Monday, June 19, 2006

Direct Experience

Why is this moment full of such pregnant expectation? Why do I feel that I want to connect and communicate and at the same time be by myself and just be? Why do I feel on one hand that the world is waiting out there for me to express myself and experience it, whereas on another hand I feel that this is the most peaceful “my” time that I need to acknowledge and appreciate?

Why do I write stories if I don’t want an audience for them? Why do I consistently improve my physical skills if I don’t want others to recognize them? Why do I constantly strive to open my mind to new concepts and theories if there is no one in my life that I would really choose to share them with? Why do I constantly seek the spirit within if I refrain from experiencing it without?

Or do I really? Why do I perform acts and expect others to react if not to feel the connectedness with the universe? And why do I consistently feel disappointed when it does not happen on my own terms? What is the bigger picture in all of this? What is this need for perfection that I consistently feel and then consciously deny by my actions?

Why do I need the constant approval of the universe if I choose to not be part of the universe or be part of it only on my terms of space and time and energy and availability? Why do I then feel resentment and concern if the universe, too, exercises the same rights for its own amusement, enjoyment, self-discovery and whathaveyou?

In this continuous striving for approval I am now aware that perhaps there is something deeply and intrinsically missing in both my internal and external environments. That, although I constantly strive to connect with the universe, I also consistently pull away from it. I create situations where others who may be naturally inclined to share consciousness with me feel overwhelmed or pushed away. And in those situations all I can do is stop and take a breath and realize that it will be okay, ultimately, eventually. But only if I do not cast such aspersion and judgment on my universe. The universe will still unfold. I can choose to be in it, of it, or out of it.

But in this moment such clarity does not strike me. I want to escape but I don’t want to escape from my life. I want to move on but I don’t want to move away from my surroundings. I want to give selflessly but I don’t want to expend too much of myself in this giving and receiving.

I want to be. See, I say that but is that really a specific phenomenon that I feel that I need to experience? Why can’t the being just be part of the living? It can’t be a new, specific experience – this ‘being’. It’s like what someone said in the lecture the other day: your experiences of “God” are just that – your experiences - they are not “God”.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dream myself a life

Is this really happening? Or is this just a dream? Did I just dream myself a life? That I was born, grew up, had experiences, thought thoughts, felt feelings, followed ideologies and devised philosophies? At regular intervals, in this life, I fell asleep. Then, too, I had experiences, thought thoughts, felt feelings and manufactured concepts, but all were in a different continuum, perhaps. At a certain level even in my dreams I still knew that I was doing just that. That eventually I would wake up …often though, the dream seemed completely real and there was nothing that I could do to shake off this conviction, until one of two things happened. Either I woke up, psychologically but not physically, and told myself to experience the dream but also know at another level that it was just that. Or, I really did wake up psychologically and physically and then I simply knew that it was unreal, since I was now in a different state of consciousness. In both scenarios though, my approach to my experience changed radically. I was no longer consumed by it…being affected and impacted by every possible turn of events within the dream. I could now keep in awareness the knowledge that it would – this state would - eventually end and I would then move on to the next and the next experience in other states of consciousness.

This knowledge, however, has not changed my overall need for control of the experience. I know that I cannot control my dream experience so I let go of any attempt to do so. However, in my waking life, I am fully aware that a lot of this can be controlled by me – I can make things happen if I set my mind to it. And then I try to resist, change, manufacture and manipulate. And in those moments, since there is no longer flow with the process as it unfolds, there is also tremendous pain and anxiety.

Take this moment for example. I know there is nothing that I can do to change it. I realize that I am suffering acutely due to my need for controlling this experience. I want to make things happen! I am waiting for certain triggers to make things happen – for me to feel that now I have the power to influence this experience. All the things that have not transpired as I imagined they would, in the last few days, weeks, perhaps even months. Sheesh, why stop there, why not go back all the way? All the things that have not transpired according to my expectations in all those times in my life, and which I have felt upset and anxious and frustrated by. In hindsight, the attempt at control seems like such nonsense. And with 20-20 hindsight with some self-awareness, one understands that the process unfolded exactly as planned according to cosmic and karmic laws. However, that lesson is soon forgotten as new experiences unfold in the increasingly volatile present.

And then I try to do the same again. I have an expectation. From myself, from others, from life, the world, nature and even from “God”. In an exact similar fashion all these entities have their set of expectations from me. And when they do not perfectly complement each other, then there is bound to be a very valid feeling of hopes dashed or wishes unfulfilled. I express my disappointment then in various ways, through self flagellation, self disparaging, self deprecation, self sabotage and self analysis. I also pin my disappointment on the integrity and behaviour of others. And while all of this is unfolding I am unconscious of the power of the process itself. Of what, by presenting such a scenario for me, it is really trying to show me. About me and my self created experience of the universe.

Can I just not drop it then? Simply? And let this moment just be. Nothing else. No emotions, analysis, witnessing even? Can I just be this moment and let it show me the way to the next moment?

These feelings of pride, hurt, pain, despair, sorrow, humiliation, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, shock, chagrin, anger, self-consciousness and inadequacy will all stay in the moments that they were supposed to. And then move on….and then return again. The only guarantee is that they will stay and they will impact me and they will move on. And they will be replaced by others and those in turn by others and so on and on. And for each time that I do not bring awareness in the moment… of the moment … these feelings will be accentuated and personalized by the “I”. Because then, the “I” will try to make sense of it all. It will associate a thought with a feeling with an action and will create an experience – a personal experience that the Ego will then try to control by changing it if it feels good, or improving it to make it better, or removing it if it feels bad, or lessening it to make it less worse. But in all of those events, it will have lost the essence of the emotion, the thought, the action and the experience. And now it will recall and relate this experience through memory and fabrications and fantasies and reminisces and add it to that bag which then shape its shadow and persona. And again and again there will be a further shaping and solidification of my identity.

So the practice then is to see how this identity can be made less solid and more fluid. Can I then say that each time that this experience is registered by the ego…it processes the experience completely until I am very clear and very sure that there is no desire to change any of it?

I suppose the concept of Absence Of Desire is not to “not want anything”. But not to want to ‘change’ anything that is happening. And isn’t that the ultimate respect for the karmic law of cause and effect?

I cannot change the cause since it has to unfold in the present moment according to karmic and cosmic laws. So, if I am being bestowed a bounty of joy and abundance of material, psychological and spiritual wealth, well then that is what is happening. I do not have any desire to change any of it. If, on the other hand, I am being bestowed trying and unhappy experiences then, too, I respect the process and do not try to change any of it. The absence of desire comes from the complete acceptance and trust in the process. Not in a passive I-can’t-do-anything-and-this-is-my-destiny-and-I-must-suffer-for-the-sins-of-being-human way, but because of the conviction that the process is unfolding to show me the path to perfection. They show me those sides and aspects of myself that I embrace and those that I reject. And by complete acceptance of both the positive and the negative I can grow to truly experience my self. As this channel of joy, knowledge and truth.

And that is when I wake up from dreaming myself a life, to actually experiencing my life.
So let go. Let go even of letting go.