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