Monday, August 15, 2016

After being disturbed, you will be astonished...

Someone was recently sharing with me that all they really wanted was to “be with the flow,” and that if they could somehow make this happen, then they could fully open to life. They could finally be intimate, share their vulnerability, be truly connected, and take the risk that love will always ask of us.

As we went into it together, we discovered that it was not actually possible, at an experiential level, to be “outside” the flow. We are always in the flow of life. It is the idea that there is some “us” on one side and some thing called “flow” in some other place that is the great trance that seems to be unique to the human experience.

Usually, when we talk about being “in the flow,” we mean that we like the feelings, sensations, and experiences which are arising in our experience. Or, they are the feelings that we have been told are the “right” ones by our families, societies, and even spiritual teachers. If there are more vulnerable, intense, groundless, unresolvable, or unideal feelings, then we see this as clear evidence that we are “out of the flow.”

And so the war begins. The dream of abandoning the non-flow to return to the flow as quickly as possible. But if what we mean by “the flow” is freedom, aliveness, and wholeness, then this is not the flow. It is prison, actually.

Perhaps it is only in the willingness to fully participate in our immediate experience, exactly as it is, that the always, already nature of the flow will be revealed. It is not something you will get to one day, as some sort of acquisition, when you line up all of the right experiences, when you successfully abandon and replace what is here for something else. The flow is here right now, utterly inseparable from what you are, and is revealed in your unconditional commitment to the truth of your immediate experience.

When you are willing to bring your embodied curiosity, openness, acceptance, and presence to whatever is arising in the immediacy of now, the question of how to feel more flow ceases to arise. You are already fully alive. In this embodied openness the path is everywhere, even in those places we least expect it. From this perspective, the conceptual distinction between “flow” and “non-flow” falls away, and you are left with is what you are, which is love itself. This love is not passive but is fiery and alive, erupting with the qualities of warmth, wisdom, compassion, and kindness.

As it is so eloquently said in The Gospel of Thomas, “The seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find, he will be disturbed. After being disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everything.”

Allow love to astonish you on this new day, for you never know when it will be your last. Allow it to craft you as a vessel of aliveness in which its qualities can pour out into this world, a world which needs them now more than ever. There is no flow separate from that.

Photo of Alisa Weilerstein, in the flow… by Lucio Lecce