In the set of unresolved challenges there are many which stem from Failure to Decide. Until we do this we cannot use the key of decision to unlock the door or possibility, we are like Solomon faced with two harlots, one baby and a knife. The moment a decision is made the situation is unlocked. Until such time as this the situation is both emotive and awkward. In many cases we seek both one thing and another, as a consequence we run the risk of ruining both. Our attention is diverted, and we let things drift. We may want a mistress and a wife, a promotion and ethics, fame and a home life. There is a hope that we can somehow manufacture both-and. When we are challenged by the universe or God, to make a decision, we balk and eschew responsibility. This can and very often does, leave a mess. Many of these failures in decision have a root in face, saving face. We have gotten ourselves into a tight spot and cannot extract ourselves therefrom without losing “face”. So more often than not we try the same behaviours and approaches that got us into the tight spot, we haven’t yet decided that the approach isn’t working. We do not even decide to stop digging the hole as a temporary prophylactic measure.
Many unresolved challenges arise out of arrogance, stubbornness, pride or both-and thinking. Until we let go, there is no way forward and no way back. The terms we seek to enforce on the world, the universe, are unacceptable to it, but we keep on trying. The challenge cannot be resolved on our terms. It can only be resolved in some other way and even then, it may never be resolved, if we have gone too far. Our will, has caused problems and we have not yet decided to let go of, our will.
Have a think about this:
How many of the problems, difficulties and unresolved challenges in my life have arisen out of the failure to decide?
Many of us have touchy subjects, things that make us tense or which we avoid altogether. I alluded to mental health previously. These touchy subjects may be due to a host of different causes. They could be an emotional scar, something we are embarrassed about, something which is taboo, our crushes, our sexuality or our belief system. Usually they are about something unresolved in us. This might mean a fear, an anger or a resentment. They are buttons which if pressed can send us nuclear. The tendency to lose the plot at the pressing of a button is high.
The fewer touchy subject buttons you have, the freer you are.
Otherwise we can become encircled by a minefield of touchy subjects and a carpet of eggshells. And unless you are Kwai Chang Caine you cannot walk the rice-paper without leaving a trace. These touchy subjects are indicators of work to be done. They can be wonderful fonts of creativity leading to artistic expression, a kind of muse. Or they can simply be the bars of our cage. Expressing the emotional detritus around a touchy subject is healing, best not to point it directly at anyone, the ether will do.
The thing about touchy subjects is that they do not heal by themselves. We may get scar tissue with time, but the sensitivity remains. One has to try to resolve them, in order to be free.
Touchy subjects point at our unresolved challenges in life, some of these are of a karmic nature. Having cued up unresolved challenges, I’ll return to it tomorrow.
Amongst various schools of thought it is not possible to achieve full liberation whilst there remains karma to be worked at. Phrased differently we could say unresolved challenges or gaps in knowledge. Or in other terms we have not atoned for our sins. If you like there is an Excel spreadsheet of our account with the universe, the planet, and we cannot leave whilst there is still red ink. Whilst we are unbalanced both emotionally and karmically, we cannot be free. So, though we may be great at meditating, praying and devotion, there remains work to be done, tasks unfinished. We have to clear up the messes we make. This love in action differs from passive adoration. If there is proof, it is in action and not word.
Not a lot of emphasis is made on this idea of working things off. This kind of gritty “dirty” engagement with life can seem somehow beneath those of a lofty calling. Depending on your belief system one could pray to be forgiven but that is not quite as active as getting out there and doing something about it. If you are a Christian what do you think God would prefer, an appeal for forgiveness or a real live demonstration that you aren’t going to repeat and some meaningful remedial action on your part?
A major part of freedom in a personal sense is knowing that one is not in debt, that one has paid all dues. One has become karmically balanced and there is no more karma to work off. The burden of karma is eased, and its yoke lifted. A new lightness of being can be found.
Yoga means union and in its full sense is might mean union with spirit or God. To do this one has to lift the level of consciousness from the petty and the day to day, upwards. In the way is a kind of “glass ceiling” which cannot be passed. We might call this the emotional plane. We cannot get past these emotions, such as blame until we have worked them off. These emotions block the way. The “glass ceiling” is dirty and covered in emotional detritus. When we have worked at the karmic impediments on this “glass ceiling” we can start to see past it, to higher levels of being. In time the ceiling becomes transparent. Then it changes from glass into a two-way membrane. We can pass through it at will, either way. Our consciousness is not limited by emotional reaction. After that the membrane breaks. None of this can happen until we have cleared off our emotional plane. Thus, our emotions and our emotional detritus are karmic impediments. These are, in a way, markers of our karmic debt, the red ink, if you like.
There is no time like the present for starting. The more karma you accumulate the greater the work outstanding. Without moralising or defining over much, the best way to not accumulate karma can be summarised by the entreaty; try not to be a dickhead. Sounds simple but this covers pretty much everything, if you think about it.