Just another day, right? It can always wait until tomorrow. Just one more minute, one more click. Later, later, later. Deferral, endless deferral. This is the pattern that we must break. Train the mind to not go outside itself or get ahead of itself. Train the mind to sit still, to exert no effort at all. Call the thoughts, like chickens, back home to roost. Do not get hooked on looking for the next big thing. Do not get hooked on the many distractions. The world will always offer another absorption, another chain of do more and be more. The world will always offer you another opportunity to get ahead of yourself, to live outside of yourself. Rarely will it allow you to just be. In fact, sitting still is not possible within the prevailing mindset.
And even if you can sit still, even if you have training in advanced meditative techniques, can you train the mind to go back within, like the turtle withdrawing into its shell? If you do puja and homa, can you grasp the essence of the words you chant? That everything is Vishnu, Vishnu, Vishnu? That all is consciousness, including you? That everything is That? That you are That? As an old friend once asked, can you Be Here Now? It’s not that hard, but it is very hard. To sit still, yes, but to not let the thoughts go out and roam wherever they wish. To not follow along with that old goat rope of believe and achieve. And here’s the thing: when you get that little bit of silence, you might be afraid of missing out on something. But then the world washes over you in waves, and you see how beautiful it is.
And how would life look different if I didn’t need you to think in a certain way about me? What if I could let go of the need for you to think that I am beautiful or spiritual or [insert favored adjective here]? Letting go of caution, I could be free to be whatever occurs to me at this moment. Spontaneity and play would once again become a possibility. Living with true artistry would once again become a possibility. To live without having to please others or myself. To get out of the way and let be. To participate in the unfolding mystery, to let it engulf me and have its way with me. To merge with the secret heart of being. To feel the beginning-less origin making all things even now—each moment ancient, each moment brand new.
Doing nothing, happiness comes. Thinking nothing, happiness comes. Happiness arises at the end of striving. Happiness comes when the striving for happiness ceases. That’s the old trap, the old goat rope, to think that happiness lies out there, just beyond reach. Just try a little harder, just do a little more, just make a little more money. And of course that’s what the bosses want us to think, because they, too, have been deluded into thinking that they always need a little more and a little more. So we entrap ourselves and entrap others. We have to learn how to untie the knots that we have tied for ourselves, to break the chains of our bondage.
I can free myself by looking within. Finding nothing there inside myself, I must have the courage to keep looking, to stare into that abyss of darkness. I must have the courage to sit there in that nothing, in that gaping need, and do nothing about it. I must stop trying to be fulfilled. I must sit there reverently before this void. And, whether I sit or stand, whether I work or I play, whether I open my wallet or keep it shut, I must continue to acknowledge and keep company with this dark night inside. If I do not need to solve my problems, I am free. If I do not need to medicate or abdicate or eradicate, I am free. Then I can eat in peace and chant in peace, work in peace and pray in peace.
Gibberish. These words will not help. Unless you truly and purposely set down all preoccupation. Unless you have unwavering faith and devotion. Unless you are willing to set aside the payoff that you get from distraction. If you can truly listen, even for one second, happiness will be yours. But don’t look for happiness. Don’t allow yourself to be led by the nose. Become sovereign over your situation by sitting still, by giving up the old panicked way of thinking. Refuse to believe in fixes. Know yourself to already be whole. Perhaps alarm bells are ringing in your head now, that old self-preservation instinct, which says that you must go back to the old way of striving. And yet where are the demons, except within ourselves?
Give yourself permission to be at peace, right now, wherever you may be. Become extremely lazy, just for right now. Become so lazy that you cannot be bothered even to think. Set aside the heaviest of burdens, the human mind. You will find it hard to stop thinking, nigh unto impossible. Consider the wisps of thought that remain to be tendrils of incense drifting through the air of the holy temple. This holy temple is the mind that has inquired into its own nature, and, therefore, has been cleansed of all impurity. In this darkened, hallowed place, keep the lamps few. Trim the wicks carefully.
For the ungoverned mind, it will do no good to visit Bodh Gaya or Rishikesh. If I cannot stand to be with myself, it will not matter where I go. Everything will become an elaborate avoidance strategy, a kind of show that I put on for myself and others, a puppet show. Look at me being spiritual. Look at me being sexy. Look at this, look at that. In order to be at peace, I must at first just be. Then I will be prepared to receive the teaching. Then I will be inured to all this useless garbage that passes for culture and civilization. I wish peace for you, I wish peace for myself, I wish peace for the world. In order for that to happen, the drive for more must stop.