To get somewhere, go in the other direction

Last night, I realized how I was falling into one of the oldest traps of them all: going directly for where I am trying to arrive at.

And of course, trying to “get somewhere” is another old trap, at least in spiritual practice. There is nowhere to go – this very mind is the Buddha Mind, and at the same time – there is somewhere to go, there is a realization that needs to happen, the realization that this is it.

So, in wanting to realize more clearly “no I”, and getting caught up in some frustration around it, I went directly for it. I recalled periods in the past where there apparently was a clear(er) realization of it, and tried to recreate it. Instead of open-ended inquiry, I told myself that “this, which seems like a subtle ‘I’ is just another object rising within space, and even this awareness of it all is just a segment of what is”. And so on. Running around like a rat in a cage.

I find that it is actually really useful to go into delusion like this, even knowing it is delusion. When I allow myself to go fully into it, I also see more fully and clearly that yes, it does not work.

In any “inner” work, there seems to be a general – apparently paradoxical – guideline. If you want to “get” somewhere, go in the opposite direction.

If you want to find clarity, go fully into the confusion that is there.

If you want light, fully embrace the darkness that is here.

If you want to open for gratitude, allow the resentment to be fully seen and experienced.

If you want full awakening, embrace complete delusion.

If you want to pass over to the “other shore”, be here/now.

And if I want to realize more clearly “no I”, then I can sincerely – open endedly – search for and within anything that appears as an “I”.

Trying to recall past realizations won’t get me anywhere. It can’t be recreated, especially not through memory. And it never happens the same way twice. Any key seems to only work once.

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