If somebody treats you with unkindness, if they judge or criticize you, it’s likely they have endured similar treatment from others in the past, and they are only repeating unconscious patterns in search of a love they cannot find.– Jeff Foster, The Way of Rest: Finding the courage to hold everything in love
You will lose everything.Jeff Foster
Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memory.
Your looks will go.
Loved ones will die.
Your own body will eventually fall apart.
Everything that seems permanent is absolutely impermanent and will be smashed.
Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away.
Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.
Right now, we stand on
sacredand holy ground.
For that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and
realisingthis is the key to unspeakable joy.
Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you.
This may sound obvious but really knowing it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence.
Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.
Losshas already transfigured your life into an altar.
Loss is a gift in so many ways.
It’s what allows this universe and anything to exist in the first place. This universe, living planet, and us and all we know is here because the universe is always in transition and changing. What was before is gone so what’s here now can be here.
Loss – in the form of change – is how life (the universe, existence, the divine) continues to express, explore, and experience itself in always new ways.
When we take in the reality of loss, we find that what’s here is infinitely precious. It’s a gift. It won’t ever come back in this way. It’s a unique and precious gift. Even that which our personality and mind doesn’t like very much is an infinitely precious gift. It’s how the universe (life, the divine) presents itself to itself here and now.
When we sober up to the reality of loss and change, it’s easier to live with loss. We won’t fight it as much or perhaps not at all. We may even find genuine gratitude for it. It will still break our hearts. It breaks our heart open.
Sobering up to loss is an invitation to notice what everything happens within and as. And to notice that’s what we are.
So loss is what allows everything we know. It’s essential to the play of life – Lila. Sobering up to it allows a profound appreciation for what’s here. It makes it easier to live with. It breaks our heart wide open. And it’s an invitation to find ourselves as what we already are – that which all content experience happens within and as. (That which we may label consciousness, or love, or even the divine.)
All that can be lost, will be lost.
– Jeff Foster
I like how Jeff Foster makes impermanence immediate and personal here.
On the surface, this may seem discouraging. All that can be lost will be.
And yet, there is a question that may come up for us. If what can be lost will be, is there something that can’t be lost? This is a pointer to what we are: that which all experience happens within and as. That which cannot be lost because it’s not (only) content of experience and because it’s what reality is and what we are.
So we will lose anything within content of experience whether it’s a phase of life, health, friends, family, loved ones, pets, jobs, status, roles, identities, states, and so on. Some will be lost within this life, and all will be lost when we die. Some of these losses will seem like a relief to us, some will be mostly neutral, and some will appear as a tragedy – depending on what stories we have about it, how much is invested in these stories, and how much we have examined the stories. And all of it is a very human experience. All of it is part of being human.
And yet, it all happens as what we are. If we don’t notice it, the losses may hit us hard. And to the extent we do notice it, there is a space holding it all which takes a bit of the edge off it. Our reaction to the loss may not change that much because it’s created by conditioning and unexamined beliefs in us, but it happens in a different context and that makes a good deal of difference. We may notice this context in immediacy, or – sometimes – it’s just a memory or a knowing. In either case, the new context changes how it’s perceived. It makes it easier to be present with it, allow it, notice it. To hold it more lightly. To relate to it with patience, kindness, and perhaps even appreciation.
Are you wondering why, after all these years, you still haven’t healed, awakened, transformed? Why your pain, confusion, doubts, sorrows, your deep longings for home, are “still here”?
“I should have found the answers by now. By now, my sorrow should have disappeared. By now, I should be free from fear. By now, I should be feeling more peaceful, clear, awakened. By now, joy should be consistent, my natural state. By now…”
Friends, ‘by now’ is the biggest damn lie of all!
There is no such thing as ‘by now’. There cannot be a ‘by now’.
There is only Now. Only this moment.
No ‘by’. No ‘still’. No ‘yet’. Healing is not a destination.
If we can drop the expectations and the false hopes around healing, drop the myth of ‘by now’ and instead bow to what is actually here, honour our present experience, see its sacredness and its intelligence, celebrate THE WAY WE ACTUALLY ARE TODAY, even if we feel sad, even if we experience doubt, or anger, or fear, then we may experience a total paradigm shift…
“Pain, sadness, anger, fear, why are you still here? I hoped that you’d be gone by now!”
“Ohhh! You ARE here! Yes! What an honour to meet you, here! You are life, too; a sacred wave of consciousness! There is no mind-made story that says you shouldn’t be here! No demand for you to have disappeared ‘by now’! You are not ‘still’ here, of course; there is no time. You are here, now, in this moment, only! Still here! I am still, here! And in the stillness that I Am, in this oceanic field of Presence, we can truly meet…”
A thought or feeling does not arise to be healed, friend; it arises to be HELD, lightly, in the loving arms of presence.
So that’s why you feel like you’re ‘not there yet’.
You are not there yet! You will never be there!
There is no ‘yet’. There is no ‘there’. There is no ‘by now’!
You are here. You are always here. You will always be here. Here is your home and your sanctuary.
This is true healing: the surrender into Presence. The sense of being held by something infinitely greater than yourself. No time required.
This is the great paradox of healing: You are already healed.
– Jeff Foster