I came to the most beautiful place yesterday. It was the most beautiful space I have witnessed in my Self since being on Yoga retreat and coming back to the “world.” It is, I think, the hardest part about coming off of retreat – to love and accept your life and the people in it while also making discriminating and difficult decisions upon the return. There is a contraction when I leave. I retreat from the physical surroundings and people that create the need to retreat in the first place, and in all honesty, it is really to accept all that it is all part of the giant ceremony we call life. The hard part is incorporating this acceptance and clarity.
In Yoga, we learn that can can get out of our cycle of suffering (clean our Karma up), which is what we are all trying to do, Yogi or not… we want out of suffering. So we ask ourself with the hope of ridding future suffering – What does this mean? Am I ever going to recover from this huge life change? Will I be able to to make a living doing what I love? In Buddhism, life is suffering, and we will always be in and out of this cycle. But there are chances to liberate the mind – this, both practices agree on.
The fact of the matter is, for most of us, we don’t really want to know everything. We have all made a pact with one another pretending that we won’t all die one day, because deep down, our true nature is to be in the moment. I realized this morning upon waking up, wait a minute, I just want to sit on the porch and watch the snow fall, and I’m just going to allow myself that joy, instead of figuring anything out.
I found in this place of love and acceptance all of my ‘needing’ to know and ‘wanting’ resolution went away. There was a kindness and gentleness for everyone in my life, including myself.
There is this burning question we think we need to answer: What is my Dharma? How can I rid my bad Karma?
Something else that I was able to really let go of was the need to even address these questions. There is a great teaching from the magazine BuddhaDharma named, “Who’s Pulling the Strings?”, and it addresses the western view of Karma as being mechanistic and deterministic. For example, “I am sick because of something that happened in the past life.” In this way of thinking, everything becomes mechanical and needs an answer or has a reason; while it may be true that everything has a reason… our minds are much too small to figure it out.
There is a fear in many people that if we don’t address these questions then we won’t see our path, or we will lose ourselves and not enjoy the things we love like kinds of music, people, and friends. That we will become some person that just says “Yeah man, it’s all good, all the time, peace and love.” My belief here is that all that is true is never lost. If you truly love and come alive to a certain kind of music, it will remain.
My conclusion? If we start trying to figure out and name everything that is challenging or even good in life, it creates a separation from joy, and life is joyful. What I will say, too, is that there are times for personal inquiry. There is a need for discrimination and discipline… but if your need for discrimination or answers rules your life, you might just want to start feeling the things you are feeling with love for them.
“I want to beg you
as much as I can, to be patient
toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves
like locked rooms and like books
that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers,
Which cannot be given you
because you would not be able to live them.
and the point is, to live everything
live the questions now.
perhaps you will then gradually,
without noticing it,
live along some distant day
into the answer.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke-