Stop Pretending You’re In Bondage

A few days ago, I was studying the state of Anticipation.

(I can’t help but hear that word spoken in my mind like in Rocky Horror Picture Show….”an-tisssah—-pay-shun”).

The state of “now” in that present moment included deeply aching leg, very sore right achilles tendon, thigh muscles ticking independently in little spasms, an aching pelvis bone, my daughter lying on the floor on her stomach writing things in a notebook, the mailman’s little motorized truck making sounds out by the mailbox.

I had told my friends “it feels like a dagger is stuck in my right butt cheek all the way in, with only the handle in view.”

If I held really still, I couldn’t really feel anything. If I moved, just a wee bit, OOOWWWWW.

And then there’s the mind and all its ideas, visions, suggestions. Some are less stressful than others, to put it mildly.

But it occurred to me that this status of anticipating a major upcoming event is a very fascinating human condition.

You’re about to start a new job, get an operation (like me), start treatment for a disease, get divorced, go on a date, move to a new house, buy a refrigerator, run a workshop, have a baby, go on vacation, compete in the race.

The date is in the future. You really don’t know what it will be like. You’ve talked with other people. You have many questions, maybe you’ve gotten tons of questions answered.

You’ve read books. You’ve googled.  You’ve trained.

But there is nothing like actually doing it.

So weird, because there are many other things that happen that we do not know beforehand are going to happen. Unless we have one of those cool intuition thingies go on.

But whether or not you’re psychic, there are the things we KNOW are coming up at some future point, they’re on the calendar….and there are the things we do NOT know are coming, that are NOT on the calendar.

Back to anticipation.

Doing The Work when the mind is very chattery about the frightening upcoming event can make such a huge difference in the present, it’s astonishing.

In other words, I can sit here thinking about the operation, the drive to the hospital, gauze bandages, and lying on the couch at home without being able to move….

….and I can have an uncomfortable, nervous, depressed, or terrified, story about this upcoming situation….OR I can have an open, wondering, connected story about this upcoming situation.

Who would you be, in this moment now, without the thought that it could go wrong? That it could be hard? That you don’t know what will happen, or what it will really feel like?

Who would you be without the thought that it would be upsetting to lose the race, miss the airplane, not have enough money, not be able to control anything about the outcome?

Martin Seligman, famous in the field of psychology for studying learned helplessness and depression, began to study well-being in the 1960s.

Turns out, he created a manual (with the help of other wonderful researchers of human psychology) called Character Strengths and Virtues which is the opposite, or counterpart, to the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

One focuses on what can go right with human behavior and thinking. One focuses on what can go wrong with human behavior and thinking.

In the most simple, simple, simple way….turning any painful thought around to its opposite and imagining if it’s possible that this be true, is a sliver of what The Work is about.

I anticipate things will go badly, I’m scared, I’m nervous, what if “x”, what if “y”…and these are dreadful, horrifying, sickening, sad.

Turned around: I anticipate things will go wonderfully, I’m excited, I’m full of energy, what if “x”, what if “y”…and these are new, challenging, wild, wondrous, thrilling.

Does it matter whether you know or don’t know what will actually happen?

Who, or what, would you be if you knew that even death, endings, change, something being over, something beginning from the very start, losing, winning, acquiring, emptying, leaving…

…was all going to be absolutely, fundamentally OK?

“Starting right now, this moment, I am asking you to become the Buddha. I am asking you to take your stand, to stand absolutely firm in your intention to awaken to the Truth of your Self……..Stand up! You are the Buddha! You are freedom itself! Stop dreaming your dream! Stop pretending that you are in bondage—stop telling yourself that lie!” ~ Adyashanti

Much love, Grace

2 Replies to “Stop Pretending You’re In Bondage”

  1. I became the Buddha, and he showed me that there is no pain or pleasure, good or bad, right or wrong, up or down; That these are all distinctions and distinctions are but illusions of the mind, and I was at peace in the midst of what is.

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