Posts Tagged ‘Personal experience’
Leaning on a recent item from Terry Hershey
As many of you will appreciate, this has been a bit of a week. It started last Sunday with my contribution to the national ‘preach-in’ for the health of our planet, and ended with the sad loss of Phoebe. I normally post something light-hearted or trivial for the week-end but seem to be in a more reflective mood just now (Friday).
For some time I have subscribed to the weekly spiritual offering from Terry Hershey and am going to republish a story that came out from Terry Hershey on the 13th.
Letting go and walking
February 13, 2012
Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go. Herman Hesse.
Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security. John Allen Paulos
When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. Lynne Twist
And now the story,
There is a Tibetan story about an earnest young man seeking enlightenment. (Earnest people must think this quite unfair–since they play a central role in most parables and stories about enlightenment.)
A famous sage passes through the man’s village. The man asks the sage to teach him the art of meditation. The sage agrees. He tells the man, “Withdraw from the world. Mediate every day in the specific way I will teach you. Do not waver and you will attain enlightenment.”
The earnest man follows the sage’s instructions to the letter. Time passes–and no enlightenment. Two years, five, ten, twenty pass.
It happens that the sage once again passes through the man’s village. The man seeks him out, grumbling that despite his best intentions and devotion and diligent efforts, he does not achieve enlightenment. “Why?”
The sage asks, “What type of meditation did I teach you?“
The man tells him.
The sage says, “Oh, what a terrible mistake I made! That is not the right meditation for you. You should have done another kind altogether. Too bad, for now it is too late.”
Disconsolate, the man returns to his cave. Staking his life on the sage’s instructions, and now believing he is without hope, the man abandons all his wishes and efforts and need to control his road to enlightenment. He does not know what to do. So, he does what knows best: he begins meditating. And in a short while, much to his astonishment, his confusion begins to dissolve, and his inner world comes to life. A weight falls away and he feels lighter, and regenerated. When he walks out of the cave, the sky is bluer, the snow capped mountains whiter, and the world around him more vivid.
There is no doubt that all too often, our efforts–to succeed or achieve or attain–get in the way of our living. It brings to mind my favorite Robert Capon quote, “We live life like ill-taught piano students. So inculcated with the flub that will get us in dutch, we don’t hear the music, we only play the right notes.”
I understand. I was weaned on a spirituality that predicated itself on artifice. In other words, the importance is placed upon appearance, rather that just being. (It was vital to “look spiritual.” Which begs the question, “What do spiritual people look like?” As a boy, I always thought the “spiritual people” looked as if some part of their clothing was a size too small.)
What is it we are holding on to–so rigid, so firm, white-knuckled in our determination? At some point, we’ve got to breathe. Just breathe. Without realizing it (and after the sage’s disheartening news), the man in the story “let go.”
He let go of the need to see life as a problem to be solved.
He let go of the need to have the correct answers (or experiences) for his “enlightenment.”
He let go of the need to see his spiritual life in terms of a formula.
He let go of the restraints that come from public opinion.
Abandon your masterpiece, sink into the real masterpiece.
Without realizing it, he took Leonard Cohen’s advice. He abandoned his “masterpiece”–the perception of what he needed to accomplish, or how he needed to appear, or what he needed to feel–in order to allow himself to sink down into this life, this moment, even with all of its uncertainty and insecurity.
So a big thank you to Terry Hershey for those words of wisdom.