Much of our suffering comes from wanting our lives or our world to be different than they are and, as a result, we can be in a constant state of resistance and discontent. We feel our hearts and mind close to certain people or situations. We rage at the injustices of the world. Our receptivity shuts down and, without realizing it, we close off our connection to creativity and divine inspiration.
When we can soften and open to what is happening right here, right now, (because, after all, it is already happening) we are available to receive the divine, creative intelligence that wants to emerge through us in the form of a wise response to the situation. We have the ability to see the next, highest course of action when we are in a space of open awareness rather than in resistance. This is not easy. I find that I can shut down and become resistant many times a day.
Our practice becomes one of constantly softening; of noticing that we are closed and resisting, of having compassion for ourselves and this human experience. We come back to the breath, soften our gaze, look for the divine in every situation and every person we meet. We learn to respond consciously rather than reacting blindly.
This poem by Rumi says it perfectly:
" Be crumbled.
So wildflowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
I heard this beautiful metaphor the other day for spiritual teachings; Absolute Truth is like a multifaceted jewel and different teachings point to different facets of the jewel.
Where we fall down in our spiritual journey is when we hold on to the teaching and forget that the teaching is just a tool.
Like a teacher pointing to the moon, we are so fixated on the finger pointing, we don't experience the moon.
Imagine living in a mansion with hundreds of windows and looking out of only one them, thinking that what we are seeing is the complete view. That is what we do when we take one facet of this jewel of absolute truth and take it to be the whole story.
Absolute truth must be experienced to be fully grasped and we all catch glimpses of it from time to time. Those moments in nature that take our breath away, witnessing the birth of a child, hearing the lyrics of a song that resonate with the song in our own heart, a deep awakening during meditation or yoga practice....these are all universal moments of sublime love and compassion when we feel our hearts open and we feel connected with all that is.
When we hold onto specific teachings, we risk becoming dogmatic or fundamental in our approach. This creates separation and war. Perhaps a more holistic approach would be to stand back, soften our gaze and let go of the seductive teachings that zero in on one facet of this beautiful jewel. Empty our cups and start the day with beginner's mind, with not knowing. As hard as this journey can be sometimes, I am so thankful to be on it, I wouldn't have it any other way.