When I first read these words on the cover of Ayya Khema’s book over15 years ago, I was struck with two diverse feelings. While the book is basically about Buddhist meditation, the title powerfully jumped out at me and felt like a state of mind I wanted to acquire. My initial reaction was, “What in the world does this mean?” It felt like throwing in the towel and just lying down until the end.” After the words in my brain sunk into my heart, I immediately felt a rush of “relaxation and freedom.”
The dualistic feelings were at war inside of me. On one hand, during most of my life, my tendency to lean towards perfectionism made this statement feel like giving up. On the other hand, I had this intense feeling of curiosity and thoughts of, “Wow, I wonder what it would feel like to remain in this feeling state of freedom?”
“Say Yes! Don’t prepare, just show up and start anywhere,” a poem I wrote or read somewhere sounds like the perfect blend of both feelings. What would happen if I just remained open without striving, only curious? The rest of this sentence could be, “and knowing nothing.” Now those words send another shock to my body!
All of my life I have been a trainer who knew! Who knew how to lose weight, how to get strong, how to prevent falling and how to feel younger. Now I am finding my move into a coaching career has taken me to a place of not knowing. Coaching with curiosity, open ears and heart allows for discovery of what happens next, what will appear in the silence, allowing pondering and deep feelings immerge. Recovering from a lifetime of “never enough,” what can be found below those feelings? What does “good enough” mean? Being nothing special, cultivating an ordinary mind?
Does this release the lifetime of pressure, allowing the river to flow fast or slow, straight or meandering, over rocks or into a smooth lake, damming up and stopping forward progress or falling over the cliff to create a huge noise, electric energy and danger?
As the year has closed and a new year is being born, I wonder what waits in the next section of time as the world divides up the months, days, and years into separations? Is this time just a continuum of last year? Is it a time to place a marker that divides this year from last year? Does the time spent looking forward bring new energy or same old same old?
As I ponder these thoughts, I wonder what it would feel like to place Ayya Khema words below my feet, using them as a firm foundation to go through the next section of time. Being nobody, going nowhere…I wonder where it will take me if I stay open and curious.
Finally, I feel I am at a point in time where it is good enough, I have no where to go, all I have to do is show up and wait, see what will happen, stay open and curious, wondering, not shutting down the flow of energy by pre-thinking, assuming and prejudging. Just breathe and see what happens.
As I ponder the New Year, what would it feel like to be “nobody, going no where, knowing nothing?” Well, it actually feels full of energy, freedom and like a river flowing easily, traveling where, I do not know. I will wait and see.
This article will also appear in the San Miguel de Allende’s Atencion on January 9, 2015