Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That's Why it's Called the FREEway

I was privileged to facilitate a clarity workshop a couple of weekends ago that left me shaking, for the power it released in the participants. Be Clear Now, it was called, and that is what I had promised from the three hours together: clarity, now.

All arrived convinced of their various muddles, confusions, indecisions. Those who were the most certain they didn't know, didn't have the answers that they were seeking, proved the most powerfully by the workshop's end that they knew what they were sure they didn't know, that they already possessed the answers they sought.

I'm not sure I can convey just how moving it is to facilitate and witness this process, this transformation, this lifting of a veil right before one's eyes--in a matter of an hour or two or three, no less.

At the start, participants are as convinced as I am not of each other's blocks or confusion. I tell them they already know, that they are already clear (about whatever it is that they say they're not clear about), and they look at me funny. I invite them to think of a clean surface left to collect dust for months, and say their clarity is like that surface: clean and clear and right there, just buried under all the dust. They look at me a little less funny. "You'll see for yourself," I say, "but for now, just take my word for it."

And sure enough, in the final exercise of the day--a writing sprint articulating their "perfectly clear answer"-- there it was: gorgeous clarity. Deep, wise knowing--gnosis--which often comes complete with a plan: a direction, and the steps to take in that direction.

Why do we go around saying "I don't know, I don't know..." when we do know?

And why do we argue for our limitations? Why do we cling to our familiar and often painful encumbrances even when shown an open door to freedom?

For sixteen years, I've had the pleasure and privilege of "teaching" writing, of presenting a method by which one can write free of critical interference. I present students with nine simple rules to follow. Freeing rules; not constricting, restraining ones. I tell them that if they're suffering, if it's ever hard, that they're breaking one (or more) of the simple rules. The method makes writing fun. First drafts pour forth with ease, and in an original, fresh, spontaneous fashion. The method guarantees this, and I've see endless proof of it over time. So it never ceases to amaze me that, when shown the open door, the means by which to break free of the shackles of judgment, many cling tighter to their cell walls.

The rules are simple, yes. But they're not always so easy to follow. Sure, there is the learning curve: it takes practice to deliver a perfect serve on the tennis court. It takes practice to perfect the asanas of yoga. It takes practice, repetition, to learn to drive a car. Or maybe it doesn't so much take practice as it takes allowing. Those who cling to the cell walls have no issue with practice. They, know it or not, have an issue with freedom.

Ah, the restricting cell: it does grow sweet.

I have been told that it is easy to train fleas. You put them in a lidded jar, and when they jump, they whack the lid. In no time at all, they register this and thereafter jump just shy of the lid. They will continue to do this even when the lid is removed!

What am I saying here? Freedom can be scary, sure. Unlimited possibility, and the grace of responsibility to choose, to create within that expansive field of possibility can be daunting. And bumping up against limitations can hurt, sure. But where do the limitations come from? And are they permanent? Are they even real? Who said so? Here, the lid is off, and the fleas are all still jumping inside the jar, though they have the capacity and the freedom to jump well beyond it.

I talked with three women the other night about matters metaphysicical, the Law of Attraction, responsibility, chance, luck, what is random and not, "innocent suffering," and such. The upshot was this: two of us experience great freedom, joy and happiness in life, know first hand the infinity of possibilities in life (in Love), and two of us objected to the "responsibility" (read, blame) aspect of the Law of Atraction, felt gripped by traumatic events of the past, were unconvinced that one could live fearlessly and free of the effects of circumstances: the drug dealers on the corner, the effects of mental illness, the drive-by shooting: things happen over which we have no control, they were in effect saying. It was a passionate and dynamic conversation. I realized later that this owed to each of us speaking from what we KNOW to be real, to be true: "THIS IS HOW LIFE IS. I CAN PROVE IT," we might as well have been saying.

I was concerned later that the discussion had turned to debate. Each of us knew what we were saying was "true." Maybe even"True." But argument would only grow, as it so often does, from seeking agreement from each other. Four points of view, and each the right one: that's a recipe for a good argument if ever I've heard one.

I think of the popular Henry Ford quote:

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.

So what really is "right," then? And what is the Truth? What is real, even?

We know from the "new physics" that reality is not fixed but fluid; there are as many realities or truths as there are people to espouse them. For a long time, certainly before my beginning to get a grasp on quantum mechanics, I resisted this notion. I lived in search of The Truth and was arrogant and obnoxious I am sure when I thought I had found any part of it. Consider this:

The truth (small t) is what proves true.

The Truth (capital T) is that what you say is true will prove true.

If you say (believe) that walking alone at night is dangerous, you are right: that will be your experience. If you say that life is hard, you are right:
that will be your experience. If you say that money is scarce, you are right, and that will be your experience. And if you say (believe) "I love my life!", you are right, and that will be your experience. Another way of saying this is: we are what we are, we have what we have by right of consciousness. And this is not about blame; this is about great power, absolute freedom.

That we are all seeing what we're looking through, and there's no getting around it, sure makes
argument a waste of time and energy--not to mention that it can make communication seem impossible! We are bound to struggle, to argue, to feel powerless, to experience limitation for as long as we persist in forgetting that we've chosen our point of view.

I say humorist Art Buchwald, "The Man Who Wouldn't Die," was released--even with the ultimate refusal of dialysis--after six months of hospice care last year with a working kidney that had been pronounced failing because he was just too busy living. What had his kidney spontaneously regain function? I ask you: what? Yes, it did surrender last month, delivering him to his final rest, but not before his first surviving without the prescribed treatment. Not before his returning last summer to his home on Martha's Vineyard which he never thought he'd see again. Not before he'd written another book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye, about the hospice experience.

I can imagine Art might have said, of his surprise recovery, "Hell, I was having such a good time with my family and friends, I forgot to die!"

There are countless, gorgeous stories of such "miracle" recoveries among us. I believe that those who triumph over their fatal prognoses do so because they choose to view their circumstances through the lens of Life rather than through that of Death. Lid or no lid, they saw none and--sure enough--when they lept, they met with their freedom.

But no matter our view, no matter what we choose, Love is ready and waiting to oblige. It is impartial, bottomless, and unfailing.

The evidence is everywhere, and you know it.


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