Being there=getting there

"The sage accumulates nothing,
but the more he does for others
the greater his existence;
the more he gives to others,
the greater his abundance"
-Lao Tzu

Yes, that's me. It's goofy, I know. But that is me doing a rendition of my happy dance. Why a happy dance? That is a good question and the answer is both simple and inherently complex. There is no reason. I just am. Happy. Not happy, warm fuzzy feeling I just found a $20 or won a big race happy. Fundamentally to the core happy. I feel it in my bones happy. It is refreshing. I am just "ducky".

For most of the winter, I was a version of myself that I don't like. I was stuck in the doldrums of my own mind, pacing back and forth like I am living in a cell. I was not present, I was stuck outside the moment. I was waiting for something and was afraid. Maybe its just a lack of Vitamin D, but I felt like half of the time my head was about to start spinning around backwards like something out of the exorcist. I gave in often to my manic moods. I kept waiting for something to change, I kept waiting for the timing to be right. And then, one day, right before Boston, I just decided I was done waiting. I decided that I would fake it until I make it. I would "act as if" until I really was, ok. I took everything I "know" about the place, space and mentality I want to occupy, the way I want to approach the world and jumped in knee deep. I could feign confidence where I was lacking, I could talk myself into patience, I could force myself out of the doldrums by simply not indulging myself in those sorrows. Over the many years that I have spent in intense self-examination, I have learned that the "act as if" is highly effective. But even as I wrote my blog pre-Boston, I didn't have much faith in it this time for some reason. I proceeded however. I just said, I will be there while getting there. When it came to Boston, it was a test of this mentality to see if I could enjoy the journey, instead of like the last few marathons I have fun which have been a laser-pointed focus on it just being over. The journey somehow became irrelevant. And somehow over the last 6 months, I had become like that in life too. Focused on the destination and forgetting the journey. And what is worse, I didn't even have a destination in mind. In theory, I told myself I wanted to find direction, meaning and goal to work towards. But the things I said I wanted, I simply put on a list of goals (which I carry around in a notebook) and don't work towards. I wait for them to come to me. I say I want to be a successful writer and blogger, but I don't work at it. I wait, fearful of failure, for the words to be perfect and the time right. And same goes for everything else, I search and search for direction and meaning and continually try to define a direction. I try to fit myself into a mold, that wrecks havoc on my spirit.

But then, I decided to change. One morning, I was lying in bed super manic, crying my little eyes out about nothing, no really, there was no problem, nothing tangible at least. I was indulging myself in sorrow, staying under the covers when I had a "long run" (it was a week before Boston, so not even long) to do. I was just going to stay there until I felt better, but I caught myself. I told myself to buck up and get out the freaking door and just go, I would feel better. I could fake it until I make it. I headed out and instantly felt better. Not just because of the good feelings that flood over me when I run, but because I felt empowered to change my circumstances. By getting out of the bed, I remembered who is driving this bus. I remembered that if I don't like my circumstances, I am empowered to change them. How exciting! I am the author of my own life, so what kind of story am I writing for myself?

I decided to be there while getting there. And what I quickly realized that even that mentality was faulty and would inherently land me back in the solitary confinement of my mind because it insisted that there was a "there" to get towards. It kept in tact the mentality that I was suppose to have direction, purpose, some tangible path I was walking. I constantly felt like a failure searching for a defined path, looking for a way clearly marked with bright yellow confidence markers. It seemed it one swift motion, I went from "acting as if" and being there while getting there, to just being there. I realized that being there and getting there are the exact same thing. In this moment, I have everything I could hope to pursue through some traditional, socially instituted path. I didn't need a direction or a path to choose, the journey and the destination are the same thing. I had been on a speeding bus plunging perilously down a single lane mountain road, screaming at the top of my lungs for the driver to slow down, stop or change directions. And then I realized, I was the driver. It is up to me. I have everything I could need or want in life. I am there. Life is nothing more than this exact moment. Everything is contained here and now. It is such a beautiful thing. Life is such a beautiful thing. I refuse to ride the rollercoaster of a life lived like I am not the author of my own circumstances. I refuse to live as if I am merely swept up in the current, unable to dictate my own direction. As my favorite Lama writes,(Lama Surya Das), "We are there while we're getting there, where ego-centered striving, preoccupation and concern no longer exist. On the innermost, ultimate level, aspiration has truly gone beyond and reached the wondrous place where there's nowhere to go, no one to go, nothing to get or strive for".

I don't need a direction or path, I don't need to figure out what I need to do to be the change I want to see in the world. There is nothing to do to accomplish that, I, we all, just have to BE and that is the change we want to see in the world. To make the world a better place, I don't need to orchestrate a grand gesture, I can simply be, we all can just be, the best, truest versions of ourselves. The compassionate, patient, loving, heart-open facing the world selves. It is amazingly transformative, and it feeds on itself. I am now facing the world with lovingkindness, devouting myself to driving this bus where I want to go (which is no where, there is no destination!). I step out into the world with a smile on my face, basking in the perfection of each moment great and small (they are the same thing!).

In his book, "Buddha is as Buddha Does", Lama Surya Das captures what I am trying to say, far better than I could, writing:
"This is how we are with our ruts, our unsatisfying, habitual, self-perpetuating patterns of living. We need to pull ourselves out ofour ruts by reorienting our point of view. Shantideva, the eighth-century Indian Buddhist mater whose teachings had a profound impact on Tibetan Buddhism, also refers to the six realms of existence when he writes about our need to replace greed with generosity: 'If I give this, what will I have left to enjoy?' Such selfish thinking is the way of demons. 'If I enjoy this, who else can I give it to or share it with?' Such selfless thinking is a quality of the gods.' Through the cultivation of generosity - an openhanded, openhearted giving of ourselves - we realize the virtue and freedom of nonattachment. We relax our grip, and instead of losing control, we feel new power, energy flow and mobility."

"Nobody else can be alive for you" -E.E. Cummings