Finding enlightenment in the in-between state

It takes some training to equate complete letting go with comfort. But in fact, “nothing to hold on to” is the root of happiness. There’s a sense of freedom when we accept that we’re not in control…

This may lead to a don’t-know-what-to-do kind of feeling, a sense of being caught in-between. On the one hand, we’re completely fed up with seeking comfort from what we can eat, drink, smoke, or couple with. We’re also fed up with beliefs, ideas, and “isms” of all kinds. But on the other hand, we wish it were true that outer comfort could bring lasting happiness.

This in-between state is where the warrior spends a lot of time growing up…

We are told about the pain of chasing after pleasure and the futility of running from pain. We hear also about the joy of awakening, of realizing our interconnectedness, of trusting the openness of our hearts and minds. But we aren’t told all that much about this state of being in-between, no longer able to get our old comfort from the our side but not yet dwelling in a continual sense of equanimity and warmth.

Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what’s happening, we begin to access our inner strength…

For the warrior, “right” is as extreme a view as “wrong.” They both block our innate wisdom. When we stand at the crossroads, not knowing which way to go… it’s where our solid views begin to dissolve…

It’s important to hear about this in-between state. Otherwise we think the warrior’s journey is one way or the other; either we’re all caught up or we’re free. The fact is that we spend a long time in the middle. This juicy spot is a fruitful place to be. Resting here completely—steadfastly experiencing the clarity of the present moment—is called enlightenment.

The In-between State by Pema Chödrön (requires subscription)

About lolkin

Nomad of the Universe, nobody special, student of Ram Dass. I write about happiness, meaning and spirituality. Buddhist, mystic, bhakti. My book on Love Addiction is out on Amazon now.
This entry was posted in buddhism, emptiness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Any thoughts, comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.