a couple of years ago

Is this as good as it gets?

Doubts remain. Doubts don’t have to go away. Doubts are not a problem.

15 years ago I sat in a park in Santa Monica, California with my mentor, Brian Marc Zimberg, and he guided me to discover directly, for myself, that life is already happening without my effort, without focus on thought…even without any sense of a separate self.

That experience was pivotal. Until that moment, I had been wandering around in the dark, so to speak. I had no idea what I was looking for other than that I wanted relief from the suffering that I perceived that I experienced. So any carrot that was dangled in front of me seemed like a plausible solution.

I chased so many things. I’ll spare you the long, long list. But let’s just say a LOT of things. Ranging from the tame to the insane and extreme. Because they promised an escape from my perceived suffering.

But on that day as I sat with Brian, he guided me to discover *directly* what true peace is. And in that moment it was absolutely clear that this peace is always here. It cannot be diminished. Nothing can harm it. There is nothing separate from it. Nothing needs to be done to attain it or possess it. It is the very foundation of all that is.

And it is absolutely clear and unavoidable and reliable.

Still, ten minutes later, I was again searching for a solution to my perceived suffering. My imaginary suffering. But though imaginary, it seemed real.

I’ve told the story before, so I’ll spare you the grueling details, but for another ten years after that I went on trying to solve the (imaginary) problem of me and my life and my suffering.

Trying more things. Extreme things. Desperate things.

Then, even after ten years when I finally got the joke and saw that I couldn’t get out of this all-pervading peace and wholeness…I *still* believed that I needed to get rid of doubts.

Because I *still* believed that doubts somehow actually clouded or affected or diminished this all-pervading peace in some way.

It’s such an easy mistake to make.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it a mistake. It’s just part of the play. We wake up and then we fall asleep and wake up and fall asleep. And each time we think that something of significance has happened.

Until perhaps some day we discover the bigger joke. The joke bigger than the big joke. The joke whose punchline is this: no one is waking up or falling asleep. Waking up and falling asleep are of no consequence whatsoever to the all-pervading peace that is already the case. And I – even my ideas of myself as a separate thing – are not separate from this all-pervading peace.

Nothing can diminish this all-pervading peace. Not my waking up and not my falling asleep. And not my feelings, my thoughts, my virtue, nor anything else.

All that is happening is the flow of happening. Just as the currents in the ocean don’t diminish the ocean, neither do the currents of me and my life diminish this all-pervading peace.

One of the big doubts that often results in the most unnecessary agony is this one: is this as good as it gets? Is this all?

But here’s the antidote: any doubt starts with assumptions. If we allow those assumptions to remain unquestioned, then we may well set about trying to solve the imagined problems presented by the doubts.

So question.

How to question? Not in thought. You’ll just wrap yourself in knots doing that.

To question authentically is to pause, to pause completely for just a moment. Let go of all effort for a moment. And notice how much effort it takes to try to solve the problems. So why bother?

Just remain still for a moment. Don’t make the effort.

And then tell the truth. Not in thought. But directly. What is the actuality of this experience right now?

Before you consult thought, you have to admit, the truth of this right now is that it is neither bad nor good. It is without boundaries. It receives everything without discrimination. And you cannot find yourself as something separate from it.

If you tell the truth, when you are still like this for just a moment, the direct experience is that the “this” of “is this as good as it gets?” can’t be found as a separate thing. “This” is boundless, all-receiving, whole.

“This” is the essence of aliveness.

The unquestioned doubt seems to be a problem. The unquestioned belief that doubts are obstacles seems to be a problem.

But the direct inquiry always reveals the boundless, all-pervasive peace/okayness that is completely reliable.

So what does it matter if doubts arise? What does it matter if you get lost in suffering? What does it matter if you wake up or fall asleep?

All that you need to is inquire directly now and where does all of the problem go? Can it even be found? How can you solve a problem that can’t even be found? And why would you bother trying to solve it?

For me, this kind of pointing was very frustrating. For a long time I got angry with this kind of pointing. Because, dammit, I wanted a *solution*! And this kind of inquiry doesn’t solve a thing.

It just reveals the truth.

Which is better than I could have hoped for from any solution to any imagined problem.

P.S. – Brian Marc Zimberg – the person who guided me in Santa Monica all those years ago – is on instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brianmarczimberg), and recently he’s been broadcasting live on instagram 5 days a week. I believe he’s only doing that one more week, this week.

Also, he’s offering free one-on-one meetings by video chat for a limited time – probably just for this week. You should definitely check him out while the offer is valid.

Joey Lott

Joey Lott is the author of numerous books, including The Best Thing That Never Happened and The Little Book of Big Healing. He lives in southern Vermont with his wife and children.

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