Dive Into the Scary Unknown

Great Unknown

From the moment I noticed that jhana/samadhi had re-arisen in me — some time in late 1995 — two competing realizations appeared:

Any ambitions for worldly success that I may have carried into the 90’s rapidly disappeared.

A simultaneous and overwhelming sense of peace and contentment accompanied me throughout each day.

An ongoing orientation process began.  I was somehow able to keep this job or that job, to show up on time, do some work, and keep from crashing cars or getting ticketed for erratic driving.

I could not account for the fact that, somehow, I had a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat — the universe kept the flow going, despite my nearly total lack of participation.  To this day, I am amazed that I’ve not only been sustained in this body, but that I’ve been comfortable, healthy and — much of the time — happy.

Some time in the late 90’s, I cut back to half time at work.

My landlord — a successful and nearly-retired lawyer — called me into his office and said, “The only difference between me and you is, you’re content with your life. I’m not.”

I wore his words like a parka wrapped against the Chinook Winds of life.

On February 1, 2005 I posted a daily meditation and dhamma study schedule on the refrigerator door and proclaimed myself a jhana yogi.

The dharma of a yogi was for me — you can have the world, I’m finished with it.

I’ve walked through the Dark Night and emerged on the other side.

Goodbye.

* * *

Well… okay, I may have been finished with the world… but the world was definitely not finished with me….

There was no resurrection of ambition.

I did not spit on the ground, shave my face and climb onto the corporate ladder.

I kept up my meditation practice.

I wrote.

I mentored.

I retreated.

I did “yogi” things every day, like a good Cub Scout striving to evolve into a Webalo.

As relinquishment settled in, however, and the future blotted out, an unaccounted series of afflictions, setbacks and difficulties crept into the cave of my life.

My mother died after a long period of suffering — cancer, radiation, chemo… rinse, repeat….

I turned 40.

“Being a writer” fell away.

I turned 45.

I quit the half-time job.

I lacked enthusiasm for “vocation.”

“There IS something wrong with me,” I thought.

“I suck.”

Finally, “I hate myself and the world would be better off without me.”

* * *

The world, in keeping this body/mind organism alive and kicking, insists that I “get it”:

To the extent that I judge and condemn myself, I will draw the exact mirror of judgment and condemnation back to me — so I need to look closely at my projections of guilt, rage and helplessness.

To the extent that I recognize what’s “out there” as just another “me,” and I regard what’s “out there” as worthy of absolute, unconditional love and forgiveness — to this extent, I can wake up from this strange and confusing dream.

Which brings us to the purpose of this message.

Come to find out, the work only begins at “tune in, drop out, turn on”.

There may be a honeymoon period, but sooner or later we’ll be confronted by our scary monsters.

We’re going to be tested.

We’re going to fail.

When we pick ourselves up from off the ground, we will quickly come up against the same, though slightly-altered test.

We’re going to fail even more miserably than before.

We’re going to bang our heads against interminable tests, usually without knowing they’re a test — we’ll be too busy screaming and tearing at our flesh.

The test will become the teacher.

* * *

For me, a point arrived at which I realized that I can’t do this alone.

I can’t get out of this hole.

I’m drowning in torpor.

* * *

It was there, in the torpor, that I finally knew I’d reached 51 % love — more than half — just enough to get unstuck.

At about 57%, I started to jog instead of walk.

At 62% I wrote a blog essay.

At 69% I created a mind map and wrote some letters.

At 72%, I’m getting that the only “control” I have is in choosing to love — and to make subsequent choices with this love in mind, as much as I can.

This is a Big Relief.

Why?

Because if all I have to do is remember how much I love and appreciate you, I can drop the rest of it and know that I’ll be more than compensated for performing this one simple task.

* * *

These days, I’m grokking that no one gets out of here alive, so we may as well go down now into Sheol to face the scary Unknown in as conscious and determined a way as possible.

Make it a swan dive from the Acapulco Cliffs.

The more we kick and scream, the harder we fall.

There’s no rushing it, but there’s also no holding it back.

As my Disc Golf teacher John tells me, “Stop trying so hard.”

Which is to say, keep it simple, get yourself out of the way.

Let something beautiful happen.

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6 responses to “Dive Into the Scary Unknown

  1. Thank you for this very interesting post. I will have to reread a couple of times. The journey never ends. With love it becomes being there.

  2. Thanks, Bert. Definitely a work in progress — you can tell that I’m trying to work it out even while in the middle of something, looking for handholds, feeling like a long-awaited corner is gradually turning. We shall see…..

  3. Thanks, Mike. This will take some time to digest! Good stuff at a pivotal time in life! More soon. wrh

  4. Thank-you Michale for posting another thought provoking contemplative blog. Yes, it is my realization as well that “love is the only thing of value in this world” but there is still the remainder of the life to live out in this hell-plane filled with retarded lunatics, who do not value love.

    So, what do we do? My solution is to spend as much time alone as I can, because being in hell with hell beings only results in pain and suffering.

  5. Michael, well said! I could have written this almost word for word except for gender and other worldly details. It’s kind of amazing the way in some ways we seem to be taken care of, sheltered, and at the same time exposed to these billions of suffering beings. I must admit I have spent decade feeling confused about this.
    Jill

  6. jim prussack

    Just stumbled upon this blog- going through my own transformation as well trying not to get attached to each stage of the journey. Jhananda, I can’t help but to say, all is well in the world. There are no problems, only interpretations as problems. As Jesus would say, Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Most people are unconscious, so they can’t know true love, they are stuck in their patterns. My journey in process is to allow open love for all beings, unconscious or not. It starts with my heart, which has been a process in opening. The main purpose of this journey is to open the heart, to give love to all and selfless service, not to hide from the world. I think there is a time to hide and when we heal ourselves, then we can come out into the world to radiate true love to others. Anyhow, don’t know why I wrote this, it just came to me in the moment of reading this. Thank you for writing this blog, I appreciate your experiences on your journey!

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