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When Life Becomes A Free Fall

“The mind has no way to control the life, the true life, your life. It can only pretend to control a life it makes up… I don’t care what my mind does because I know it has nothing to do with my ‘I am.’ I watch my mind, but I am not it.”

– Ra Uru Hu

I’ve spent most of my years on this planet attempting to navigate life through my mind. Some of you may ask, what is wrong with living life through the mind? Perhaps nothing, but then again maybe everything. There is that old saying “The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master”. For me, this speaks more to the relationship we have with our minds (the mental patterns and fixations which we tend to process our experience through), rather than making a general statement that the mind is “bad” or should be repressed or denied.

When I look at this question in my own experience, I can see that for most of my early years I was looking to the mind in order to find certainty and security in myself and the world around me. I was trying to be and do what everyone else was doing based on how I was told things work and what I saw other apparently happy and successful people doing. The result of all of this was that I was increasingly falling into states of chronic exhaustion, ill-health, and an underlying lack of fulfillment and purpose.

Looking back now with the benefit of hindsight and an understanding of Human Design and what it means to be a Projector, I can see how tenuous and questionable that approach was for me. Yet there were certain developments and experiences which allowed me to step outside of the limited beliefs and narratives of a relatively conventional upbringing in Houston, Texas.

I was introduced to astrology at a young age by my mother and her astrologer. Astrology helped me better understand myself and have more compassion for others by recognizing how different each of us is and how we all come into the world with unique characteristics and ways of expressing ourselves. Studying myself and others through the lens of astrology also helped me tune into more subtle patterns and frequencies in life while bringing into question some of the assumptions I had about our place in the cosmos.

However, as deep and fascinating as the astrological traditions are, I felt like something significant was missing. As I mentioned, I had been struggling with ongoing exhaustion and energy issues and there were certain aspects of my personal experience which did not seem to be clearly represented in my birth chart. I can now better see that a large part of what was missing was the form/body/unconscious as shown by the pre-natal imprint in the Human Design BodyGraph and its implications for our energetic/auric type.

Moreover, my study of these systems never really encouraged me to relax the grip my mind kept trying to have over my life. In fact, for a while, the study of astrology seemed to reinforce an even more pronounced mental orientation to life as I would process my experience through the planetary configurations and transits that I was watching in my and others charts. As a result, I eventually had to step away from astrology for a length of time in order to break this pattern and better see things as they are without constant mental processing of astrological models and perspectives.

I also found my way into a rewarding journey into a 20-year study of the traditional Asian martial arts. These practices did allow me to more deeply explore the mind/body relationship while exposing me to other cultures and spiritual traditions such as Taoism and Buddhism in a more experiential way. I was able to see the limits of trying to process all of the forms and movements through the mind (being way too slow to react). It’s common knowledge in these traditions that the body must internalize the patterns and movements. There is a concept called “mushin” in Japanese and “wuxin” in Chinese culture which is generally translated as “no-mind,” and represents a state in which the mind is not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion, and is thus open to everything.  D.T. Suzuki, the famous Zen monk and teacher translated the phrase as “being free from mind-attachment.”

“Many of us step foot on the path to spiritual enlightenment expecting it to lead us onward and upward, hoping to become something better than we are, and ready to gather all of the important things we need along the way.

What a surprise it is when we eventually realize that this path isn’t taking us onward but inward, that we’re not gathering things so much as letting them go, and that there was never anything more to aspire to than the truth of what we already are.”

– Cristen Rodgers

Soon after, I was invited into the Gurdjieff Work/Fourth Way, a practical spiritual tradition which pointed to the importance of the body and the emotions, yet many of the students (and some teachers) of this work still seemed to approach it predominantly through the mind, sometimes in a very rigid way lacking compassion for the differences of others. So it wasn’t until I found Human Design and certain plant medicine traditions that I really saw the limits of filtering life through the mind and I began an intense and accelerated deconditioning process.

The combination of Human Design with plant medicine was something of a nuclear bomb for the mind. On the surface, Human Design may look like another abstract or intellectual metaphysical system which the mind will try to filter one’s experience. Yet, most find that it is so much more than that once we begin experimenting with and verifying the knowledge in our personal experience. We may see that it is actually describing ourself and our experiences on a deeper level than the conditioned ways we are used to looking at the world…albeit through a logically consistent and mechanical model. So, Human Design does start with the mind, but through Strategy and Authority, quickly leads one back to the truth of oneself and the deep intelligence of the body.

Plant medicines, on the other hand, tend to start with the healing and cleaning the body while showing us the beauty of opening ourselves up to a greater sense of love and connection than we may have thought possible. They also can show us how malleable and often unreliable the mind is in processing our experiences. One of my good friends and plant medicine facilitators has a saying which I feel expresses this in a simple way: “don’t believe everything you think.”

