Nowhere to Go and…
How would you rate yourself on a scale-of-busy, from 1-10, 10 being the most plugged-in-busy-busy that one person might be?
How would you rate yourself on a scale-of-doing, from 1-10, 10 being the most plugged-in-doing-doing, that one person might do?
How many of us are in those double digits? I bet, plenty.
I certainly am.
I am the Queen of Busy, the Empress of Doing.
In attempting to work less this year, I have worked so hard.
I have worked so hard at working less.
Going to the grocery store with myself on a “day off” can easily become a bit of a senior-citizen nightmare, with hyper-intensity and uber-focus.
I work at shopping.
I work at driving.
I push and go….somewhere else…..to do something else.
Do you identify, folks out there in the Land of Blog?
We do live the Land of the Human Dilemma.
Here’s a story—
In the ancient days of the Kripalu ashram, perhaps in the early 1990’s, of all the most illogical job placements, I was running the Kripalu Kitchen. I am—not a cook, I hardly manage my Kitchen for One and get real food into my mouth, yet alone to understand, strategize and operate the magic Kripalu kingdom of food services, the ordering, buying, preparing, presenting and cleaning up of food for hundreds of people, day after day.
There was a subtle, non-spoken seva/selfless service policy operating in those mid-ashram days; if you were skilled in one area, you were put into another one, for the growth and evolution of your soul. Cooks might be found in the editorial department, while writers might be found running a massive food service department, for example.
Perhaps it worked well for our souls, not so well for the business model.
It was a time of great disconnection from my body. I struggled hard to make it through each day, feigning an attitude of spiritual nonchalant, like a holier-than-thou-I-got-this.
I did not got it.
In the midst of my short tenure as director of food services, we had a visiting teacher, as it often happened. Kripalu was part of a spiritual circuit and our guru, Amrit Desai’s monk and swami buddies would come, teach and hang out.
This teacher’s name was Rishi Prabakar, a short, intense, passionate Indian man. Teacher, guru, and Indian master, he was quite the character; he wanted our 450 ashram members to experiment with raw food, which was His Thing.
Trying to implement this into the Kripalu kitchen flow, rather than cooking from the consistent rotation menu, was, at best, chaotic. I spent most of my time during Rishi Prabakar’s teaching week either in my office worrying (most helpful) or in the kitchen interacting with other people, who were also worrying (doubly not helpful).
When I did finally stagger into the Main Chapel to hear Rishi speak, sitting in a back-jack way at the back of the Chapel, attempting to land in that moment, his message landed with a THUNK in my chest. I hear him distinctly say:
There is nothing to do and nowhere to go!
That was his message.
Damn, I thought, I have much to do and many places to go, to pull off this week.
And pull it off I did, of course, because that’s who I am. I muddled through, most of that time now a blur, Rishi’s words lingered annoyingly, circling around me.
There is nothing to do and nowhere to go.
Rishi has stayed with me. His words have continued to fascinate me.
I understand the concept—great concept! From presence, from right here, from right now, take action. Start always from that place of stillness and presence.
I know he’s on to something—I know and can hear the truth in his words.
And then there is life.
Here is Rishi Prabakar, teaching about non-doing and Grace:
In any moment we can choose to turn to Grace—we can empty ourselves and immediately receive Her. There is no distance to travel. There is no technique to master. It requires only saying yes completely to our experience of that moment. There is nothing else to do. There is no knowledge, no special learning required. No amount of doing will take us there. In fact, it only happens when we stop doing. Stop trying. Not effort, but only courage is required to take the leap into the unknown. For indeed, it is in the vast spaciousness of the unknown that we most often meet Grace.
Right? Makes sense, and yet, what a practice. What a challenge, what a practice.
Mary Oliver, who, in her own way, certainly is a guru, says it so simply:
Sometimes I need
Only to stand
Wherever I am
To be blessed
As I sat with this teaching all this week, with apathetic procrastination around writing, I found myself humming a song with a similar message. This song came to me and I want to share it. Here are Simon and Garfunkle, from their 1981 concert in Central Park, NYC:
Slow down, you’re moving too fast,
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
As the holiday season speeds up the pace of life, what are you going to do to make the morning last? How will you look for fun? Feeling groovy? What might that look like in your world?
Please do keep in touch. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings for a Thanksgiving of ease and grace,
To you and yours,