Getting with the I: The A in WACYPR
“What is the way to be in this unexplained everything?”
“What is the way to be in this unexplained everything?
Watchful like being in turbulent water. Alert like being in danger. Courteous like being a guest. Yielding as melting ice. Primal as the uncarved block. Receptive as the valley.” –Ray Grigg, No. 15, “The Tao of Being”
When I showed what I was reading to a close friend decades ago, the reaction was, “What does it mean?” We were looking at one of the eighty-one articles of Ray Grigg’s “The Tao of Being”. Apparently, not many appreciate the way the ideas are worded. It seems that short sentences did not have that kind of popular appeal.
My guess is that the eighty-one articles have an appeal similar to poems. A certain amount of ambiguity is used in order to have the reader come up with their own understanding of the spirit of the idea, giving it a more personal quality or intimate meaning.
The above quoted material is a sample. It reasserts itself decades later as a very timely material in the exercise of using the I and the it perspective.
I need to be honest though that using more written words to explain one of his articles is in complete contradiction to the idea of sparingly using words to bring out the depth of the lesson. Let me nonetheless be brave enough to deal with the required verbosity in attempting an explanation.
Watchful, Alert, Courteous, Yielding, Primal and Receptive---are the more concrete description of what attitude to take when using the I to objectively observe the it or ego-based self (as discussed in Enlightenment as a One-Step Procedure).
Being fond of acronyms to help myself remember lists, “WACYPR” to me is the way to be in flow with the moment.
Watchful like being in danger. Just notice yourself while watching TV. Is it not that all else is shut out by the focus we give to split second developments that unfold before our eyes and ears through the TV? So too, the present moment needs our full attention.
When we are not present to what we are doing, the it or the ego-based self takes over. Instead, while doing something else, our thoughts are occupied with past events or future plans (for example, I need to hurry this up so I can finish the next. It’s never this moment. It’s always in the future.). We tend to blame the past and others for our unhappiness, not knowing that blaming is actually causing our happiness in the present.
We wait for an ideal future that never comes, never being content with the blessings that we have in the moment.
We need to be watchful to stay with the moment otherwise we can never really get where we want to go. The only going to we need is with the moment. Now.
But wait, we need to take stock of the fact that TV is an effective way of taking us away from the moment. It takes us to a virtual world instead of the actual physical reality. This is not to say that there are no worthwhile TV programs or mass media materials. Being selective is what is important. Mass media has come up with so many creative and awe-inspiring materials.
Courteous like being a guest. One example I can think of being discourteous to the moment is the attitude of being blasé. We see things as though we already know everything there is to know and we are bored, which is in contrast to the sense of wonder that is so typical to children.
Being courteous then translates to a sense of awe towards everything that is around us---people, plants and animals, even cars and buildings, practically everything in our world. Without wonder, this sense of awe is difficult to develop. And awe has been cited in esoteric teachings as one of the requisites for developing a keener sense of the spiritual. Without wonder and awe, we cannot turn every task into a sacred one.
Yielding as melting ice. Melting ice does not struggle to get back its previous bigger shape or solid state. It does not resisting becoming melted ice and eventually water. It lets the moment take the universe to the next state of equilibrium it is destined to have.
The opposite of being yielding to the moment is imposing ourselves on the moment. We want something else to happen other than what is already happening, what the current moment is presenting as a gift to us. We have the impression that we can change the moment by imposing our will on it, but the truth is that the moment gives its power to us only when we let it live through us.
By yielding to the moment, it reveals its wisdom, helping us to creatively adapt to the situation. For example, if contrary to our impatient behavior, we consciously decide to be open to what the person is saying, we actually end up seeing the advantages of the other person’s argument. Once the other person sees that we are receptive, this breaks the ice and makes the other person also open up to your point of view. In the end, both yours and the other person’s points of view are factored into the equation, making it possible for the two of you to come up with the best plan of action.
Creativity and harmony are parts of the cycle that takes the universe through each next state of equilibrium.
Primal as the uncarved block. The uncarved block does not have a past history, a self-image to live up to or an ego to defend. It does not hold rigid beliefs. It lets the sculptor carve it as the sculptor pleases. In a similar manner we can learn to be the uncarved block. We can let go off of our rigid beliefs to make way for wisdom. We can let go of our ego to make way for true love. We can “die and be free”, let go of expectations to let life live through us.
This is not to say that we should not have goals in life. But we should also understand the merit of dynamically adjusting to the present moment or situation, instead of holding rigid judgments against developments. Sometimes the things that are unforeseen happen to actually speed up the realization of our goals. In some situations, this insight can come shortly after the seemingly “negative” event; in others, it may take generations before the knowledge becomes available.
Primal also means letting go of our usual identification with roles, material possessions, the past and the future. In corollary, we need to be vigilant with our habit of identifying our true self to be the negative labels that belong to the ego’s judgment: “I am fat”, “I am ugly”, “I am poor”, “I am stupid”, “I am bad” … superior/inferior to someone else… Judgment is of the ego. To move with the I, judge not.
Receptive as the valley. While watching the suspense-filled movie “Mission: Impossible”, have you ever wondered how Ethan and his team of agents kept going shortfall after shortfall, seemingly without rest, between short intervals? Being receptive is one of the attitudes that could make it to the top of the list of what kept them going. Being receptive, they accepted the negative situations as they arose and cooked up new strategies to deal with the developments. Their thinking did not get stuck with the old plan or structure. They adapted and moved in on new developments without hesitation.
One of the ways of reinforcing the ego is by insisting on having things the way they were, when the past is perceived as better than one’s present circumstances. This is an experience I had when I left a job that I considered ideal several years ago and had to deal with the new circumstances entailed by a scaled-down standard of living. The it insisted on getting the past back, which of course is impossible. The it believed that it could not be happy without the material trappings of the job that it had left behind.
Wanting to get the past back is one way of losing track of life’s meaning. It can be a very painful experience yet it can lead to an opening to the soul for one who sincerely seeks.
Alert like being in danger. Going back to the original question, “What is the way to be in this unexplained everything?”, I take Alert as the most important, probably because of my most recent experiences. Alert and still is more like it though.
With alertness and stillness (which are closely related to the practice of mindful awareness), we can use experiences with negative (or positive) emotions to remind us to get back to being present to and accepting the moment.
I have written two previous articles, Full of Empty in Wonderland: One Day of Mindful Awareness and Do Not Read This, related to being alert and still, and would find myself being repetitious if I bring up further detail here.
Being alert and still lets life live through us, allows the moment to unfold, allows our angels to come to our aid and work their magic.
This is how the mystery of “being found” happens.
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