Seeing things in this way turns upsets from inconvenient and undesirable interludes to very desirable adventures. We can only process our upsets when they are up. We cannot process them when they are not here. So having an upset going on with me is a wonderful opportunity and necessary if I’m to process and complete it.
Being with and observing is a Divine position. It invites Grace and it’s Grace which is going to move us at this time and not as much our own motive power as in times past.
Someone will quickly say, “No, we must accomplish things by our own effort. We cannot just sit back and be passive.”
Being with and noticing what arises is not passivity. It is spiritual activity of the highest order. It is one of several meanings contained in Sri Krishna’s phrase, “the action that is in inaction.” (1)
It is what Chuang Tzu was driving at when he said: “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves.” (2)
In my view, enlightenment is by Grace alone: It remains the gift of God. In the last analysis, at the end of practice or the end of times, it is God alone who brings us safely Home.
As Ramana Maharshi noted: “Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it.” (3)
Bernadette Roberts says the same: “At a certain point, when we have done all we can [to bring about an abiding union with the divine], the divine steps in and takes over.” (4)
Yes, I am aware that these words were spoken to students with much time on their hands, so to speak, who had reached the end of their best efforts.
But they apply equally, with appropriate changes, to people who have reached the end of a cycle and must soon navigate Ascension.
The practice best suited to the end of disciplines and the end of times, in my opinion, is to be with the truth of the moment and observe what arises.
Being with and observing causes the dropping of leftover grievances and the dissolving of future fears. It purifies the mind and brings it to stillness. Once we’ve stilled and purified the mind, we’ve done all we can. The rest is up to God.
So this is the “be with and observe” process that I’m recommending we take on to give us a means of handling being reactivated. Let’s say that we see a strange galactic or are asked to board a space ship or shake a galactic’s blue hand, with bulbous fingertips and a cold touch.
Surrender to the upset, feel it, name the feeling, allow the mind to cast up the “earlier similar,” try it on for size, and watch the upset melt away. If you cannot do these things because the galactic is extending his hand, then just be with the situation. That alone will have the upset pass faster than reacting to it.
The alternative is to be reactivated, draw back in alarm, feel flustered, embarrassed, bow out of the situation, etc. That will only drive the upset back down into our bodies and minds, recharged. And that in turn will only make us more sclerotic.
Please don’t think somehow that I’m an “expert” in handling upsets. They’re as difficult and unpleasant for me as they are for you. I just know a few details about how to handle them. But they still trip me up and I still look stupid in the middle of them and fumble at handling them. But, yes, it does get easier over time and I certainly feel centuries younger and more flexible.
(1) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 52.
(2) Chuang Tzu in Burton Watson, trans. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1968, 122.
(3) Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Question 197. Downloaded from http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/books.htm, 31 August 2005.
(4) Bernadette Roberts, “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian, ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1991.