While folding laundry I hear birdsong and look out the window to see a bird perched on a fencepost, singing its heart out. Time stands still as the song fills me, spills over – I … am … the bird, the song, the half-folded towel in my hands.
Things I used to do, make sure got done, I no longer do … they don’t … get done. Papers pile up on the surface of a desk, dishes linger in the sink, unwashed, books that once held my interest remain half-read on the nightstand. I sit for long stretches of time in silence. If I was asked to describe what I am doing I might say, “Nothing.”
My heart contracts with grief as some past event, long buried, is brought into conscious awareness. Tears overflow as the pain burns a hole right through me – and yet there is no flinching. There is absolute amazement that that particular burden was carried all these years – and yet, it was. Now it has been set down and there is a sense of relief.
Utter chaos may reign within – or without – and yet, there is calm. Stillness. A sense of being ‘centered’. It is inexplicable. I don’t care that I could not for the life of me explain it to my own satisfaction, nor probably to anyone else’s.
Nothing seems very important. Just … this.
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.
No human is born “bad.” We are made to believe (and act out) that we are, by our attachment to mistaken beliefs about who we are and what is real.
We are born lit from within, every single one of us. The torch of Awareness burns in us, eternally, even when it is unnoticed, hidden from view by layer upon layer of beliefs that cause us only suffering.
Turn towards that light within you. Fan the flame of your own Self Awareness and witness the incineration of all the layers of limiting beliefs that bind you. When all else has burned, all that remains is who you truly are: the light of the world.