Have you ever given up on anything? What was it? How important was it to you? Do you still have regrets, to this day, about giving up on that thing, whatever it was? Does the thought of it still haunt you in quiet moments, lead to visions of what might have been, if you’d stuck with it, gone the distance, completed the task?
Why were you compelled to give up? What reason did you give yourself, what rationalization did you use in order to justify your decision? Do you think that the choice to give it up was based upon a weakness or a strength in your character? That you gave it up because you were unwilling to compromise your principles, rather than succumbing to some character failing, turning tail and running? And, finally, if you had the chance to do it again – to relive the event or complete it – would you?
From the 3rd to the 9th grades, I participated in Scouting. I had been a Cub Scout then Webelo, achieving the Arrow of Light to then become a Boy Scout, completing the requirements to attain the rank of Star (2 below Eagle), before quitting for a totally subjective social reason. Hurt feelings, basically. I didn’t think about it for years, moving on to excel in sports, enter college, the military, then back to college and advanced degrees, continuing along my chosen life’s path. Looking back on the decision, I don’t necessarily regret it, since I believe that my experiences in Scouting have helped me to become the man that I am, but at the same time, I like to complete the things that I begin and, frankly, Scouts never give up. Atheletes, never give up. Those who achieve academically, never give up. So this one instance stands out in a life history of relative consistency in goal achievement.
And yet, everything has its reason. When you look back at your decision to give up, to quit, to move on, can you think of all of the reasons why you did it? When you think about it, can you actually feel the emotions that you went through at that time, can you remember the thoughts that went through your mind as you made the decision, can you see how totally subjective and tied to your feelings the decision was, no matter the actual facts on the ground? If you gave up your goal because of some external reason – perhaps a job with a terrible co-worker, a plan you embarked upon before quitting because of environmental reasons, a project you started that kept going wrong – can you think back to it, and objectively determine whether or not you could have kept going, figured out some way to get around that external issue?
The reasons, whatever they may have been, that we often choose as the last straw often actually reflect our incapability to analyze our own behavior and see our own faults and foibles, to our own detriment. The stubborn pride that immediately arises to justify our decision to forego our efforts and strike out in a new direct masks the anger that masks the embarassment that masks the disappointment that masks the fear of failure or of not living up to our own or others expections that underlies our decision in the most fundamental instance of occurence, and our subsequent reactions are equally illogical in nature.
Of course, leaving such regrets behind is as easy as existing, living, in the Now. One of the first lessons of meditation is to allow thoughts to pass through your mind, unhindered. To watch them, to take on the role of Omniscent Observer (OO),or rather, allow that Reality of Fundamental Consciousness to manifest, and Awaken the OO in you – and that exists in us all – is to relax into a merging of conscious and subconscious awareness as the Ego works through the detritus of the past (regrets) and imagined future (worries). That quiet space of Awareness , otherwise known as the OO Effect, should be familiar to each of us in memory and experience, as that which arises in epiphanic moments, or extremely stressful events, marked by a supernal clarity that affects perception and the senses, perhaps a slowing of the movement of time or an extraordinary depth of thought and calculation, all of which combine to create an extremely memorable instance that stands out in a lifetime of instances, mostly unremarkable.
Living in this Space is impossible for most of us, most of the time. The release it requires is the release spoken of in all of the Holy books, as when Siddhartha left behind the palace, his wife and child and all of his worldly wealth to follow the path of Enlightenment, or when Jesus exhorted the multitude to leave their loved ones and positions in life behind, to follow him. Preceding that actual, physical change in state comes a spiritual and then mental change in state, whereby one releases one’s past and future to totally embrace the Now, expressing total faith in the capacity of Life and the Multiverse to provide for all of our needs. Since most of us are too attached to our Personality Complex/Ego, we can barely even conceive of what that might even mean, let alone how it would look in our own lives. My friend Deepam says that it can happen in an instant or over multiple lifetimes, and there is no telling how it might express itself in each individual’s life. For some, nothing may seem different on the surface and they may continue in their Lifestyles and Dharmic paths, while, for others, they may Awaken and instantly leave all they’ve known, or their personality complex may experience a dissolution that the rest of us might find akin to insanity.
Whatever the case may be, regrets about decisions made in the past must be integrated into the present and seen for what they are, and what they taught us. Experiences that exposed some weakness or, perhaps, strength in our Personality Complexes act as signposts along the roadside, giving us indications of where course corrections are required, and, if we look closely enough, how to apply those corrections for best effect. Fundamental Consciousness, or the OO Effect, is a tool that can be used in order to lessen the power of the Ego to direct our lives, as well as present us with another, deeper perspective through which to view the events that define our passage through time and space. Cultivating our capability to awaken the OO Effect is as simple as committing to prayer or meditation, any act of concentration can release it, to include reading, writing, sports or activities that require the combination of mental and kinetic activities. Even work can result in a gradual loosening of the Ego’s bonds, as we surpass that space of reverie beyond daydreaming to gain entry into that infinite Inner Realm of potential and intention wherein the Ego has no power, being relegated to echoed attempts to regain control over a consciousness now girded by the archetypal, creative space of Fundamental Consciousness itself.
The decision can be instant, or life-spanning. The choice is ours. Regardless of our choice, it will soon become apparent why the Sages, the Awakened and those who achieve Ascendency always have a little smile on their faces, because the joke truly is on you and I, and we take things utterly too seriously. Relaxing into the Now is the gift of Divinity to each of us, a way to get away from the depradations of Ego and the dichotomous swing between extremes that defines material existence. In order to experience this truly, all that is necesssary is to release our grip upon our lives, let go, and let G-d.
It really is that easy, when we can remember, through the trials and tribulations, that it is supposed to be. Repeated affirmations, self-exhortation, or events that alter our base perception of our world, can all act to impress this reality upon our consciousnesses, and often do, as we tread that path higher into the spiritual heights.
Everything that we require comes to us, in time and through space. As we check off the ranks of Elevation, our life experiences hone our spiritual bodies, strengthen them, increasing their brilliance and affecting our personal power accordingly, evidenced by increasing personal magnetism and the opening of the chakras. But it never gets easier, since even the most Elevated can fall. Constant vigilance and awareness are the Hallmarks of the Awakened, and should be among the capabilities that we seek most to manifest.