Disposed by Grace to Grace ~ The Wisdom of Willingness
Feb 11, 2020
*Brian Wilcox. 'a radiant appearance'.
We need to avoid the opposites of "willingness" and "unwillingness." Willingness, as we speak of it, is part of our basic goodness, neither good nor bad, so naturally good for simply being a native purity. A tree is good for being a tree, neither good nor bad as a judgment placed on the tree. One cannot say, "That is a bad tree." We cannot say of excrement, "That is some bad shit!" No. It may stink, but it is good, for shit is shit. So, we do not live in the tension of willingness versus unwillingness, not when we live from the heart. The isness, the heart being the heart, is pure, no additives, is good. This goodness includes all positive qualities, and this good cannot become more or less good.
About this, we need to beware of the idea of willing devoid of unwillingness, as though we must fight to eliminate the unwillingness. Again, we are in a state of versus. This opposition separates us from living from basic goodness, from willingness. Rather, "I'm willing" and "I don't want to" can exist together. Willingness is part of our natural beingness, and that naturalness can embrace the "I don't want to." Befriending the unwillingness, our native "Yes" dissolves the "No" into itself. So, first, we live "Yes" and "No." Then, we are on the path to simply "Yes," a "Yes" that itself lives itself. We trust the "Yes" already present, before even the thought or feeling of a "No." Here, we discover the "Yes" before "Yes" and "No."
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A spiritual seeker went to the Sage and spoke earnestly, "I'm devoted to studying your path. How long will it take me to master it?"
The Sage replied, "Ten years."
Impatiently, the aspirant answered, "But I can master it faster than that! I'll work very hard. I'll practice every day, ten or more hours a day, if I've got to. How long will it take then?”
The Sage thought for a moment, then said, "Twenty years."
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The self can seize a spiritual ideal and seek to hold it tight, to master it. This is an ego-grip. This is a prescription for misery.
Likely, many of us have been taught willfulness as the sane way to live. A plant appears from the ground, this plant has been cultivated to appear. This plant was within the seed, all the becoming became without any striving apart from the potentials to unfold that were first in the seed. Something is done, yet there is patience, naturalness, and harmony about the becoming. Within this happening is willingness. The seed becomes the plant, yet nothing is made to happen, it simply happens. There is a huge difference between willfulness and willingness.
In willingness arises certain qualities: humor, playfulness, relaxation. The unfolding of the Way is paradoxical: serious, very serious, while playful. We can be serious with a light touch. This is like making love with someone. We can make love very seriously together and be laughing hilariously. It can all be seriously adventurous and seriously fun and seriously funny. We do things when making love, like making sounds we would not dare make otherwise. We can seem to throw our usual sense of decency away, of being proper. So, the sharing of the lovemaking relaxes the tension of ego. Life can be like this for us. The path can be relaxing, freeing, if we let the Way predispose us to receive the wisdom of the Way.
Likewise, eating is very serious. I mean, if you do not eat, you die. So, eating is very serious. Yet, eating is meant to be relaxing, engaged relaxed, and enjoyable. So, Life, so, the Way. If you gobble your food hurriedly, like a pig at a pig trough, like it might run away before you eat it or someone else might steal your food, that is not the way to eat seriously.
For years I cycled on roads with traffic. I had a lot of fun. Yet, serious, serious. I needed to be on the spot mindfully, for one hit from a vehicle could mean death. Yet, there had to be a light touch, or I could not be one with the cycling, the bike, the road, the sky, the lungs expanding and contracting, the sweat arising and drenching body,... Hence, the oneness of it all, serious, playful.
We can act in preparation for Grace to work with and within us. We can always do something for Grace to grace us. And Grace arises through the spaciousness of willingness, of surrender. This even as the seed is disposed to become what is within the seed. So, there is nothing unnatural about the Way. Yet, the way with the Way is participatory, we act to posture ourselves to be further postured to Grace.
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Jesus is seen saying on the Cross, in the Christian Scriptures, to his God, "Into Your hands I give my spirit." All our doing can never attain Grace. All spiritual practice is to nurture availability and receptivity to Life, for the Life within us to unfold Itself, Its fruition. Some speak of letting go. We can, likewise, speak of letting be or letting become. Still, our letting arises from Grace, not our efforts. Our first thought to surrender to Life, is by Grace, by Life. This is all intimate, closer than close.
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We learn, partly through the frustration of our effortfulness on the path, to surrender more, to trust more the unseen workings of Presence. We need the desire to fuel devotion, our daily commitment, we need trust to relax into the Way, to remain and enjoy being in-Love with Life. We learn to love the Way, we learn to cherish the beauty of Its wisdom as a living wisdom. We take noble pride in our path and the way we engage it daily.
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