Sunday, July 13, 2008

Changing your experience

Do you want to change your experience?

The chances are that if this moment is unpleasant or stressful in any way, then you probably do want to change your experience. Is it not so? It is important to notice if this is so.

There is a whole world of ways out there that you can choose from to change your experience. And in life, we try many of them. By the time we come to the spiritual search, we have realized that many, and even most of them, do not ultimtately work.

On the spiritual journey, we may have lost our belief in many solutions out there, but we may retain one key belief - suffering is not ok and it must go. When I say suffering, I mean the entire range of feelings from mild discontent to acute stress.

Suffering is not ok, goes the belief, so we accumulate more and more subtle and sophisticated techniques to change our experience - to not suffer.

We have the idea that if we keep successfully changing our experience enough times using this or that technique, then somehow there will come a time when that change will stick and become a permanent state of unmitigated bliss.

There is nothing wrong with this, of course.

I mention all this because perhaps there comes a time when we may fall through to a place where nothing works. There is nowhere to turn to and nothing to depend on. And this is experienced as helplessness or depair or misery or anger or whatever else. And we feel completely overwhelmed.

With no effective technique and no defense against this onslaught, we are simply swallowed by it. And it feels like the end of everything. Which perhaps it is. It takes everything away.

There is good news here - for what it can take away completely is also the belief that suffering is not ok and needs to be changed. This is actually quite a relief, but not because relief was sought.

Sometimes all these words seem very paradoxical. What is being suggested is this:

When suffering arises, and there is no belief that it needs to be changed, then we respond to suffering from freedom. We may then happen to act in such a way that suffering stops, or we may not. Either way the action does not arise from a fear of the suffering. It arises from the freedom of experience.

This is the difference.

We no longer need to change our experience and our experience is free to change.


Maury said...

Excellent! Excellent!

linty said...

It's hard to get past the wanting to change my experience.

Intellectually I see that only full surrender to the suffering(and constant heavy circumstances: mounting debt, heavy emotional pain since childhood, shitty job, stress, etc.) is the only freedom but there is a corner of my mind that wants at least one moment of something to change.

To feel good about myself and have things at least somewhat start to improve-even for a day-is a very hard habit to break.

I don't want to embellish my "story" cuz it's just a story but damn...there has to be some joy in life. I've had amazing insights and moments of relief from the heaviness but life just can't be like this all the time. Feeling like this(especially after seeing that I am more than the suffering) just can't be the way.

It's entirely too much.

Ameeta said...

Yes - sometimes the experience of living can be heavy, burdensome.The mind and body can get exhausted and may simply want a break.

It's ok to want a break, yes?

It's ok to want a change.

It's ok for it to be not ok.

It's ok to not see the okness.

None of the above is because I say so or because either one of us once experienced it or had an insight about it.

Experiences and insights come and go.

It's ok because something is always ok alongside the not-okness.

And that okness does not depend on us in any way to be ok. So we are free to be not ok or ok or whatever else. The okness that is already here is not affected one whit.

It is not possible to be separate from this okness.

Even our swimming against the flow is happening in the flow.


Maury Lee said...

Agreed! Well said. And true.

linty said...

okay. thank you, ameeta.