The theme “Enjoying Life, Living Here” has been delighting me these days, and I’d like to share some reflections on this subject here and now:
“So what’s it like to enjoy life living here?” That’s the question ringing down the corridors of my mind this week and it’s a bit of a challenge to talk about it here. That’s partly due to the limits of word-smithing the wordless, and it’s also tricky because questions about being happy usually come from, and address, the ego. An inherently limited ego that can recognize the idea of living here, but cannot actually realize it. Ego can never know that because, at bottom, as any child playing might show us, in natural living there’s just happiness, happening to no one. Indeed, there is no person who is, like, enjoying. So what is this quality that enjoys itself so much? Could it be about movement and rest?
A sailor sailing close to the wind,
at last tires and turning home
drops off the wind,
to lie at ease in his gentle nature.
Let’s explore beyond the egos’ notions of joy and, like the classic fool who persists in his folly, venture to cross the backside of the moon, so to speak. (More on that in a moment)
Whatever “enjoyment” is, perhaps we can agree it’s beyond what we might call “pleasure”. Beyond – but always inclusive of – the limited and personal me and you. This enjoyment is beyond that which comes and goes; it’s expression is in constant connection. It’s nature is totally engaged, loving, devoted and contented. It’s wholly interested in whatever is happening exactly as it presents itself to awareness as fact or as fancy.
While facts – what is now – always provide a foundational, functional center, a recurring fancy arises without cause, like bubbles, all over the place, just for the joy of it. You know what I mean?
There’s a kind of enjoyment in the absurd, as I explored when I wrote this: https://nondualityliving.com/48-living-here-beauty-in-the-absurd/ We discover the down right frivolity of it all! (More on that too, below)
Enjoyment finds its deepest expression in the act of loving. This loving is a verb, whereas the kind of “love” we’ve learned to apply in our daily life is in the conditional form, the feeling form, the bargaining form founded on a false but commonly believed deception: the conception that our body/mind is who we are.
“I think, therefore I am…thought?
So we – most of us “thoughtful” humans – live our entire lives with one main aim: to satisfy what we think we desire. That’s the aim I see in my own experience. It’s a kind of business transaction: the strategy is to achieve satisfaction; the tactics to get there are supplied by my culture and conditioning. The idea is to hopefully, fretfully, finally, find ways and means to maximize pleasure and minimize its attendant pain, aka “to get the biggest bang for the buck” as we used to say. It’s a desire that’s all about a me, receiving.
The secret to joy is giving.
Here might be a good place to introduce a friend I’ve never met: Nipun Metha.
Nipun Metha: “If I look back at my life, I have probably gone through three distinct stages on this journey. The first is when I said I wanted to go out and serve people, and it was a conscious act like going and doing something. Then over time, perhaps from the stillness that came from that giving, I realized that I was actually receiving. And I do need to receive as a part of this whole ecosystem of the give-and-take in which we’re all enmeshed. You realize, “Wow, I’m receiving!” And then you realize the third stage, which is, “How do I know whether to give or to receive?” I’m planted in a certain context. Do I give? Do I receive? You don’t know, and so then you learn with equanimity that you just dance! That to me is the essence of what you’re talking about—something is released inside of us. When you understand giving, when you understand receiving, you understand that it is all self-organizing. You just have to dance, and in some moments you’re asked to give and in some moments you are asked to receive, but your ultimate prerogative is to just dance.”
(Excerpted from a delightful discovery: http://www.dailygood.org/story/1224/nipun-mehta-acting-from-the-heart-point-reyes-dialogues-jacob-needleman/
And to continue this free-spirited ramble, here’s some well crafted words about what aware living is “like” from yet another friend-I’ve-never-met, Alan Watts:
“The point is then that life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present. Just as we have a field of vision that is an expanded width and distance, so the present moment is not just a hairline as the clock indicates. The present moment is a field of experience that is much more than an instant. To hear a melody is to hear the interval between tones. Within the present moment we can hear intervals and see rhythms. Thus, within each moment we can feel a sequence going on. So when I speak of the eternal now, please do not confuse it with a split second; it is not the same kind of thing. The eternal now is roomy, easy, and rich, but also frivolous!”
In closing, I’d like to leave some absurd celestial music ringing in your ears. Enjoy this, and be well!