Late this January I noticed that I was having trouble putting on one of my favorite pairs of pants. My girth had become just little wider than the pants would allow.
As many of you know, that’s a wake up call. We have crossed the Rubicon. We can continue on our current trajectory and just get fat, get breathless, get unhealthy, but eat to our heart’s content or we can take an action that doesn’t really appeal to our carnal senses; go on a diet.
I chose to diet. So far I’ve lost 15 pounds. It hasn’t been fun. I often crave for just a couple of slices of brie (yeah – I got that upper middle class food preferences) and sometimes I really want a huge corn beef sandwich, but I know that I need to be disciplined. I got to be tough if I’m serious about losing weight.
Spiritual awakening is no different. It requires us to get touch with our lazy ass selves. We need to stop living on our own bullshit. At some point we got to get real and see the truth. If we love our brothers and sisters, if we love the planet, we need to go on a thought diet. We have to stop indulging our ignorant selves.
Waking up is realizing just how ignorant we are (ME included!!!). I beg others to show me where I have been blind and ignorant. This is authentic Buddhism. This is the loving message of the Buddha in REAL LIFE. It’s not about listening to ethereal flute music in a bamboo garden full of dancing pansies.
I’m sorry to be so blunt. I wish it were different. But we either chose to stop this life of malls, of useless self-indulgence and start getting ruthless with our insecure sorry asses, or life itself will take far harsher action. That just how nature operates. She gets rid of the cancer to allow for new growth. Right now We are that cancer.
But the good news is that this ignorant self is just a mirage. We give it such importance, such primacy. Start doing a diet of the self. Find out what’s true, what’s really true. For starters, investigate all of your concepts. Start with your concept of what you need to make you happy. See that it’s just a concept. See it for yourself. Then graduate to bigger concepts or you’re really a warrior of the spirit, explore the concept of YOU. The YOU you believe yourselves to be is, itself, a concept. What are YOU really???? Are you your body? Are you your thoughts? Are you your feelings? See that all of that changes, but the REAL YOU does not change. The you that sees, that YOU is not a concept. It is always there for (ironically) YOU.
No one can hold your hand in this journey. Only YOU can do it You You You.
Life CALLS on YOU. Heed her mighty, caressing, and beautiful call. Here’s a small section of my book Liberation from the Lie:
Forget self-help, forget meditation, forget Buddhism—forget it all. They are all distant provinces in the land of thought.
When we cling to these secondhand, borrowed notions, they become desperate thoughts imported from the fields of fear.
When we seek answers from external sources, we turn our back on ourselves. Cease seeking and find yourself. Find yourself without needing to seek.
If we stop seeking, what is HERE?
What is here is Life. Each of us is the light that shines on it and makes Life possible. That is the ultimate act of love. Love IS.
Life is ALWAYS there, and it is there for only one person—YOU.
Life never forsakes us, but we so aggressively forsake it. We forsake it for dreams that are always just past the next moment, just a little farther along the road of meditation and self-infatuation and self-rejection. We run from Life, thinking that there is always something better, something looming in the distance, that if we could only touch it, we could then possess it.
Life cannot be possessed. Instead, be possessed by Life!
When we feel trapped and hopeless, it is there—LIFE … LIFE with all of its potential, its mystery, its opportunity to connect—with its opportunity to TOUCH you and for YOU to touch IT.
Dance with Life … DANCE with all your HEART … dance with Life that is vast and Life that is small. For there is something out there that is indeed looming, and that thing is DEATH—your death, the death of your parents, the death of your husband or wife, the death of your children, the death of all that you hold dear.
Know death, and through knowing it—its inevitably, its HERE and NOW—see that every moment is dear. it is your love and understanding that make it so. Do not let Life down with your seeking for something better. There is something out there. You don’t need to seek it, for it will surely find you.
In that gap between now and the now that ends all nows, dance with all your heart. Life is your partner, Life is your center. Let it touch and caress you with its carelessness, with its ripe abundance.
It’s time to leave the shore and dive in. Be as life.
Life IS. Love IS. But they are lonely without YOU. Life needs YOU and only YOU. You exist for it and it exists utterly for you. Life made you for itself.
Do not let Life down. It’s NOW or never. Cowards run from Life seeking something better. They run and they run.
It’s time to walk away from that race, where winners only die, exhausted and spent after Life has passed them by.
Be brave and let Life TOUCH you. Be brave, and reach out in the smallest way and touch IT.
And … don’t feel bad if you just need to give up, for that too is life … LOVE knows that, and LIFE knows that sometimes you need to lower your head and go no further.
But in that lowering, in that heavy-heartedness, in that mourning, all beauty still unfolds before you. This beauty is so very patient. She waits for YOU, she waits only for you, because she loves you and only you. She knows your pain and your sadness. All the patience you may lack, she possesses in limitless abundance. She waits at your doorway, waiting for you to open your eyes, to open your heart, to let the LIGHT in.
She will always be there to invite you to the dance. She will be THERE and HERE and EVERYWHERE. She is outside and she is inside … She IS you, if you only knew that.