Giving up hope for satisfaction outside yourself

Uncategorised Oct 24, 2019

‘Our life is always varying between happiness and unhappiness, or sometimes between relative happiness and relative unhappiness. It is shifting, changing, and we long for a bedrock of peace and stability. It is natural to do so, but most of us spend a lifetime seeking, seeking, seeking, for a bedrock we never find.
Can we find it? Yes—if we comprehend and deal with the problem involved. Until we do, we seek the bedrock outside of ourselves; we hunt with hope for the person or situation or belief system, which will supply us with that which we believe we lack. The illusions of romantic love, of the perfect (and nonexistent life) work or partner (or home or living situation) all beckon to us like the Sirens to Odysseus.
If we don’t understand, time after time our little ship will be shattered on hidden rock. But the other side of such disasters is the dawning recognition that each rough episode in life can be our true teacher; each difficulty is, as one sutra says, ‘the Buddha come to greet us.’
We slowly awaken to the knowledge that the spiritual bedrock we seek is not a life beyond disaster and pain, but the embracing of disaster and pain as they occur.
If we want a refreshing drink of water (of life), we cannot separate out the molecules that we think will be pleasing and tasty for us. If we do (or could) we would not be drinking water but a monstrosity of our own creation.
Similarly, if we refuse the direct, and sometimes painful, experience of this moment, we are left stewing around in our usual thinking muddle of blame, criticism, judgment, or avoidance.
To know the wholeness of life, we have to drink the whole glass of water; we have to experience the moment, as it is, not the distorted version of it that my mind can concoct.
Since the whole glass is nothing but the wholeness of each moment—unavoidable, ever present—when we are more willing to experience our fear and pain directly, the wholeness (bedrock) of our lives is revealed as the miracle it is.
Simple, yes. Easy, no. For most of us, this is practice for a lifetime. However, the bedrock (always there) is more and more known to us as being there. The good life.’  Joko Beck
‘The trapeze artist went on to say that the most important part of the trapeze action was something called the dead spot. The dead spot comes ‘at the end of the swing…when the swinging stops moving in one direction and starts moving in the other. Like when you’re highest on a playground swing. The whole idea is to use that change of momentum to create the trick. She explained that it is there, in that moment that the next trick is born.
The reporter noted that swinging on a trapeze is a lot like life – timing is all. But, as he also observed, ‘in life its hard to sit still and wait for the timing to reveal itself…life keeps moving and at predictable intervals there will be change. The pendulum will literally swing the other way. You can’t change that. You can only use it.
I like to expand the metaphor to include another aspect of trapeze swinging – the letting go between bars. I think of the dead spot as that place between swings, when the performer hangs at point zero before grabbing the next bar. It is the moment of nonaction and notknowing. The events of life offer all types of dead spots.
Our dead spots can take many forms. They can occur at the time of major events, like changing a relationship or profession. It can be the loss of a loved one or indecision over what action to take when faced with a job choice. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, the dead spot appears when we cannot engage in our habitual way of holding and grasping for the bars, either because we are forced to let go or we wilfully launch ourselves into midair. Life pries our fingers loose and no matter how much we try to avoid it, we end up in the suspended moment, not knowing what comes next.
Our usual reaction to this type of situation is to grasp at whatever relief we can get. How we do this differs according to our systems of defence. For some it may be assuming the worse scenario. For others it may only be hoping for the best.
If approached with intelligence, the dead spot can be the key to understanding the reactionary behaviours spinning in the dream of self. We can learn how to work in that split second, when either there is no new bar for us to grasp or our usual favourites no longer work; we have the opportunity to know ourselves in a way that is open to whatever life brings our way.
When even for the briefest of moments we take pause in the dead spot, that moment of nonaction, before we react, we step through the door marked Enter Here and meet life just as it is, in just this moment. It is in the moment of Just This that the trapeze artist finds the most power and creativity. In Just This we meet the power and creativity to break away from our habitual thoughts, emotional matrix, body patterns, and energy that fuel and direct our reactions. So for example when someone insults us with practice can more quickly turn our awareness to our experience to thoughts like who does she think she is talking to ? We can breathe in the tightening in the shoulders and neck, the words wanting to form in outrage. Just this is exactly what the words suggest – there is only this right now. As one teacher has said, wherever you go, there you are. This is the core of our awareness practice – to challenge us to question our assumptions about what makes the world real to us.’ Diane Rizzetto