Enlightenment, liberation, awakening is all about reality. It’s about recognising what and how reality is, and when we do, resistance to it falls away. It’s about not expecting reality to be other than it is, not wishing and expecting the impossible. And the way to it is mostly about watching and observing and letting life instruct us rather than imposing our conditions on it. Reality always wins out, by definition. This is why the great secret, the great way of awakening is surrender. Peace is found through not fighting with the inevitable, through accepting what’s true and real. Nothing more, nothing less. So call off the struggle.
Resisting reality is like trying to wrestle a mountain; you can thrash and grapple and throw yourself against it and try to pick it up, and because of all the activity on your part it feels like something is happening, that you’re making progress. But it’s only you making all the noise and fuss and the mountain remains entirely unmoved by your wasted efforts. Might as well just stop, relax, and enjoy some peace.
But resistance is a bitch. When things become intense or uncomfortable we try to put the brakes on because of fear and we start looking for ways out and ways to avoid what is. But we’re actually avoiding our feelings and not the situation; it’s our feelings that we find unbearable and intolerable. So it’s invariably the felt dimension of being that we struggle with.
So when we get fearful and start resisting, the idea that ‘this is wrong’ and needs to be fixed or changed comes along to feed the resistance. And so we’re caught up in a self-reinforcing catastrophe of suffering because we go the ‘wrong way’ by trying to escape into the mind. Anything rather than accepting, allowing, feeling. We generally don’t think to turn into the feeling rather than away; to allow and welcome rather than resist and deny; and breathe, unclench.
Listen and be receptive to what’s arising in you. Be willing to meet it without hostility and fear. This is all about meeting the ‘other’ with love, and there’s only an other when we ‘other-ise’ some part of our singular wholeness. Conceptually we isolate and separate something out and then try to push it away, deny it, excise it. That might seem like a reasonable thing to do, except that it doesn’t work and it can’t work. We are one, there is no separation in us.
So much misery comes from avoiding uncomfortable feelings and once we’ve established that as a habit and a strategy, usually in childhood, we’re chased and dragged all over this world by our need to avoid. And on top of it we inflict all horrors on ourselves and others in this effort to get rid of some feeling we have. It’s utterly disempowering as we becomes slaves to our fear.
Here’s a question to explore:
In any given moment what is the way of least suffering? And particularly in regard to challenging or afflictive stimuli, what response is freeing and empowering? Is it to fight and resist and avoid the feeling of discomfort? Or is it to meet the feeling with deep acceptance and allowing? To make space for it, include it, welcome it, make friends with it, and when it’s ready to let it go? And I know if we’ve been conditioned to run the other way, then this proposition seems madness and stokes even more fear. But at some point all the strategies of resistance and avoidance fail and the only way left is to stop and face the living naked moment. And when we finally do this the grief of countless generations will finally have a place to heal, in the warmth of acceptance and the light of loving presence.
However imperfectly and clumsily we turn, when we befriend an enemy, whether inside or out, we not only destroy an enemy but we gain a friend. Thus we win-win, the principle of maximum benefit. So seek the highest, the most full, the most complete, the most including. Leave nothing out, integrate all. This is love.
At its heart this way is about reconnecting with our natural responses rather than continuing to employ the ineffective strategies of our inherited conditioning, which lead only to more and more suffering. Although it seems new and strange to some, this way of acceptance and allowing is the way of radical self-ownership and freedom, and the more we ‘practice’ it the greater becomes our ability and capacity to be at peace with ourselves and the world. We discover that we have and are all space for all experiences and we are freed from the need to avoid anything. We are at home in all places and situations and we move according to our intrinsic knowingness, not according to the need to flee or hide. By allowing all, no feeling has the power to control us, to compel us, thus we are free in every moment. And when resistance is seen for what it is, even that is included in our flowing joy, we are space for that too.