On a “personal” note (it all seems so personal, doesn’t it?) I have approximately 23,336 days today on my odometer or body-clock. The vehicle – mind and body – is showing a lot of road! Or as Leonard Cohen puts it: “I ache in the places I used to play.” There are challenges these days: the bones ache a little here and there, the gut aches now and then, and the brain aches since forever! Or so it seems! And there’s those surprise leaks and lurches like some drunk at the wheel of an old Chevy!
This “Me” vehicle called “James” is occassionally lit up with red “Service Now” alarms on the dash. I’m only lately getting it into the garage for repair. Maintenance is mostly “On Demand” and the Servicing is becoming more frequent and costly. I relate all this only to point out that some days all we want is relief! We find ourself powerfully not wanting what is – and we want relief from all that! Ah, more about that in a moment…
A FALLING AWAY
Somewhere along the line – at about 22,000 days/miles, something fell off. At first the falling off is like flakes of paint drifting away delightfully in the sunshine right? But then it gets a little darker, a little heavier, and a lot louder, as the big parts crack, crumple, buckle and then fall off. The Good News is that we actually get to lighten up a little!
POPPING THE HOOD
Our inner light gets flicked on by grace, suddenly. And we start to look around our formerly dark interior. This light of choiceless awareness functions effortlessly to illluminate, to reveal the old working machinery not only of “my” mind but of all minds. All life and its material and mental content is seen to be our common nature. And as it casts its’ benediction, it reveals more and more of itself to itself…”warts and all!” There’s a watching of the judging and the judging of the judging…and that pettyness is lovingly seen to be the operating system of the mind. Indeed, it’s a daily discovering of what’s here; an always fresh dipping into our changing and changeless nature. This living reality has a kind of suddenness to it; it simply happens all at once.
In truth, aware living is an ongoing falling off of all our imaginary parts! Most days, I don’t feel compelled to run nearly as hard and fast as I used to. And a lot of my cultured aggression has faded. I don’t always race up to those damm red lights wanting them to be green! (But subtle “seeking” can happen! The mind is hardwired to seek. So anytime the mind suggests something that is momentarily believed, that belief triggers the auto-seek ON nature of mind.) Living here involves a constant awareness of the petty activities of our mind while engaging in more and more fully transending this living experience of paradox. To quote Eckhart Tolle:
“Transcending the world does not mean to withdraw from the world, to no longer take action, or to stop interacting with people.”
“Transcendence of the world is to act and to interact without any self-seeking. In other words, it means to act without seeking to enhance one’s sense of self through one’s actions or one’s interactions with people. Ultimately, it means not needing the future anymore for one’s fulfillment or for one’s sense of self or being. There is no seeking through doing, seeking an enhanced, more fulfilled, or greater sense of self in the world. When that seeking isn’t there anymore, then you can be in the world but not be of the world. You are no longer seeking for anything to identify with out there.”
And so, like a ship-wreck survivor, we take up residence in reality, and watch this perpetual falling away. In the words of Jean Klein: “What we desire is to be desire-less.” The desperate swimming to stay on the surface of our being, to have and to hold onto our illusions, simply stops. Cessation brings a constant releasing, and releasing, a freeing. A selfless freeing to love by engaging fully in whatever wants to happen for the rest of your life.
After all, that’s what men and women really want – rest.