-ananda, nirvana that is what you are. But you don't believe me because even now when I'm talking to you some of you are thinking of some problems. You are thinking of something being wrong someplace. Something that you have to deal with. Something that you have to overcome and I keep insisting that there is nothing to overcome, there is nothing to deal with. All is well. But you won't believe me. You keep on feeling problems. You keep on feeling hurtable. You keep on feeling that there is someone trying to do something to you. What can anybody possibly do to you?
A few months ago I watched a show on Netflix called The Healer, about this young, good-looking guy who goes around healing people from chronic conditions. It’s pretty awesome and moving, and having friends who themselves are healers in similar ways, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this idea come into the mainstream.
What was striking to me: when the gentleman came into someone’s house, generally the client had been in chronic pain for sometimes years. It had been years since they could stand on their foot, or walk up stairs, or just exist without pain. After several moments, the healer could remove the pain. His eyes would flutter, he’d connect to the energy body, and then he would say, “step down now, on your foot.” It would take them several minutes before they realized that yes, the pain was actually completely gone.
The thing that was striking was how attached we become to our pain. Sure, at first they are tentative because they can’t believe the pain could vanish so instantly, but then once it becomes apparent that the pain is gone, they still can’t really trust it. They often aren’t really even that thankful about it at first, since the pain has been so much a part of their life that to give it up is not just giving up pain, but who they have become with the pain. It is the Identity that has to leave, and that seems to take longer than the pain. Who am I when I am no longer in pain?
Who am I when I am no longer attached this human condition? To these thoughts and attachments and concepts and emotions and this solid sense of self? What do I take for granted as existing? Who am I when I can no longer be injured or injure? Who am I when pain and hurt and regret happens and yet that still, expansive conscious purity of awareness, that which never changes and which never hurts, is that which experiences?
As soon as you let go of the world it will fall off your shoulders and crack into a million pieces and there will be no more world for you. So drop the burden right now. Drop whatever burden you're carrying right now. Whatever it may be, how serious you think it is, drop it right now, be rid of it. Think of it for a moment then drop it and watch it crack into a million pieces. Your problem it's gone, it's finished, kaput. You're free.
You’re totally free, absolutely free. Do you feel free? Some of you actually refuse to feel free. For some strange reason you don't want to feel free. You're afraid to be free because you don't know what you will encounter. You've been caught up in problems for so many years. They've become like a friend of yours and you're afraid to release them, let them go because you'll be in space. There will no longer be anything to lean on, to hold on to. Yet I can assure you if you let go you will be filled with bliss. Bliss is waiting for you to let go.
Well, this is the first blog back, and here I am, with sorrow and joy and idealism and regret and all this Clementine experience, this way of seeing the world that it is solely through this Clementine-colored filter. Thank you for tuning in again! And know that I will continually be asking here:
To whom does this come? Of this whole glorious experience, what is aware? I will let go of the mind, let go of my preferences and judgments and that big megaphone of an internal voice that declares all my failings and concepts and ideals.
Then, in this emptiness, the truth: that you and I swim here in infinity, no matter what our perceived lot. One pulse together. Bliss.
You can hear me read this on Soundcloud HERE and on iTunes HERE.