He is freed from himself, which is the only thing which has ever bound anyone, because he has let himself go. The unenlightened man keeps a tight hold on himself because he is afraid of losing himself; he can trust neither circumstances nor his own human nature; he is terrified of being genuine, of accepting himself as he is and tries to deceive himself into the belief that he is as he wishes to be. But these are the wishes, the desires that bind him, and it was such desires as these that the Buddha described as the cause of human misery.
People imagine that letting themselves go would have disastrous results; trusting neither circumstance nor themselves, which together make up life, they are forever interfering and trying to make their own souls and the world conform with preconceived patterns. This interference is simply the attempt of the ego to dominate life. But when you see that all such attempts are fruitless and when you relax the fear-born resistance to life in yourself and around you which is called egoism, you realize the freedom of the union with Brahman.
I read this the other day and it really spoke to me, and hit home with me. I realized how much of my life I had spent trying to achieve a predetermined outcome in most situations in which I found myself. How often I was disappointed when the outcome didn’t come close to what I had imagined it would be, or even the times I was disappointed when it did come close. I had done everything right in my estimation, it seemed perfect to me. I forget though that we are only one component to a very complex equation or situation. We have the flaw of only being able to see things from our own point of view, everything that anyone else thinks we can only presume through our tainted glasses. We cannot begin to imagine all the experience and perceptions they bring to the experience. In addition, we rarely ask the questions required to gather that information, not that such questions wouldn’t be limited anyway. There are so many factors which determine the outcome in any circumstance we find ourselves in or observing and we can influence so few of those factors.
I remember being so worried about holding on to moment or someone, I would forget the entire reason I wanted to hold on to that moment. I wanted to hold onto how special that moment or person was, and if I had just enjoyed the time and person I would have kept it for all time anyway. It doesn’t disappear, it resides deep inside of us; at the most unexpected moment it will flash to the surface again and give rise to a smile and some warmth for a fleeting second. Those fleeting seconds are a wonderful surprise and much more enjoyable than grasping a biased memory of an event. I just think of the times I was so worried about making a moment perfect or keeping it that way, I would end up ruining the moment and I would instead be left by a negative memory. If I had just relaxed and went with the moment then I would be left with something cherished. There is no lesson it is too late to learn, and for the last few months I have been practicing the latter. It is so liberating when you can accept the outcome whatever it may be and when you just be yourself, it really allows you to just live in and enjoy the moment. We all have secrets and idiosyncrasies and we have all made mistakes. We will continue to make mistakes and have our shortcomings. The key is to learn to accept them and find a way to live with them or to work towards improving them if you can’t live with them. The worst thing you can do is live in fear of them, they will only end up controlling you.
The best dates are those when you aren’t concerned with the outcome. Again no preconceived notion, just going out with someone for a fun time and letting it just let it go where it may. In those situations you don’t feel you have to impress anyone you can just be who you are. Isn’t that what it is ultimately about anyway? If you have to be somebody else to impress someone and you do end up impressing them what have you gained? They aren’t impressed with who you actually are, but rather who they believe or want you to be. If you have to live in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing it will hardly be a memorable event. In the long run this can’t lead anywhere enjoyable. Eventually either your true identity will assert itself, or you will have to continue a charade and how can that be satisfying? If someone likes you they won’t be so worried about every little thing you say or do anyway. If you are just yourself and it doesn’t go well so be it, you have a laugh and move on. Go in without any preconceived notions or expectations and enjoy the ride no matter where it may take you.
I think back to some of the best times I have enjoyed in life and many started with no plans. It was just a situation where you let things go where they may, tried something different and stepped out of your comfort zone. If everything you undertake is planned then you leave no room for spontaneity and those unexpected pleasures. They obviously don’t all end that way, some are true duds and you can only laugh about them later when you reflect on them (during they can be downright torture…ha ha…). If you are too rigid then you won’t bend in the wind and eventually you will break. I’m not saying there aren’t good times that are preplanned, but you have to keep your mind open to new possibilities. I do think one should keep commitments they have made, that is something important to me. I still feel you have to trust when to just go with the flow; your gut often knows if you don’t let your ego or brain overrule it. You also cannot worry about sometimes making a poor choice, there is bound to be some that go awry. Tonight I suddenly felt like marching on way home from sunset, so I did for about 100 yards. I’m not sure what gave me that impulse, but I felt it when I put on my gloves and stretched fingers. The thought of marching jumped in to my mind for some reason. Since I love that scene in the movie “Stripes”, I gave a reasonable parade march on the seawall. I amused myself to no end, had a good chuckle and then felt even more peaceful. It was spontaneous and silly and very enjoyable.
That is often how I do my writing; I just let my thoughts go in whatever direction they desire. There are some times I have a particular subject in mind, though just as often I let my thoughts dictate the subject. I just let them go in one direction and then one thing in that thread will catch my attention and I go in for a closer look. That often leads somewhere completely different than where I started. I let them run and churn and meld. The other issue I encounter is then I often have two or three threads running at once: this can be very challenging to juggle. I often have to loop back to the original subject and try and put those thoughts into point form. If I can do this successfully then I can often remember the adornments and threads the thoughts led me too. It is much more helpful when I have my phone or a pad and paper because at least then I can capture the bigger ideas. Tonight I didn’t have either so I had to keep repeating the main points as I went off on other tangents. Sometimes to make it easier I just form the main point into a song and then sing it over and over to myself, a very effective technique indeed. It is also very amusing to me when I am singing my thoughts.
I sometimes get a very strange perspective on things because I have a somewhat developed artistic side and a scientific side. So I can sometimes see the same situation from two very different perspectives and angles. These viewpoints are almost impossible to amalgamate, but I can meld them from time to time. This sometimes leaves me in a position of trying to decide which viewpoint I feel most closely attuned to. More often than not it is on the artistic side. I am quite good at letting go of the need to know these days. In the past I would have to analyze the situation until I felt I had found a solution to it. In all cases the outcome or situation will come to a conclusion; there is a chance you may like the outcome and a chance you may not. In the end the only control you have is how you are going to react to the conclusion. These days I find that many unknowns are just fine with me; I am quite comfortable not knowing the answer to all things I come across. The thing is the answer generally makes no difference in your life and you tend to forget it soon enough as you move onto the next situation. I feel we learn far more from the situations we can learn to accept for what they are, rather than from those we have tried to change and failed.