What happens when all concepts are stripped away? Or maybe a better question is… how do you survive the process of getting to such a place?
From the spiritual literature I’ve read, lack of concepts is highly desirable. It takes you to the “I don’t know” mind. Buddhists call it Emptiness, Tolle calls it Space Consciouness (I always liked that one…), and Byron Katie puts it like this: Who would you be without your story?
What’s left when you aren’t strategizing, manipulating, orchestrating, stressing, hoping, fearing?
For the second time in my life, I’m exploring this question. The first time I was at a retreat and we were asked to step out of our comfort zone… WAY out. It was one of those times when you are so committed, so passionate about knowing the truth that you’re willing to sacrifice your life. Kind of how I imagine those folks who jump out of airplanes feel… shared shitless but damned if they will play it safe one second more.
My experience taught me I could trust the process… that I could trust life. Out in the middle of Knoxville, Tennessee, eating a bologna sandwich and eyeing a plastic covered mattress in the middle of a stranger’s living room… I found courage. Courage to smile and accept a meal. Courage to walk to the apartment door and leave. Courage to navigate the transportation system back into the center of town, find a library, and gratefully collapse knowing I was safe again. Maybe even realizing I had been safe all along.
I can’t go much more into the details of that experiment because we were asked to keep the specifics private… I will say that at no point were we asked to put our lives in danger… however a hefty percentage of us did do some outrageous things in the name of testing reality to the limit. Oh the stories of that day!
Here I am again, what almost ten years later? This time I’m doing this trust thing, this testing reality thing, sans a group of committed others. It’s just me baby. Well, my partner is along for the ride by default, but the inner journey is intrinsically a solo one.
So what do I mean by “this trust thing”? I mean… getting to the place where concepts no longer save the day or distract or comfort anymore. I mean…getting in touch with the shadow … and seeing how far the rabbit hole goes.
What happens when you are out of luck, out of options, and out of hope? Where does life take you next?
It’s been a hard month of losing stories… They’ve been unravelling like bolts of silk, sliding through my fingers. I don’t know what’s in store, I don’t know where this will lead.
I am entering “I don’t know” mind. And it’s nothing like I thought.