Kate, a regular reader of freedomforall.net wrote “I have long been struggling to let go of the need to look for others for help and/or approval, for them to say I’m OK.” in the comments to my recent post Inside Out and Back To Front”. That post was about the difference between a life directed from inner resources and a life directed at satisfying externally percieved desires and threats.
When Kate writes “struggling to let go” she is emphasising another key obstacle on the path to realisation. In trying to get from “here” to “there”, in exerting effort to “achieve” peace, we are unknowingly setting in chain a causal process which will preclude us from our goal. We are taught in early childhood that we are not OK. We learn to run around looking for the things and experiences and behaviours which will make us OK. They do not exist yet we are busy all our lives seeking them out. Similarly we try to seek out our own peace.
Meditation, the path to peace, is fundamentally the opposite of this process. Yet in trying to find peace we bring our hunger, our thirst, our craving for it to the fore. By doing so we ensure we will never find it because the satisfaction of this lack of peace can not be found through seeking which is the opposite to peace. The only way to satisfy it is to ignore it, to ignore all contents of mind, to sit.
Not to hypnotise oneself into not noticing but to notice and then laugh, let go and ignore: to develop, to cultivate, “the watcher” – that part of oneself which sits on the sidelines taking notes but not actively doing. Peace is a state of mind in which the current states of mind you inhabit have been worn out by their own activity. When they stop there is peace. You can’t use them to find their own absense, you can use the watcher.
Breath by breath, if you are sitting in the right way, peace descends upon you, or grows up from the ground to inhabit you. Sitting is just about letting peace be. Recovery can be a struggle but at some point it has to become an outbreath. It has to become a realisation that the dangers of the past have gone, that the habituated responses to them are a self maintaining pattern of fight/flight. That the struggle of recovery has become the thing you are strying to recover from. The knowing has to be incorporated – it has to be a bodily knowing. And for such a bodily knowing to happen, the thinking mind has to stop struggling and settle down first.