A DEEPENING IN FREEDOM
About three years ago, I was having dinner with a CEO friend who was talking adamantly about his daily dilemmas and their attendant conflicts and uncertainties. He kept waving his loaded fork at us to punctuate his ongoing frustrations. At one point, he paused, sighed and said, with an accustomed smiley face:”You can’t ever rest!” Out of the blue, without my “knowing” I heard myself blurt out “Perhaps it’s possible to function without opinions” The room went awkwardly silent as we sipped and savored the moment; finally the conversation moved on to topical events, we celebrated his birthday and drove back under a clear starry night sky.
On the way home, I pondered with surprise what had “popped out of my mouth, from nowhere!” and wondered if it was true in my experience. The following months have provided almost daily opportunities to see how my opinions color relationships, and to explore if, in aware living, it’s possible to function without them. (In word-smithing the wordless here, I make no claim – written or implied – to know what anything is. Nevertheless…)
*In our daily relative world, it seems we need the form and shape of our opinions to get on with our affairs productively, or do we? Well, yes and no and perhaps!
Yes, it seems we can and do use our opinions to navigate our day, but no, we need not always have an opinion. Perhaps it’s possible to function with and without engaging ourselves in our habitual range of opinions – both secular and spiritual. To view expressions in consciousness from awareness, so to speak. In any case, that dinner opened up an ongoing willingness to more deeply explore the facts of this personal and impersonal experience.
*When I look inside, I see that this guy “James” is considerably invested in “knowing”, in being eager to take up his favored positions, especially on matters deemed “important”. Indeed, I see for myself that it’s easy to get very rigid when I take up such positions… as if I know. It’s not right or wrong, but I see how limiting that is; how these opinions shape and define my relationships in habitual and reassuring terms in the relative world of time and space.
Well, a few months ago, I came across this lovely statement, from Mumon: “Not knowing is most intimate.” That revelation has fired up my observations to the point where there’s a seeing of, and a growing gratitude for, what we could call real freedom.
REAL FREEDOM LIES IN NOT KNOWING.
Indeed, it’s a great relief to not have to know! To be open and opening, to see and relate to what is, exactly as it is. And to recognize that not only is it possible to function without opinions – it’s impossible to relate authentically to a given situation with opinions. We come to rest in that greater freedom, and to engage lovingly, directly, with daily experience that is supra-personal, above and beyond – as Shakespeare might say – our “cribbed and confined” faux knowing.
In this fullness of pure relationship, we deepen and broaden through a kind of disengaged engagement. Or as Nisargadatta said: “If you stand aloof, as observer only, you will not suffer. You will see the world as a show.”
We may no longer look for peace in a mind which is functionally – we could say “naturally”- conflicted. A mind unable to conclude, to directly know anything outside of its conceptual descriptions about reality. When we see, as Balsekar noted, that “tranquility in the unknown needs freedom from the thinking mind” we rest in the opinion-free spaciousness of aware being.
We drop into our delightful self. 🙂