Clearing out the Garbage
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~ Buddha
This is the situation of your head: I see cycle-handles and pedals and strange things that you have gathered from everywhere. Such a small head...and no space to live in! And that rubbish goes on moving in your head; your head goes on spinning and weaving - it keeps you occupied.
Just think what kind of thoughts go on inside your mind. One day just sit, close your doors, and write down for half an hour whatsoever is passing in your mind, and you will understand what I mean and you will be surprised what goes on inside your mind. It remains in the background, it is constantly there, it surrounds you like a cloud. With this cloud you cannot know reality; you cannot attain to spiritual perception.
This cloud has to be dropped. And it is just with your decision to drop it that it will disappear. You are clinging to it - the cloud is not interested in you, remember it.
~ Osho The Sun Rises in the Evening Chapter 9
I was sitting with a new client last week, and her story unfolded like this:
- She had been off work since July, with a bad back. Her job is to teach a physical activity to students, and her back precluded her working.
- She had ended her marriage 2 years ago, and "dealt with it" by throwing herself into the job, above.
- She is teary, but was brought up not to cry and never to get angry.
- She will turn 40 in a month or so.
I looked her up and down, and said, "Lots of tension in your jaw. Seems like you don't believe it’s OK to say what needs to be said, and you bite off your emotions." She agreed, startled.
I continued, "Your back problem – is it at L5?" She agreed, now getting a bit pale.
Then, "Now, tell me what's wrong with your bowels." In a quiet voice, "I have spastic bowel. How do you know all of this?"
Those of you who have read the Bodywork section of my website will know the answer to that question. The lover back, bowel area is "all about" unresolved, unsatisfying relationships. Now, get this: not all lower back pain is about relationships, but most relationship difficulties "become physical pain" in that region. Can you see the difference?
I'm using this illustration to link to the quotes from the Buddha and Osho. In both cases, the underlying message is that we have many ways of not quite "getting" what is going on in our lives. The Buddha talks about how our heads get filled with rules and regulations and religions and philosophies, so that there is no room for observation and analysis (understanding.) Osho simply says that our heads are full of rubbish – crap – moronic meanderings that lead precisely nowhere. It's like spending time endlessly sifting through the junk in an overflowing attic.
I amaze myself at how many people practically swoon at the idea of weeding out their attic. I continually listen to people describing miserable existences and lousy relationships, and then they line up a truck load of excuses for keeping their belief system intact -- the very same belief system that got them in the mess in the first place. And, of course, they want the "special exemption," as in, "You don't understand. My situation is different! There's no way I can change it."
My client, above, is typical, if a bit more direct than most, in what she's done and what's happened. She spent a miserable decade married to someone she realized had been a poor choice, yet she stayed because society told her to. And her mother did the, "You made your bed" bit. She finally left, and rather than deal with the pain of failure and the pain of realizing how badly she sucked at relationships, she threw herself into work. Same pattern with every other significant disappointment in her life. Lots of unresolved issues and pain, disguised under her work-load.
Now, I believe our body/mind/spirits are well designed, and continually nudge us toward letting go of our crap and finding a path to walk that leads to understanding. In general, the nudge we receive is in the form of a quiet voice, which is why Zen teaches Zazen (simple sitting) as a way of emptying the mind long enough for the quiet voice to speak.
Interestingly, one of my favourite bible verses, from 1 Kings 19, speaks to this. Elijah wants to see god, (to gripe and complain, of course, about how tough his life is) as he hides in a cave, trying to escape his past. Here's the text:
9 And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD , for the LORD is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
God, (*grin*) I love that question!!!
You see the pattern? Elijah has been going around doing what he considers to be "god's work," and it's going well. Then, he runs into opposition, and he crumbles like a house of cards and runs for the hills. There, he complains and whines and wants to die. So, god shows up, not in earthquake, wind or fire, but in a gentle whisper. And of course, he tells Elijah to pick himself up and get back to work.
There's no place to run to, no place to hide.
All you can do is quiet the tumult inside your head
and listen for the whisper.
So, what happens if you refuse? You body gets involved. Aches and pains arrive, heartburn and heartache, so to speak. Things you "can't stomach" keep happening. Shit you refuse to deal with backs up and turns to spastic bowel. And if that doesn't get your attention, you'll get really sick. Because that little, quiet voice really, really wants your attention.
Now, this is not to say you can't ignore all of this and go numb and deny the issue and confuse yourself and live with the pain and sickness and despair and hurt. Of course you can, and many of you are.
All I'm saying is you don't have to.
Osho says you can stop all of this by simply choosing to drop the cloud of confusion, noise and game playing. I would add that this "dropping" happens "again and again and again." One step and one step and one step.
This week, try the above exercise. Sit for a half hour and write down or speak into a tape recorder every thought that crosses your mind. If you're not convinced at the end of the time that your attic is full of total garbage, maybe you should be writing Into the Centre.
If you choose to do things differently, find a Transpersonal Therapist and a Bodyworker, and get going on the housecleaning. It's not going to be easier tomorrow. Do it today!