For a long time I have tried to clean up my life, my diet, my relationships, my habits. I have done my best to be good and do good. I have kept inspiring company with gurus, protectors and guiding angels. So how come I don’t feel at ease, complete and content? Why do I still “try”, “aim” and “hope”?
Hope is supposed to be good as well as positive thinking and wishing well. And yet, when I hope for something I am selective and I reject an opposite something else. Ah! here I am caught in duality: the desirable and the avoidable, the clean and the unclean. The aim of Hatha Yoga is the union of opposites, the Sun and Moon energies, the Ida and Pingala, the right and left psychic channels. And many teachings remind us of the dangers of clinging to opposites, the likes and dislikes, the desires and aversions, the hopes and fears. But what to do when presented with continuous choices in everyday life?
Tilopa, the Bengali mahasiddha who developed the mahamudra method around 1000 BC, gave his students the following “Six Words of Advice”:
Don’t recall, let go of what has passed; don’t imagine, let go of what may come; don’t think, let go of what’s happening now; don’t examine, don’t try to figure anything out; rest and relax, right now!
Scary? A lot! What do I hold on then? Will my idea of who I am disappear? It takes heroes and heroines to let go the hold on the branch even though that branch might not be a beautiful one. The fear of the unknown is in our DNA. No easy task to defeat it. And yet, when we come to the end of the rope there are no more choices to make, only the letting go.
When free falling in the precipice below, the Buddha exclaimed “Wonder of wonders! we are all endowed with the Buddha nature, luminous and empty, perfect and complete!”
So how do we free fall? Perhaps by simply opening our hands but because it takes a lot of courage to do just that we can also look at the motivation behind everything we think, say and think. Is the motive gain for this entity or avoidance? In other words, what’s in it for me or my family. This process of self-inquiry can go on every moment I make the slightest choice: why do I want to eat this food and not that one, why do I want to live here and not there, why do I look for your company and not another’s, etc… Just doing what needs to be done with no expectations, impeccably and wholeheartedly. It is a fine line that requires full attention but the reward is immense: no disappointments, no suffering and no fear.
So let’s live like Tilopa, the madman, in awe, present, available and totally exposed.