'Let go and let Love'.... why did no-one tell me it's so simple?
First up, an explanation of sorts. There's been a continued 'enlightenment' theme to recent posts. Maybe it's because I try not to plan what I write that posts here tend to follow a path of their own, I don't really know. All I can say is that I have a load of ideas around entrepreneurship, creativity and life hacks that I'd love to share with you too. But whilst we're still on this subject, and just so you have a little perspective as to 'where I'm coming from', I'll tell you about my own journey so far:
I guess we all come to the recognition of Truth in our own way and in our own time, and that's good. My way seems very strange though. I was one of the so called lucky ones - I had my very own 'burning bush' experience.. but what I did with that beggars belief. I very, very subtly (so that I wouldn't even notice I was doing it) turned and walked away from it.
The burning bush
Some years ago, after a lifetime of being determined to find out 'how things really worked', and having studying A Course in Miracles for a year or so, I was out walking my Labrador on the hill behind my home. After I had gotten tired of throwing sticks for Ben I sat down on a stile to watch the world go by for a while, and the dog curled up under my feet. In the next few minutes I came to see my whole life in a completely new light, totally reframed and everything fitting perfectly together - like adding the last few lines to a 'join the dots' picture where suddenly you see what it is all about for the very first time. I thought I had been building businesses, raising my children, trying to be all the things I wanted to be. I had no idea that totally unbeknown to me, life had had a completely different agenda.
This 'secret' agenda had been working through everything I had ever thought, spoken and done, through every so called failure and success and through every traumatic or blissful moment in my life. I saw so clearly that everything that had happened since the day I popped onto this planet had been orchestrated to bring me to this place where I was now sat and was able to see the perfection and beauty of it all. It all was suddenly so clear, every single part of my life fitted together faultlessly, with not one piece missing or to spare. Enlightenment had been going on all the time.... perfectly.
Here's what I now knew: After all my efforts to understand, to 'get it' and then to walk the path, the path has been walking through me all along. We had always been the vehicle for enlightenment, we just didn't see ourselves as doing that, and certainly didn't see ourselves as being in the driving seat. There was one beautiful purpose to life and my expression of that had been played perfectly by me all along, and this was true for everyone. Suddenly all concept of right and wrong and guilt and doubt disappeared completely. And there was no place for regrets anymore, only this one vast, all encompassing Love..... and it had only been my desire to find happiness in this life that had blinded me to seeing it was already here.
Good intentions gone wrong
I knew from that moment on that my life was changed because there could be no forgetting this. By some form of grace I had glimpsed Reality and all I wanted or needed to do was find a way of helping the rest of the world see the same thing. And that's where I started to lose the plot again.
The more I tried to explain this, to myself or others, the more distant it seemed to become. All I wanted do was to help and yet the more I tried, the more this epiphany turned into a distant memory. What I didn't see then was that the very act of trying to understand was the act of denial of what I had so clearly seen. By trying to understand I was separating the one who was trying to understand from that which he was trying to understand. By attempting to reconcile God and Life and Love and Enlightenment and 'Who I am', I was denying that they are all the same thing..... this Oneness that I had been so fortunate to experience.
It's only when I imagine there is more than one thing, like when I put the little word 'my' in front of the word 'life', that there arises the concept of an under-stander and an under-stood and then the need to understand. Oneness can only ever be experiential because it is all inclusive. Reality can only be known, because there is no-one separate to understand it. It's only the mind that obfuscates this feeling of Love and connection that we already exists in. And anything I can imagine to do to come to this realisation, can also only be part of my denial of this feeling of Love that is constantly trying to seep into our conscious awareness. As Thomas Aquinas one said:
Love takes up where knowledge leaves off."
Awakening was life's role not mine. I had forgotten that our part is only to allow it to happen.
So little by little I've come to accept there is nothing I can do to awaken because life itself is the process of awakening. It's a process of accepting what already is and that requires no doing and no effort, just a surrender to what is already here in this moment. Life delights to set us free, to make us happy.. and everything we need to fulfill that purpose comes to us, perfectly. When we really accept that we don't know how to wake up then a miracle happens. Instead of not-knowing being the problem, not-knowing becomes the answer - our whole way, because 'not-knowing' is the clean and empty slate on which Love will write a different story through our lives. It is in the invitation and the opening to grace.
