Enlightenment - Trying and Being
I have always been acutely aware of the paradox between trying and being, one of the central issues in the seeking game. When first we enter into the path, we are enthused with a new vision of who we want to be: a kind, loving, compassionate soul, free of all negative emotions, and capable of being anything life calls us to be.
Unfortunately, though, that’s not who we are. We have our issues, anger still flares within us, self-doubt and fear cripple us, and self-indulgence snares us in a net of stagnancy. So what do we do? We try. We try to be good, to be compassionate, to not be angry and so on.
But what a trap we fall into. A huge chasm opens up between who we are and who we try to be. When we walk into the shoes of who we want to be, we have leaden feet; everything seems heavy, difficult and somehow wrong. The attempted kindness does not emerge as kindness for it is tinged with artificiality and a desperate self-consciousness. The victim of our kindness senses it right away, and shies off, outraged at being condescended to. One is left with the stunned feeling one gets when one has pulled the trigger of a gun by mistake. How did the explosion happen when our intentions were so good? Alas, we were only trying.
And although we try our very best, our real feelings leak out all the more powerfully for being kept suppressed. The more we fear we will be unkind and the more we try to be kind, the more skittish and reactive we will be. The more we try to rein in our patience and fear our impatience, the more it surges out like a raging forest fire and devastates not just those around us, but our own peace, happiness and self-regard.
Although I knew this from personal experience, I was amazed to find this confirmed in a powerful way at the Life Positive Expo. The event started with Pradeep Agarwal’s Hypnosis workshop. He told us that trying is the thing that blocks the subconscious mind completely. The more we try, the less we actually do what we want to. He gave us the example of the familiar experience of trying to recall a name. The more we furrow our brow and grip our fists, the less the chances of the name revealing itself. The moment we cease to try, the name surfaces. Why is that so? Because we are relaxed. When we are relaxed, the awesome powers of the subconscious mind is at our disposal. When we try it closes up like a tight fist.
Trying guarantees that we fail in our goal! In fact one of the key words hypnotists use to get people to go deep into relaxation is to tell the participants, “Try to open your eyes.” The more they try, the less they can!
What a lesson this is in the futility of trying.
So how can we bypass trying in the seeking game? I really am not sure. When the gulf between who we are and who we want to be is vast, perhaps we have no other option but to put one foot into the desired destination and the other in the place we are presently in and use the tension between these two points to move forward.
Another option which I think can happen when there is not much distance between where one is and where one wants to be is to remember the Vedantic injunction. One already is that. Each time we try to be calm, or happy, it helps to remember that we actually are that!
One could use the Christian equivalent of this as well. The theology is that we are sinless because when Christ died, he washed away our sins. Although it is hard to get that someone else’s death can make us sinless, in effect it makes us enter the zone of already being sinless.
I know that I sat through the rest of the lecture, and even for the rest of the day, wrapped in a seraphic calm. Each time doubts and fears assailed me, I would say, I already am that, and lo, I really was that!
No, the thing is not yet a part of me – I have known many stormy moments since that insight presented itself and alas the momentum of the emotions were too powerful to succumb to this technique, but it is helping me in my less fraught moments to venture a little deeper into myself, and reclaim a little more of my true Self.
Suma Varughese is Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive.
Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: How True - 3 February 2012
This is an excellent post, and the paradox suggested is a point taken. Ultimately, I guess it‘s why try when you can, and the notion of failure that is affiliated with trying. I never looked at things from this perspective until reading this. Great post. Como En
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