Recently, I wrote about the Fear of Success. Reading Adyashanti’s Falling into Grace, he talks about how the mind naturally judges things. We often immediately judge every circumstance, preventing us from seeing what is actually there. He gives the example of stepping outside and seeing that it’s raining. Rather than just noticing the moist fresh air, we start a story of how we hate rain, it’s a bother, and so forth. Essentially we’re arguing with what is, with life itself.
The trouble with arguing with life is that it makes it hard. It takes us away from happiness. And it creates difficulties that don’t actually exist. That’s the most astonishing part of suffering. Much of it is self-generated; chosen unintentionally.
Curiously it’s just a habit. A habit our culture encourages. Just watch the news or read the paper. If we feel uncertain, there is the natural tendency to try to explain, to have a story or explanation about it. The first part of the issue here is that the story often isn’t really true. The second part is that we tend to believe our stories without question, even if they arose as a reaction in our childhood or when we were stressed. Again, this is natural. If we couldn’t count on our understanding of the world, we’d have a hard time functioning. But if we don’t stop and look, we can end up at the mercy of our own self-created prison.
The trick is in finding something that is reliable, that will be there for us. And that’s not something we’ll find outside, in other people or in things. The only thing unchanging is who we are at the core.
To notice that core within, we need to ease up a little on the judging. Be a little more “open minded” as Adyashanti puts it. He observes that we just have to notice our experiences and we’ll see where we argue with life. Once it becomes conscious, we can begin to choose.
I also recommend an effortless meditation as this will bring us the experience of our core more quickly and help clear and settle the mind.
Being open to life without judgement doesn’t mean not having likes and dislikes. It also doesn’t mean passive acceptance. Boys in a schoolyard can tend to hit to try to get their way. As we grow older, we hopefully find better ways to stand up for ourselves. In the same way, fighting life is not the best way to live. Being OK just means not forcing it, not having our stories overshadow life and our happiness.
Real happiness comes from a very deep place. Thus, it is quite possible to be happy, even during a difficult or physically painful experience. Such happiness is not bound or conditional. It is Hakuna Matata, a phrase made famous by the film Lion King. It means No Worries.