I suppose we could paraphrase the whole process of life down to this one thing: A process of letting go of our resistance (in a multitude of ways) to the Love that Is. This is all that is really going on here. And so we come home to Truth, to the knowing of our true Self, simply by allowing it to happen - by allowing ourselves to become non-resistant to everything.
At the end of the day the choice is this:- we can either be true to Truth of our own experience or true to the latest idea of what is still needed. This is seen so clearly in the way the great religions keep us in chains by lowering expectations and by promising freedom some time in the 'future'. And so we end up settling for being Christians instead of Christs and Buddhists instead of Buddhas. Didn't Jesus once say, "Greater things than these things shall ye do". Adyanshanti says it well in this essay entitled 'You are the Buddha'.
This is what the Buddha did. He didn’t say, “I’ll try.” He didn’t say, “I hope I’ll find the Truth.” He didn’t say, “I’ll do my best.” He didn’t say, “If not in this lifetime, then maybe next lifetime.” He came to the point where he didn’t look for anyone else to tell him the Truth or show him the Truth. He came to the point where he took it all on himself. He sat alone under the Bodhi Tree and vowed never to give up until the Truth be realized.
The power of this very simple, yet unshakable intention and absolute stand to be liberated in this lifetime propelled him to awaken to the simple fact that he and all beings are liberated—that all beings are freedom itself. Pure awakeness.
The Buddha was no different from you. No different. .....
Adyanshanti also says "What we serve we cannot lose". True enough, but even this idea of 'serving Truth', at least for a bear-of-little-brain like me, is too much. I have seen that we already do this and I have seen that in spite of appearances, everything we have ever done has served Truth. We were just mistaken, and thought there was something else going on here. And so when I attempt to serve Truth there is this very human tendency that arises in me to judge how I am doing, and then I lose my way again - lose sight of the fact that we already do this perfectly - that we are already awake and perfectly creative, and just don't see it yet.
So for me at least, I need to finally let go of trying to live it, of trying to serve it, and simply allow It to live and serve through me - become nonresistant ('surrender' if you like) to this Love that we call life that already flows through us.
There's a huge freedom in this tiny change of intent because now there is no cause for stress or concern. When we replaces all the reasons 'why' we do things (especially all those spiritual or do-goody reasons) for this single 'why' of allowing Truth/Love/Life/Joy/*your own term here* to express itself through me, then there are no worries any more. Life makes no mistakes..... 'mistakes', 'problems' - that's all mind stuff. Success in this is always certain, but now we come to know it is so.
So perhaps I finally am 'getting it': Just surrender to life.....let life flow through me un-resisted.... and see what happens. 'Listen and allow'.... as my friend Jodee Bock tells me to do.
What a release not to have to do or understand anything anymore .... just enjoy the ride. No worries, no cares, it's not up to me now... not my problem. And what problems could there be once their cause, my resistance, has gone. Trusting instead, that when we are just being who we Are, in harmony with Universe, everything just works out fine.
Love Is.... what more could we do than simply let it be?
To let go and let Love......Why did no-one tell me it's this simple?
Or perhaps they did and I just wasn't ready to hear. ;-)
Life as celebration
So what to do, now that I know that anything I try to do to bring about enlightenment blinds me to the recognition that it's already here?
How about just doing whatever it that makes us happy and trust life to take care of all the rest? Hard as it is to shatter the egos belief in unworthiness and sacrifice and struggle, it's only in the path of our happiness that we find what we have come here to learn. Life has only one agenda: - that we be happy, now.
And what better way to strengthen this realisation than to see it everywhere, take joy in everything that comes our way and share it freely? It's this that we came for.
So to me, our greatest role models and teachers are not the obvious ones. Not the ones that lecture or hold retreats, but those who know how to squeeze the juice out of life and then invite you to dine with them.
Evelyn at Crossroad Dispatches and Tittin at Backtracking Slowly Forward spring immediately to mind. Click over there and you'll find a pot-pourri of art, raw life and insight....... and you'll perhaps also discover what George Bernard Shaw meant when he said, "The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time." (we can forgive him the gender bias of those times). But like any good feast, the best times to go there are when you are little hungry and when you have a little more time than you need... so you can savour and enjoy all the different flavours.
Happy Valentine's Day.