All the wisdom you and I will ever need already lives within us. It’s just that we are not where the wisdom is. Why? Because we want to be smart! Because we want to know, we want to prove, we want to get, we want to be seen as something special. All human beings with that mindset are fated to suffer themselves, until one day they see this doesn’t work. In that same moment the epiphany comes, and one realizes, “Suddenly I can see what I have been.” And I see it by a light that shows me the darkness in myself.
The purpose of the light is to act upon the darkness. Those parts of us that are regretful, angry, resentful – that are always trying to figure out what’s wrong, how to fix it – are meant to be changed by our agreement to receive the revelation.
In the moment when the light of revelation comes, I’ve got one of two choices, and so far, I’ve always made the wrong one. My first choice is the knee-jerk reaction that belongs to this unconscious nature: I know I shouldn’t be like that. I know you shouldn’t be like that. I know this is all wrong – any one of a hundred different ways in which this unconscious nature manifests itself through resistance to an unwanted moment. Is it possible for a human being to resist a moment and receive from it what it is giving to them? Can you resist a moment and receive anything other than the certainty that you’re right and that you know?
If you know so much, why do you hurt so much? And what’s the evidence of “I know”? I’m a wreck! I’m thinking, I’m excusing, I’m trying to figure out how to get out of this thing unscathed. You know what that’s like! The “I know” is filled with tension. It’s filled with regrets. It’s filled with thinking and trying to prove oneself over and over. And it doesn’t work.
But, if “I know” doesn’t work in that moment, what does? My other choice is: “I’ll grow.” It’s challenging to human beings who have become so unbalanced in terms of how we understand our own existence, but you can’t “know” and “grow” at the same time because to “know” means your intellect goes before you to make sure that things really get crooked.
Instead of saying “I know,” saying “I’ll grow” means that in the moment the event comes, I’m going to stand in the revelation. I’m not going to stand in what is trying to deflect the moment from me. No deflection, but quiet reflection. That means, here I am in that instant when suddenly I can see things about myself that, God help me, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to see anything about it because I’ve been running from myself for as long as I’ve been in a body… justifying, explaining, excusing myself.
So, my exercise would be to use the onset of tension, the recurrence of that anger, the sudden feeling of being inadequate to the moment, and the flood of pain. I recognize in that moment that I’m about to go through something I don’t want to go through. But here’s the difference: instead of resisting the moment, I’m going to suspend all the reasons my mind gives me to not want it. I’m going to deliberately stand in the place of unknowing, allowing what life has brought to reveal me to myself. I’m not going to pretend. I’m not going to hide. I’m not going to act. I’m not going to do anything. I’m going to stand – as consciously as I can – in that moment where I can feel everything coming up in me.
When we bear ourselves consciously in this way, we agree to no longer suffer unconsciously. Every time we excuse ourselves, blame someone, or justify something, it is the unconscious nature justifying itself, and we pay the bill in unconscious suffering. What is unconscious suffering? It is any pain we go through that doesn’t leave us changed, but instead leaves us more crystalized in the nature that always rejects the moment.
Our new aim is to agree with life. Why are we going to agree with life? Because we know there is reason to be of good cheer: Something that wants more for us than we can imagine (let alone give to ourselves) is never ceasing in its effort to reveal to us what lives as an innate possibility within us. The task is that we must cease defending ourselves – not because we think it’s a good thing to do, but because we understand that only darkness defends itself from what the light reveals.