The creative process is not about hoping, wishing, waiting, wanting, trying, or looking–hope is a beggar. It’s about embodying and becoming your creation. ~ Dr. Joe Dispenza
There’s a reason they call it “practice.” Learning how to embody something, instead of muscling it, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are virtually no outward signs that anything is changing, which is a tough benchmark to explain in this world of form and results. Inside, though–explosions. Perhaps the greatest reward of finally reaching a moment of consciousness (sometimes only after an hour of battling myself) is that, once I get there, all of the wanting that led me there in the first place disappears. It’s like basking in the presence of someone you love, just because they are, and not for anything they might do for you. You could stay there forever. There is an awareness that something had been lacking but, in the Now, you can’t remember why it mattered. The sharp edges are gone. Outside of meditation…pain can still be felt but from a distance or, maybe, with the sense that it’s not you…not the way you once thought it was.
“I am still seeking my path, I am turning a corner…but…I am doing so in my heart…” ~Marcel Proust
Change feels like dying. At least, it does to me. No matter how much I practice non-attachment to or non-identification with the ephemeral, I still wind up clinging to some sort of order I can make sense of. Life doesn’t make sense, though, especially at the micro level. All of one’s best laid plans, greatest efforts, and deepest desires can lead to nowhere. Or so it seems.
If you’ve ever hiked into the Grand Canyon, you know that it’s a presumably endless series of switchbacks. Trying to hike out from bottom, when it’s cold and dark and your body is protesting, feels like you’re trapped in a maze without exit. Three steps forward, stop for several minutes because your lungs can’t get air and your nose won’t stop running and your mind is telling you it’s impossible, three steps forward, stop for several minutes…repeat and repeat and repeat. Your legs can carry you but you don’t know if your heart will.
Everything looks the same. The zigzagging path can only be lit so far with a basic flashlight. The landscape you traversed in the sun is unrecognizable now. There is wildness out there, surrounding you, and potential danger. Progress is imperceptible. You’re just moving forward and up because you have to but not for any other reason. You want to give up completely but then what? It’s not an option.
At some point, not even halfway through the journey, resistance to what-is becomes futile. You’re suffering so much that you sit down, allow the uncomprehending vastness–and all of the attending fear—to wash over you completely. You surrender. It’s at that moment that the universe can attune to you or, rather, that you attune to the universe. Life cannot be understood on your terms. Life cannot be controlled by your will. Life will be whatever it wants to be and you can choose to flow or fight.
One of my greatest challenges has always been to see that flowing with Life doesn’t mean that I’m going nowhere. I often feel caught in an eddy, swirling around the same patterns and cycles or zigzagging up a trail to nothingness. No matter what I do or think or feel, I can’t get myself out of that eddy. But maybe Life is meant to be a series of circles and switchbacks. We circle around the same issues and circumstances, over and over and over again, but from different vantage points. We are working out our kharma and it doesn’t look or happen the way we think it should.
In this technological age, we’ve become accustomed to quantum leaps and immediate gratification. If something doesn’t happen right now or within a timeline we can comprehend, it feels like failure. It feels like death. That’s when the microcosm of change doesn’t serve and we need to pull back, up and out of our limited perception. Switchbacks do lead out of the canyon, and what feels like a closed circle might actually be a spiral.