The basic framework/outline/substance of this piece occurred to me in the shower. Our place is to watch for what occurs to us, take note of it, and act on it–if we deem it to be appropriate for the here and now of our living, which I do, so here it is.
Our Original Nature is the Spirit who is like the wind that blows where it will.
We are capable of anything, at any time, in response to the situation as it arises,
to the occasion as it presents itself to us.
We can dance to any tune the band plays.
But, there is a problem.
We do not know our Original Nature.
We have lived as Brothers, Sisters,
to our Original Nature all our life long
and do not know the first thing
about the one who is closer to us than life itself.
That’s because we come from a long line of ancestors
who did not know what their Original Nature was–
who did not know they had an Original Nature–
how could they begin to teach us how to know it?
So here comes a short list of instructions
for knowing our Original Nature,
and living as its adoring twin
for the rest of our days.
The first step is to enter the silence.
The silence is everywhere,
and we can enter it anywhere,
Taking a shower (One of my favorite places),
mowing the grass (I hate that one)
(But I do enjoy) watering the grass,
a crowded elevator,
at a concert…
The place does not matter.
The silence is not a function of place,
but of perspective.
The silence is only a perspective shift away at all times.
We enter the silence
by shifting into the silence.
Shift into the silence.
And immediately open yourself
to the following five things:
- Be alert to what occurs to you in the silence.
This is the most important thing.
Such occurrences are the source of our life and being.
We think we know what we are doing,
where we are going,
what will make us happy, etc.
The Knower lives within,
and waits for us to be quiet and listen.
Once we are quiet and listening,
the Knower speaks to us through the things that occur to us,
“Out of nowhere.”
“Out of the blue.”
“Of its own accord.”
“Of its own volition.”
“On its own.”
The things that “just occur” to us
are the secret source of life and being.
They are the hints, directions, that lead us
into wherever it is that we are going.
We go nowhere,
we make no progress,
without careful attention
to the things that occur to us.
As we get this down,
and become proficient
at noticing the things that occur to us,
it will happen anywhere.
All the time.
It will no longer have to wait
for us to enter the silence.
It will bear down upon us
from two miles away,
fifteen times an hour.
The Knower has been waiting forever for this,
and has things for us to do
that will need several lifetimes to complete,
so we have to get started HERE! NOW!
Starting here, now,
we have to be alert to what occurs to us
at every point throughout this process.
- Bear the pain!
Bearing the pain is the essential,
single most important ingredient
in a life well-lived.
What pain is that, you ask?
The pain of your experience,
actual and imagined.
The pain that meets you
in your life.
The pain you carry with you
from your past,
the pain you confront in your present,
the pain you fear in your future.
Carl Jung said,
“Neurosis is always a substitute
for legitimate suffering.”
When we will not bear our pain consciously,
we suffer it unconsciously
in the form of symptoms,
and various ways of acting out.
Refusing to bear our pain
prevents us from seeing what is to be seen,
hearing what is to be heard,
sensing what is to be sensed,
feeling what is to be felt,
knowing what is to be known
and doing what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.
Fearing/fleeing the pain
locks us into addiction and denial,
fantasy and self-deception.
And rules out any possibility
of integrity (The oneness of inner with outer)
We must befriend our pain.
Hold it in our compassion.
Treat it gently,
with tender mercy.
And receive it into our care,
so that it understands
that its home is always with us.
We cannot go forward
without the companionship of our pain.
For we will meet more along the way,
and will need to be able to offer it
a place in our awareness
well-adapted to its nature,
enabling us to use its gifts
in finding our way forward.
What could those gifts possibly be, you ask?
Our pain makes us one with the human family,
It creates an affinity for fellow sufferers, for two.
It enables our sensitivity for the plight of others, for three.
It generates compassion and empathy for ourselves
and one another, for four.
It slows us down
and reminds us to
Stop. Look. Listen. See. Hear.
instead of rushing headlong into decisions
and actions that generate more pain for us, for five.
If you are sufficiently motivated,
I am sure you can extend the list
out of your own experience
once you begin to bear the pain
Bearing the pain
will enable you to go forward
with this exercise,
and engage all of the experiences
you will be asked to expose yourself to
here and now,
and throughout what remains of your life.
Bearing the pain will be the greatest asset
you can develop
for the task
of living the life that is yours to live
from this point forward.
- Ask the questions that beg to be asked.
Say the things that cry out to be said.
The questions invite the statements.
