The Joy of the Path

I woke up in a great mood this morning. I felt at home and cozy in my skin, and my body felt just right. There was a sense of warmth and softness. I felt inspired to write something quick about how this process of discovery, while sometimes fraught with friction and inner resistance, is also full of great joy.

I know sometimes it seems that what I write about is very serious. On one level, this is true. If you find yourself suffering from the same troubles over and over again, you must get serious about finding the root of the problem and inquire into its existence. And because we as a species are absolutely suffering from the same troubles over and over again, we need to get serious about understanding ourselves. We must find a space of shared humanity and see ourselves as one family (because that is exactly what we are). It is time to get over our childish preferences and imaginary borders. Yes, on one level, the need for the hivemind to transform is urgent.

Then again: The path is not serious at all. When you walk this road, you find out exactly how many things you’re caught up in that are really, very silly. Things come into an honest perspective, which means they are serious while also being not-at-all serious.

When you come into contact with your true nature, life gets lighter even as you sink deeply into self-awareness. Existence emits a happy kind of fragrance and becomes somehow much funnier. When we are caught up the role of the “seeker,” always meditating and trying to “get somewhere,” we can forget this.

There arises a great breadth to life when you no longer have a fixed idea about what “sort of person” you are.

I have met a lot of people in a short amount of time. As far as ego-identities go, some of them have been businessmen; some have been Buddhists; some have been involved in the porn industry; some have been college students; some have been computer programmers; some have been millionaires; some have been retirees; some have been spiritual teachers; some have been mentally disturbed. Some grew weed; some loved guns; some were opposed to both of these things. As far as political egos go, some considered themselves leftist, and some were on the far right. Some were proud capitalists; some hated capitalism.

All were humans on the way to finding themselves, and this is where I tried to meet them. They have taught me (and are still teaching me) patience, compassionate listening, and how to read energy. I can say sincerely that I have appreciated the presence of them all. I have not felt out of place in any environment, though if given the option, I’ll usually choose spaces that are green, bright, and quiet.

There is a thread that runs through all things, and if you are able to find it, you will see how beautifully similar we are: We pretty much all want to be heard, understood, and loved. We want to be fascinated and fascinating, and to find those pockets of life we can become blissfully absorbed in. We want wonder and connection. We want community and good health. We do not want to see one another suffer. And even if this is not at the forefront of our minds, we all want to know who we are.

What you find is that everyone you don’t know yet is a potential friend, if only you are able to be open and find your meeting points instead of what to argue about. From such a position, you are able to find common ground with anyone. Sometimes there are those you intuitively don’t want to talk with much, but no conflict arises out of this. You step away from their energy, and that is all.

Yes, often the need arises in me to say “Hey, what the hell are we doing on this planet?!”

I have literally lost my mind over this concern. A huge theme for me when I was hospitalized was along the lines of “Why doesn’t anyone care?! What is wrong with everyone?! These doctors are the insane ones!”

I know many people do care, but more often than not, we mistake the problem for being outside of ourselves. We can even turn something like activism into a game of avoidance, and if we are heavily identified with a “savior” role, we are missing the point. If we are busy trying to “correct” past wrongs, we are also missing it, because we are still clinging to various cultural identities. There is something very precious-seeming about the costumery that is ethnicity, history, and gender identity. However, these things still amount to false identification, which is to say they will continue to create great suffering if we take them to be ultimately Real.

At best I feel I can quietly write about this, minimize my own worldly impact, and remain grounded in Being. If and when I feel moved, I act.

The root of “what is wrong” is very clear, but avoidance is still our favorite game, and we can see this play out in the culture at large. Television, drugs, alcohol, overworking, “keeping busy…” it is as though we are desperate not to get real with ourselves. This can seem disheartening, but, we carry on, and we do not dwell in judgment.

Having said all that serious-sounding stuff: When we are not caught up in any ego-driven “mission” to “wake people up” (that’s God’s job, not mine or yours), we can just sit and deeply enjoy life. I write stories and doodle and cook meals, and it is all lovely. I listen to music and enjoy how it feels to be in this body. It is so much fun to appreciate the play, especially if you aren’t so attached to it and know that it is a play. I even find that it is wisest to hide my joy at times because the energy of it is overwhelming.

The mind often pulls us into believing life is so dire, but it is so very sweet at the same time. Every flavor is available to us all, as is that untouchable, foundational stillness within. This thing is so powerful and so boundless: It is the great animator that is Consciousness itself.

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