After Thought #32

“Why ?

Because the gap is our most resisted experience”


I remember being invited to present an introductory talk on meditation once for a group of people.  As timelines go, I can always benefit from extra time.  This particular facilitator was notorious for being off time with regards to the pacing of his workshop material and his events as a whole. 

When it got to “my” time, I had planned to give more time to the experiential aspect of my presentation.  When we got to that piece of the presentation, I had everyone go through a brief exercise and then sit with there eyes closed.  I had hoped it would be an opportunity to experience a chunk of down time; some stillness; a chance to pause the hectic schedules that most of us engage on a daily basis. 

Within a few seconds I became aware that the facilitator had started to fidget, something that was not so unusual or surprising statistically when it comes to people learning to relax in meditation.  The humor of the experience is that I ended up only having about 3 minutes because the facilitator, who happened to be sitting beside me, tapped me on the leg to indicate we should move on from my presentation to the next part of his presentation.  In “my” original plan “I” had hoped for the experiential piece to last at least 15 to 20 minutes; all I got was a couple of minutes! 

It’s not that “I” felt ripped off in terms of my own process, but the fact, realization and insight that the facilitator [as many people] could not and cannot sit more than a minute or so in silence.  He, like so many “others”, could not handle a moment of pause; an intention to be simply quiet without having to “do” something; without doing anything. He could not handle a few minutes of silence, let alone 20 minutes or 30 minutes without going back into the “doing” mode he was so clearly fixated on, and addicted too.

Why?  Because the gap or silence that can be found in meditation is the most resisted experience of all experiences that we have in life.  We will do anything and everything to avoid the gap.  In avoiding the gap we forfeit our greatest inherent treasure; we forfeit the chance to commune with Self, the Self that lies beyond the noise and drama, the addiction and distraction, of our everyday life. We avoid the Self, our Self,  that could bring freedom, understanding and wisdom to the struggle and strife that so easily dominates our moment to moment experience and perception of the world.

The degree to which we avoid the gap which is our connection to the only Self, is infinitely seductive.  Our compulsive avoidance takes all manner of appearance and can be so subtle; we often overlook our avoidance by actually celebrating the very distractions that prevents us from experiencing a deeper level of knowing the now.

We resist the gap because the gap is silent and still.  We resist the gap because it allows anything unlike itself to surface.  We resist the gap because it allows us to become more aware, and in becoming aware, we expose ourselves to becoming conscious of our own personal neurosis; “patterns”, behaviors, and thinking that are expressions of the false core and self that we imagine ourselves to be. 

In a moment of stillness we can unveil the mask of our pseudo self; where all can be seen. The degree with which we resist this stillness, this awareness; our presence, can be comical at most, and neurotic at worst. 

Some of the most “successful spiritual” traditions are those that focus more on a practice, rather than the dogma of ideas and philosophy that we often use to fill, substitute and distract ourselves from the gap; knowledge and understanding are the boo bee prizes.  In silence, everything can be discarded and nothing can be revealed; in nothing “we” can find freedom.  Radical spirituality is the willingness to discard everything so that the innocence of nothing might for once, overshadow our mind and our affairs.  Transformation is found not in change or the changing, but instead in the timeless presence of the silent now.

I often muse at how discordant the affairs of conventional faith traditions can be that are so heavily focused on reinforcing rules and regulations, the ideas and expectations on the thinking, the being, the doing and the having.  How that controlled incongruence overshadows the expression of the natural, spontaneous and potential congruence that can arise out of silence.  I often muse at how the violent and discursive process of the thought, the act and the deed can so easily be smothered in the idea and name of goodness and Godliness.     

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