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Quitting the Struggle: Negotiating with Life vs. Living in Freedom

The Artistry of Living in Freedom
Non Effort

Do you want to live in freedom – at ease with life, no struggle, no effort, no deliberation over making “the right decision?”


*NOTE: While the subject used to address these questions in this case is highlighted by a woman’s approach to her job, it could be just as easily applied to any life situation: to a marriage, a move, a career decision, or simply to how we approach each moment: with struggle, work and angst? …or with freedom, spontaneity and playful attention?)

If you’re frustrated by the struggle, consider this...

P: …I discovered another big time fear last week. I stopped trading ‘live’ and traded only on paper. Suddenly, I could see a proper trade with utter clarity. It was all quite easy–all I did was step forward when I saw what to do; and did nothing when the picture wasn’t clear. The endless mental chatter and second-guessing was gone. After several days of this I began to feel euphoric (big red flag), so today I made some live trades and lost money all day. So now I feel like shit….sort of. It’s hard to feel really miserable when part of the gig is ‘up’ for me. I can see much of the game and ‘get’ what my mind is up to (keeping itself ‘alive’ through endless babble that loops back on itself.) I think a sense of peace is as loathsome to the mind as despair without hope…..

RONDA: You’re right in your observation: “I think a sense of peace is as loathsome to the mind as despair without hope…” The mind keeps trying to run and rule everything – until something bigger and behind (before) it is discovered – and its discovered as the most simple and ordinary awareness — kind of like the simple (undemanding) awareness of a dog…. just a ground of Presence that is unshakable and prior to any thought that arises in the mind. It’s so simple and so ordinary that I think we mostly miss it Like you lean toward in your observation of peace /despair: realization of “what is”, of “who we really are” is simply too ordinary for the mind to give it any recognition, so we (as creatures who have become over identified by what the mind sees and understands) just pass this awareness right by – dismissed as nothing at all. Kind of like the analogy of a drop of water in the sea – well it doesn’t recognize the sea because it is the very ground in which it has always been…..) The mind is determined that if you’re gonna go for Truth and spiritual wisdom, that a) it (the mind) will be the one to discover it; and b) that it will be something fascinating, BIG, important and with lots of entertainment! Neither of these two conditions will ever “find it”. It’s found in what stands before the mind (before duality, before “I”)

Yesterday I said “your day trading is your guru you know”. If I read between the lines of what you’re expressing, I sense a “belief-trap”. I’ll phrase it as a question and see if you find what I seem to be sensing:

Do you have the feeling (or the hope/expectation/desire/belief) that if you can just learn how to approach your day trading in the “right way”, that then you’ll be rewarded with success and “smooth sailing”? If this isn’t immediately obvious, look into it a bit. I’ve realized that whenever I am able to be swayed by outcomes (“this” happens and so I feel good, “that” happens and so I feel bad, defeated, uninspired) – whenever I am swayed by outcomes in that way, I am still attached to control, trying to make something happen, trying to master….. Its a clue that fear is still operating – which means the “I” is still the (pretense of the) controller.

Consider this: day trading is just what you do. There is nothing to become or “create” from it. It just is. Life is going to do what life is going to do. You can’t actually do anything to mitigate, control or sway what it’s going to do. You can’t actually do anything in order to be rewarded (by success or a “good living” or even peace of mind). You can’t do anything from the motivation to GET something from it. As long as that motive is there, the “I” believes it is the controller – and as long as one is identified with that belief, suffering continues. It’s really ironic, the only way out of suffering is to give up the pretense of controlling life.

This is so hard to see because we really do believe that we can make a difference by our actions. We really do believe that if “I do ‘X’, ‘Y’ will happen. If I don’t do this, nothing will happen.” Its a subtle thing, but all I can say is Life has its own arising. You will still be moved to work in whatever way arises, but it does not need to be forced, planned, programmed. In fact as long as it is, it is blocking the Creative Flow of life. I’ve had the privilege to see this in stunning relief by time spent with a friend of ours trying to make a spiritually whole decision. Ironically he is caught in the attachment to a superstitious belief that his life – and so every minuscule decision – is of paramount importance – and that there is a “right” choice that he must find in order to be assured of the rewards to come. So he spends unbelievable hours in turmoil, worry, stress, mistreatment of Life and of others all wrapped up in this self-importance and this superstitious belief (fear-based) that he must control and direct the right future. It’s a fundamental lack of faith. (..And the distinction of “faith” (complete surrender of outcome) vs. “belief” (fear-I-based) we’ve dialogued on before…)

I’ve learned – truly learned – that there is only trusting Life.

This doesn’t mean I don’t work. I just don’t deliberate over it (not at all). Believe it or not, working simply arises and when it does, I do it. Simple as that. I no longer even look at my checking account, don’t pay any attention to its balance (or lack of). I just live within Life. You can’t imagine the pleasure of watching oneself work when it is purely in this way. There’s no resistance to it, no pressure in it, and no blocking its flow. You can’t imagine how amazingly fast and pure the work flows out in this way. Incredible and alive with freshness.

Letting go of the fear-based need to try and control our career (fearing of course that “I won’t earn enough to live on” or “won’t have anything for retirement” if we don’t) is just a mental trap of the mind to keep us established within its mechanism. But, because this argument is rational, logical (and because again, we’ve over-identified ourselves as mind) we believe it. …One must get outside the mind to see what its really doing…. And one can’t get outside the mind, unless (s)he can see through and surrender into the fear and belief that keep it established. It’s tricky that way. That’s why I brought up my initial question as to what your trying to Get from your relationship to your daytrading. You have to see through and give up trying to GET anything from it, and just let it be the expression of what you do as it arises, if you want to be free.

Am I making sense?

The NOW doesn’t have any attachment to outcome. It is just a continual ongoing celebration within what is. When I do my corporate consulting (of which I have 3 research projects right now) of course I pay attention to spell checking and good product and good service. But I do it in the moment as it arises in its proper timing quite naturally and spontaneously. No deliberation over it, no mapping out. I just use the mind then as a tool in its proper place at its proper time quite organically. The freedom is incredible and impossible to describe!

*….Let me add one parting conundrum: When realization is seen, the other thing about it is that you realize you always knew it. Literally always knew it. It is not new at all. It was simply so ordinary, so well known that it was dismissed in the neediness of the “I-dentity” to entertain, seek, control. own, possess that which is held by none of these things. It’s just the seeing of what is, right now (and right now and right now) with the blinder of “my mind’s making” removed.

– r. larue

copyright ronda larue, 1999

non effort non duality series

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