When we are in the world, we are in the field of action, of doing. We need to think and plan and act and accomplish. On the spiritual path some of the same attention is also required, but more lightly. More as a preparation. Tapas or warming they call it in Sanskrit.
Ultimately, the spiritual path becomes a path of not doing. Of allowing. Of being here now. Of being OK with what is. Of being present. Of complete acceptance. Of surrender.
There are many ways of saying this, but it’s not something mind can grasp. Mind needs time, it needs a process to step through, something it knows. In the west, this is not something we teach nor get raised with normally. We are taught the work ethic but not the being. Not how to simply be.
We might think surrender or allowing means releasing or some emotional experience, but these are still doing. It is the end of doing, the end of release and letting go that brings us to not doing, to allowing.
An example we might use is prayer. An effective prayer is not just in the action, in the ritual of it. It is in the surrender to God. It is not in asking, it is in accepting. Thy Will Be Done.
It may seem a small difference, but it is the difference between night and day, between ego and awakening. When we get good at it, we begin to see that life is a perpetual surrender to itself. Love is perpetually bestowing Itself to Itself through allowing itself to be.
We are stepping out, then falling back within. This is the way of all things and the nature and purpose of our life. Be still and know that I am God.
The end of suffering. Unlimited happiness. A cup that overflows. Deep freedom. Peace that passeth understanding. Knowledge of reality. Being love itself. These may sound like foolish fantasies, a pipe dream. But they are our human birthright. Our natural state.
Most of us have been stuck for some time, part way through the process. This is the nature of the illusion of time, building an experiential process. As TS Eliot put it,
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all” —
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.