I mention all of this, as it provides some background to how I got here. And where is here? Well, it’s just like it was before but different. There is a more embodied and present experience of being and aliveness, with less of an attempt at certainty and trying to figure out what is going to happen next. More poetically, sometimes it feels like a state of suspension, a kind of floating or flying through space without much of a tether or point of reference.

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”

― Adyashanti

In this state of uncertainty, I’ve caught myself a few times saying that “I’ve lost the plot.” What was this “plot” that I seemed to have lost? Is it the narratives and beliefs that were given to us by our parents, formal education, or the media? Or is it simply my mind’s insistence that it knows what is best for me and how to take the next step? In any case, it feels like these last several years have been a process of letting go of the stories, maps, and scripts that my mind has identified with and attached to as a point of security.

With that letting go comes a possibility of recognizing the innate intelligence of our body and a sense of just watching our life unfold as if we were passengers going on a ride. There are fewer filters in place and a more direct experience of life. However, this state also carries its own sense of discomfort, perhaps in seeing that life wasn’t what we thought it was or would be. The maya is strong, and our mind still wants to orient around something. Questions like ‘what is the point to all of this?’ arise. What are we doing here? What is our life actually about? What is my truth and aim?

One of the big themes that consistently comes up for me in response to these questions is being there for my kids. Wanting to be there for them, support and give them a chance in this world. I also keep coming back to the importance of my larger family and the special relationships I have with my wife, family, and close friends. As important as these things are to me and serve as orienting factors or points of reference, I recognize that they are also ultimately transitory and subject to growth and change as well.

Underneath all of it, I also seem to have a strong orientation towards individuality and mutation, something apart from the mundane and day-to-day concerns of the world. This is something a little more challenging to put into words, but there is this empowering experience of aliveness and co-creative participation in life when I’m able to really be and express myself. It feels like an alignment of self within a larger field of love, connection, and the beauty and perfection of life as it is. Yet, the very nature of this frequency doesn’t lend itself to the more commonplace notions of security and certainty our minds tend to identify with.

“That’s what living your design is. You don’t live your design till you live not knowing. Not knowing is okay. And when not knowing is okay you can live. There is life and there is you meeting.”

– Alokanand Diaz

Fortunately, Human Design offers our minds something to work with during this process. As you might guess, this is primarily one’s Strategy and Inner Authority, a means of letting the mind relax its grip on our life as we attune more deeply to the intelligence of our body. Experimenting with Strategy and Authority can ultimately lead us back into trusting ourselves and in life, as we start living more in accord with how our energy and form is designed to work, allowing unnecessary resistance and suffering to fall away. We may come to love ourselves as we are, not as others want us to be or as our mind tells us we should be. From this deep place of self-acceptance we may step into the role we’re here to play and the unique purpose we’re here to express in the totality.

I also find it interesting how these states of un-tethered floating, direct experience, and ‘not knowing’ appear to be to what has been described in many spiritual traditions. It seems to be along the lines of what at least a few great beings have pointed at in their teachings as an enlightenment or awakening experience, which makes it all the more impressive to think that they were able to break through the maya/illusion and come into a better relationship with the mind in the 7-centered strategic mind dominated world of the past. Our written accounts of history suggest, however, that these experiences are not as common hundreds and thousands of year ago.

What I’m seeing today is how available this kind of awakening is for those willing to take the leap and do the work. At the same time, a lot of people seem to have little interest in doing just that and probably don’t even know that it’s possible. And yet, can you really fault anyone for not going down this road? It takes a lot of time, self-work, and patience with oneself and others, and it’s not really giving us anything in the conventional sense. In a culture filled with immediate gratification and material acquisition, it’s not a very enticing carrot. It can feel like a leap into the void and a free fall into yourself while bringing into question everything we might have believed about ourselves and the world around us. And once we cross the bridge, there appears to be no turning back. How do you “put the genie back in the bottle”?

If we start to see that chasing certainty and security through the mind ultimately becomes a compromise of ourselves and a substitute for something more alive and authentic, we may not want to go back. If we are courageous enough to loosen the grip our mind has on trying to make sense of and interpret so much of our experience, letting go of some of our stories and beliefs and embracing a sense of not knowing, the mind may begin to take a back seat and hand over the navigation of the life to the body itself.

We may then find that our experience opens up in ways we could have never imagined. Life becomes more interesting and magical as we become the lead character in our own movie. With that comes the possibility of living and seeing our own signature of success, satisfaction, peace, or surprise as ourselves.

If you prefer smoke over fire then get up now and leave. For I do not intend to perfume your mind’s clothing with more sooty knowledge.

No, I have something else in mind. Today I hold a flame in my left hand and a sword in my right. There will be no damage control today.

For God is in a mood to plunder your riches and fling you nakedly into such breathtaking poverty that all that will be left of you will be a tendency to shine.

So don’t just sit around this flame choking on your mind. For this is no campfire song to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.

Jump now into the space between thoughts and exit this dream before I burn the damn place down.

Adyashanti
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