Resistance and the Wheel of Life


wheel

I came across an explanation of the Buddha’s core message that humankind suffers that made everything clearer by author Peter Russell in the article, Not Resisting Resistance.  To paraphrase, Russell explains that when you translate the terms used by the Buddha in his native tongue, Pali, a more concise picture is painted.  The Buddha spoke of “sukha” and “dukkha” when referring to the common state of the mind.

The term “sukha” literally means “good axle hole”.  It alluded to the need for a proper balanced axle hole in order for a wheel to turn with ease, without resistance, to give an easier and more pleasant journey.  If the hole is out of kilter, the wheel doesn’t turn freely, meets resistance, and the ride becomes bumpy.

Which brings us to its counterpart, “dukkha”.  “Dukkha” translates to “bad axle hole”.  An axle that meets any form of resistance cannot turn with ease.  It rattles.  It shakes.  It squeaks.  It doesn’t give a pleasant ride at all.   It makes it almost impossible for a passenger to relax.

So, considering these terms, we can see what the Buddha meant when he spoke of the resistance in the mind and how it causes a state of tension, a state of disharmony, a state of suffering.  When our thoughts are thoughts of resisting an experience, a situation, or even ourselves and others, we’ve created a dukkha.  The longer it persists, the less we are able to relax and the longer we experience a perception of suffering.  When we stop this internal resistance, when we flow with life, we create the sukha and our journey becomes peaceful.

The Buddha knew and taught that the act of internal resistance is not our natural state of being.  The discord it causes creates our mental and emotional suffering as we move through life.  When the resistance is dropped, or when the experiences life brings are no longer met with resistance but accepted completely without judgement, we then are able to be at peace amidst any storm.  We enter our natural state and simply flow with the rest of existence, with the wheel of life.

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Surrender to Pain to Be Free


torch

You have to experience the pain.  Fully and completely.  If you want to be liberated, if you want to be free of suffering, if you want to be awakened, self-realized, you must be courageous enough and willing enough to experience all of the pain and fear you harbor within you. You must surrender.

If you can be brave enough to take just a small step forward into that dark abyss of shadows you’ll find something unexpected.  You won’t perish.  With each step forward the shadows will abate with you.

The reason for this is startlingly simple.  Each shadow of fear and pain you surrender to is nothing more than an illusion.  The pain and fear are nothing but artefacts of stories you’ve been telling yourself your whole life.  These are stories of who you think you are, who you think others are, things that happen to you or to others, or things you think will happen.  None of them have any basis in Reality.  They are purely subjective.  Even who you perceive yourself to be is nothing more than a tall tale.

Some of these tales can be so time-worn and so lavish they appear quite real, but they’re not.  Just as Alice and Wonderland and A Tale of Two Cities are such beautifully crafted works they seem to swallow you into another world that appears quite real, they are still just stories.  Creations of an author but, even more importantly, they are creations of the reader.

Who is the reader of your own tales?  I’m sure you can feel it there, reading every word of your sagas.  If you sit with this reader for even a moment, experience it, you’ll discover that nothing has ever affected it.  Not your emotions, not your thoughts, not your pain, not your fears.  It simply sees the stories you create.  A curious discovery, is it not?

As you walk ever farther into the darkness you fear with this new knowledge, the painful fear fades away because these things, these stories are not who you are.  The one who sees, the one who reads these epic tales, is your true self.  Pain has never touched you and fear is what has kept you from realizing it.  Who you are is unborn and cannot perish.  It was experienced when you took your first breath and will be until you take your last in this body.  And it will remain ever after.  It can’t be stained by the experiences of life.  It is always pure.

Get to know this You that you haven’t met before.  Hold it high before you like a torch as you progress through the abyss of all the pain and fear you’ve repressed and avoided.  These are only whispers of a past that never really existed.  The deeper you go, the brighter this torch will burn.  It will burn away this dark clutter, and as it does, nothing but space remains.  And this space is infinite.  It’s not empty.  Rather it’s thriving and teaming with life force.  The pain will be consumed by it until nothing remains but blissful, effortless and expansive peace.  Your heart, now unfettered with illusions, will throw its doors open to all life has to offer.  Instead of fear, you will move through your life driven by a love so effortless and fearless nothing will ever hurt you again.

But you have to be willing to surrender, and surrender totally, even if it’s just one small step at a time.