Saturday, September 9, 2023

Resistance, Baggage & Awakening

    We ALL KNOW (at least subconsciously) that there's something more true, authentic & wholesome we yearn to experience. AND PARADOXICALLY we ALL resist change, naturally opting to keep thinking, speaking & behaving the way we're used to. This unique pattern of habits forms our (mistaken) identity - who / what we believe we actually are. The major reason why we resist shifting to experience what we know to be more true, authentic & wholesome, is fear of losing this 'self' - this false, mistaken, small sense of identity.

    “What I failed to realize was that my resistance was in itself a pose, a stance – a result of my conditioning ... I’d never been stripped of myself, and so I mistook a cleverly embroidered outfit of attitudes for my deepest self, which I had to ‘be true to.’ Through the path of negation of self, I began to get an inkling of just how thoroughly cloaked I was in attitudes & platitudes – in my own bullshit – and I also learned that despite this, I had to keep going." Shozan Jack Haubner
    Our personal ('me, myself & I') & collective ego ('my' religion, political party, race, color, etc) is far, far more DOMINANT in our thoughts, words & actions than we realize, UNTIL we start actively freeing ourselves from ego's overriding control by waking up. Until then, the 'I' and the 'we' are emotionally defended at all cost, while everyone else is certainly at least childish, if not dangerously wrong. As we evolve spiritually, communication becomes less & less an ego vs ego 'pissing contest,' and increasingly a heart-to-heart transmission where words are less & less important

    Laurence Freeman is a wise Catholic meditation teacher, mystic & reformer. The first 46 minutes of this video is WELL worth a listen re the importance of meditation practice to help us shift out of personal & collective ego and into oneness with God :

    “Simply stated, (practice) is the act of un-practicing habituated tendencies that cause us to (mis)perceive reality as divided into subjects & objects, pasts & futures, and problems & solutions. When we slow down this momentum of the mind, we begin to remember (experientially) what it is to be unbound, vast, and intimate with all of existence. In short, to practice is to undo habituated mental patterns that cause us to suffer. As long as there is a sense of a self-apart, (the one struggling to get life right, to wake up, and to solve the problem of being a suffering human), then directing the effort that arises out of that sense, to an investigation of your true nature, is a valuable undertaking.
    Angelo DiLullo MD. “Awake. It’s Your Turn.” 2021. Wise, gentle yet powerful guidance HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    “Sensing how caught up (the professor) was in intellectual concepts rather than benefiting from practice in her own heart, Achaan Chah answered her quite directly, ‘You, madam, are like one who keeps hens in her yard,’ he told her, ‘and goes around picking up the chicken droppings instead of the eggs.’” Kornfield J, Breiter P. “A Still Forest Pool. The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah.” Quest Books, 1985.
    It's incredibly easy to wander off topic - onto intellectual pursuits, daydreaming, surfing the web for related & completely unrelated topics, etc, etc, INSTEAD OF being fully present & appropriate, here & now. Another, almost as important point Chah's story illustrates is how common & easy it is to listen only "from the neck up" instead of "listening with our whole body
" ie using all of our intelligences.

    Adyashanti's very recent, excellent online presentation, on deep listening (& more):
    The quality with which we listen, or engage in anything, really dictates how much we receive back from it. This applies to anything you do – listen to a dharma lecture, doing any task around the house, any job, anything. If we really open ourselves up to anything that we’re doing, if we can listen from that quiet mind, those are the moments when we tend to also receive, and sometimes in quite unexpected ways
    Remembering that we can always use our analytical mind, with its critiques & judgments – we can always do that later, if we want to do that. That’s totally fine, if we feel that’s necessary.
    But in the moment, just opening the whole body, listening with the whole body. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what I mean by ‘listening with the whole body.’ It’s really listening with all your senses. And if you just hold that intention, over the days, it will start to clarify for you what that means, because it’s actually not that complicated. We do it when we lay down in a really relaxed way, or if you ever just sat down listening to the rain drops fall. You’re not listening to the rain drops fall in an analytical way. Your analytical mind is not leading then, it’s a part of the picture but a much bigger spectrum of your being is involved in something as simple as listening to rain drops.

    September 6, 2023 Broadcast with Adyashant

    And finally a cautionary tale re resisting change, procrastination & remaining 'comfortably numb':
    “A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
    All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
    Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
    The old eagle looked up in awe. ‘Who’s that?’ he asked.
    ‘That’s the eagle, the king of birds,’ said his neighbor. ‘He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth – we’re chickens.’ So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.”
Anthony de Mello SJ
    At a certain stage in life, some of us realize that there's no time to waste on trivial pursuit:  activities we now find
meaningless, small-talk, groups & individuals immersed in concerns that we've outgrown, etc. There seem to be an awful lot of chickens around - AND YET - we're ALL eagles.

Bald Eagle

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