Written in September 2004, after quitting my job and moving across the country.
Chapter 6 from the upcoming book: Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice is now being given away with your new subscription to the monthly Wide Awake Living Newsletter to the left.
Sitting now, wondering, in California, about how such
major personal changes have simply happened... how one month I live
in my country home of nearly 20 years in Vermont with a steady full
time job that could continue ad infititum; and a few short weeks later,
I live in California, never having made a decision to go.
Since Eckhart Tolle affected me so deeply in 2002, there
has been, along with the incredible bliss of the realization, a lot
of mental confusion about "how does one now live?" As a felt
reality that there is nothing more to do, and no where else to go, how
does one then function at all? Wavering between resting in my realization,
and stepping back into the old flat reality in order to earn a living,
be a parent, or play my other roles, has been my reality. Feeling the
encroaching of the old reality as the old persona vies for control again
and again; seeking to make the realization into something that happened
once in the realm of persona, of ego.
A teacher named Adyashanti has stepped into this breach
and spoken directly to this wonderful but seemingly precarious predicament.
It seems that there is a way of being in the world where one moves,
takes action, does things from a source outside of mental constructions.
Adya verbalizes this very adeptly. This is obviously the hinge upon
which everything else swings. Nothing else matters. Circumstances converge,
synchronicity is at work.
One day I am driving to work in Vermont and already I
can see that the way is laid open for me to move to California to the
area where Adya lives and teaches, but the decision is a stress--the
prospect of such an upheaval is disturbing. As usual, I am listening
to one of his tapes on my car stereo, and this day I get it in a new
way, this new navigation, and with a wave of relief realize that I don't
need to make a decision! I either move to California or I don't move.
One or the other will happen without "my" decision. The weight
is off "me" and I arrive at the office happy and light with
it. Within two hours of that arrival I am telling my supervisor that
I am looking for a graceful way to move on from my job, without having
decided to do so. "Oh my God, what did I just do" says the
mind! But it's done and the adventure begins as the exercise of stepping
out of the majority of my known roles and habits unfolds.
This is a first step into something unknown to the mind.
Sitting now, wondering mentally, what could this be about? And knowing
at the same time that this "I" that wonders, doesn't need
to know. As actress in this play called "my life", the aliveness
is in each moment's unfoldment, an aliveness that the mind has hitherto
been allowed to usurp, tangle and deaden. Relaxing then, into the moment-to-moment
unfoldment is the non-task of the millenium. Squirming with the insecurity
of not knowing, and staying still against the raging mind's ideas about
how to resolve the insecurity through worldly activities.
Freedom, of course, happens in spite of all this. Even
this experession in writing is constisting of ideas about a process
which isn't real. What is real is this incredible moment, pregnant with
possibility, no, actuality, vibrating with all that could ever be looked
for in ideas about security or success. Here already.
Yet being here already, we still act. Energy flows in
from everything, and energy flows out as activity. Activity of all sorts
springs forth naturally from the non-conceptual background when the
ideas are relaxed out of, in this new way of navigating.
In the old way there is, for me at least, a characteristic
weighing up of pros and cons, and looking for reasons why to do or not
do something. This is how the intercession of the old is noticed ususally,
although another way is to look for any emotional discomfort/insecurity
in the process. This red-flags for me that I am operating from mental
constructions, from history, from concepts. The new navigation seems
to characteristically yield surprise and lightness, and a lack of both
friction and uncertainty in movement.
Very often uncertainty does arise as the mental processes
balk at being sidelined and try to use whatever negative states they
can to cast doubt on the movement arising from beyond them. This comes
down to fear, pure and simple, when faced. Fear as a habit of mind,
as a controller of behavior trained into us since childhood. When seen
through, fear is just an ultimate form of self centeredness; a big way
that we are always looking out for ourselves as separate and endangered
entities. The assumption that such is what we are, is of course quite
fautlty, but nevertheless, it has held us in it's thrall for a long
time, and seems to need a very penetrating seeing in order to relax.
This new navigation is incredible.
Who would have thought
That "I" could just pull up stakes and move to California
just like that!
But then "I" didn't do it, did I?
It just happened.
And it is with great anticipation
That I wait to see why I'm here in this place
I liked my other place fine you see...
But this moving from the core of being
Is what really matters.
The rest is just geography.
Addendum to the story: within six weeks of arriving in California I was settled in to my new place of residence with a new job which was very similar to the one I had left behind in Vermont.
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