Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Grace Meditation Contemplative Prayer Alan Watts


Generosity ~ Life Giving Itself All Around Us

Principle of Reversed Effort

Apr 9, 2018

Saying For Today: So, where to begin? With hopelessness. With helplessness. We are helpless and it is hopeless to get what we most deeply long for.


Living in Love beyond Beliefs

There Will be Fields of Flowers

What I have come to see, is the joy upon discovering each act of generosity is not personal, simply a means Life Itself is giving Itself to bless both whom I give to and myself as means of the gift. I am only a conduit through which flows a tiny stream of the River of Life. I myself am part of the stream, as is everyone, everything. I have nothing to give, nothing for myself to receive. All is gift.

* * *

A student approached his Zen Master, asking, "Master, how is it that you seem so at peace and joyful about your meditation practice, when most of us seem to find it such a struggle?" "Well," said the Master, "years ago, I stopped trying to meditate."
A church member visited her pastor. "Pastor, "she spoke, "I have tried to find peace, and, despite all my good intents, I seem to have failed." "Good," said the pastor. "Now, quit wanting to have peace, and you will enjoy peace."

The above stories present a universal principle, found in all the great spiritual traditions. Alan W. Watts, in The Wisdom of Insecurity, noted this "law of reversed effort" had always fascinated him. Sometimes Watts called it "backwards law."

Watts referred to Jesus to exemplify the law of reversed effort:

People who try to save their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives will save them. *St. Luke 17.33, CEV

Likewise, a scripture often associated with the Resurrection of Christ applies this insight:

Jesus said: The time has come for the Human One to be given his glory. I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. *St.John 12.23-25, CEV, Inclusive Adaptation

* * *

Western culture is a culture of pursuit, aggression, domination. We are a get culture. We want to master the world, treating it as an object to serve us. To guide others in transforming this grand societal illusion is a reason I have taught meditation. I have told students meditation is meant to fail and will fail them. For meditation is the undoing of the grand societal illusion, an illusion we transfer into our spiritual pursuits. We oft do not see what we most deeply yearn for is in life as it now is, already being offered to us, not creating a life not already present.

* * *

Meditation, and religion and spiritually, are paradoxical. Spiritual technology and teachings are means to cease grasping for what we think we need; then, we find we have it already or see wise means to fulfilling needs.

So, where to begin? With hopelessness. With helplessness. We are helpless and it is hopeless to get what we most deeply long for. To feel loved? Relax into feeling unloved. Does one want peace? Stop trying to find peace, accept the present disquiet. Security? Admit such is unattainable, then a sense of security within the sense of insecurity arises. To know, give up knowing and wisdom arises. Stop, in other words, trying to get, and one will be given to. Just stop, now. You can stop at any time: just stop, that simple. Our pursuit to get blocks this being given to. This being given to, we can call Grace, Love, Generosity, ...

* * *

This is the wisdom of Grace. And, when you can sit in meditation without caring if you are meditating, you are experiencing how Life operates. Life gives Itself to the extent of our receptivity, not our acquiring. When we discontinue trying to get the blessings of Life, as though we have a personal right to them, and we rest in a spacious openness for Life to give Itself, we witness Generosity all around us. It is, after all, all gift. Life is rich, Life is extravagant.


Grace and Peace to All

Lotus of the Heart is an interspiritual offering of Brian Kenneth Wilcox, who lives in Florida USA. Feel free to submit a query to Lotus of the Heart...



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Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Grace Meditation Contemplative Prayer Alan Watts

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