By Suma Varughese June 2005How can we go beyond the judgements and resistances, the doubts and fears, the anger and sorrow that afflict us to experience the state of what-is?Some months back a friend, quoting Eckhart Tolle (all of you know by now that I am partial to his clear wisdom) said, 'How absurd to resist what-is.' Thinking about that statement later I experienced viscerally the total absurdity of trying to push away what was before us; of ignoring the palpable present. What a futile endeavor! And how much we hurt ourselves when we pit our stubborn heads against its wall.For a few days I experienced the state of being in flow with life, of surrendering to its every whim and command, of joyous and willing compliance with the will of God. For a while out there I even thought I had become enlightened! I snapped out of that particular illusion quickly enough, but every now and then out pops the question, what is it like to be in the state of what-is? How can we go beyond the judgments and resistances, the doubts and fears, the anger and sorrow that strew our path like so much rubble and make the walk of life such a labored, difficult process? How can we simply let go and fly with the moment as swiftly and lightly as a bird?One of the key requirements to access what-is, I believe, is to be able to go beyond all emotions. It is our emotions that trap us in the cocoon of resistance, of interpretations, of reaction and judgments.A friend fails to return our call and immediately the interpretation machinery swings into action. Does this mean he is offended with us? Did we do anything to displease him? Then comes peeve. How dare he? Reaction follows: either an angry silence, coldness or hot intemperate words.The bus comes later than its usual time and again, interpretation kicks in. I'm going to be late. The boss will yell. How tiresome to have to work. Why couldn't I have been rich? And so on.We appear for an important interview and fail the test. Interpretation is huge and devastating. I'm a total failure. I'll never amount to anything. I'm so stupid. I hate myself.We protest in a mail to a colleague about his conduct and spend the rest of the afternoon dreading his response. What if he is angry? What if he tells everyone not to speak to me? What if I get blacklisted? Paranoia swings in.Every provocation, every event, every thought, triggers off an emotional charge, because we are a complex network of emotional and psychological needs. We want approval, acceptance, peace, happiness, ease and what have you. Each time anything goes against our wishes and wants, we cannot help but protest. It seems so unfair that parents should be unreasonable or that people we like should not like us. So mired are we in our needs, wants and self-centered expectations that we fail to see the obvious. Life is not wired to go along our wishes. We are wired to go along its!What kind of a world would we live in if we could relate to life without an emotional charge? As far as I can see, it would be a clean, spacious, sunlit world, utterly simple, utterly essential. All stories, interpretations, judgments and resistances would cease, because things are simply the way they are. They are neither good nor bad. They simply are.A dog biting me is simply a dog biting me. Without emotions and thoughts to jerk us around and inject complexities into the issue, we quietly take our shots and go on our way, peaceful even in the midst of pain.Working till 2 a.m. is simply that. It does not mean that we will be tired the next day or that we are overworked or that we need a raise or that we are hardworking. Walking amidst the broad expanse of humanity we no longer busily divide and classify them according to their appearance, gender, the clothes they wear and the language they speak. We cease to lean towards some and recoil from others. We embrace each individual as a totally unique manifestation of the Creator, whole and perfect just as they are, needing nothing at all to embellish them further.A rich and moist chocolate cake is simply that. It is not an invitation to plunder and consume.All the misery and poverty that you see around you is just that. It is no longer capable of sending you into a vortex of anguish, guilt, rage or resistance. Free of reactions we can get down peacefully to see what we can do about it. If there is nothing, we move on; if there is something, we do it. But we do not work ourselves into a lather of self-righteous indignation or smugness.Becoming CEO at 30 or whatever fantasy you may nurse is simply that. It does not make you the master of the universe or entitle you to walk six inches above the ground.Imagine the beauty of this land of is. No pain because things simply are. Being rejected in love is simply that. It does not make us not-good-enough or unworthy. An illness is just that. It is not a visitation of evil or a punishment. Carried to its logical extreme it means that we can look at even the most extreme situation like torture or death without flinching or converting the physical discomfort into psychological pain. Like animals, we experience the moment to the fullest, both its pleasure and its pain, and then we drop it for keeps.In the land of what-is, the past and the future simply do not exist, they are completely consumed by the present. Yes, we will access the future sufficiently for the purpose of planning and envisioning, but our feet will always be firmly in the present, disinclined to fast forward either into worry or fantasy mode. Nor will we be tempted to visit the past to rewrite or resist it. What has happened has happened and through the focus of what-is, we direct all our energies like a powerful laser beam upon the single task of doing what we can about it.Focusing on the what-is helps us to see clearly and discriminate between what we can do and what we cannot. We can do nothing about changing other people - the way they behave, their opinion, dispositions and how they feel about us. We can change ourselves. We can do nothing about the past and the future. We can do something with the present. In the land of what-is, we earn the gifts of acceptance, clarity and peace. What bliss!
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