The Asking Price
Life as we drive through it is mostly “ curves and round- abouts, with the odd straightaway,” as my British friends would say. Generally, the idea behind driving in England is to proceed obediently in an orderly fashion. Now, contrariwise, the French and the Spanish and especially the Italians are propelled with an added reckless tiger in their tank –“passione!” They collectively prowl and growl at the red lights in a kind of hyper caffeinated surging. Most jump the light and race madly to the next red where they again sit and endlessly agitate. Here in the US, we’re driven through life fueled by a mix of the same fears, but with an added octane ingredient – “success at any price.”
For me, being Canadian born, and having somewhat lived in the aforementioned cultures, life has often been met with a similar confused and fearful posturing, only with a twist: “ Why?” I’d sit at those red lights and wonder “why all the hurry?” That’s not to say I didn’t get as propelled as anyone else, but to recognize that somewhere behind the sense of me sitting at the wheel, was a lingering doubt about this human race. Oh, I had the shiny, high powered Beamers and Benz’s, but I could never quite get them into the right gear. When the pack lunged away, I was often left sitting there, groping frantically to engage.
It’s not so much that I didn’t “buy in” to most of the dreams that drive us – I definitely did! – so much as I didn’t “sell out”. Something was always held in check. Somehow the asking price always seemed too high. Well, almost always! When I did pay the price of admission, I always, eventually, got my ass kicked, ran out of gas and brooded in the pit stop until the event was mercifully over. Turns out this lackluster performance was a Mercy!
In retrospect, I’m glad I dropped out of the running. Or, much more correctly, that which dropped out of the running was “me”. Somehow, I came to the end of the road in yet another “spiritual” journey, and just stopped. The Race was not only run, but over. I came to rest in Being. A being that is not driven and not driving, but is freely going along for the ride! It’s a ride that you’re simultaneously in and out of.
For one thing, while you’re still running the course called “ my life”, you never leave Home. You’re “in play”, very vulnerable and off-balance and sometimes a little dizzied by a sense of non-completion, of “always arriving” yet “never leaving”! And life constantly teaches you that the only way to flow with the traffic and stay Home is to leave my hands off the wheel. The wheel is the collected sentient body/mind; the vehicle of our life and all life. That One Life which we never actually ever held in our hands. You discover what Jean Klein so ably describes:
“ You are one with all living beings, all life, and these appear in this Oneness. There is distinction, of course, between human beings and between other living beings, but there is no separation.”
The Asking Price is really, truly, nothing. You trade in – or otherwise become separated from – all the illusions of being The Driver in Control. As Adyashanti puts it: “To be really awake is to no longer grasp, to no longer fixate.”
And that is priceless.