“Since this summer, I keep coming back to soak in this far-reaching post (‘To Set Free’) and all of the multiverses, implications and doorways embedded within it. These realms have been part of quite a constant moving meditation this year. The exploration of this subject is both so expansive and microscopic that admittedly it’s been a bit intimidating to approach this rich canvas with a worthy brushstroke to contribute.
“This process often involves finally surfacing areas where I’ve been identifying as a victim and viciously clinging to that identity. In avoiding engaging in an authentic process of forgiveness, and clutching onto some kind of righteousness, there is an illusion of control, comfort and safety, even superiority and empowerment that camouflages a terror of the idea of letting it all go.
“But…to be up against such challenges, and to find one’s way to the other side, daily, moment to moment with seemingly smaller things, or to navigate one’s way through some of the heavier more intense ones… That freedom… Can literally open the gates to a new world. And even heaven.”
Thank you, Karen, for taking on that blog post in the spirit in which it was originally intended – not as “food for thought” but as a process to explore in the quest for greater wellbeing and freedom. (You can read the entire comment here.) I especially appreciate your gesture in responding as fully and openly as you have at the start of the new year, which feels like not just a resolution for 2022 but an actual leap forward in stronger conviction.
We all have our personal wars that we feel need to be attended to, but often those seem to be old stories and patterns not yet recognized as no longer having relevance in our lives. As you say, there’s often a glitch in the letting go part, as if we haven’t yet updated to the new version of the program. Your comment on letting go immediately reminded me of something Abraham Maslow put forth in his list of what makes for a fully actualized human being, what he considered to be the highest state of being that a person can achieve. (Maslow was a humanistic psychologist and one of the founders of the human potential movement back in the 1960s.) At the top of his list:
Maintaining the enthusiastic curiosity, unselfconscious attention and wonder one had as a child.
I can’t help but feel that the primary obstacle to this kind of childlike wonderment is this very “clutching onto” you mention, particularly to forms of angst-ridden, unforgiving animosity. It’s as if we give away our playful wonderment as we age, often for a sense of identification and power in various wars of our choosing (or creation). You can probably see how that spreads out in all directions, including grudge-mongering and polarized, hostile opinionating we find everywhere these days. (“Facebook internal documents show a struggle with misinformation, hate speech and celebrations of violence in the country, the company’s biggest market.” – New York Times.)
But you’ve described a personal process for moving beyond that, and although that may very well be of little interest to those who prefer wars, I do appreciate you doing all that homework to get it here in this forum. Maybe you could put it up on Facebook as a guide to resolving wars along with a mention that if one gets lost along the way to just remember “rat gets off wheel,” an easy-to-memorize phrase that encapsulates the entire body of work of Lao Tsu, Ram Das, Eckhart Tolle, and Joe Montana.
On your comment about this subject as presented on this blog being “a bit intimidating”: yes, I’m aware of the intimidation factor in responding to these posts. I applaud you for breaking through that intimidation. As for any substantial conversation or challenge we face, there is going to be an element of resistance, like in strength training in physical exercise. That very resistance, the quantity and quality of force that one needs to push against or into, is what creates the potential for something exceptional to happen.
Almost all of the posts in this blog are meant to be skills to practice or processes to actualize. That is, this is not a collection of abstract philosophical or behavioral betterment theories to consider from a distance. One may, of course, read them as “food for thought,” but that is not what they were created for. Just as in reading an article about strength training and one then feels that they understand, nothing has really happened – we still have to actually perform the exercises for something to occur.
Perspectives (and quality of life) don’t really change from understanding as much as through realization, and realizations come through active practice. There’s an alchemy in the leap from understanding information to actual application – moving through the natural sequence of awareness – choice – action into realized accomplishment. Anxieties are released, self-trust is regenerated, and new possibilities open very quickly.
You’ve phrased that process nicely as “to find one’s way to the other side.” Maybe that doesn’t lead to “even heaven,” but yes, it certainly opens gates to a new world.
For example – and definitely related to maintaining the enthusiastic curiosity, unselfconscious attention and wonder one had as a child – has anyone tried to apply the list of suggestions in my last post within a single day? That is, consciously set aside the time and space, make specific plans for each suggestion, and then carry them out. And hey, maybe take along a loved one with you who could use it! That’s about as easy as that can be, with minimal resistance. That list of activities also gives some ideas for what people do (or can do, anyway) when not making war.
May we all aspire to more childlike wonderment, and to less time on the wheel, as we move into this new year.