Befriending struggle

 

I have found it very helpful to befriend struggle. 

As most human beings, I often find myself struggling or wrestling with situations and issues. It can be very gentle, as a pondering or curiosity, or more obvious. 

The more I recognize this wrestling as natural and having a very good evolutionary purpose, as kind and here to help and protect this human self, and as useful, the more I see it as a friend. And the more I recognize it as a friend, the lighter I can hold it. And the lighter I hold it, the more I find appreciation for it.

Another side of this is that it makes it easier to recognize that it happens within and as what I am. It’s an expression of the creativity of the mind, or – if we want to put it into a more highfalutin language – even the creativity of the divine. The divine can recognize itself as this too. The divine can wake up to itself as this too. 

Struggle

 

When I take stories as true, there is a sense of struggle. Of something being off. Of working against situations, at least slightly.

And what this sense of struggle comes from has several aspects…

There is a clash between my stories of what is and what should be.

There is a clash between what I (try to) take as true, and what I – somewhere – know is more true. (Grain of truth in the reversals, no story is really true, and cannot know.)

And there is a clash between what I take as true, and the layer of wisdom and intelligence.

When it can function more freely, this layer of wisdom and intelligence uses stories as tools, draws on whatever is available (stories, experience, insight, kindness, intuition), and offer direction and a course of action. But I may be so caught up in beliefs in general that attention is not available to this layer. Or I may be caught up in particular beliefs and fears that prevent me from noticing or acting on the directions from this layer of wisdom.

(more…)

Leave no trace

 

In Zen and other traditions, they talk about leaving no trace, or the man that casts no shadow or leaves no footprints in the snow.

This can be understood in several ways, and I am probably aware of only a few.

In a worldly sense, it means leaving no trace ecologically and socially. To leave our ecosystems and society to our children and decedents in no worse condition than it was for us. This is the ecological and generational sense of leaving no trace.

It can also mean leaving no trace as a guest, or in one’s own home, in terms of cleaning up after oneself, and here also leave the house in no worse condition than when we entered. This is the politeness sense of leaving no trace.

In a different sense, it can mean leaving no trace in terms of the dynamics and processes of this human self, or those this human self participate in. Instead of resisting these processes, we can allow them fully and even amplify them, seeing where they lead and what they ask of us and have to show us. We could say that this is the Process Work meaning of leaving no trace.

And finally, it can mean leaving no trace in terms of not being caught up in identification with content of awareness, or as Byron Katie says, to not be at war with what is. Identification is released from stories, so also with resistance, which allows the struggle and drama to go out of it. This human self is allowed to live its own life, as it does anyway. This is the nondual sense of leaving no trace.

What is the truth in the reversal of this statement? In what way is leave traces true?

In our human life, we do leave traces. Whatever we do has social and ecological ripple effects, and we are aware of only a very few of them. So by bringing more awareness, information and experience to this, we can aim at producing ripple effects that are more likely – in our best guess – to support life rather than harm it. We leave traces anyway, so why not bring as much attention to it as possible. Why not be a little more consciously engaged.

There is another way of playing with the initial sentence: don’t leave traces of no traces. When I make a big deal out of leaving no trace, then that in itself is leaving a trace. Again, just something to notice.