It really is fickle, this mind. Why does it change so much? Food, mood, fatigue, sickness, etc, every kind of external stimuli and influence. Sometimes I refer to it as “in my better moments”, or “in my weaker moments” – it is true that we can see the world, and our relationships so vastly differently depending on these variables.
Our sensitivities and insecurities can manifest and take hold so quickly with the slightest indication, just the mention of a name, or the thought that a name was mentioned when it wasn’t. From there the mind races, the guard goes up, the self-preservation lock down ensues. Like the Chinese “Fighting Cock” passage, “his sense of fighting is still smoldering within him ready to be awakened”. The emotions are ready to be ignited. We want to meet force with force and protect ourselves with anger and accusations, and sometimes wild theories that may have nothing to do with reality. Then again, they aren’t always so wild, and sometimes things need to be forgotten. If they can’t be forgotten, they need to be forgiven.
In the better moments we understand that these little burrs under our saddle are small things that are easily removed if we are able to focus on the larger, more powerful elements of the overall relationship. The tendency to focus on the burrs are what Suzuki called “small mind” things. “Big mind” things are the signal amidst the noise. Big questions like, “what draws me to that person?” and “what is my life like without that person in it?” “How does that person improve my experience of life?”
We are individuals; we have our own neurosis, insecurities, and idiosyncrasies. Our obsessions and possessive tendencies are carried forward manifestations of earlier pain, or conditioning as a result of negative experiences. Ahh, but if we could open to the direct experience and simply be in the present moment with the relationship and feel the direct sensations of the relationship as we experience it, wouldn’t that be so much better? To give the painful memories and conditioning their place, but in the background of our store consciousness, not in the foreground.
To open our chest to another person and give them our heart in that direct experience, regardless of what that other person may or may not have done, or thought, or said when they were not in our presence…wouldn’t that be beautiful? Then the only thoughts/experiences/data/memories that would matter would be that which arises from the direct experience of the relationship.
To open our very souls to another person without hesitation or fear, this is the way of the Love Warrior. Instead of wading into a fierce battle without fear of injury or death, we wade into a relationship with the same fearlessness – unafraid to be wounded, injured, or scarred again. What would that be like? Is that even possible? Does that take even more courage than the “real” battle? The Love Warrior may have scars from past relationships gone bad in which mean, confused people acting in irresponsible ways that have harmed their hearts, but they recognize those scars as the “seasoning for their life stew” “grist for their mill” – just experiences that aid their perspective going forward.
To the ordinary man, everything that happens to him is either a curse or a blessing. To a warrior, each thing is a challenge. The warrior has the wisdom to approach each event as it is, not knowing its outcome. Not forcing results. His “don’t know” is the joy and courage that fill his life. – Don Juan
Life is constantly evolving, as is our psyche. “Every experience is conditioned by that which precedes it” – everything we experience can either be viewed as a curse or a blessing, or a beautiful new challenge; something to be witnessed and learned from and used as an opportunity to expand, expand, expand our hearts and minds.
Constantly expanding to the experience of life, the pleasures, pains, curses, blessings, successes, failures, beauty and ugliness, praise and blame…poison and medicine. With firm conviction to stay open, with the presence of mind and spirit that we are not our experiences, we are not our pleasures and pains, etc., we are simply here to witness our experiences and do our very best to love everything, everyone, every experience, every moment of this short, insignificant life. It boils down to that, right? The challenge is how we can NOT identify with that which changes, but rather identify with that which is unchangeable, outside of time. Pure awareness, pure perspective, action without result, love without expectation or fear, life without doubt or comparison. We each have only one life that we know of. Why would we give our time or energy to anything else?
“Everything that is dear to me, and everyone that I love are of the nature to change. Therefore, my only true possessions are my actions, and my awareness.”
So be it. “So let it be written, so let it be done!” The Love Warrior wades into “battle” not with a sword, or axe, but with open arms and an open heart, ready to lean into the fray of love, and life…as it is…….