It’s the now that counts. It’s the present-moment that is most ‘real’. The rest is memory and imagination, which both have tremendous value of course. But THIS IS IT, this is the place of power, this is where all the action is. NOW. And so much of that power is dispersed when we miss it, when we fail to be-here-now. In time we’ll come to recognise that we’re actually always here and now, that all notions of past and future, all conceptions, all sensation and mentation appear in and as this LIVING NOWNESS.
This is the great saving truth of life, that our freedom is already in place. We’re never not free, could never be anything less than free. But the mind weaves tales of bondage and enthrals us with very convincing and engaging stories of limitation, unworthiness, incompleteness. But the moment that those stories are seen for what they are we find that the truth is RIGHT HERE as our very being.
Which is not to say that the human world and all its shenanigans are wrong or a mistake. It is what it is, it’s part and parcel of the truth of life. Like a novel or a play or movie, life tells stories about itself that allow us to experience and enjoy any number of things from many different perspectives. But then pain and suffering come along, and the stories become a source of misery.
Talking about suffering is treacherous terrain. There are traps here even for the wary and so I don’t want to go blundering in and setting them off. The reality and nature of pain and suffering is at the very heart of our concern as conscious beings. Our own, and because of our self-awareness and capacity for empathy, others’ too.
The trouble is we don’t really like to get too close to our suffering, we can be like wild animals caught in a trap, and while we’re in pain it’s very hard to consider things like causes and remedies. In the distress of our suffering we can often violently reject even the suggestion that there might be an antidote.
When we make the profound discovery that resisting what-is causes suffering, the possibility of peace appears. Freedom is the real acceptance of what must be. Non-resistance is therefore optimum. But it’s feelings that we resist most of all, this is what we fail to allow. We’re not avoiding the world and its situations, people, and events, we’re resisting the feelings that arise in in relation to all that. It’s our own feeling-level that we have trouble integrating. If only we could learn to accommodate that, give space for that.
The feeling level can get intense and so we try to suppress it or avoid it. We don’t trust that given full rein it won’t destroy us, that it won’t overwhelm us. So we’re conditioned to keep a lid on it, to not to show it, even to ourselves, and to not risk being wild and out-of-control. And so we suppress and avoid, or go the other way and get hooked and indulge.
In reality there’s no resisting what-is, no escaping the reality of this moment. We can get contracted and tense, and it’s this tension and unwillingness to accept what’s here that adds a layer of misery to our experience. So we let it be. Not because it makes us spiritual and all that guff. We let it be because in doing so we suffer less, because it’s the functionally optimal response to the flow of reality. We surrender our resistance to our feelings because this surrender is self-interest, it’s sanity.
Once we’re in perpetual non-resistance to our feelings there’s nothing that can bother us, nothing we need to avoid, we’re free. Free from the need to hide or avoid or suppress or dull. So we let that feeling level in, make peace with it, allow its ebbs and flows, its rises and falls. We just let what naturally comes come, and what goes go. Breathe, release, relax.
To do this we can’t ignore what we’re feeling, we have to let it in, allow ourself to feel and give it our attention. And if we’ve been ignoring or avoiding this part of ourself for a long time it might be unfamiliar and a new habit. We can start incrementally, just begin to un-tighten, release and relax a little when we notice resistance and contraction. Just move in that direction. In time that becomes more and more open and less contracted until openness becomes the spontaneous natural condition of our being.
Our inner feeling level can fluctuate considerably, and the energetics can sometimes be challenging. But no amount of resistance, avoidance, contraction, clinging, or indulgence, can do anything to ‘improve’ the experience. Our freedom is in letting it be what it is. We can certainly make it worse by doing the things listed above. But in this complete allowing, we’ll find what was previously afflictive becomes blissful. Funny that.