The mind is funny. The other day I had the image appear (among thousands that pop in and out all day long) of one cowboy saying to another cowboy in an old wild west bar, with a gravelly voice, “greetings friend….choose your poison“. They are calling all the available liquor choices “poison”. The choice will be made which one to drink, and then they’ll sit together and talk.
The dictionary defines poison as a substance that is harmful, impairs health. Something with an inherent property of destruction to life.
There’s something defiant and totally transparent about naming the alcohol “poison”. Humorous. Not afraid, aware of what’s going on. Simple.
What is tricky is when there are other substances or much more subtle agreements about the poison we’re all going to choose to drink together and we think we’re defiant and full of laughter about it….but it’s not all that amusing.
Some of these all-group lets-join-together and drink the poison are broad beliefs like these:
- having a young, thin, physically fit body is best
- making lots of money is extremely important
- finding a mate or partner or love will make me happy
- working on oneself for improvement is vital to a better life
- spiritual enlightenment is the best goal anyone could have
Any one of these can feel very positive, exciting, and adventurous. But when we believe they are 100% absolutely true and that I have to be the one choosing it, then holding any of these beliefs can be harmful….can destroy openness, mystery.
Believing these with all our might can actually impair our ability to have an incredible, magical relationship with the universe.
Spiritual beliefs and beliefs about how to live a good life can feel safe and comfortable, but it’s amazing that even these, if written down on paper, can be easily questioned.
I remember when I first realized that I couldn’t be sure of anything being true when it came to God, Spirit, Source, the Universe, or spiritual beliefs or principles of any kind.
Pretty frightening. You mean, nothing is certain? I can’t be sure of any clear answers? I don’t really LIKE the empty feeling, I don’t really like how unknown it all is.
“Even the most benevolent, exalted beliefs just separate us from the mysetry of life as it is. The more you set aside your beliefs and encounter life directly, without argument or struggle, the more you discover a natural responsiveness that’s inherently gentle, loving, and ethical and doesn’t require a spiritual worldview to maintain.”~Stephan Bodian
There is an “I” here that seems like me that wants to say that if I give up all seeking and confess that there is no definitive answer about anything, that I’ll be selfish and self-centered, or despairing and unhappy.
Look again at what you imagine is the worst that could happen if you Don’t Know for sure about anything.
What if you don’t choose any poison? Or what if you choose but you don’t really drink it, you just let it set on the table right in front of you and then go on about your conversations. Or…even if you drink it, you notice that the effect wears off and you’re back to I-don’t-know. (You can bounce around there, drinking and having it wear off over and over if you choose).
It seems like this is the experience of everyone. Nothing Absolute. Many flavors.
“The Tao is infinite, eternal. Why is it eternal? It was never born; thus it can never die. Why is it infinite? It has no desires for itself; thus it is present for all beings. The Master stays behind; that is why she is ahead. She is detached from all things; that is why she is one with them. Because she has let go of herself, she is perfectly fulfilled.” ~ Tao te Ching #7
See if you can stay with the Unknown and be with it. Find out if it’s safe. See for yourself if the mysterious universe is loving and friendly. No rules.
And by the way, I like that others have had life-shifting experiences and that they have described them as Friendly. We can remember this when the going gets tough and we need a little comfort. It helps us continue to question it all.
Byron Katie says she found out that when she believed her thoughts, she suffered, and when she didn’t believe her thoughts, she felt peace. That’s why I love questioning everything, and not choosing ANY poison.