True Liberation — is an action. It’s liberating yourself from the need for explanations, figuring things out — a liberation into choosing to act for self and for the benefit of all.
In This Moment
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Last week, I began a series of articles on “letting go,” and what that might look like. This week we look at True Liberation.
I said I’d look at ways to do that, and that’s coming next. This week, a blog comment seemed to fit into the background preparation part, so here it is!
Firstly, I really enjoy and look forward to these “life pointers.”
Okay, secondly, I will not proclaim that I’m totally guilt free in regards to “over influencing” ppl, but mostly. And further, what’s on my mind is how a so-called victim may benefit by letting go as well.
For example, because of my Zen Buddhist leanings, I rarely if ever choose the route of pointless arguing or even being overly apathetic. Very few people in my life seem at all interested in meaningful dialogue, especially when they’re occupied in trying to manipulate me (which in truth, doesn’t really work and breeds resentment).
So, as divorce is a form of “letting go,” wouldn’t the same be said for moving on beyond fruitless, energy draining relationships? I mean honestly, in my life the goals I have don’t really mesh with my tribes at all. Further, matters didn’t really start out this way. I think the harder they insisted upon me following “their way” and the sanctions imposed for failure to comply, I was pushed even further away from their ideals and goal. I still endure regular manipulation and negativity from them. Am I in the wrong for finding my own way in the dark (so to speak)?
Also, I’ve been getting acquainted with Liberation Psychology and the idea of mental, physical, and spiritual liberation lately. It’s largely because I can see that they have some sort of hold on me although I mentally resist and try to negate much of their influence (which is like negative conditioning — how endearing).
I’m also wondering if there isn’t a karmic factor involved in my case because it’s nowhere totally comprehensible to me. I know I need to empower myself to the extent that I can move on, but am sensing a need for liberation in some meaningful form. I’d like to hear your thoughts on such liberation (Wayne) and if perhaps a karmic element might be impeding me or if it’s all just negative programming and low self-esteem.
I thought I’d work from this comment on my recent post, “Learning by Letting Go.”
Last week’s article about passion and charge has certainly led to a lively discussion with my clients. Interestingly, living a life of passionate walking has as its chief element… letting go.
The Liberation of Relationships
As an almost universal rule, liberation does not happen in our families. It’s the lucky person indeed that can have (or would want to have) meaningful discussions with one’s parents.
My mom and dad were two great people, and the best thing they ever did for me was to encourage me to hit the road from Buffalo NY to Elmhurst Illinois, for my BA. At 17 years, 8 months.
The second greatest thing they did was letting me come home summers to make money at my dad’s store, and then send me back to Illinois.
I grew up, learned self-responsibility, and started getting over myself (still working on that one, eh Dar???)
Mom and dad moved to Canada in 1982, and lived nearby until they died
My mom loved it when I was a Minister, and even attended my church. She’d introduce herself, “I’m the Minister’s mother.” When we got “exited,” (read my book, This Endless Moment, for some of the details…) mom and dad left with us. None of us ever went back.
Some years later, after a couple of strokes that altered her personality, mom said something to the effect of, “If I love me, you’d “find” another church. ”
My first response was, “Why, is one missing?”
Then, I shifted inside, and my internal reaction was,
“How can she ask me to do that? She was there! She knows how painful that was!”
Then, my internal, “Get over yourself” warning buzzer went off.
I said, “When was the last time I did something just because you wanted me to?”
Mom: “When you were 17.” (I was 49 at the time…)
Me: “Noticing a pattern?”
Of course mom wanted me to do what she wanted me to do. She had for 49 years. This did not change (her wish for control) after 22 years of not getting anywhere with me. She tried, I had an internal reaction, I got over myself, and said some form of “No.”
As I wrote, manipulation is something that happens forever. So what?
The thing our writer is implying, above, is that manipulation actually has to lead somewhere. “Endure regular manipulation and negativity…” What’s to endure?
This is the thought that others ought to cooperate with us. Ought to back us, or at least leave us alone. While I acknowledge having exactly that reaction to my mom’s question, the key for liberation comes next.
- I didn’t want to do what she asked, so I didn’t, and
- I didn’t fight with her about it.
She wanted what she wanted, and I did what I wanted. Emphasis on did.
Another recurring topic above is “… finding my own way in the dark.”
That’s just it. Not necessary. There are several authentic systems of thought for getting over yourself, and finding peace and presence. The one I write about in the main is Zen, but in the past I’ve demonstrated the same wisdom in the writings of Rumi.
None of us are required to go at this alone. In fact, I warn against it, as all we do is re-affirm our prejudices and self-deceptions. In Zen groups, one famous way to pass time is “Dharma Battle.” One person speaks, and the rest tear into the person’s understanding, probing for weak arguments.
When we were in Cape Breton, our old friend Rhoda reminded me of a dinner at our house, a decade ago. A vice principal at school (the one Darbella and Rhoda taught at) made acting like a dick into a science.
Rhoda was upsetting herself, and saying, loudly, “He makes me so angry!” Dar and I replied, “You’re choosing to anger yourself. He’s not doing anything to you.” Rhoda and Dar and I did “dharma battle” for more than an hour, with her totally denying my perspective.
