A Window is Where the Wall is Absent
The life impulse to express and to connect arises in me and in all of us. This blog is a celebration of these life impulses. Please feel free to join in the conversation or to just visit. There is a Family Photo Album beneath the posts so you can "meet" my family and I. Welcome!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Yes and no
David Carse, Perfect Brilliant Stillness, p. 125
Allowing what is in this moment. Surrender. Alignment. Flow. Oneness with the movement of the Totality.
Consent. Welcoming what is. Making friends with the present moment. Non-resistance.
Sounds good, but....how many times do I bump into the slightest glitch in my day and instantly exclaim, "No!" The "no!" to any unpleasant occurrence is interesting to watch. Muddy shoes on the carpet? In the same instant they're seen the reactive "no!" arises. A hundred times a day there is the inner bracing against what is, there is the knee-jerk response of "this is unpleasant and I don't like it."
It's amazing to begin to become conscious of the amount of resistance to what is. And to see how much stress this resistance to what is creates.
It's as if the light of awareness were sunlight spreading over an inner landscape that had previously been in darkness.
I see the resistance to what is and I don't want to plaster "consent" on top of my feelings of resistance and aversion. I don't want to pretend to surrender when every fiber of my being shouts "no!". I want to be honest with myself. I can see that all the resistance to what is creates feelings of misery. But the resistance seems natural and automatic, so what alternative is there? How can I "not resist" what I resist?
Let me look freshly at this whole dynamic of rejecting or accepting what happens.
What happens happens, with or without my consent. Without my consent, what happens can feel like slamming into a brick wall. With consent, that very same happening may feel like a joyful and flowing dance.
My consent, my willingness, my acceptance is the one vital, indefinable thing I have to give to this life, to "what happens."
How does this work when I feel the knee-jerk lack of consent to every unpleasant happening, whether small or large?
Consent does not come from the ego, but from a deeper level of being than the ego.
Is it possible to say "yes" to the "no" of the ego? In other words, is it possible to accept all the painful non-acceptance that arises to the glitches of an ordinary day? Who says "yes" to the "no" of the ego? I do. The deeper me which is the conscious space of being. I actually feel this inner tilt from no to yes, from resistance to acceptance. There is a sense of stepping outside the thought of "no!" and being the quiet, intelligent awareness that surrounds the thought. There's a sense of the field of conscious awareness enlarging, in the same way that the view of the earth expands when a plane gains altitude.
The conditioned response of "no!" to those muddy shoes is strong and it is allowed to be. Can I be the space for this? (Eckhart Tolle recommends asking this question.) Can I be the space for conditioned reactivity? Can I be the space for feelings of irritation? Can I be the space for this non-spiritual and negative Colleen? Can I be the space for the shoes on the carpet? Can I be the space for what arises in this moment, whatever it may be?
After asking the question there is a gap of openness.
Wow! Space is here! For all of it. For everything. Space has always been here. Now I see it! Now I am it. Yes, I can be the space for muddy shoes on the carpet, I can be the space for feelings of irritation, I can be the space for beleaguered Colleen, that poor ego trying so hard for years to become enlightened when the ego can never be enlightened.
Whenever there is consent for even the least unpleasant occurrence, there has been a shift from ego-identity to deeper being. There has been a shift from thought to awareness. The ego is incapable of saying "yes" to anything unpleasant; when the ego says "yes" to something unpleasant it is faking it. I have felt this many times! My ego says, "yes, those muddy shoes on the carpet are just great" and the ego is lying through its teeth and this is clearly felt as the horrible inner split of inauthenticity.
In authentic consent, there has been a shift from being identified-as-resistance to being identified-as-awareness. Identified as the space of awareness in which the resistance and everything else occurs.
Consent itself is a bridge from the superficial self to the deeper self. The deeper self is the no-self of aware space or presence. Consent is a bridge from object consciousness to space consciousness (see p. 227 of A New Earth). Consent is a bridge from ego to essence, from knowing to not knowing, from form to formlessness. Consent is the thump of power at the heart of each person. Consent is the inborn vitality that is accessed in any moment we live as a Yes! to life.
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- Colleen Loehr, M.D.
- Greetings. I am a psychiatrist working at a state hospital, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at University of Missouri Medical School. I am also a wife and mother of three grown children. Qigong has profoundly changed my life for the better. I am interested in connecting with other people interested in qigong.