Have you ever fought with reality? Consider a day where things didn’t go your way. You’re running late, you open the fridge to grab something and that something spills all over your shirt. You get into the car and there’s only traffic and red lights. Each apparent obstacle piling up in a heap of “this shouldn’t be the way it is!” I shouldn’t be late, I shouldn’t be wearing a shirt with stains, there shouldn’t be traffic. This is the innocent yet delusional habit of the mind to carry an idea about how things should be and then go to war with things as they are. It’s as if we say to the Holy, “Your world is screwed up, it’s not going my way. What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with this world? It’s not conforming to my idea of ease and rightness.” We sit in a puffed up prideful place of “I actually know better than all that is how things should be going.” What usually follows is “And I’m going to attempt to bend things to this tiny will.” And as nothing bends to suit you, it’s painful.
There’s a move in there that’s kind of like breaking one’s own back, or like laying down, that says: “Alright. I have salad dressing on my blouse. Alright, I’m 10 minutes late and getting later. Alright traffic. Alright.” What has to die then? The one who is neat, the one who is on time, the one who is respectable, right, in control. To return to things as they are is a great reckoning as we break down all those ‘it should be different’ places and we fall to the ground in humility, fall to the ground of things as they are. Reality as it is, is constantly inviting us out of identification through the reminder of pain.
And we don’t have control over letting go either; we cannot will surrender. It’s an invitation for humility that even inside our own bodies, we can’t make it go the way we want it to go. This is not a mistake; it’s supposed to hurt to fight reality. Delusion hurts. And the delusion that we’re actually in charge hurts. To fight the nature of things sends us right into noticing how helpless we are. And helpless is exactly the relationship between something that’s convinced it’s separate and the Whole. The small self IS helpless.
This great reckoning is like a great undoing, an undoing of delusion and illusion – and we fight it! It is a sanding down to the ground, a cleaning out, a purification. When it has really begun to take us over, we can spend time in a stunned place, all of our coping strategies taken from us if we’re lucky. We enter a clueless place, maybe a dark place, and we’re being remade. We don’t yet know how to hold that beautiful instrument of our heart and actually play it, we’ve been focused on coping for so long. And now it’s handed to us in the dark.
To be prepared to sing the holy song we’ve come here to sing, we have to be entirely emptied out so that our flute is so clear, so empty, so offered, so filled with nothing, that the beautiful breath of God can blow through it and there’s not a single distortion. Just a wide open portal that’s done fighting for its own way, done fighting for how it thinks it should be, or how it learned it should be, how it read things should be or how its friends say it should be.
So maybe we can enter into the mystery of what’s here. Maybe we can stop calling what-is names because it doesn’t fit into the stale brainwashed menu in our heads. Things as they are, are just as they are meant to be. Every moment and every flavor of every moment, a gift straight from the Holy, the Holy’s touch on your face. We can be so nothing that no matter what shows up we can say, “Thank you, sweetheart, Holiness, for another moment. Another chance to serve you, to serve the glory of this love that you are and that I am.”