“If we find ourselves in doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question; Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?.” Pema Chodron. Comfortable With Uncertainty.
Sometimes I think that the only way the Universe can teach me how to “stay” as Buddhism calls it, is to stick me until I’m stuck. I’ve been stuck for a long time. At first, I thought stay meant just that; stay. Don’t move. Do not run. Don’t pass go, don’t collect two hundred dollars, go nowhere fast, nowhere at all. Sit. Stay. If that were true, I’d be Buddha because let me tell you, I’m the master at staying in a lot of things. A lot of my life is spent staying. I’m a pro. I stay hurt, angry, scared, lacking, doubting, guilt ridden, judgemental, controlling, presumptuous, assumptive, lacking, regretting, consumed, lost- I do lots of lost. I stay indecisive, which is close to lost, anxious, righteous, judgemental, self loathing, self hating, self defeated. I do lots of mean self stuff…So much staying that now I’m stuck in a lot of things- behaviors, types of jobs, financial insecurity, relationship yo-yo-ism, and my past…not to mention the fantasy of my future. You may think it ironic that a person who has so much staying power and stickiness, can’t pull off staying with other, more benficial things…And that’s when it hit me- those tricky enlightened beings! Staying isn’t sticking with anything…As Pema puts it,
we need to, “Perk up and lean into a situation when we’d rather cave in and back away.”
As it turns out, my staying is actually how I back away, except for quite some time now, I’ve felt as though I can only back away one step before I find a wall solid at my back. And then I step forward. And then I step back. And then forward. And then back. Cha, cha, cha. The staying I need to master is the forward step, followed by another forward step. I need to step right past what I’m reacting to and, how I react to it, while not clinging to either one of the habits I just stepped past. Staying is the “lean into” that Pema mentions- it’s a forward motion, leaning into the unknown and being okay with the groundlessness of the abyss below it. Lean and fall. Trying to explain it with words is so hard for me right now because to be honest, I’ve only done it a time or two and probably by accident. Staying by leaning is something which, like most spirtitual endeavors has to be experienced…Experience is key because you just can’t explain it and do it justice. Someday friends….someday. Quoting Pema one more time; “We can bring ourselves back to the spiritual path countless times every day simply by exercising our willingness to rest in the uncertainty of the present moment- over and over again.”
Thank God, something I can stick with.