On Beyond Resistance
This is a more an artistic, “synchronistic musing” as a friend called it, than a philosophical or logical exploration. So read it as such. Enjoy …
Sitting on the balcony, pondering a friend’s request to expand on the “RESISTANCE IS FUTLE” section in my “The Dawning of Love” post, saying “…to me that is most interesting part and the hardest….”, I heard my neighbors in the distance, just at the edge of audibility, playing a beautiful Donovan song:
Color in sky, Prussian Blue
Scarlet fleece changes hue
Crimson ball sinks from view
Wear your love like heaven (wear your love like)
Wear your love like heaven (wear your love like)
Wear your love like heaven (wear your love)
~ Donovan, Wear Your Love Like Heaven
The opposite, as it were, of resistance is opening, surrendering. Allowing what is, to be, is “Heaven” the True Self, Consciousness, and “wearing it” is embodiment, and releasing what isn’t to Consciousness, realizing Pure Consciousness, and coming back, realizing the body-world is Self too.
How to describe what it’s like to “open”? What to say about “how to surrender”?
A phrase to describe the feeling of opening, of simply Being, when the person is not there, is invisible or transparent – the sense of it, occurred to me the other morning: it’s like THE WIDE OPEN SKY.
It’s a great freedom, with a joy in it. But it’s not that body felt joy like you feel when you are dancing to music or having sex (nothing to sneeze at by the way, and healthy) but a more limitless one. It’s as if it were at a higher frequency, and so lightweight and free that the instant you try and grasp it, it’s not it.
So intimate that it is truly you and not separate from you, it’s just what is. No weight, no objective content whatsoever.
OK, so if it’s limitless then why does it go away?
It doesn’t. It just seems to. That’s the great paradox (to the mind): it’s here and it isn’t.
Just to be clear, we are not talking about a state here. I was confused about that for decades, and spent much of my life pursuing states, and wanting either to not feel the way I was feeling, or feel something I felt in the past again. The thing about a state is that it comes and goes. It changes. The human being feels a mood, goes up and down, feeling relatively good and relatively bad. The sun gets flares and sunspots, the moon goes through phases, the menstrual cycles come and go. Everything on Earth and in the heavens goes through phases, cycles, changes, weather.
Advaita vedanta and non-duality are always trying to point us to what doesn’t change, to “true nature.” This is so fundamental, it’s reflected in many wisdom traditions, including Taoism:
Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind become still.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.
~ Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching
The entire Tao Te Ching could be seen as a poetic tract on non-resistance, on actionless action.
So what to do? … Or rather how to “not do”?
It would seems like anything you do to achieve non-doing is a doing.
But for who? And who is going through states?
But these are just words. What to do, what to do … the human, the action-body, the mind in time, wants to know.
Where’s the punchline? What does Wear Your Love like Heaven come in? The heartbeat of the body continues, and the heartbeat of the universe continues, and the mind has it’s own beat too, like the music of the spheres.
“Lord, kiss me once more
Fill me with song …”
Since freedom is your inherent nature, no one and nothing can actually in fact take it away. And that freedom implies ultimate choice to universal intelligence, the Tao. Therefore it is a choice to play the game being played, to be in a state, to go through changes, be upset or happy as a body, as a person, as a seeming separate entity, scared or loving, or ecstatic, or moody or angry or asleep in bed… or getting a new toy, or playing with an old toy, or loving the pet, the feelings and emotions, the body and it’s changes.
One thing I can say is that as one becomes lighter and freer, the relevance and interest in things that dramatically change the state of the bodymind drops away naturally. All of this required no effort, no working on a program, or discipline, only a continued aiming to deepen understanding of reality and consciousness. You may say “well you just matured out of it”. But that’s not true: I could easily have continued these habits the rest of my life, like many do, until the body is dead from liver or kidney failure, or whatever consequences it has in the life.
For while I was having intense dreams every night, usually having to do with loss.
I noticed the common underlying theme of the dreams: they all had to do with persons. Of course a separate entity will feel the pain of losing a loved one, suffering the absence of an attachment to pleasure, what felt like safety, the bond of partnership, an identity torn apart from the inside. Of course they will feel the anxiety of losing their tools of survival, the car, the money wallet, the keys, the phone for safety of calling someone … as a separate bodymind in an anonymous city, with strangers that don’t care about you. This is all understandable.
What is harder to understand is why, when those losses are long gone, and one has a comfortable existence, are they still playing out in one’s mind and feelings? What kind of strange trick is God playing? What sort of existential joke is this, that we get to suffer what is not real?
But when I gave he bodymind time every night to let the thoughts of the day go, and during the day stopped trying to drive life with caffeine and goal-oriented activity all the time, started to relax more and not be afraid to “do nothing”, just see beauty, and have loving exchanges with friends; when I treated the body well with nutritious and beautiful fresh foods and enjoyed cycling out on a beautiful morning …. the dreams stopped. “I” was coming more into alignment, attune with life as a whole. Greater peace in the day means greater peace at night.
As I finished writing the above a paragraph, a friend sent the following quote:
” (…) It’s impossible to look directly at our true nature. We cannot see what we are. We can only BE it.
So know that you are the jewel of the Self; and be still, be happy. Be at peace.