The statements ignite the questions.
You will never quit talking.
Questions lead the way to grappling with meaning,
with the essence and nature of life,
of what’s what in every here and now.
What are your questions?
What questions keep coming back around?
What do you have to say
that you have never said?
That no one you know will hear?
What do you have to say that is anathema?
That is blasphemous?
What needs to be said right now?
What needs to be asked right now?
Start saying what needs to be said,
and asking what needs to be asked.
And do not stop until you run out of time.
- Look in the mirror.
What you have done to this point,
in this exercise,
with your questions and statements,
is to create a mirror
reflecting your conflicts,
We all are a rolling sea
of all we have been and can be–
as a species,
and as individuals within the species.
We all carry within us
everything that has ever been true
of any of us,
of all of us
We are Legion!
And, yet, our questions and statements,
while being representative of the entire human species,
are also specific to us individually.
we represent the species,
and we stand apart from the species.
To borrow from Carl Jung,
each of us represents the Collective
and the Personal.
Our questions and statements connect us
with the whole human family,
and express the unique,
we represent/make to the on-going,
of the species-as-a-whole.
We are One and we are Many.
At this point, we don’t have to bother
with where the line lies between One and Many,
we only have to be cognizant of being both One and Many.
What is true for one of us
is true for all of us.
What is true for all of us
is true for each one of us.
We all draw water from the same well.
We share the same Original Nature.
We all have different fingerprints,
and we all have fingerprints.
We all have different configurations
of all of the elements that make us human.
We all have different contributions to make
to the human impact upon all of life
and the existence of all things.
Our Original Nature is unique to us
and shared by all human beings,
and all living things.
We are One and we are Many.
Our place is to realize our “us-ness”
our “I-ness,” our “me-ness,”
and to live in ways that honor,
(in the way we live our life),
both our “us-ness” and our “I-ness.”
We do that by becoming conscious—
of all of the things that are true about us
as reflected in our questions and statements.
These questions and statements
are who we are
on both the Collective and Personal levels.
They are our questions and statements.
They were/are generated by us.
They arise from our experience,
our responses to all of these things,
and to the impact
they have had on us
over the course of our life,
shaping and forming us
into who we have become.
As we ponder,
our questions and statements,
we will be looking in a mirror
reflecting us to us.
We will be seeing ourselves as we are.
We will be seeing what is important to us—
what matters most to us—
how we think,
who we are,
and also are,
at our foundational level.
At our foundational level,
we discover our Original Nature.
This is who we live to serve,
in the way we live our life.
It is our place
to be true to who we are—
allow our life
to flow from who we are
into each situation,
into each here and now of our life.
To live in each moment with intentional integrity,
by not interfering with our
natural response to the things
that come our way in a day,
who our life
has shaped us to be–
in light of the good of the Whole
of which we are a part.
This Whole constitutes the Collective,
which is more than our ancestral heritage.
It is the entire natural world
which worked in such a way
as to produce us,
along with everything else
over long epochs of time,
until, whoops, look,
here we are!
We are here out of a process
that produced everything there is.
The “way” that worked to produce us
and the entire natural world
is not to be dismissed,
or taken for granted.
We cannot live well
without living in accord with The Way
that brought us forth–
and living aligned with our own Original Nature
that is the foundation of who we are.
Our conscious affiliation with The Way
and with our own Original Nature
is the source of our knowing
when to do what and how
in each situation as it arises
without having to think about it.
- “There is a time for every matter under heaven,”
It is all a matter of timing,
but, when is it time to do what (and how)?
What is this situation asking of us?
How and when do we offer it?
These questions form the ground of our approach
to each situation.
With them in mind,
as we are enveloped by each situation,
we Stop. Listen. Look. See. Hear.
And wait for the What? When? How?
to arise spontaneously,
“On their own,”
when the time is right.
This is like knowing when-to-do-what-how
when playing tennis or basketball.
The game takes over,
and each situation calls forth
the right response from us
at the right time,
Without our thinking about
how we know what to do when.
Just so, following The Way,
living in accord with the Tao,
in each situation as it arises,
is a matter of aligning ourselves
with our Original Nature,
and with The Way at work in the world,
by stepping back
and allowing “the game” to take over,
calling forth the necessary response from us
as it is needed
In this way, we do the things
that need to be done
in response to the moment at hand,
in each situation as it arises,
All our life long.
That is all there is to it.
Nothing more than that
can ever be asked of any of us.