Knowing and Embracing Ambiguity The middle path is to not choose a side but to be in balance in all
By David Stanley Bell
Part 1 - Giving up on illusions like there is one right way
I bow to the God within you and your ever-growing realization of all you are! May the tension that is created by gap between where you are and where you want to be, help motivate your practice to guide you there. Until we have clarity of being, the weeds in the mind, emotion and body will grow without effort, so the garden will need the loving and mindful hands of the gardener. The spiritual life, which I like to call the “real” life, is filled with ambiguities.
There is no “one way” to do things. To free your life, free you mind. Life and love are dynamic! What worked for us today may not work for us again tomorrow. But unfortunately, our human inertia tends to grab onto a solution, hold it tight and want it to work again and again. I, like many of my brothers and sisters, instead of opening my eyes to follow the “bread crumbs” along the way, will sometimes find a bread crumb, pick it up and hold on to it and make IT my God. We are driven by our need for certainty as well as our need for the discovery of the unknown. And when we are in our insecurities we tend to opt for the certainty.
I think back to the first time, while reading a spiritual book that I liked, that I saw the words “mindful” and “no-mind” on the same page. The significance of this hit me later as one of the other ambiguities of the spiritual life. In this physical manifestation, within our cells, within our nervous systems, thoughts, emotions and sensations within our body are intimately wired together. The electrochemistry of our bodies provides the life juices, the drive, the inertia, and the manifested lessons within. Thoughts can give rise to emotions that can give rise to sensations in the body that can give rise to other emotions, and so on in all possible directions. A belief is a thought that is trained within and can be thought without thinking. It is stored within our chemistry and can stimulate without consciousness. A powerful manifesting force is the strength of our beliefs, a debilitating force for us and our growth is an erroneous belief. No-mind is so crucial to achieving inner silence and allowing the soul to listen to and speak with its own voice. Mindful awareness is crucial to discovering the erroneous beliefs within and replacing them more real beliefs.
The history of this planet is stored within the rocks and mountains. Our history is stored within our bones. Our bodies contain much wisdom that requires our attention. Our pains and our diseases contain purpose and revelation for us if we will be aware and listen. One of the greatest healing powers for our own body is our own attention to our body with love and acceptance. There is truth in our deepest desires. Do we allow this truth to speak openly to ourselves, or do we shame it into inappropriate or damaging expressions? When we listen to our bodies and even ask it for the messages it has for us, it can speak to us the wisdom we need, and then we eliminate the purpose for the pain and therefore the pain. But there are the ambiguities of the body also. There are erroneous beliefs stored in our body and in our cells that must sometimes be ignored or better yet, seen for what they are. But mindfulness is needed to decipher the illusion from the real within the body.
A good example of this comes from my own life with diet and exercise. There are times in the morning I need to get up and hike, but my body aches, and I have to decide that these aches are the voice old habits and beliefs and I am in the process of replacing these with more real habits and beliefs. This goes the same for hunger pangs also. The process for me is to listen to the heart, listen to the mind and listen to the body, and step forward in intuitive silence. To leave out any one of these is to be in illusion about what is going on inside me.
But there is more than the mind, body, emotion electrochemistry. There is the additional interaction of the electrochemical with the electromagnetism of the chakras. Electromagnetism includes fields and light. Within this electromagnetism we interact with ourselves, with others, with all that is. Blockages in the body can manifest as blockages in our chakras, beliefs can open the third eye or blind it. Awareness is needed to find the illusion and replace it with what is real, and this healing process can sometimes take a long time. So a strong belief in the healing of illusion, the purpose of all we have experienced and all we will continue to experience is important to keep us in our practice. Mastery is about the fundamentals.
A rare few of us are blessed with sudden, all-encompassing experience that leads to enlightenment. The rest of us have to work at it. And for us, I dedicate my life.
Some of us have great spiritual experiences that alter our perspective suddenly, but most of the time these are epiphanies and there is still much work to do. It is important to have our affirmations to clearly communicate to ourselves our divine nature. After all, many of us have so many negative and debilitating thoughts and beliefs that have surrounded us since we were young and we need to replace these with truth. But we need to understand just where we are on the path. We need to be aware of and accept the illusion that remains in our beliefs and in the un-thought thoughts within the body. Lack of acceptance creates more resistance, more inertia in the body. Getting “real” with ourselves helps to rewire the neuropath ways, open the flow through the chakras, alter the chemistry in the cells of our body to accept more truth, accept more light, to be open to more of what is real. This is the way of the alchemist, of transmuting to gold, to light.
