Buddhism speaks of Buddha Nature, the fundamental nature of all beings. This is our natural, innate wisdom free from all obscurations. It is a state of simply knowing which is right now clouded by the mists of our untamed mind. In the coaching world they speak of people being naturally creative, resourceful and whole. The implication with both of these views, and others similar to them is that we have a natural, compassionate wisdom at our core, we just have to create the causes to allow that nature to grow and manifest in our lives.
The nature, the pen on paper…why do I feel that I do so little of this - get out, walk, breathe and put pen to paper? Why do I drop into the, “stay in front of the computer and something will happen” mode? Probably out of fear. Probably in the hope that my mind will kick into action. It doesn’t, at least not as often as I would like.
What causes me to speak of this natural wisdom? I recently went for a walk through Washington Park here in Portland. We are experiencing a beautiful early spring (a little scary as well if looked on through the lens of climate change). I’d taken my journal with me and sat at a picnic table in the afternoon sun to do some writing. I didn’t know where my writing would go, but the first words that I started jotting down were,
Taking A Break
I am a strong believer in taking breaks from work to allow the mind to move more freely. No longer tied into focused work, take yourself for a walk, let go of “thinking” and at times that break will be sufficient for ideas to surface as if from nowhere. My most vivid example of that was while I was working on my final project for my undergraduate degree. I was studying computer programming at the time and was sat staring at the computer until late into the night trying to figure out why the program for my project was not working. Eventually tiredness got the better of me and I went to bed. In the early hours of the morning I woke up with a start, an idea in my head (although with the benefit of hindsight I’d also call it ‘a knowing'). I switched the light on, grabbed a pen, wrote down what was in my head, turned the light off and went back to sleep. In the morning I knew with certainty that what I had scribbled on that piece of paper was the answer that I had been looking for the night before. I’m sure that many of you can speak to similar experiences.
Nevertheless, for all of my strong beliefs in the power and importance of taking a break, I am surprised at how little I do it…and I ask myself “why?” My musings conclude that it is fear based. If I am wanting to move something forward but the ideas are not forthcoming, my fearful mind tells me to stay put in front of the computer. Its logic is that as long as I am sitting in front of my computer results will happen. It is a flawed logic though. Out of fear you spend time online hoping to pull out of other people’s ideas the solutions that you want. At times though, space is needed.
Sometimes in order to grow wisdom into fruition you need to read, sometimes you need to reflect.
As I was sitting in Washington Park I was reminded of the Tibetan teaching of hearing, reflecting, and meditating. How can you meditate if you do not know or understand the subject that you are meditating on? First you must hear or read the teaching, the wisdom that you want to develop. Next you reflect on it, ironing out for yourself any doubts that you might have. The reflection can take the form of your own quiet time, discussion with others, going back for further reading for clarification. Finally, with the ideas clearer in your head, you sit and meditate on the subject, focusing those ideas into your heart and mind, starting to bring about the transformation that meditation can bring. The subsequent wisdom does not just arise from meditation alone, rather the seeds are sown by the hearing and reflecting, and later watered by the practice of meditation.
If we are working in the online world as a solopreneur. If we are using the online world for research and searching for ideas. Perhaps even if we are spending a lot of our time in books or simply in our head - step back. Take a walk, get some perspective, find the rhythms of the natural world to calm your mind and allow the wisdom to arise from that natural resting. Don’t force the ideas to arise, don’t expect them to arise on demand. Do the ground work, do your research…and then put it down and trust in your own creativity. With time and patience your natural wisdom will arise, and quite possibly in ways that you did not expect.
Buddhism was once described to me as “the big letting go.” The Buddhist teachings can lend many angles for why that is such an apt description of Buddhist philosophy. “Letting go,” so easily said, so hard to put into action. Out of fear we strive to control and manufacture what we want to experience in life. Letting go acknowledges the need for us to sow the seeds of what we want, create the causes in our life for what we are working towards, nurture those seeds and then give them space so that they can arise within the context of what is happening in our lives.
If the results are not coming to you, let go. Make sure that you have done the ground work and then stop forcing. This is not about giving up, it is about creating space for emergence. Where our natural wisdom allows for it, the ideas that you are looking for will arise.