Go Outside by Letting It In

I was talking to my soul brother and dear, dear friend the other day that the hardest thing about a spiritual path is the opposite of clutching and clinging: letting go, letting fall away, letting fear of losing one’s identity not matter, if only for 1 minute at a time.

Opening your hand in total relaxation is not the same type of effort as contracting your muscle to cling. Letting yourself ‘be’ amid the elements around you is not the same as struggling to manage all the elements around you to define your being. Being part of the harmony is not the same effort as trying to orchestrate it.

Really, the effort focuses on the continual choice to turn off the knee-jerk, fear-of-falling tendency to cling and grasp. Disconnecting the power to judgment is not the same as stifling judgment. Opening up is not the same as self-annihilation.

I ran across the following reflection on Contemplative Druidry entitled “Entering Silence.” I really liked it because it touches on finding the silence in being part of the stillness; being conscious of the spaces between without forcing meaning on the patterns that you might perceive.

The process is one of self-emptying, but not in a self-wounding spirit of renunciation, of holy war on ‘ego’, of pushing away the immature self-sense like an unwanted child.

Self-emptying is simply the will to let things come and go without grabbing on, making room for something else to be. Warmly spacious, it invites a more expansive way of being. We do not let go in order to get something better. The letting go is itself the something better, freeing us from our habitual self-protectiveness and contracted activities like taking, defending, hoarding, and clinging.

Our identity is a collection of dust we have encrusted onto our consciousnesses, dust to which we have ascribed value.  We’re so afraid of chipping off the crust for fear of “not being me any more.”  But the “me” is trapped into a single statue of form, where in reality, there can be a continuum of me’s.

Entering the silence is simply being amid a world of being.  Instead of self-annihilation or becoming one with Brahman, entering the silence highlights one’s being amid being.  Add to that the consciousness you can bring to the silence, and you have a type of unifying magic with you as a vital component — where the crust of identity does not matter.  Human judgments on the value of traits and behaviors and other externals do not matter: the silence proves it.

In silence we find our core.  When we take the next step of exploration in the silence, we find affinities, or harmonies, with what fills us with the most sense of life.  Instead of taking our egos for a walk outside, we let the outside inside — we open the walls to the Id to not just perceive the whole, but be part of the whole.

buddah and what meditation does

Meaning will take care of itself

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke:

A wise man once said that all human activity is a form of play. And the highest form of play is the search for Truth, Beauty and Love. What more is needed? Should there be a ‘meaning’ as well, that will be a bonus?

If we waste time looking for life’s meaning, we may have no time to live — or to play.

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First, I find a contradiction in “all human activity” not including “looking for life’s meaning.”  If I try to find implications in his juxtapositions, I might conclude that “to live” is “to play”, looking for life’s meaning is not-play (not living) as though the two are mutually exclusive activities by virtue of word choice.

I believe he’s saying that “looking for life’s meaning” is a meaningless extraction on its own, being done apart from searching for Truth, Beauty, and Love.  But he seems to have extracted searching for those things from searching for life’s meaning (why or how any of those three things matter) as though they aren’t a part of “life.”

To “search for” something to me implies that the object of the search is a target.  On one hand, the target can be defined, and you’re looking to find it.  On the other hand, the target is ethereal and you’re looking to establish its existence for some reason.  And “for some reason” implies some purpose or objective, which then implies meaning: what is Truth, Beauty, and Love such that they can be play; and why is searching for them worth expending playtime for?

For the sake of play?  That can’t be.  Too shallow.

Play is the quintessential example of “living in the moment” or the present. Living in the present does not mean living in ignorance of meaning beyond the present. It means being totally present in the now, with consciousness of interconnectedness and “meaning”…a meaning that forms awareness.  Without this, “play” is reduced to nothing more than a bubble of self-indulgence or enacted daydreams, whereas it could be about exploration of consciousness.  Play can be about the meaning of life and the magic that meaning makes possible.

Let’s focus on Beauty for the moment.

In Strong’s Systematic Theology, he argues that beauty, for it to be recognized, requires a recognizer — a being with the capacity to appreciate and enjoy aesthetics and masterfully applied design.  And that being has some relationship to the abstract of beauty, some chemistry that produces joy of beauty in its recognition. Continue reading

Soul of Happiness

A super-dear friend of mine, with whom I’ve been a soul-mate and “brain-lover” (as we have labeled it) over the many years we have known and interacted with each other, has been caught up in a whirlpool of ambient negativity and misfortunes. Over the past 6+ years, I have watched as the personality I cherished began to wither, deteriorate, and crumble leaving what appeared to be a quivering, lost soul without matter, direction or agency.

Her recent living has consisted of underpaid and unfulfilling jobs in companies staffed by petty, small-minded, and sometimes downright evil humans; she has lost half of her retirement fund in the economic “down-turn”; and has contended with the usual stresses Continue reading

Cost of Living Freshly

I don’t know what I would have amounted to if I hadn’t found characteristics that I wanted to be part of me. Parents, relatives, friends, non-friends, animals…admirable things. It’s hard for me to imagine a person passing through his/her developmental stages isolated from influences beyond cause & effect, influences that extend our consciousness beyond our physical being to include the more mental and social.

I have a number of friends that have skillsets and characteristics that I just love, and I want them. Um, the skills and characteristics, sillies. One friend, Beau, is an amazing time-manager with an ability to get things done in the most laid-back, casual (and Texan?) way. Among his mantras: “Every successful project starts with a willingness to Continue reading

Quark Express

One time — I don’t know how I managed to do it — I enrolled myself in a calculus class with my math skills being advanced enough to recognize a whole number when I saw it with no other symbols, especially Greek, in the vicinity. For two weeks I went to this class in total wonder of the language the teacher was speaking. Now you know I love languages, but this was like a total-immersion or linguistic field-study experience where you purposefully place yourself in an socio-anthropological context in the wilds of the Amazon to decode and learn the local idiom. But, unlike an immersion class or field study, the pace and the natives were unforgiving. Or maybe they were forgiving, but didn’t recognize the degree of forgiveness I needed for deliverance.

I finally realized that I couldn’t just osmote the information without some basic principles with which to process this calculo-lingua. I hadn’t the fundamental elements of knowledge this class assumed. I arrogated something in order to think myself ready for calculus, but I’m not exactly sure what it could have been! Could it have been the thrill of seeing the Greek symbols? Typically with arrogance, Continue reading

Self-Sustaining Salvation

A super-dear friend of mine sent me a book called “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle, tagged with a big “O” for Oprah Book Club. My first thought was, when she was telling me about this book, “Great, another new-age self-help book.” What she was telling me just didn’t add up. She’d use terms that didn’t seem to fit; she’d describe theories, notions, concepts, and philosophies that produced for me an image of an unformed blob nearly completely masked by deep, gray fog. She encouraged me to buy the book, and I mumbled an unintelligible sound hoping to pass it off as an assent. I’m not sure it worked, because here she sent it to me. I guess this book meant something more to her than the other books, because she wanted real input.

You see — remember, I love her DEARLY — she’s one of those souls who regularly visits her therapist and is constantly soul-searching. Not to the extent of one of my sisters, who waffles between religions in order to quarantine the perceived wrongs done to her in her earlier life and count herself sanctified. But my friend’s searching is constant because her need is never met. Oddly, no one I know of who reads such Continue reading