I have heard before, “there is not something to do, there is something to know.” Just one more ambiguity for today. Especially for us men that have the propensity to want to quickly fix a problem as we first learn of it, there are many times we need to not “do,” but instead listen, share, reflect, respond with innocence. But the inertias that are stored unconsciously within our bodies can sometimes be transmuted through silence and sometimes be brought into the light only through action. I recall a classic comparison from the book Psycho-Cybernetics of human beings to a bicycle which is only stable when it has a direction and is in motion. We need quiet know as well as motion. What do you need right now? From time to time it changes. A good example of this is my own sitting mediation that I do daily. There are times I can be comfortable in silence and joy and there are times when the noise in my head is so unnerving. At times like this I go out for a hike and then when I return, I can be in silence and joy.
Let’s not fall in love with the bread crumb, let’s be in love with the process, the path, the experiences, the learning, the transmutation of our very cells to the essence of light and love. Let’s heal to be real!
Part 2 - Doing, Being, Surrendering to Divine Miracles
It was one of those beautiful mornings. A rain storm was just clearing out, all was cool and fresh. As I ascended to the edge of the canyon on my morning hike, I could see the clouds touching the distant mountain tops and I could see the morning light reflecting on an abundance fresh snow. Some days it melts so quickly at the lower elevations and today, I felt the longing to experience it more personally. So after my hike, in sweaty clothes and all, I drove 90 minutes to stand among the crystalline, snow covered forest. It was so beautiful to the eyes, uplifting to the soul, and cleansing for my spirit. Sometimes I wonder why I love the high places so much. But today was not about understanding, it was about knowing, it was about being without judgment.
We are given a magnificent existence, magnificent gifts of mind, body, heart, soul and spirit. And God does not make junk, all have a purpose. There are times when understanding in the mind is necessary to guide us to a realization, a knowing in the mind, whereby a lesson learned can take root and blossom to replace an old pattern of thinking; and being. For so as we think, so will we do.
“We all sit around in a ring and suppose,
while the secret sits in the center and knows” - Robert Frost
There are some things that cannot be known with the mind. And to try to define these things is to limit their breadth and depth by oversimplifying into mentally digestible nuggets. Some things are mystery to the mind and can only be known by the heart, by resonance within our being once they are experienced. In this resonance, we know. In the awakening from the dream, we know. In dying to illusion before we die, we know. In “no mind” it is not the mind that dies, it is the ego. “No mind” to me means “no control by the mind.” “No mind” means the Knower controls the mind and not the other way around.
The secret that sits in the center and knows is the nature of God. It is the potentiality, the nothingness, the non-existence from which all that is manifested comes forth. Being all connected to the nature of God, we are all great manifestors. But in our lack of awareness, we create good things and so much misery for ourselves. This is the manifesting of knowing or “not doing.” It is our seeing what we are believing. Whether we are manifesting by doing or not-doing, the key to both is taking responsibility for what we manifest.
What is in our minds and in our hearts becomes real when we do. Love is made real in the giving, in the connecting, in the sharing. Our ideas and visions become real when take action. Our doing sends the message to ourselves that our beliefs are not just in our minds but are flowing through all that we are. And in doing this, our intentions become manifest.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
One source of spirituality/humanity ambiguity is related to healing, and this one was difficult for me to learn. This is because I feel so much, being a sensitive and empathic soul. We all understand the power and benefit of the gift of healing to another. This can be felt so magnificently in the healing power of love. Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed in our pain, in our sadness, in our darkness, and the healing of a compassionate soul can bring us into the light again and help renew us with hope. It is a great service and a great joy to learn and share healing modalities that can make such an impact on the lives and perceptions of those in suffering.
But then, sometimes the greatest gift we can compassionately give another is to allow then to feel their own pain. Pain has purpose in our lives to point out areas we need to be aware, to point out illusions that need to be replaced, to point out where we may be judging and not forgiving others or even ourselves. The only lack of forgiveness that can bind us is our lack of forgiving ourselves. When we forgive, we set ourselves free. When we drop judgment we share with all existence that we are more open to knowing.
A challenge I have is to be mindful of a deeply rooted pattern in me that says when things go “wrong” for me, that I am being punished for not doing something right. And that I will not be loved if I not perfect. These are illusions, judgments and non-forgiveness of self that I need to see and forgive whenever they appear. I have also had experiences where I was passionately doing what I believed and I experienced much pain because of this. Sometimes I would over-simplify the lesson by saying to myself “the last time I did that, it really hurt; I’m not doing that again!”
But it took this pain for me to see that it was my belief that was incorrect, and I needed to heal the belief. Then, go forward with passion with my new belief. This is the process of knowing truth and bringing truth into knowing. This is how we learn and grow. We learn through pain until we evolve to learn through joy. It is the quality of our consciousness that determines the reality we manifest. It is the lightness of our heart that opens us to all that is love, all that is divine.
May we all awaken to the lightness of love that is real, all around us, and all that we are!