IF THIS POSTING HITS CLOSE TO HOME, it may not be entirely comfortable. But if that’s the case, then it may be particularly valuable. It is the product of my own experience. I’ve directly fielded the title question several times and several times indirectly, so it makes sense to address it publicly.
The first thing to ask is, “Who is it that says your life is not already in order?” The personal opinion that says your life is not currently in order is actually the thing that’s out of whack. Life is just fine, just as it is. There’s nothing personal about it; it’s beyond all that. It is as it is. It’s when we make the false claim that it’s our life that the problems begin. If I take this apparently separate life, Fred’s so-called life, as genuinely separate, then I’m simply going to suffer. “My life” will never, ever “be in order”, even when I reach the goal that I set up previously as a finite measurement of when I’d be able to state, “My life is now in order. I won.”
In other words, once I get what I currently deem as the right partner, the right job, house, car, child, season, weather, wardrobe, vacation, review, whatever it is I think I want, I’m still going to be living in a world of lack, because that’s what duality is all about. Duality, charming as it can fleetingly be, is inherently unsatisfactory. We want what we want until we get it. Then we want that other thing over there. That other thing is, surely, positively, the fix. Until it’s not.
Contrarily, Nonduality is not at all about getting what we want. Sorry, but it’s just not. Nonduality is about wanting what we get. When we recognize that there is just One Life, just One Thing Going On, and see that this so-called “my life” is simply an infinitesimally minor, rapidly rising and falling event within that Much Larger Happening, and that that happening is currently expressing itself as What Is, then I’m on the way to peace of heart. Peace is not about getting hold of “what isn’t”. It just isn’t. Peace is about allowing What Is to get hold of us.
The most common analogy for these apparently separate human lives is of waves and ocean. The wave certainly has a distinct shape for a while within relativity, a certain movement, but it’s always ocean, always water, and never actually possesses a separate beingness. It’s not enough to accept this intellectually the way one accepts arithmetic. I have to live it. In truth, I have to let It live me.
Longing is the core of mystery.
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, Suffer the pain.
Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen
In time, sacrificed.
It’s always fair to say, “My life feels out of order.” That’s a statement of a subjective notion, not of an objective fact. It leaves room for doubt, meaning it leaves room for me to doubt my own imaginary story-lines and opinions concerning the pure, cold facts of Life. These make believe stories and opinions are what cause my suffering. I create an entirely imaginary mental world, within which I am inevitably the shining center, and when the rest of the world fails to fall into line with my central position and my imaginary mental projections, as will inevitably happen, I get my feelings hurt; I get disappointed and frustrated; I get scared and angry, and I suffer, suffer, suffer. It’s just this simple and clear. It is brutally clear. There’s not the slightest bit of wiggle room and there lies the rub.
Let me tell you how this “get my life in order” thing has worked for me. I’ve noticed that it’s worked the same way for a number of others as well. Mind you, I’m not making any blanket statements. Check it out for yourself. Pronouncements that decry and deny the possibility of contradiction upon pain of said contradiction being labeled “unenlightened”, are themselves being presented from duality, not Wholeness. Wholeness just isn’t that simple, folks. Don’t take my word for that or anything else. Look closely for yourself and see what you see. Accept what you see, not what I see. Beyond me, who really cares about what I see? It’s what you see that counts for you.
Truly authentic spirituality, as I understand it, is a whole lot more about inclusiveness than it is exclusiveness. Exclusiveness is always a narrow, defensive position. Wholeness does not find it necessary to defend positions and it’s never narrow: it’s happy to allow, accept and experience all possibilities. It is delighted to express and entertain completely confusing paradoxes. What fun! If someone is throwing a spiritual rock at another spiritual person or position, then at least begin by looking with more suspicion upon the thrower than you do the target. Examine your writers, teachers and Internet gurus closely, including this one. It’s fine to adopt someone else’s bright ideas provisionally, but in the end, accept nothing that you yourself cannot confirm. The Buddha said the same.
My life, as it were, was really ugly for a long time, like about thirty-five years. I had my ups and downs, but by and large my downs were more impressive than my ups, and certainly a lot more common. For almost twenty of those years I considered myself to be on a devoted spiritual path and still my life stayed ugly. In fact, before it was over, it got ugly to the point of destitution and near-death. Do you know why? My life was ugly as hell for a long time, because my life was a perfect reflection of my true spiritual position.
I was trying to walk a spiritual path while living a lifestyle that was foreign to spiritual values, while simultaneously insisting upon absolute control of “my life”. I ran both of them, spiritual and secular, sacred and profane, right into the ground. (Move on past the obvious paradox of how could “I” run anything into the ground if there’s no “I” there to do it. It’s a very decent question, but it won’t be helpful to you for us to address it at this stage. One truth at a time is the rule here.)
We’ll explore more of the actual example of “my life” in our next posting.