The most any guru, master, teacher or friend can do for you is to tell you: "Don't listen to me! Listen to you!" And: "LISTEN TO ME when I tell you, 'Don't listen to me. Listen to YOU!'!" Everything rides on you listening to you, and knowing what to listen to and what to ignore. You learn that with experience. Experience teaches us to ride a bicycle and to know what to listen to and what to ignore. Most of us have to live a long time to wake up. And then we have to wake up some more, again and again. We can speed things up by taking up the practice of sitting still, being quiet, and watching what arises within, listening to what we are saying to ourselves. Hidden within the jumble and disarray are pearls of wisdom, gems of guidance and realization. Our body is a beacon of direction pointing the way and not-the-way. We have to look to see, listen to hear, and inquire and probe to know. We pursue the truth of who we are and how it is with us, seeking to find our life and live it day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Our nighttime dreams all declare: "This is how it is with you right now!" "This is how your life is going!" Asking us to put things together and revise our relationship with ourselves and with our life-- based on listening to what we are saying and acting accordingly.
I am in the last month of the first quarter of my 77th year. I have seen 77 March 13ths. And I have needed every one of them to be where I am. Every day I have lived has gone into the matrix that is me. "It is all grist for the mill," and I am milling me. For me, that means getting back to where I came from. The old Taoists would call that back to my "original nature." To the "me" I was born to be, before the conditions and circumstances of my life interfered with my development. You could also think of it as getting back to Eden. To the innocence of my uninitiated beginning. Those rites of initiation are something! And they just keep coming! I think I've learned something, and I've learned nothing. But I've learned that I've learned nothing! And that's something! "And the beat goes on" (Sonny Bono). That's the important thing, that we live so as to pass on the eternal nature of the beat, and the wonder of dancing with the music. Just get in there and dance! Be fascinated with the magic of living your way to who you are over time! Don't treat any of it with more seriousness than is warranted under the circumstances. I'm more mellow than I used to be, more relaxed into my life, into the way of things, less prone to frustration and endless striving to force my way into being. More, "Okay, now what?" More doing what needs to be done here and now in the time and place of my living. Less judgmental, more compassionate and kind. More receptive, less demanding. More me, less not-me. That's the mark of true human-being-hood I think, more me, less not-me. I believe the next 77 Marches will confirm that. But, all that is to be known about the process of becoming who we are has been known for at least 4,000 years, arising, as it has, from the simple practice of being still and quiet and watching what arises in the silence, without interfering, or taking over, or seeking to exploit our realizations in the service of our ambition and aspirations. The process is built to lead us to "Okay, now what?" And more sitting still in the silence, watching what arises, seeing where it leads, which will always be back to who we are.