Awakening is an ongoing unfoldment of potentials and nothing in particular is guaranteed to stop or go away, even though some things might. It’s the ongoing acceptance, patience, and forgiveness of whatever arises or happens that marks healthful embodiment. But also the true and deep acceptance that anything CAN happen and that nothing that DOES happen is ‘wrong’ or ‘shouldn’t be’.
Fold it all in as you go. This is the transmutation of mud to lotus. First as a practice: enfoldment, inclusion, forgiveness; then as the nature of your being, spontaneously. But even then sometimes attention or effort is called for to continue to include, accept. Be gentle with yourself, forgive yourself for not being perfect, forgive yourself for needing to do some work, even if you think you’re beyond all that. Especially so then.
There’s an enlightenment trap that says “I’m beyond the need to DO anything.” So when something difficult does come up and you need to pay attention more than usual, the expectation that you SHOULDN’T NEED TO leads you to suffer. Instead of humbly, patiently heeding the call to respond to the need of the moment, to actively give love and space to some needy part of yourself that seeks inclusion. Watch out for that arrogance that says that you are forever beyond the need to be human, the need to take action, or to be always free from distress, or beyond the need to care or attend to something in you. There is no perfect behaviour or perfect response. Life, as you, does its best, and in doing so, in letting things unfold naturally, even if that feels like DOING, growth occurs. What looks imperfect is actually perfect and entirely necessary.
Humility – to not put yourself above anything, beyond anything, and to do what you’re called to do without expectation or self-importance, or desire.
Patience – to listen, to endure, forever.
Forgiveness – for your failings, for what difficulties arise, for the nature of being, for others – even though they are your very self, for the possibility that you’re doing it wrong.
And love – always love.
Forgiveness is deep and wide and ever-needed. Forgiveness is medicine and healing.
Forgiveness is letting go.
Forgiveness is kindness to ourselves and others.
Forgiveness is not holding grudges.
I’m not saying that grievance won’t arise in life, but it won’t be cherished, it will be allowed to go. Forgiveness is a great kindness and it’s important to give it to yourself. Forgive yourself for your wrongness, your failings, your ignorance, your weaknesses. But it goes hand in hand with love. And love and forgiveness is all-including – self and other and life itself. All held in love.
Life shows the way. Reality has a way of asserting itself. If you’re stubborn or hard of hearing then that assertion can be vigorous. But experience will continue to call us and tune us in to a more subtle alliance with life and reality. Ultimately the blending of wills occurs, the union of that which was never apart.
We are traumatised beings. Our traumas and conditioning are deeply embodied, enlightened or not. But when awakening happens releasing will occur, and other processes relating to embodied transformation. And it’s likely that this will continue as long as there’s a body. So buckle up and enjoy the ride! Strap yourself in, it’s gonna get bumpy. But thats okay. It’s all good. It can even be exciting and enjoyable, even the crazy bits, the sad bits, the painful bits, in the great scheme of things.
But learn to spot your expectations, they go deep and stay hidden in the shadows. Where there’s a should there’s a shadow. Life will show you, sooner or later, but it’s not always pretty, which is OK in the scheme of things. And better if you’ve fewer expectations. But forgive yourself for having them, you unenlightened wretch! You fallen fool! You deluded creature! You less than perfect, not-so-special one! 😉
They say; fail, fail, fail again, fail better. I say; forgive, forgive, forgive again, forgive better, forgive more. And forgive yourself for your less-than-perfect capacity to forgive. I say this to you because I say this to me. We all want to be special and complete. But can we love ourselves when we’re not? Can we forgive our grievances in regard to ourselves and our failings? Can we forgive life, God, the universe, for delivering to us imperfect feelings and situations and people? Even though ‘imperfect’ is the shadow of our expectation of ‘perfect’, and what a judgement THAT is!
To forgive is to LET IT GO, to let it pass, to not harbour resentment or bile. Which is not to say that it won’t arise, but we stay open-handed, so to speak. And there’s the forgiveness, the willingness to not cling. Forgiveness is the ground, love is the ground. And all manifestations of the ground that play out in the projection of time and space tend toward the nature of the ground. So as sentient beings, on every level, each aspect, we let the essence of the ground penetrate and manifest. We play the game of call and return, of cause and effect. We love and forgive, and fail and surrender. We fight and collapse, we resist and embrace. We dance in and as the opposites. The playground of duality and unity. We walk the Middle Way, embracing all, denying none.
We embrace the Two Truths – absolute and relative – out of compassion for ourselves and others. We don’t demand that suffering be absolute for us to respond to it with compassion, and so we don’t deny or dismiss the misery of delusion. We don’t escape and withdraw into transcendence, rather it becomes the platform for our enjoyment and our love. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Enlightenment, liberation, isn’t a negation or a denial. It isn’t pseudo-intellectual spiritual gaslighting. Love meets the other as ourself. It’s the inclusion of all that we are that liberates us, and it’s the exclusion of some part of us as unwanted that binds us.
‘Neti neti’ is a tool for necessary discrimination, for the seekers who are lost to themselves, who must first discover the Ground. But then it’s the necessary inclusion of all that the ground contains that completes the fullness of realisation. It’s not escape but embrace, not transcendence alone, but transcendence and immanence both as one, not-two.
So walk the Middle Way out of compassion. For the true IS the good, and the good IS the true. And love is wisdom, wisdom is love, and that is beautiful.