Yet another rambling and pre-organized post (!)
Some of the points here…
- When there is resistance to an experience, it is seen as Other and a disturbance.
- When the experience is allowed in, allowed its own life, met at its own terms, befriended, it is no longer seen as Other and a disturbance, and it may even reveal itself in a completely different way – even as space, clarity and bliss.
- Many approaches allows this to happen, from simply being with what is experienced and Shikantaza to Process Work and The Work.
- The release and/or gift from meeting it on its own terms is often equal to the size of the initial disturbance. Big disturbance, big gift. Small disturbance, smaller release.
- These approaches tends to span personal and transpersonal levels, and don’t see the two as separate. They are both included in the same process.
- This process is also one of allowing what is initially seen as Other to be recognized as I, through the process of befriending and finding peace with it.
This is something that seems so simple, yet so counter to what most of us learn in our culture. It is one of the many secrets hidden right in front of our eyes.
When something is fully experienced, without holding onto it or pushing it away, the suffering goes out of it and the experience itself changes.
As Bhagavan says, when something is fully experienced it is revealed as bliss.
And there are many variations on approaching this…
The simplest may be to just ask can I be with whatever I am experiencing right now?
In Shikantaza, we allow anything to live its own life, to unfold as it wants to, to come and go on its own, to live its life freely within awareness.
In Process Work, we start with any symptom (anything our attention is drawn to) and allow the process to unfold through movement, images, sound and verbal interactions. Whatever we start with, no matter how much it initially appeared as a problem, it is revealed as a gift. And the gift is often proportional to how much of a disturbance it initially was.
In The Work, it is very similar. The initial symptom or problem is explored through question number 3 (how do you react with that belief?), and it unfolds and reveals its gifts through question number 4 (who would you be without that thought?) and the turnarounds.
From Other to I
In each of these, we take something that initially appeared as a disturbance, something Other. We allow it its own life, we meet it with curiosity, we befriend it, we allow it to unfold. And it is revealed as a gift, something to include as I.
Whenever it is resisted, there is suffering. It appears as Other and a disturbance. Whenever the resistance is allowed to fall away, through any of the many approaches, it is revealed as a gift. And the apparent size of the initial disturbance is often proportional to the size of the gift.
Meeting it on its own terms
One of the keys is to meet the experience in a relatively neutral way. To allow it its own life. To befriend it as it is. To find peace with it just as it is. To find a way of allowing it in and finding peace with it even if it would stay around forever. To meet it on its own terms.
The temptation is of course to “be with it” for it to go away or transform. But that too is a form of resistance. I don’t like it as it is, I want it to go away, so I’ll use this strategy to make it go away. And resistance it what makes it appear as an Other and a disturbance in the first place.
So we need to (a) surrender to the experience and (b) surrender any hope or intention of it every going away. We need to find a way of being with it and finding peace with it, even if it would stay forever.
Personal and transcendent levels
These are also approaches which work both on personal and transcendent levels. That distinction falls away when working in this way.
I may start with physical pain, and it unfolds into space and clarity. I may start with someone bugging me, and find that I am no different from that person – and also a guidance for myself which is exactly what I have been looking for.
I start with any disturbance in my human life, and end up seeing in myself what I see out there (personal level), and eventually revealing Big Mind (transcendent).
Origin and return
What is – the content of our experiences at any time – is inherently absent of an I anywhere. There is no I and Other inherent in what is.
So when we believe in this overlay of I and Other, and experience it and act on it as if it is real, then there is automatically a sense of unease and dissatisfaction, or even suffering at times.
Whenever something is perceived as Other, it becomes a disturbance – a small one or a big one.
When we begin the process of seeing Other as I, we work on noticing ourselves as more whole on a human level. I see myself in you.
And when we come to the point where the whole overlay of I and Other falls away, we find ourselves as Big Mind, as Spirit, as Ground manifesting in myriad ways, as emptiness dancing.