Open, soften, listen

From Norm Fischer:

Manas (the 7th consciousness, the ego-centered consciousness) is very convincing.
We don’t believe it would be enough to
   Open, soften, listen
We think we need
   to do, to grasp, to change
Manas says: “I’m going to get this done.”
The path of healing is to open to experience
And to feel basically rooted in a bigger experience than what we see.
Let go of the work and let something larger take over.

The above sentiment goes along with much of what I’ve been studying and practicing. In his book, “Recovery,” Rabbi Rami Shapiro writes that our distraction to presence, awareness and nowness is basically our (everyone’s) addiction to control. The part of our consciousness that believes we are a self, thinks, that if we try harder, do more, get it “right,” that we can change the things we don’t like about our lives so that we can be happy in the conditioned reality. Wow! If that were true, wouldn’t we have already done it! If that were true, what happens when we face old age, illness and death, as the Buddha says?

We don’t believe it would be enough to open, soften, listen.
We think we need to do, to grasp, to change.

Somehow, through understanding truth, we have to find our serenity or happiness or peace underneath the ever-flowing, ever changing conditions. It is more then intellectually understanding Truth, though. It is in this moment, in this day, letting go of the hand of thought. Letting go of our control. That does not mean we are passive. Ever tried to let go of control? It is a very subtle and persistent mindfulness task-master. But this task-master is not hard. Open, soften, listen. Let go of the work, and let something larger take over. This is Zenki, total dynamic working. I am a cog in the machine and I have my work to do (my unique destiny), but I am not the whole machine. I can relax into the whole works.

This is a contemplation on right effort. We relax and let go and yet we are responsible to the seed we are planting in this moment through body, speech and thought. Every moment has a direction as Dogen Zenji speaks about in Tenzo Kyokun but we hold very lightly to the master plan. Master plans and our control of them, change in every moment. They need to be fluid, flexible and porous.

From the Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell translation)

Practice non-doing,
And everything will fall into place.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.