Why would we want to befriend life? Why would we want to befriend our experience, including the uncomfortable experiences? Why would we want to befriend different parts of ourselves?
The simple answer is that it’s more comfortable. Struggle is uncomfortable, and befriending is comfortable.
We may not see this at first. We may be trained – by our culture, parents, and friends – that struggle is the way to deal with our uncomfortable experiences. We try to avoid, fix, or get rid of it, and we do so both in immediacy (here and now) and in our life by seeking some situations and states and avoid other (which is generally a sane strategy).
We may accidentally befriend an uncomfortable experience and notice it’s actually not as scary as it seems and it comes with a lot of benefits. (Less struggle, more sense of wholeness and comfort.) This may open up something in us and we may find curiosity about befriending our experience. We may set out to explore it more intentionally, perhaps through mindfulness, natural rest, inquiry, heart-centered practices, yoga, tai chi, or something else.
We may also discover that struggle with our experience doesn’t really work. It doesn’t really go away. And we may be put in a situation where this is made very obvious to us, at least if we are open to seeing it.
Since we wish to avoid discomfort and seek comfort, the impulse to befriend is built into us. Of course, if and to what degree we notice and explore it varies. Sometimes, we are ready and drawn to it. Other times, we may not be. (And that’s OK.)
Another way to look at this is that in our own immediate experience, we and all of existence is one. What happens within each of our sense fields happens within and as consciousness, and in our immediate experience, we are all of it. We are all of existence as it appears to us.
So when we struggle with anything, we are struggling with ourselves. We pretend there is an absolute separation. And that’s uncomfortable.
If it appears that we are not this oneness, it’s because our mind is good at creating the appearance of a self and a world, and that we are this self and not the rest of the world. I assume this has an evolutionary function and has helped humanity to survive. It’s also an expression of the creativity of consciousness.
Usually, the transition from apparent separation to a more conscious oneness is gradual and goes over time (with some glimpses, jumps, apparent setbacks, rough patches etc.). And that’s not a bad thing since we need some time to reorient and figure out how to live in the world from oneness. We need to take the best from our life as apparently separate and bring it with us while also let go of the less helpful aspects of it. We need to learn how to function well and effectively in the world while also operating from oneness.Read More