What I feel these days is an enormous relief!
I think back in May I had a shift. I didn’t quite understand what had happened, and I still don’t have clear words to describe it. I saw that life is perfect, it has always been perfect, mysterious, wondrous, quirky. The only problem with life is that I had thought there was a problem with life. And this bit of off-centeredness has been with me since I was a baby.
With this recognition I understood. I understood why everything I have learned and known and believed and rejected and felt and said and thought–everything–is uncertain. I understood why spirituality, in the broadest possible sense, does not work, and hasn’t worked for five thousand years. I understood why this has nothing to do with any kind of practice. I understood why this has nothing to do with any kind of becoming.
This was a pretty big for me. The realization itself is not big. It’s not a secret; it’s all over the spiritual landscape; many have said this before. What was striking was the exclusivity of this, that this, and nothing else but this, is the only problem.
And with this little realization, I released the last five years of searching, isolation, anxiety, depression, insomnia…
The best way I have of describing this right now is that resistance is going away. I’m letting it be, giving it some patience and time.
And I’m utterly delighted with myself! My mind is so taken with itself right now that all it wants to do is play these thread of delighted thoughts over and over again. I let it play, hehe.
And I’m also angry. I’m angry at the entire world of spirituality and spiritualized personalities which stand between humanity and freedom. I realize the anger is misplaced; I’m really just angry at myself for spending five unpleasant years on a search which in the end turned out to be so simple.
I’m angry and delighted, and I also know that I can’t trust any conclusion I come to right now. So what you’re reading here comes with a warning label.
I’ve been an aspirant for five years, starting with a reading of Eckhart Tolle. I’m thankful to Tolle because he showed me that that there is another possibility. But I recognized that he couldn’t really help much further than that.
My goal was modest. I just wanted a happy life, here on earth, the same life I had, but free and easy, because I knew now that was possible. I didn’t want to be spiritual or mystical or knowledgeable.
And I recognized the irony of taking on this venture. I wanted to be free and easy, but what I was getting into was anything but free and easy.
I read a lot of stuff.
I got only two practical techniques out of the whole five-year unpleasant endeavor. Two techniques, one is observing (thought), and other is releasing, and really both of these are techniques of observance.
I also came to believe that it takes honesty and willingness. Honesty and willingness are important if you are, like I was, trying to find truth in the spiritual morass. But even honesty and willingness are just mental processes, and not necessary for the seeing.
As I dove into this mess, I got worse not better.
I didn’t choose to figure this out. I didn’t choose to spend five years simplifying my life and isolating myself and abandoning conventional goals and trying various experiments, trying and failing. I didn’t choose. I was driven to it.
The worst time was probably late last year. I was depressed and in denial. I made myself sick. Literally. Last year I had really bad news at the doctor’s. High cholesterol, onset of diabetes, high weight, high blood pressure, and so on.
I think we get worse with a spiritual quest because we nudge ourselves to keep going. The nudging is often very unpleasant.
What I had learned kept me going. I had some relative peace, some psychological comfort.
This was good. But this was not freedom.
And on a morning walk one day it hit me: the only problem there is is the belief that there is a problem. The feeling that there is something wrong is the only thing that has ever been wrong.
The relief is enormous. I had not realized what a heavy burden the search had been in the last five years.
I just had a physical a couple of months after this realization and there is no sign of any problems. No anxiety, no depression, no insomnia, not even diabetes!
I have enough humility now to know that the clarity and lightness I am feeling may or may not be permanent. But I think the basic insight is permanent. Life is perfect, life is love; the only thing which is wrong is this feeling that something is wrong, and this feeling becomes the foundation of everything we experience.
It’s my pet hypothesis that once this realization happens–the realization that the only thing there ever was wrong was this sense of unrightness that we carry with us–when that realization hits, it’s inevitable that the fear and the sense that there is something wrong will go away and the healing will begin. It doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do–the solution is very recognition of the basic problem. I’m not sure about this; it’s only an hypothesis, and it’s one I can’t really test.
I’m also convinced that the looking which John Sherman suggests does away with this fear and closes the wound in which we feel that something is wrong.
In any event, this relief of giving up the quest is a wonderful thing, and I’m really enjoying it!