We are all familiar with resistance. In it’s most obvious form it is felt viscerally and expressed verbally as a firm “NO!” But resistance can be subtle. So much so that if we aren’t actually consciously looking for it – at it – it can easily be missed. It can be disguised as almost anything, including earnest and sincere seeking or spirituality.
With Eckhart Tolle’s teachings to bring attention back to the present moment becoming more popular, many of us have discovered just how much our attention has been caught up in thinking. Never before having realized how wrapped up in thoughts we have been, we begin to see how our awareness flits from one thought to another. It is amazing to start to become aware of this tendency, even though at first it feels like such an effort to “learn how to” bring attention back – to itself.
For those of us who hang in there and continue unraveling the ties that bind our attention to thoughts, the entire ‘process’ appears to become more and more refined. We become aware of the subtle tricks of the mind that seem to be taking us in the ‘right’ direction (into the present moment). One of these tricks comes about when we follow Eckhart’s suggestion, or (worded differently) the command that Gangaji suggests (having learned it from her teacher, Papaji) to “STOP!” When we follow this advice, and then feel (obviously or subtly) the resistance of “… because I should not be [doing… whatever]” then we have, in fact, continued giving in to the demanding mind which says, “This should not be.”
The ego/mind is so crafty! Until we are able to witness it in action, feel the effects of its processes in our body, inquire into all that is going on and remain perfectly still – STOPPED, as it were – we are resisting reality. This command to “STOP!” and the suggestion to “bring awareness into this moment” means to be with all that is. Fully and without compromise, including the subtle mind-tricks that arise to hook and entangle attention yet again (on something other than itself).
So often we hear that if we can just bring our attention to Now, if we can just STOP (thinking), then we will be at peace. We can all discover the truth of this for ourselves. But paradoxically, it is this kind of thinking the mind latches onto that keeps us chained to longing, seeking, chasing (the peace of) Enlightenment. If we cannot see this, we are still looking through a veil of thinking. It may be very subtle, but it’s not so subtle that we can’t see it. We just have to look, and be completely willing – open – to seeing reality as it is, which may include these subtleties of resistance.
Give in to the mind’s many demands for attention and before you know it another lifetime has appeared to come and go….
Gramma, do you miss me when I’m not up here visiting with you?
No sweetie, you don’t even exist for me when you are not up here visiting, except as a thought in my head. And the thought of you isn’t who you really are.
Huh? What do you mean?
Well, when you are not up here visiting me, where are you?
Um, I guess I’m at home in my house, or in school, or on the bus!
Yes, and so if you are there, and not here, even if I have a thought of you, where are you? Which you is the real you? The thought I have in my head about you, or the you that is at home, or in school, or on the bus?
(Long pause…) *I* am real where *I* am! And the thought you have is just … is like… a dream then, isn’t it?
Standing in the shower I notice that the water is falling, moving in a steady splashing stream down across my body, hitting the shower floor, pooling around my feet, sliding down the drain. I see my arms move, feel my head drop under the shower head as I lather and rinse my hair, my skin. The sweet fragrance of the soap lingers in my nostrils, and then slowly dissipates, the molecules moving along the currents of air until the smell is no longer strong. The soft hum of the heater just beyond the shower curtain is heard as sound waves travel along those same currents of air, and then bend the little hairs in my ear to cause nerve impulses to travel along my central nervous system and register in my brain as ‘sound’. Throughout all this witnessing, thoughts seem to arise and dissolve… transient, coming and going, moving, moving, moving… just as everything appears to be moving.
And yet, something still and silent and immovable notices all this movement, no matter what form that movement takes. This… formless something… doesn’t move.
“What is IT?” I ask myself. “IT doesn’t move… and yet can it be seen or heard or found… anywhere? Can IT be sensed?”
The answer, indescribable and incomprehensible to understanding … is … paradoxically… IT. And any attempt to describe IT … is not… IT.
When one grieves consciously, grief is embraced
by the very heart that appears to be breaking.
There is only Now.
If there is only Now,
then Now is all there is.
And so… ALL… that IS…