Funny thing about the spiritual search is that it usually seems to be about being something or someone better.
Because we’re unhappy with our idea of who we are. We’re unhappy with what we perceive of our experience. And innocently, we believe that if only we could become someone better, more enlightened, more spiritual, more powerful, whatever…that then we’d be happy and okay and lovable, etc.
Which turns out to be completely wrong. But it is also apparently a necessary part of the journey of self discovery. We start from assumptions and experientially discover how those assumptions are flawed and create unnecessary rigidity and pain.
So it turns out not to be so much a journey of acquisition as a journey of loss.
Loss of identity. Loss of ideas. Loss of beliefs.
And also a loss of burden.
The burden of trying to become someone else.
And an acceptance and surrender to you being you.
Exactly as you are right now.
We complicate this. We dramatize it. We create all kinds of stories about it.
But none of that helps or is necessary.
It is easier when we allow it to be easy. And simple. And direct. And immediate.
Right now, you are you.
This is obvious when you take a moment to notice.
A second later, the mind starts to wonder who this you is. Ideas start flowing. And if we fall into our usual habit, we grasp at those ideas in hopes of getting something that will make us better. Or protect us. Or help us in our quest to become better.
But we don’t have to give attention to that. And even if we do, as soon as we notice that we’re giving attention to that, we are noticing our inherent freedom.
We can notice that regardless of what ideas come and go, in this moment right now, we are always ourselves. Inescapably.
And being ourselves doesn’t require effort. We can’t get it right. Nor wrong.
It doesn’t require anything, in fact. Even when we’re trying really, really hard and totally fixated on fixing and bettering ourselves or protecting ourselves, we are still being fully ourselves in this present moment. Exactly as we are. Inescapably.
So nothing is required. But the status quo for most of us has been to continue to suffer from the wrong imagination that something is required and that we need to protect and fix ourselves.
Fortunately, we can notice right now that we are being ourselves. Before the idea of ourselves. Before the impulse to get it right, do it right, hide, protect, manage, manipulate, etc. Here in this most intimate moment we can notice that we are simply being ourselves.
And we can notice that this is always the case. In retrospect we can see that this has always been so. And we can even see that this will always be so. All in this one intimate moment right now. Just drop the fixation on understanding or fixing or getting somewhere and just notice the absolute simplicity of this right now. Nothing needed that isn’t supplied perfectly right now.
This noticing is the first step.
In my experience, only doing the first step is very powerful, but it has a tendency on its own to lead to a subtle seeking. Better than the older form of seeking. But still a subtle suffering because there is still a subtle seeking for betterment or protection. Because then we can imagine wrongly that we need to hide out in noticing.
But that’s not true.
So there are other steps that can help.
For example, one possible second step is to not only notice, but to confess one’s vulnerability, insecurity, impermanence, “flaws”, etc.
Not as a means to get something. But simply because it feels good. It is light. It clears the air of any confusion. Lest either of us begins to mistake ourselves or one another for something we are not. This ongoing flow of self expression – not just the “good”, but also the “bad” – reveals what is beyond good and bad. It offers a living invitation to all “others” to recognize that they too can be themselves.
Because they already are. Inescapably.