Being caught up in the self-improvement loop is better than indulging self-destructive alternatives. Still, you’re fundamentally operating from restlessness—wherein: Rather than letting the truest impulses find you, you are busy rushing things. Your mind compels you to bulletproof and forcefeed:
your ’’brain’’ with knowledge and information
your ’’persona’’ with newsletters, updates & feeds on social
your muscles and tendons with (over)corrective stretches and excessive exercise
your ’’gut’’ with supplements and supposedly nutritious foods
your ’’soul’’ with spiritual teachings
All too busy deferring and buffering against the very wholeness that you seek.
You can’t get away with anything in life. All illusions end up in pain. Never mind what happens: respond rather than react. You see what you aim at. Your ego keeps the scope fuzzy. Aim at the truth. Stay with your deepest intent, bracket the noise. Allow what arises without indulging or personalizing it. Stay empty handed, congruent only to the truth of this moment. The only thing that you can give is your presence and the only thing you can get is presence in return. Stay loose, go with the given. Notice nuances. Don’t mind what happens. Roll with what gives. See where it goes.
You turn away.
You miss the mark
and go down the rabbit hole
Leading, following, poking, provoking, enduring, indignant, pushed, pulled, swerving, squirming, grasping, clutching, wallowing, indulging, up & high and down & low, seeking: to dodge the empty fire in the middle. To sustain separateness. To keep struggling. Until
you turn back
and return home
facing forms of yourself in front of yourself
untethered & unmoored—an open aperture
~is the practice of relaxing into the truth of this moment & seeing the phantoms I had been chasing a moment ago for the phantoms that they actually are. It typically involves solitude and minimal distraction, idling and sinking into a kind of rippling that sometimes literally pops up through the stomach.
I’ve reached the point where the challenge is to bring the practice of unclenching into the realm of engagement, of social interaction. Clenching typically occurs as I engage others (particular faces) who mean something to me and I start to seek more validation and more rapport or to find ways to avoid further entanglement with them. In other words, there is a texture of push or pull type of energy taking over. I used to snap out of this happen-trance in solitude but now the next step seems to be to bring the practice of [transpersonal] unclenching into the thick of [interpersonal] engagement. This is, incidentally, how work becomes invigorating exercise rather than a chore. As MMA fighters know well recovery needs to happen during the lulls in the fight for them to be able to go the distance efficiently.
All the objects you cherish and obsess about today soon go obsolete. Beauty fades, forms dissolve, relationships fall apart. Nothing stays. You ask yourself: Why bother? Why engage at all? And there is no answer. Only an internal pang responds. A sense of guilt rekindles. Why feel ashamed about being a self-absorbed melancholic recluse?—you ask apologetically. And all there is is the dying echo of your question. Meaningless. Pointless. Nevertheless. And then new questions arise. Are you attached to your idea of freedom? Are you actually free from your need to be free from life’s demands? Are you willing to participate instead of hiding? Are you willing to choose to engage the painful joy of life’s endless motion that goes absolutely nowhere? Endless. Pointless. Nevertheless. The way forward is fearward.