|Paul Gyodo A.||
Hello everyone, I look forward to our sitting together at Solstice Center tonight at 6:00pm. Looks like another larger group, which is great. As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate more and more how sharing intention and values with a large group is such a precious human experience, which can raise consciousness all by itself. I've seen this for many years, being a longtime athlete in a team sport (in my case, soccer), and when the intention is to deepen our heart-mind connection, then the effect is even more powerful.
As I've pointed out before, sitting in a group activates that special boundary zone between public and private, inner and outer, self and other, where subconscious beliefs often limit us. It is also a precious opportunity to surrender to your own intuitive wisdom in a protected space... the protection coming from the very shared intention that brings us together.
And all of this is present the moment you walk into a meditation space and we greet each other, in silence or with words, it does not matter.
I am told that an eclipse season is upon us, and some of you may have gotten up a few weeks ago for the lunar eclipse that turned the moon a vivid rust color past midnight. An eclipse can be a good way to look at meditation practice (metaphorically), in this way: that we do not feed the goal-seeking and judgmental tendencies of our minds, keeping those energies at bay, while we turn inward, into what may seem at first dark, to recover a new, but ancient and intimately familiar way of knowing. Once the eclipse has passed, we may see the moon or sun a bit differently, we may feel them differently, as we may have a new relationship with our own ever-running and quite miraculous conceptual minds.
As all meditation traditions describe, the practice-mind required to allow such an eclipse is the mind of "wu wei", translated "not trying" or "not doing".
There is a recent book out that explores "wu wei" with an orientation on creativity and leadership called "Trying Not to Try". Here's an excerpt:
wu wei "is not at all about dull inaction. In fact, it refers to the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art, smoothly negotiating a complex social situation, or even bringing the entire world into harmonious order. For a person in wu-wei, proper and effective conduct follows as automatically as the body gives in to the seductive rhythm of a song. This state of harmony is both complex and holistic, involving as it does the integration of the body, the emotions, and the mind. If we have to translate it, wu-wei is probably best rendered as something like “effortless action” or “spontaneous action.” Being in wu-wei is relaxing and enjoyable, but in a deeply rewarding way that distinguishes it from cruder or more mundane pleasures."
If you would like to explore more, there is a good essay here that summarizes the main themes. One thing that resonates with me is how we have such heavy personal and cultural conditioning that works against this way of being. It starts in childhood, when we may find that our spontaneity is restricted and discouraged. And it extends to adult life, where social values encourage us to define our goals and rationally seek to fulfill them.
But, "unfortunately, in many areas of life this is terrible advice. Many desirable states — happiness, attractiveness, spontaneity — are best pursued indirectly, and conscious thought and effortful striving can actually interfere with their attainment."
I agree. Here is a good place for eclipse.
The other thing that resonates with me is how wu wei leads us to a deeper appreciation of our human interdependence. For usually "striving" and "trying" takes place in the context of an independent self rationally seeking self-fulfillment, with understood markers of success and failure.
But that is not who we are. And dropping together into this dynamic place of Not Trying, we can see that directly.
See you tonight, whoever can make it.
- Paul Gyodo