Essence of Openness: “… Openness is simply itself … It is simply here, as presence itself …” ~ Amoda Maa
As we navigate our self discovery journey, we inevitably face certain core questions, or remarks, that take us deeper into the necessary (and, at times, potentially uncomfortable or challenging) explorations … so, here’s one: “I’m not interested in how spiritual you are. I’m interested in how willing you are to stand as openness in the face of brokenness and loss.”
This is Amoda Maa’s opening – and framing – remark of the first chapter (Falling Apart or Falling Open?) in her latest book, Falling Open In A World Falling Apart: The Essential Teaching of Amoda Maa. … ultimately this is an invitation to surrender … to “fall into openness” … to meet life here and now, exactly where we are … Or as, Amoda says in the Introduction: “… surrender the argument with what is: to meet reality without resistance …”
So, what is this Essence of Openness?
To answer this important question, we resume our series on Amoda’s book with this post (Part 2) … which is her take on the Essence of Openness …
… in Part 1 (Openness: A word for this very moment) Amoda set the stage for the series by addressing a natural – and burning – question: how relevant is all of this in the seemingly endless mayhem of life? especially as we face the “COVID crisis.”
All italicized text is from Falling Open in a World Falling Apart by Amoda Maa and is published here with her gracious and generous permission.
The Essence of Openness
Openness is your essential nature. It is what was already here before the story of your life got created. And it is what remains when the story of your life ends. It is the space within which your experience appears, and disappears. It is the space within which you appear and disappear. It is what is always here, come heaven or hell. You cannot get rid of it, you cannot taint it or harm it, you can neither add to it nor take away from it. It has no boundary, no edge, no beginning, and no end. It has no substance, no weight, no position, and no conclusion.
Openness is simply itself. It is not a valve that opens and closes. It is not a sea-anemone that expands and retracts. It is not a faucet you turn on and then turn off. It is simply here, as presence itself. Openness underlies the whole of your existence—like the paper on which history is written, like the sky in which the universe hangs, like the emptiness that contains fullness.
Openness is the “I” that sees, that senses, that knows its own experience. And yet it is not experience itself. It is the awareness that recognizes itself. And yet is not identified by itself. It is the consciousness that is always here, come what may. And yet this openness is so often missed, so often overlooked and unrecog- nized. It’s as if we look in the other direction, concentrating on the content of our experience, focused on the endless narratives that rise and fall like waves on the surface of the ocean. We are so concerned with finding our identity in our “doing” and “having,” in our feeling and thinking, that we get ourselves snarled up in the world of vicissitudes.
There’s a fear that if we open, we’ll be taken advantage of, we’ll be abused or harmed.There’s a tendency to believe it’s dangerous to be vulnerable or tender—that we’ll be overwhelmed by the depth of our feelings, that it will kill us to allow our hearts to be pierced by the horrors of the world. So we employ some clever acrobatics to bypass our experience—to numb out, to stay asleep. These clever strategies are short-term medicine, but don’t work in the long run. Eventually we get so contorted, and the internal pressure of keeping ourselves together builds up to such an extent, that we fear we might burst and collapse into a worthless heap of jelly. The fear of falling open is so huge that we refuse to let go of our need to control and resist that which is uncomfortable and unwelcome—what a problem life is, from this perspective!
My invitation is for you to know the unshakeable openness of your essential nature. You can still have healthy boundaries, you can still say no when someone is out to harm or hurt you, you can still walk away from abuse, you can still be human and know where you start and where you end in the world of form. It is, of course, necessary to have healthy boundaries on a physical and psychological level in order to navigate the earthly world.
But none of this has anything to do with the openness that is your essential nature—that which is here prior to your yes and your no, that which is beyond where you start and where you end. Your essential nature—what you truly are beneath the surface appearance of a personality—is infinite and ever-present. When you know this openness as your foundation, then even your most vociferous no will not come from reactivity—it will come from love. It will be right action. It will be intelligent response.
The invitation of openness is to fall into the infinity of your true nature. It is from here that true freedom can begin.
~ Amoda Maa
Coronavirus continues to take a toll on humanity and tremendous, heroic efforts continue to be underway by many to ensure our health and safety … helping those who are involved in such efforts is the “order of the day” … and in this spirit, Go Fund Me needs to be commended for organizing various campaigns targeted towards COVID-19 relief efforts. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we wanted to highlight TWO critical ones that we have donated personally and also as Stillness Speaks:
Despite the financial challenges that are amongst us all, if your situation allows you to donate and help then …
… please visit Frontline Responders Fund’s Go Fund Me page … and help deliver crucial supplies to these frontline responders …
… and/or visit America’s Food Fund Go Fund Me page and help feed the neighbors in need.
And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to a) the COVID-19 Frontline Responders (all the healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital/medical-services staff – firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, and any/all the people involved in keeping the “system-at-large” functioning for ALL of us) … and b) Go Fund Me for organizing America’s Food Fund to feed the needy.
Having considered The Essence of Openness … next we will look at an excerpt from the section The Purity of the Heart … so stay tuned …
All italicized text above (including quotes/text in the blockquoted segments) is from Falling Open In A World Falling Apart: The Essential Teaching of Amoda Maa … and is published here with Amoda’a generous and gracious permission.
May the insights offered here help you embrace openness … and …
And may you remain safe and healthy as you navigate this global crisis …