This is an incredible story of when Ram Dass met Neem Karoli Baba.
I had a thought on the weekend that they only thing in the way of the peace I desire is my own’permission’ to be at peace. Do I truly think I deserve to be at peace, or do I believe I need to overcome a pile of fictional obstacles that I have placed in my own way?
What if it was as simple as the recognition that I am allowed to be everything I’ve always wanted to be RIGHT NOW!
I am not talking about anything from the physical world like getting that new job, or being a scratch golfer, or even a successful blogger. But rather it is the feeling that I assumes comes with each of those. Those feelings of success, achievement, of being important, and of validation of my own existence. And after each of those feelings I believe inner peace will finally be realized as I can finally stop trying to prove that I deserve to be here.
There’s also a certain resistance I had to this idea because spiritual enlightenment seems to revolve almost entirely around transcending the mind, and this particular approach utilizes the mind, particularly the concept of permission.
But can the mind be a gateway to it’s own transcendence?
At the surface the concept of permission and acceptance seem quite similar. But the key difference in my interpretation is that acceptance is directed more at external conditions, whereas permission is related to my internal way of being, at my relationship with the world.
In my spiritual practice of acceptance my focus has never been on my inner feelings but rather an attempt at quiet observation of the physical world. When I add the idea of permission to the mix it is like adding a degree of freedom. That I am giving my inner world the freedom to be entirely separate from my external conditions.
A deeply held belief of mine was that if I was quiet enough, and saw the world rightly, all of the good feelings would come streaming in. But permission goes both ways, I must give myself permission to feel both the good and bad. Honestly though, we are pretty much all experts already at giving ourselves permission to feel crappy!
I guess in some ways it is a rebellion against the relationship between the inner and outer. Do I not still deserve to be at peace if I lose my job? Can I not still experience bliss if my pipes freeze and the basement floods? Can I still be calm if someone belittles and insults me? It feels like the answer could be yes.
Is that insanity, or is that enlightenment?
And when I give myself this permission to be at peace no matter what, I am not ‘trying’ to be happy, it just seems to come easily when I let it. Like it’s closer to my natural state.