This post is dedicated to a sister in Nevada, who inspires me with her honesty in her quest for the Real. :)
This is Daylight Savings weekend, and we get to set clocks an hour forward, thus getting up earlier for work and school, if we have such schedules to abide by. In the news this morning were various articles on the benefits and drawbacks of this clock-changing routine. People actually argue over clock time and how we should manage it, as if there wasn't enough, already, to spat about! As if we can actually "add" or "subtract" at either end of the day. As if hanging on to the light (or the dark) makes us more secure.
Anyone who has stumbled into the Present and spent any length of time there (haha!) can't help but shake the head or roll the eyes just a bit. Not everyone has the luxury of a flexible schedule, though...right? Of course not.
We are prisoners of social consensus...aren't we?
But we are tied to our decisions...correct?
Only as long as we want to be.
There is an intensely telling scene in the movie Contact, where Jodie Foster's character, Ellie, is chosen to take the only seat in an alien-designed, space/time-wormhole-traversing machine.
The machine's specs were decoded by humans and built to exacting standards--except that a seat was added, into which the "traveler" must be strapped. I can't exactly remember the justification for this tiny change--safety? Comfort?
During the trip through the wormhole, the seat begins to vibrate and shake so violently that Ellie becomes afraid for her life, and makes the decision to release herself (against the sage advice of her supervisors outside the machine, who warn and threaten, etc.). The second she is out of the confines of the safety harness, the shaking and terrible noise stops, and a sudden peaceful suspension happens. As she turns to look at her former seat, if I remember correctly, it is shaken to pieces while she remains astonishingly safe and silent.
The rest of the trip unfolds in spectacularly beautiful fashion, as was intended. It lasts 18 hours, Ellie's time; when she returns, the scientists insist that it never happened, that she never "went" anywhere. However, what she saw and felt was absolutely real to her. She spends the rest of the film struggling with her experience as opposed to that of the scientific and governmental witnesses, and comes to some life-changing and reality-shifting conclusions...great movie.
My wish for everyone right now is a deep and ongoing release of everything that is thought to be so essential to fulfillment...especially the war against a struggling and frightened identity. Let go. It's the very grasping after peace, security and humility that forms conflict, fear and control issues. It's the clinging to ideas about how things should be, how people should act, and what ought to happen that shakes us apart at the foundations.
Letting go of the habitual and manic grip on reality as we believe it should be is an opening experience like no other, and allows What Is to function naturally. It does not take away goals, personal will or decision-making ability. It does, however, restore all the things we stifle when we try to do everything through our fear...things like love, security, contentment, appreciation, or a good reason to get up in the morning.
A most direct way to let go is to relax into the present moment. Forget the clock, forget what everyone says, forget what you are "supposed" to do for just a few minutes. Even those of us who are "experienced" in meditation (and so forth) lose contact, because we all have busy lives and the demands of family or mind. The only time there ever is, ever, is now. Let it take your mind, and you will understand that the past and future don't exist except as ideas unique to you. Let it have your body, and you will understand what your actual physical needs are. And let it turn you inside-out, to expose your heart to your own sight, and you will see what it is you honestly feel. Let all these things be, as they are, without chasing or avoiding. Just watch. Relax and unfold.
Where is your security? In the nonexistent future? In the ideas in your head? Is your safety in your possessions, your plans, the company you keep? What do you tie yourself down with? What dark trenches do you crawl in for fear of exposure? What bright light do you cast yourself in when you fear you won't be seen?
It is true that you need x, y, or z. It is also true that you do not need x, y, or z. Please notice this fact and grant your own freedom, the ability to make clear choices that will lead you to the fulfillment of your actual needs. Maybe you don't need to feel constantly late by the clock, constantly in need of stimulation, constantly in conflict with the human race. Perhaps it is true that you are much gentler or stronger than you believed, much more gifted, much more able. Perhaps you can trust, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, in the wisdom of a hidden world. Perhaps there is "secret" knowing--not esoteric, but experiential. Maybe it's part of your blood and bones and imagination. Maybe it is speaking to you and through you. Maybe what it's saying is spread out before you in plain sight.
Maybe you don't need an identity to contain it in.
Could be you are this knowing.
I point this out, not because of some moral justification that letting go is right, better, or even necessary. The truth is, what you hold most dear and what you believe will save you will ultimately be taken away...either during the course of, or at the end of, your physical life. Spending time in the present (and thus in Presence), consciously releasing the accreted self, is the contemplative practice of allowing a kind of grace and ease to have its way with you.
Trust me...it's never what you think, and always an adventure. Resistance is, in the end, futile. It makes for a confusing journey. Think about the possibility that you are actually, currently, not stuck in time, or anything at all. That should you step in any direction, the world will obligingly move just so, just for you; if you absolutely must have a jagged edge to cling to in mortal terror, life selflessly provides it for your experiential pleasure.
Deep breath. :)