Whatever flows out of this invisible jewel is celebration, is pure pristine happiness. We enjoy the beauty of the jewel by the light it emanates. Similarly, the Self is enjoyed by this vibrating happiness that pervades all things.
The entire creation itself is materialized happiness.
The body is also materialized happiness. Don’t take it to be a human body.
Take it as life force pouring out of the jewel, always new, always vibrant with energy, expanding into space, infinitely extended.
Don’t indulge in thinking that this body is physical: that’s only a concept. The vibrant presence of the body is not a concept.
Go to your direct experience of the body and the world, as they are actually appearing to you right this moment. This experience is fresh from the source. It is fresh reality – not canned reality, not bottled reality, not frozen reality – fresh reality.
This world, this body, are still vibrant with the perfume of the emptiness from which they originate.
Don’t focus onto anything or de-focus from anything. Just stay as you are; nothing needs to be done.
Perfection doesn’t need to be created. Perfection creates all things. ”
~ Excerpt from ‘Floating in Your Infinity’
July 28, 1998
A key line here is “Go to your direct experience of the body and the world, as they are actually appearing to you right this moment. ” and “…nothing needs to be done.”
Why do we want to do something with what’s appearing? Because we want to change it. Because we desire, or fear. Because of the sense of wanting it to be different. Because we think it’s good or bad. When more and more we see it as neutral, as just what Is. When nothing is seen as separate from what we are, truly, in essence.
What if it were true that absolutely nothing needed to be done, this instant, to be incredibly happy? What if it were true that all that happiness actually already exists behind the veil of illusion covering it? What if it were true that you were already free, right now, but just didn’t know it? Wouldn’t that be strange, that you were a complete idiot all along? That you were sitting on top of an enormous treasure chest, but were looking sadly into the distance, thinking there’s a key somewhere in East Mongolia, if only you knew what it was and how to get there. You sigh, frustrated, putting your chin in the palm of your hand. You look down, notice a glimmer on the ground, something sparkling in the sun. Your brow furrows, you slowly get up, puzzled, walk over, lean down, and pick up a odd golden key. Amazed and excited, you walk back to the chest you were sitting on, what you thought was an old worthless antique for which the key was long lost, and put it in the lock. It opens, and you are amazed at this, but even more, what’s inside blows your head off: it is filled with enormous colorful glowing jewels, a rare and priceless find, worth an infinity. It is beyond belief.
Couldn’t this whole thing – the trauma (dreams at night) versus the clear light of the open sky experience (daytime when feeling clear) – be boiled down to asking:
“Why is there True Nature and seeming interference covering it?”
Which just highlights this fact:
I was framing the whole question – which many of us do, unconsciously – and the seeming conundrum was creating by, asking it in the habitual form of:
“Why am I [i.e., as a person], experiencing this transition [as a person], to this open sky non-state [state] if it’s always there”?
So already the person is presumed in the very basis of the question, and therefore a state. Persons, and the world of change, have states; but awareness just Is.
And it’s not just the language. It’s the tricky mind. The mind always wants to get involved. It’s like glue, like fly paper, comes along for the ride, stuck to the fingers. Try to get rid of it, and it sticks more.
Well, there’s no answer. The way it’s formulated…
To put it another way, as I’ve said many times, repeating what a wise friend said once:
“The question appears in the answer.”
and the other wise friend, quoted above:
“Don’t focus onto anything or de-focus from anything. Just stay as you are; nothing needs to be done.
Perfection doesn’t need to be created. Perfection creates all things.”
We have to be very honest with ourselves: is there an agenda? Do we want something, or to get rid of something? Then we will have strategies, and be operating on something or someone. We will be “sitting with”, and holding on to feelings, or trying to kill them. That is not real welcoming, acceptance.
“The only freedom you’ve got is to turn within and not react to the conditions.”
Welcoming feelings, sensations, thoughts…. not resisting … is an art, not an exact science. No one can tell you how to do it exactly. And everyone is unique, with their own path to opening out, unfolding. So like any artist, you practice (if needed, if not mechanical, if alive) and feel your way through, using whatever clues you can find, whatever pointers and teachers speak to your inner being.
The Wide Open Sky is itself, no matter what.
“Every being is capable of infinite love.”
~ Laura Lucille
A very high, intimate vibration, friendly with the universe. Like a song… it melts resistance.
Like when I’m writing, it’s me and it’s not me. I’m just sort of cooperating… a mutual dance – a not me and a universal me.
Thanks Eric! After reading your article, I feel surrendering definitely evokes intimacy with the ten thousand things & the Self. Perhaps that’s what ‘wearing your love….’ is
Hi Niti – Thanks for the comment. Glad it evoked something for you.
Yes that line suggests that to me: “Heaven” being symbolic of the Self, wearing it being embodied, surrendered of the small self and the identification, the contraction, the belief, and yielding to the flow of the Tao, Self and world as One. There’s more to it than that of course – the 3 stages the Zen masters, Francis and such talk about (I added a line in the article to hopefully clarify a little).
Come to think of it, there’s another Donovan song that talks about the 3 stages:
There Is a Mountain
Something like that … so hard to put into words – impossible really, thus the sort of flow-of-consciousness writing piece. 🙂
By the way, here’s the “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” song on Youtube for anyone interested to enjoy (I didn’t link to it in the article because these things tend to change so quickly over time). I always loved Donovan. Such a sensitive spiritual artistic soul: