One of the dangers I have seen of the so-called “spiritual life” is the ego’s attempt to use it to escape heartbreak, difficulty, and continued patterns of hatred, revenge, and war – to escape the idea of a hell. The desire for transcendence becomes bigger than the willingness to let the heart open to it all—the totality of human beauty as well as the totality of human catastrophe. When you are willing to fully experience the hopelessness and the horror of being human, the eternal potential for living life in truth is freed.
The readiness to be free means to see that there is no escape from any aspect of life, and then to stop fantasizing about any future escape. Fantasies of escape can take myriad forms, including an infantile image of heaven or enlightenment. The willingness to be free is the willingness to discover what is already free right here in the midst of it all. The greater the willingness, the greater the capacity for being fully present. Finally, the realization that there is no need for escape is clear. Whatever appears here can be borne here, regardless of what the mind imagines it can or cannot bear. The madness that is feared in the prospect of meeting whatever is here is actually fostered by continually trying to escape it. In meeting whatever is here, fully and completely, the potential for the unspeakable, indefinable, un-teachable revelation of truth.is seen.
Most people spend most of their lives involved in personal suffering: “What happened to me, what may happen to me, what should be happening to me, what should not be happening to me.” Obviously, a much larger story of suffering is occurring in the world today. It calls for us to resolve our personal stories of suffering and be available to turn our attention to the world story. And that, too, is just a beginning.
Certainly, the patterns of war are familiar, whether from this century or any other, this culture or any other. There may be pain freshly experienced in the current horrors happening all over the world, and a desire may arise to want to know what to do. I invite you to meet these horrors, freshly, innocently, surrendering everything to that same force that calls you home.
The more you stop struggling to get out, the more pain you will experience, but also the more joy you will experience. This is the paradox that the mind cannot resolve. We have all learned great powers of mind. These powers include techniques of denial and indulgence revolving around the central technique of lying. But the power of mind is only needed for protection and attack. If you are willing to bear it all, you have no need of anything but surrender, telling the truth, and being yourself.
The invitation to stop is a radical invitation. It is the invitation to stop only in this moment. It is not the invitation to stop for the rest of your life, to never leave your house, to never tell a story, or to never think again. It is the invitation to stop everything and, just for this moment, be.
One of Papaji’s most profound teachings is to “wait and see.” To “wait” is active and open, and the seeing is the waiting. It is to see the impulses of mind, to see the ancient programming embedded in the cellular structure to know what to do, what action to take. Just wait and see. Rest nakedly in not knowing. True lasting discovery is not something you have heard or read about. It is your own direct experience.
Until now, we have opted for trusting our minds, language, images, and ideas, rather than trusting the spaciousness from which all arises. What an opportunity is now available to trust the unknown spaciousness of the heart. What a time.
Yes, there is beauty in these times. Opening and awakening are happening all over the world. All of the horror, grief, outrage, and anguish are not separate from that awakening. The more we accept the responsibility to open to whatever is appearing, the greater are the challenges. The more we see, the more the heart breaks. In our attempts to not feel the pain of the heart breaking, in our attempts to finally know what should be, there is bondage. In our surrender to the heart broken open – all the way – there is freedom.
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Gangaji is the author of The Diamond in Your Pocket, Freedom & Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe, You Are That, and Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.