Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, February 24, 2018 - Ah, to Be Open

Ah, to be open. To be free. What must it feel like to be unrestrained by our past, our fears? How does one behave when balanced? Of whom are they not afraid?
I wonder about my fears. I wonder what purpose they have. My first leap of faith growing up was the adoption of the belief that everything happens for a reason. What if it were true? I’ve lived my life by that thought for as long as I can remember, longer even than understanding it was really my faith I was declaring in the concept.
I ask again. What if it were true? What if everything happens for a reason? Then what? Where does that thought take us? Shall we decide that by ‘reason’ we mean ‘purpose?’ I have decided that for myself, but you should decide your own opinion on the matter. Not all reasons are good. What have you decided about the nature of purpose? Is the purpose good? Decide.
Could you live your life as if literally everything you see, touch, know, understand and misunderstand has a purpose? What does that change about how you feel? About what you do? How does one behave when balanced?
How does one? I have only my imagination to guide me and the teachings of people I admire. The many-faceted voice of the greater village around me nudging and cajoling and prodding my understanding of how the world works and why. It’s all a wave to be surfed.
I have always assumed that meditation is what I need to answer the question. A regular diet of steady stillness and it’ll all come to me. I’ll understand what balance looks like, and then work toward it, if only I sit down for a minute and close my eyes and breathe. Maybe it would. I wouldn’t know. I am an irregular meditator at best.
I choose to infer that if everything has a purpose, and a good one at that, then love must be at the center of it all. If love is at the center, then there aren’t two side to this coin. There is only one. I think perhaps that might very well be the first thought of the concept of balance. Balance isn’t a physical accomplishment achieved against the force of gravity, like a coin rolling on its edge. Balance is the recognition and attention to the implications of no gravity at all.
Now what the heck does that mean? I ask as I write. I ask as you ask.
When we think of the world and how it works we imagine it to be about the forces of good versus evil. Every coin has two sides. We see life in terms of yin and yang. This is the rudimentary way we begin to conceptualize balance. We can’t forget that gravity plays an important part in our metaphor, even if it doesn’t serve us. But perhaps this too has purpose. Enlightenment is running. Walking comes first.
We’ve done enough walking. Let’s shift humanity to at least a canter.
We’ve outgrown the old metaphors for the concept of balance. It is a misdirection to conclude that darkness and light exist in equal measure. Darkness is not a thing of its own with an intelligence and an agenda. Darkness is merely the absence of light. Even a birthday candle would banish it utterly. The old metaphors are giving darkness too much power over our decision making and our progress as a society.
How does one behave when balanced? When open? The problem is the word balance. There is no lack of gravity to the word balance. It is inherently weighed down with meaning that no longer serves us. Let it go. When we open a door some things leave as well as enter.
What we seek when we use the word balance is a state of peaceful neutrality. We are yearning for a lack of pull in either direction even for a moment. Just float. Use your mind to direct the flow. Don’t fight the current with your arms and legs. Become one with it and trust your thoughts with the rudder.   
Balance may be the fuller acceptance of the idea that everything happens for a reason. We fight against it. It feels like the relinquishing of pride, submitting to defeat. The Islamic concept of submission is useful here. Submission in the Muslim world is not about achieving a state of powerlessness and servitude before God. It is a willful absorption into the Greater It.
A deliberate openness to the experience and flow of what we attract to us might be the “work smarter, not harder” path to personal peace. I guess I’ll just have to be open to it.