{Ram Dass/Alan Watts Week 3: Day 21} If Only I didn't If Only

This week you learned that the most difficult thing to do is to accept oneself completely. They say, "the moment you can do that, you have in effect done psychologically what is the equivalent of saying in philosophical or theological terms, you as you are now are the Buddha. That’s unbelievable because we are always trying to get away from ourselves as we are now in one fashion or another. And we will only stop doing that through a series of experiments in which we try resolutely to get away from ourselves as we are. So that is the middle way. When you get to the point, when you stop judging as better or worse individual differences and merely understand them as a matrix through which the dharma is manifest, you’re on your way home. As long as you sit and say, "If only I had this, if only I could be in retreat all the time, if only I didn’t have children, if only I did have children. If only I were taller, if only I was shorter. If only I had bigger breasts, if only I had smaller. If only I had blonde hair. If only I didn’t have a mole on my cheek. If only I weren’t dying. If only I were older. If only I were younger. You are as you are within your life, just as it exists at this moment, there is dharma. You need only quiet down and listen for the dharma to hear it. The next moment, it may all be different, but at this moment where you are is just where you need to be to come to God.”

**Think about your “if onlys”. What would happen if you simply dropped the habit of judging them as wrong in some way? (even the “if only I didn’t have all of these if onlys.”) What “series of experiments” can you do to start that process? Please share any insights, songs or poems you love about self-acceptance.

I think that ultimately “Self” is the appropriate compass as we do this sort of dance. It is integral that we cultivate the perspective that all things as they arise are in a matrix of interrelation through which the Dharma manifests in a meaningful way in the present moment, or is at least forcasted to roll in and therefor can be meaningfully tapped into in the present moment…but things tend to work better in macro numbers, I believe, when we simply tell people that their true Self is what the matrix of interrelations in life are manifesting…their very heart…as within, so without.

Sometimes, in the moment, we can accept things exactly as they are unfurling; this is Wu-Wei, and it’s not the sort of thing, traditionally, you make into a point of pride because it doesn’t ask much of people (however if you ruminated that it’s a service created by human labor…). There is a persistent phenomena as we listen to the unfolding, spontaneous events of life which asks the wise to assert their will along principled lines; this happens when the events of life are rubbing against the grain of your heart. It’s a coarse thing which asks the best of us. Having the bravery to keep listening when the Now isn’t meaningfully at hand, and the wisdom to keep walking towards it, is everything.

I wonder if nothing would change, but I wouldn’t feel bad about it. Like life would continue as is, but I’d be ok with it.

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