We pretend it is going to last forever. We do not look at the score. We do not look at the clock. We do not wonder "How much LOOONNNGGEEERRR as though we need it to be done, NOW! Our full attention is on the moment, this moment, the time and place of our living. The moment that never ends, but flows, uninterrupted into the next moment, and the one following, on and on... Though we will step out of the action, the moment of our stepping out will continue without end through all of time and beyond. The universe can disappear into a Black Hole, but the moment of its disappearing goes on and on... Our place in this "great scheme of things," is to shine as brightly as we can for as long as possible, bringing ourselves forth as a blessing and a grace on all of the times and places of our living. Offering the gifts, genius, daemon, spirit, virtues, character, vitality, energy and life that came with us from the womb to the contexts and circumstances of each situation that comes our way over the full course of our life, in ways that respond appropriately to what is being called for-- "Without hope, without witness, without reward" (Steven Moffat in "Doctor Who"), as an expression/incarnation of our Original Nature because that is what we are born to do, and it would be such a shame not to do it. We discover who we are in the act of standing up to meet the moment, moment-by-moment-by-moment, spontaneously, improvisational, naturally doing what needs to be done as only we can do it, surprising ourselves by showing everyone how much more to us than meets the eye. We begin living that way by daring to not know what we are doing, and being curious about everything, playing at being who we are as we reveal ourselves to ourselves to our continuing amazement, all our life long.
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..." I don't know if Kris Kristofferson knew what he was saying when he wrote these words (To "Me and Bobby Magee"), or if he was just rhyming words, but. He is spot on. We aren't free until we aren't afraid of loosing anything. Until we are free from trying/hoping to gain anything. Freedom is having nothing to hold onto. Freedom is letting everything go. Standing at "the still point" (T.S. Eliot) of that place, there is nothing anyone (or anything) can do to us. We are grounded there in a way that nothing can touch us. Nothing can knock us off that spot. We are the adamantine Buddha seated under the Bo tree, unmoved and unmovable, at one with ourselves and free to do what is necessary to be what is needed in each situation as it arises all our life long, unafraid of anything. At that place, we are our own authority in determining what we do, unafraid of going to hell even, so confident we are in our own ability to know what needs us to do it, and free to follow our own sense of direction, content to live with any outcome no matter what it may be. How do we get there? We are never more than a simple shift in perspective from here to there. We are going to die. There is nothing to gain or to lose. All we have is who we are. And what is that if we do not live so as to express who we are in each situation as it arises all our life long? Why hold anything back? What are we saving it for?
Extremes not only beget extremes, they also become increasingly extreme over time. Knowing when to stop and stopping would be ideal, but. Diets go over into anorexia like that (snaps fingers), and anorexia spins off into bulimia, and knowing when to stop doesn't mean stopping. Having someone explain the danger of excessive devotion to a cause doesn't immunize us against extremism. Hearing someone advise us to "Live toward the center!" doesn't enable healthy limits. Vulnerability to being "carried away" seems to be a human characteristic. We cannot be trusted to know where and when to draw the line, and to draw it. How often have we heard/said it? "We are our own worst enemy!" "No one can save us from ourselves!" "It's all up to us!" "Our safety is our responsibility!" And we remain a threat to ourselves and others, walking through our life, waiting for something to trigger our Excessive Response Mechanism, and propel us into action. Which underscores the danger of Russian interference in our elections, and manipulative language exploiting our tendency to be emotionally hooked into an ideologically based reactive way of living. We are this close (crosses fingers) to being swept up and away at all times. Knowing it and being alert to it, sensitive to, and aware of, the ease with which language inflames and engulfs us, may be our best defense against the extremes, and our best chance of remaining grounded in the center.