Fade to the present
Almost the first words out of Rhoda: “Remember that conversation in your back yard? That was the most profound lesson I’ve ever learned. I apply it all the time. Of, course, I figured out what you were saying after 30 minutes, but I liked the battle, too!”
The Liberation of Self
This is really where it all begins. In Chakra language, this is the 3rd, solar plexus Chakra, and until one lets go here, nothing truly meaningful can happen in your life.
It’s said that most people spend their lives on the first three Chakras (1- your right to be here, 2- relationships, sex, and 3- self-understanding.) We go round and round, feeling impotent, feeling tight and constricted by our relationships, feeling sick about our selves.
Many clients in Bodywork point to the diaphragm (and the pelvis) as locking points to liberation — to letting go.
Interestingly, Liberation Psychology emerged out of Latin America’s Liberation Theology, decades ago. Their thrust was to suggest looking at socio-economic injustice as the cause of personal distress, as opposed to internal causes. Then, to do something about the injustice, through non-violent ACTION.
Zen says, “Look to the moment in front of you.” Same thing. Zen wants us to know how much trouble we make for ourselves, by endlessly messing around with “Why” questions — trying, and failing, to come up with why we are as we are.
“…sort of hold on me although I mentally resist and try to negate much of their influence…”
This is that
Thoughts, beliefs, are vapour… not real„ so as such cannot get a hold on us. Quite the opposite. It is we who grasp on to them. Left alone (given their liberation, their freedom) they just drift over our mental landscape like clouds.
Imagine trying to “resist a cloud.”
Or “trying” to negate something. My internal conversation re. my mom, above, was that. Trying to figure out the intention of another, without asking. If I was interested in her thinking I could have asked, but truth be told, once I got over feeling hard-done-by, I wasn’t interested in with her thinking or her proposal.
So, once I saw that, there was nothing else to figure out, except an elegant reply.
“… nowhere totally comprehensible to me…”
Of course not. We can’t figure any of this stuff out, because all we do is tell ourselves stories. Last week I mentioned my client of the loud and long cry during Bodywork. Our first real contact was back in January, by Skype (we were in Costa Rica.)
She was trying to end a relationship without grieving. Because it was her idea. For months, we’ve been looking past the clouds of “not grieving” to actually grieving. Which is like actually acting. And which she actually did, last session.
Not comprehending. Experiencing.
Karma — “I’m also wondering if there isn’t a karmic factor involved in my case…”
On karma, I have written:
One of the main things to “get” is that we create every aspect of our own reality, and I mean every aspect. Another way to say this is to look at the concept of karma.
“In Buddhist teaching, the law of karma, says only this: “For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant depending upon whether its cause was skillful or unskillful.” A skillful event is one that is not accompanied by craving, resistance or delusions; an unskillful event is one that is accompanied by any one of those things. (Events are not skillful in themselves, but are so called only by virtue of the mental events that occur with them.)”
Now, the normal description of karma typically includes the idea of past lives, as in, “I must have done something really bad in my past life to deserve this.” I’d like you to put that aspect aside, as this is not even close to the actual intent of the word. It’s just a complication, and the last thing you need is some other distraction to keep you stuck. Karma is not a punishment. It’s simply an explanation of cause and effect.
Bad Karma is an excuse for not acting skillfully
Must be… I wrote the book on it!
Mostly, people that concern themselves with karma (of the past lives variety) are trying to figure out how to justify staying stuck. Rather than move into the present experience, (which they just manifested by the choice before it occurred) and make a present-moment choice, they think they have no choice.
This is because doing things skillfully often means doing things differently. Initially, like learning anything, it’s slow, kludgy, and only a little skillful. With continual practice (and the feedback karma provides) the skill develops into mastery.
It’s essential to act. So, if my intention is not to bite on comments, but to breathe and respond in a measured way, then I need to drop all the excuses for not doing this. No more blaming genetics, history, or karma. I simply have a breath, or maybe even two, and respond in another way.
Because, you see, it’s simple.
Act as you choose to act, accept the consequences for your actions, and use that to decide what to do next. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Liberation is not a perspective or a belief. It’s an action.
- In Latin America, for example, it’s writing and publishing knowing you might get killed for it.
- It’s Gandhi, marching to the sea and picking up salt.
- It’s the Buddha, sitting still and teaching, facing down Mara, and his demons, with compassion.
- It’s “DO unto others…”
- Rumi: Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey
to the ocean of meanings.
The stream knows it can’t stay on the mountain.
Leave and don’t look away from the sun as you go,
in whose light you’re sometimes crescent, sometimes full.
It’s all action
I keep inviting my clients to dance with me, and by that I mean, like sweet Rhoda, engaging fully. It might mean arguing, or it might mean expressing emotions fully and deeply. It might mean staying put when you want to run away, or doing what you say you’ll do despite the stories you tell yourself.
It might mean inviting more intimacy when you are scared to say or do or reveal.
It might mean doing your work, no matter what.
Or, you could continue to try to figure it all out.
No one has, but hey, good luck, eh?