Today I tried something that I have never thought of before. I have never thought of it because it always seemed off limits. Today for the first time it made sense to abandon several of my most fundamental assumptions:
I gave up on God. I gave up on enlightenment. I gave up on qigong.
For the first time ever I relinquished the attachments, preconceptions and expectations I harbored about these ultimate truths. I sat as though these things did not exist at all. I told myself, “there is no God. There is no enlightenment to be had. There is no energy that unites all things,” and I washed all associated concepts from my mind. I sat for a full hour in the complete absence of what matters most to me.
I was astounded by the weight of the thoughts that surrounded these subjects. I shed what felt like a lead jacket as I relinquished all the hopes and dreams associated with my spiritual pursuits. Floodgates of warmth opened in my veins; release brought tears to my eyes. What liberation! What rejuvenation! This has been perhaps the most vital piece of the puzzle so far:
Stop thinking you know what you’re doing. Humble yourself. Empty your cup to be filled. All knowledge is of the mind. The truths I seek are beyond the mind. Therefore quiet all knowledge and let truth present itself.
These things exist: but my understanding of them prevents me from experiencing them. When I say “God doesn’t exist,” I am saying, “God as I understand him doesn’t exist.” This isn’t blasphemy; it’s true humility.
But doesn’t it make me pessimistic to relinquish my spiritual practice? No. Pessimism is the product of frustrated attachment, desire, expectation and hope. I gave up these aspirations. In doing so I relinquished their opposites: pessimism, disappointment, and disillusionment. I am unattached to their presence or absence. As I sit in detachment, trickles of joy well up within me. It is the feeling of total freedom.
As I lose all concern for my practice I suddenly feel more certain about it than ever. For the first time I quit imagining, hoping, expecting, desiring and attaching and just looked at what was there. What I discovered was beyond my imagination – that sounds mystical but it is a literal statement. I am reminded of the fifth chapter of the Tao:
“Between Heaven and Earth there seems to be a bellows; it is empty and yet it is inexhaustible. The more it works the more comes out of it. No amount of words can fathom it – better look for it within you.”