Sometimes I think I’m getting somewhere.
I think this is complicated by the fact that in some ways I *am* growing and changing. This is obvious, I’d hope. I mean, I’m not the same as I was when I was 5 years old. I’m taller. Heavier. Stronger. I have more facial hair. My voice is lower. I have more wrinkles.
And I’ve developed, hopefully, some modest gains in the emotional maturity department.
So that’s good. I mean, it would be weird if I was still 4 feet tall, 50 pounds, and throwing tantrums every time I don’t get seconds on ice cream.
But there’s another level in which I fool myself into believing that I’m getting somewhere. I still fall for the old belief that I’m going to get the “get out of jail free” card in life. I alone will master death and sickness and unpleasantness.
Whereas everybody else might have to get sick and die, I’ll be healthy forever. And perhaps much more seductive is the notion that somehow I’m going to get to finally be done with all the feelings and sensations and thoughts and whatever else I don’t like.
Okay, so maybe I haven’t matured very much emotionally after all. 🙂
Because it’s insane. I look around, and I don’t see a single person who gets to be superhuman.
Oh, sure, I read Autobiography of a Yogi. And dozens of other books. I know the promise. I’ve been led around with that carrot dangled in front of me long enough to be familiar with the sales pitch…”In a land far, far away there once was a perfected sage who lived always in equanimity and who healed people with a mere thought and who never had to eat and who had angels flying around him all day and all night…”
But still, I’ve never met any such person. And believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve looked. I’ve wanted to believe fully.
At the end of every day, as I would get into bed, feeling weary from my continued failures to get rid of even the smallest of my unwanted experiences, I would pray, “Please, let me be gifted complete enlightenment tonight so that tomorrow when I wake I will finally be free.”
As usual, the joke was on me. Because I was already free. Freer than I understood.
So free that I was and am free to have *this* experience too. Not only the experience that I deemed acceptable. But *this* experience too.
That’s freedom. And it was already given.
What if I’m just feeling stuff? What if that’s it? What if that’s all that’s going on? What if I’m not transcending it or evolving beyond it or learning to let go of it and be rid of it?
Man, that’s a relief.