"It's dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly... Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them...throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you...trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That's why you must walk so lightly...on tiptoes and no luggage...completely unencumbered." -Aldous Huxley
Lightly, like a fragrance on the wind.
In the Bhara Sutta, it is said that the heaviest burden we carry is our clinging to what we were. We hold on to our past preferences, our future ideals, and our present perceptions. But as we’ve all seen time and time again:
“You can’t always count on it to be like it is” - Terrence Mckenna
It’s curious, we hold on so that we are informed about the future - but it all changes so fast that the very holding on hinders us. This is the ignorance that one must go after. Ignorance of the fact that this mode of going through life is insufficient - in terms of personal satisfaction, and power to help others. As such, it is not enough to be against ignorance, one must be actively anti-ignorance. Stop ignoring the truth of your direct experience, and apply antidotes to ignorance whenever it arises.
“Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax” - Pema Chodron
How can you be energetically against ignorance, but also relaxed? The truth is, the relaxation and lightening up come from dropping the past, present and future. Anti-Ignorance means combatting the three times.
“Don’t linger in the past - don’t pursue the thoughts that have just passed through the mind
Don’t anticipate the future - don’t wait for thoughts to enter the mind
Rest vividly in the present - don’t keep track of anything” - Gampopa
What happens when you live lightly like this? Continually letting go of any attempts to grab onto thought? Life becomes a song and you become capable of singing in tune. If you always act in your habitual way, you are bound to misstep. But if you abide actively in the present, able to respond spontaneously to the happenings around you - you embody the truth that Miles Davis found while playing the trumpet.
"When you hit a wrong note, it’s the next note that makes it good or bad."
You embody the understanding the Shunryu Suzuki so often emphasized:
“Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else”
When you lighten up like this, you learn to sing whatever the song of life is. Whether it be of love, injustice, outcry, or even fear. Once you sing without holding back, then you’re on your way towards transcending intimacy. When you help, go beyond the notion of you helping them. You are both faces of the faceless. So sometimes you sing together, and other times one is singing while the other holds space for the resonance.
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time” -Angela Davis
You can only transform the world because it is made of change.
You can only be an agent of change, if you let go and learn to sing.
It is as it is.
As Pablo Picasso once said: "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible." As such, I took a month off to write my dissertation. I’m happy to return to the weekly newsletter schedule :)