Posts Tagged ‘existence’

The presence of nothing . . . and everything

August 5, 2011

Nothing has to happen and everything will.

This phrase found me in the netherlands of meditation about four years ago. The Taoist wisdom in these words is both a marvel and a dilemma. Its infant implementation into my life currently exists of captured moments when I manage to stand still enough to note that nothing that is occurring in this moment has to happen, yet everything is happening. When I get to the end of each moment, everything has happened. There is nothing left that has not happened in its moment.

I get caught up in control: having to have certain specific events occur so that I can have a specific outcome. Moving past my physical survival and my human dependency upon water, food, shelter . . . all of those things at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I am sometimes absolutely frantic to make a specific outcome happen. For instance, I am always desperate to honor my commitments. I am particularly abhorrent to being absent for people who are dependent upon me for their well-being (I’m thinking children here and the occasional grown-up who has asked for a favor).

Practical applications of control include situations such as driving my vehicle, showing up for work, spending my money, and all that. What “has to happen” for much of my waking moments is that I survive intact, not harm others, do my job well, save for my future – all of the activities we call living. My continued breathing in and out must occur for there to be continued life within my body. But there is no rule that says my breathing has to happen for its own sake. In reality, none of these things have to happen. I don’t “have” to do anything at all. The motion of existence will continue regardless.

There are consequences to both action and inaction. In deciding what to do or not do, we all believe we can control the outcomes in our lives. We have a large history to support that belief. We witness the outcomes in other peoples’ lives, listen to their tales of how it happened, and sometimes apply their methods to living our own lives. That’s what self-help books are all about.

I have been testing the inaction of “nothing has to happen” in my life. Watching people I love stumble through their lives, it is so very hard for me to not interfere and try to fix them or their lives. I witness their behaviors, their attitudes, and I can nearly all the time guess what the outcome will be. There are formulas for success, I want to scream at them. But who am I to know what is best for them? Who am I to guess what their path should be? Some days, I note that even I have not always acted in my own best interests.

It is easier to spout wisdom than it is to apply it. I am working on unknowing what I believe I know. The place inside of me where nothing has to happen is wordless . . . a place where my preconceived ideas and worshipped fairy tales lie silent and useless.

If nothing has to happen in this moment, I am leaving space for something else to happen.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

my love life

August 7, 2010

The lesson for August 5, 2010, in Science of Mind, says that if we love life, life will love us back. That life requires I love it before it will love me back sounds like a trade-off. I know there are times when I don’t love the life I have at all. And it is clear life is not loving me back at all. I am angry and dissatisfied with it. I might love the people who are important to me. I might love certain things I get to do. I might love the sights, smells, and sounds of the earth. I might love some of the events that happen in my life. But I don’t know for sure that I love life itself no matter what.

You see, I have convinced myself that the external trappings are my life. But that is a lie. Life is not just my physical living and my interconnection with other manifestations of life. Life is not always defined by the people, objects, and events outside of my physical body. Life is the existence within. It is my pure existence that I need to love. That I or anything at all exists is a miracle.

And I realize that I don’t have a working definition of life. In order for me to love life, do I need to define what it is? How do I find it? Recognize its attributes? Weigh its faults? Is it possible for love or life to have faults?

I know I am programmed with the instinct to survive and live as long as possible. Is the love of life inherent in that programming? Is it the programming? Was I born with the ability to love life or is it something I have to learn? Are we instinctively born loving life, already know how, but during the murky travels of our growth, some of us lose touch with it?

Life is my existence. Physical and nonphysical. Do I love my existence? Once I let go of everything physical, do I love the energy that remains? Can I love life totally naked without the luxurious trappings of friends, lovers, bountiful food, comfortable shelter, and superb health? Do I love being with my own energy in this moment no matter what is going on outside of me? I may not love all that is going on outside of me, but I need to love the existence going on inside of me.

When I am in touch with the true presence that I am, life is eternal and perfect. My true presence knows more than I do, has been tested and honed with experiences that I can only sense, not remember. But this part of me remembers and knows.

And still loves.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass