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Is This It?

By September 2, 2013April 23rd, 2020Articles, Read

“So this is it? So what.” said a man bluntly at the beginning of one of my meetings.

As we began exploring together it became clear that he had long understood the notion of Wholeness—that life is truly undivided—but deep in his heart he still felt separate and isolated, yearning for a deeper connection with others, with life, longing for love, longing to come home, longing to come alive. The anger and resentment he felt was for a lifetime of seeking; a lifetime of spiritual paths, books, videos, teachers and practices; a lifetime spent craving some great epiphany, some permanent transcendent experience which frustratingly continued to elude him.

But what if what we long for doesn’t need to look a certain way, and doesn’t need to be attained or developed? What if the anger and resentment, the frustration, worry and anxiety, are all equally as valid an expression of life as the peace, joy and bliss? What if it’s the very looking for some special state, for some extra add-on to life, that continually blinds us from the sheer obviousness of it all?

When we no longer try to deny, distract or escape, we find ourself here, with nowhere left to turn, and the invitation then is to feel whatever arises—to soften into the anger, the fear, the sense of deficiency and lack. It’s in that absolute opening to life that the real miracle takes place. Life absorbs ‘us’ into its arms, and in that infinite embrace, that total merging, the Wholeness of being is all that remains.

In opening to our human fragility, we discover our invincibility.

Then our sense of vulnerability no longer need be resisted or denied, for who we really are has nothing to fear. Does the sky fear the crack of thunder and stroke of lightening of a passing storm? Does the screen fear whatever scene of horror its pixels give expression to? Then Wholeness, this Knowing beyond understanding, is no longer an idea or belief, no longer something that the ‘teacher’ at the front of the room who seems to have all the answers has got that we need to get, but it becomes ours, our own lived reality.

We are our experience: every sound, colour and texture, everything and everyone—black/white, rich/poor, Christian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, gay/straight, genius/fool, every colour, every creed—the achievements and the set backs, the delight and the heartbreaks, the certainties and gnawing doubts. And yes even the very misunderstanding that we are exclusively contained inside a body of flesh and bone, along with all the defensive patterns and behaviours which that belief engenders. This is not a mistake, a universal error, but yet another expression emerging out of our endless creativity. And so too of course, in true dualistic fashion, is this message of freedom, releasing us from that inhibiting belief.

All is ourself, our primal, original nature, shape shifting into a myriad of seeming forms, characters and circumstances, a cocktail of emotion and sensation, creating this rich play of experience in all its tragicomic splendour—every scene, every entrance and every exit of this masterpiece of drama that is life.

And what wonders unfold as this understanding deepens and matures. In seeing that everyone is only ever doing their very best in the given circumstances, all is forgiven; forgiveness for a lifetime of beating oneself up for not being good enough, beautiful enough, successful enough, exciting enough, or whatever our particular hang ups might be; forgiveness for all ‘others’ too, who have supposedly hurt us or done us wrong. In the end even forgiveness falls apart. We are the guilty and the innocent, the attacker and the victim, the repressor and the repressed, the judger and the judged. There is no ‘other’ to blame or to forgive.

In recognising that we are only ever meeting ourself, closer than close, more intimate than intimate, the longing for something more dissolves, swallowed up in fathomless depths of love.

Then, “So this is it?” is transformed from a glib mental complaint into a joyous celebration, exclamation, exultation of the magical wonder of this eternal present . . .