I opened to this page in my journal today, just after writing a card to my mother in law: “Tiredness is not an excuse. How can I be balanced when not sleeping? Exhausted? Find out. Let the bottom fall out. Balance of the truest sort transcends fatigue. True balance exists regardless of external circumstances.” I’d written those words for myself a few months ago and here I am again needing the reminder about the importance of finding balance not dependent on external circumstances. Ironically, the card I’d just finished writing in said this: Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
All of this a lesson I deeply need today. On holiday after a grueling series of flights on a day when Rowan refused to nap, I have been downing vitamin C like a drug addict and coughing up a lung – feeling like the proverbial dog on a leash that can’t set herself free. In spite of a self-identified practice of not pining after anything other than what just IS, I find myself groping along after the usual ‘quiet, sleep, rest, time for self, exercise, a hair cut…’ – the familiar ongoing litany of wants and needs churning below the surface as I chase Rowan at his grandmother’s house, trying to maintain some semblance of control amidst the cookies and cacophony of motorized toys. I struggle with wanting so many things other than how they are. A short sampling of a long list: Why won’t Rowan eat vegetables today? Why does he like tractors more than trees? Why doesn’t he respond when I call his name? Why does he have to smack me when I am hugging him? Why does he still not sleep through the night when he is almost two? Why does it have to be so hard? (you get the picture). What a humorous trap I can be lured into – the patterning that pines after something else. Never has it been more apparent than now as I make my life’s work rooted in the care of Rowan.
At a certain point is becomes clearer and clearer to me that I am working too hard to control situations that are ultimately beyond my control. I’m trying too hard to shape results in the direction of my preferences. Most importantly, I’m efforting so much that it eclipses the quiet, abiding resting in any given moment that is always available to me: that peace not dependent on external circumstances, the balance that transcends fatigue. (The revelation hits me as I loose a chunk of my hair prying it from the hook above the car door while wrestling with the car seat buckle, muttering profanities at the absurdity of the moment).
To leave behind the over-efforting in favor of a quiet abiding doesn’t mean that I don’t still maintain a strong center of gravity that directs and guides my toddler regarding right action. It also doesn’t mean that I become lazy or laissez-faire. It means that I hold my seat from a place of relaxation. It means that rather than breaking connection and intimacy with my son because of vast frustration stemming from endless churning efforts and attachment to the storyline of exhaustion and a restless sort of ‘staying in control,’ I instead do absolutely nothing.
What on earth does that mean, you might be asking? NOTHING? How on earth can you parent and do nothing? By resting in the arising of each moment, abiding in Reality as it simply is – with no seeking, grasping, pining, yearning; With no adding of anything on top of pure and simple existence. Moving from this place there is no need for mental anxiety, for worry, for angst, for questioning this and that…or for shouting profanities when your hair gets tangled in the car hook. There is simple response to any given moment with peace and balance. Peace and Balance. Nothing more, nothing less.
Adi Da says it well: “Every motive is seeking. Every turning away is avoidance. Every turning towards is avoidance. All these things are seeking, for they are not abiding now in the Form of Reality. Thus, to turn at all is to act. And every turning will awaken the reaction of turning the opposite way in time. The Truth is radical non-avoidance moment to moment. It is to live this moment without conflict, directly. Where there is understanding there is no turning, and every action turns no way at all, for there is only radical consciousness behind it, turning no way, knowing only great Bliss.”