Gratitude and Liberation

Gratitude
 
Gratitude is a state of receptivity
 
It is a state of:
Surrender & letting go
 
Gratitude is an openness to receive
 
Because gratitude is a state of surrender and letting go, it involves moving out of one’s own way
 
It is a meditation
 
The way most people approach meditation and gratitude is to try and Do it. They effort their way into it.  The effort is pure, but the practice is ill-guided. Meditation and gratitude are not goal orientated, there is nothing to achieve.  They are simply processes one can become aware of.
 
The funny thing is that you can technically effort your way into meditation and gratitude, but it’s a long winded way. The way to do it is to try reaaaaally hard to meditate.  It is to buy all the crystals, change your name to ananda, and go to Himalyans.  The way to do it is to effort so hard with the will and mind to become grateful, and at some point you’ll try so hard you’ll finally give up and surrender and enter into true letting go. Then there is meditation, then there is gratitude. 
 
This is the way I see many patterns of meditation, gratitude, spiritual practice, and breathwork. It’s representational of The Western World’s way of being in the world. We are Doers. The ancestors of the West are the bold doers who got on a boat an sailed to a new land to start a new life. The culture we have created is one tilted toward the Doing mode of being in the world. 
 
It is beautiful.  Look what we have created.
 
Yet, there is opportunity to step back, and enter into greater balance by inviting in some receptivity.
 
‘All work and no play, make jack a dull boy’
 
‘A time to work and a time to rest’
 
Rest does not mean work all day, then go effort in the gym or on the mountain or at any other activity and then rest all night. 
 
There are 3 types of rest: Active rest, like qigong or walking, where the parasympathetic nervous system is active.  Passive rest, like meditation or sitting and fishing in a pond. And total rest, which is sleep.
 
By introducing more rest into one’s life, there is a more optimal balance of energy.  Seemingly paradoxically creating more energy. 
 
When we forget to take time to rest, we don’t activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us rest, digest, and repair our body and keep our nervous system balanced.  When we are out of balance we put ourselves af risk for disease. 
 
When we do not take time to be receptive to life, to take a step back and listen, we miss out on the depth of life, lived in the moment.
 
Doing mode says, life has a purpose, the ends justify the means.
 
Being mode says, life is purposeless art, each moment is eternal, here and now is a precious flower, blossoming with beauty and rapture for those who sit in its presence
 
Questions to ask? Am I always doing something?
 
Do I make time to listen to life?  To become receptive? to be Grateful?
 
Am I trying to achieve something in my meditation? Am I chasing experiences of bliss?
 
I’ve had dozens of experiences fasting in the forest, going to the jungles of Peru, Costa Rica, heading to great land of Bali, and reaching all manner of far out blissful and psychedelic states of consciousness. But there all just experiences, and you can go on chasing them, as I once did, thinking I was achieving something. There will always be another medicine circle, or spiritual practice to chase, thinking you have gained something. Yet, these are all things you Do, you do them to receive.  Yet at some point, there is an opportunity to learn that we don’t need to effort to surrender. This is when we stop doing meditation, and our lives become meditative.
 
When I stopped Doing meditation I began to sit with life.  All of life. In kind, loving, mindful awareness. I realized I had been chasing pleasure, and avoiding pain. When I became truly receptive to life, I began to sit with my pain, and observe it, with curiosity.
 
The pain never disappeared.  If anything it can more pronounced as I allowed myself to be with it. Yet, as I gave into it, It lost its power over me. 
 
When we are no longer motivated to avoid pain and seek pleasure, we step into our power. 
 
When I stopped Doing meditation, I began to sit with life.  All of life. In kind, loving, mindful awareness. I realized I had been chasing pleasure, and avoiding pain. When I became truly receptive to life, I began to sit with my pain, and observe it, with curiosity.
 
The pain never disappeared.  If anything it became more pronounced as I allowed myself to be with it. Yet, as I gave into it, It lost its power over me. 
 
When we are no longer motivated to avoid pain and seek pleasure, we step into our power. 
 
Liberation is freedom.  It is a place beyond pain and pleasure, the eternal ties of this human incarnation.  When there is liberation, pain and pleasure do not disappear, the Buddha wept, Jesus raged, lama Yeshe struggled as he died.  Liberation is not about going beyond being human, it means being fully human.
 
It is a state of non-resisting. It is a state of complete acceptance of life, which allows one’s eyes to see life clearly, to see truth. In order to get to this state of non-resisting, one must surrender to the process of life, one must let go. Yet as discussed is the beginning of this article, the whole spiritual game, and much of its activity is based on effort and Doing.  It’s beautiful, in the way that comedy and tragedy are lovers.
 
here’s the punchline, life is an eternal process.  Without beginning, middle, or end. Remember, Doing mode, are ends and means, it is based in time. Being mode is eternal. Which means you can spend your whole life, you can spend 10000 lives Doing, you can spend them chasing pleasure and avoiding pain, this is samsara.  And one day, you will let it all go, and enter into simply Being with all that is, here and now, in this eternal moment.
 
You’ll have nothing to do but laugh. You’ll laugh, like those statues of laughing buddha. You’ll laugh like the rascal sage of zen, Bodhidarma laughs.  You’ll laugh with your whole body, like Sadghuru laughs. You’ll laugh like Alan Watts laughs. Because you’ll realize there was nothing you could have done or not done, the individual effort and Doings you thought were necessary were a way of resisting letting go
 
In the end, you simply surrendered, you let go.
 
It gets funnier …
 
Upon letting go, you realize it was never you, there was no Individual and separate “I”  that needed to let go.  It was all a dream.  You were dreaming to be separate from the process of life, and not the whole. You were dreaming to be John doe, who lives on 22nd street, who mows his lawn and drives to work. You were dreaming to be a clerk, a painter, or a saviour of the world. All are ego.
 
When you awaken, you will still be a clerk.  You will still have emotions, highs and lows, pain and pleasure. Yet they will not pin you in patterns or guide you. This is freedom.  Free from Karma.  When you awaken you will no longer be pressured to save the world and do good things and avoid bad things.  If good things arise, they will blossom from out of your own heart. When you awaken, your life will blossom from the center, like a seed awakens into a flower.  You will flower and grow, as all of life grows, from the inside out. No longer a hungry ghost, seeking sustenance from outside of oneself, no longer incomplete, seeking wholeness, you are the whole. 
 
When one awakens to the truth of reality, they realize there is nothing to do.  And yet, you are still in the world, in Taoism they call this effort-less action Wu Wei. You still have an identity, yet you are not tied to this identity.  When one enters this mode of being in the world they are bound to become peculiar, because they live in the world, but not of this world. There is an aloofness, that is palpable in the air. it’s similar to when you hang out with an infant, and feel free, knowing that the infant is not judging you, they are simply there with you, wholly present.
 
freedom is accessible to each and every person. The gift of life is available, here in now, in the present…it does not ask you do anything to achieve it, it simply asks you are present to receive it.
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