Episode 11: The Obvious
"Have you seen the movie, The Secret? Have you read the book? Bathed in "The Secret" Bath Salts? Buy "The Secret" infused spring water? Well, some of the secret isn't so secret and some is hokum. But it did jolt another title into my head: "The Obvious." With all the well intentioned "how to create the life of your dreams" intentionality and huckstery P.T. Barnumbification of the American mind, a truth burned through to me. An... obvious truth. And it reminded me of a startling conversation that Ram Dass had with a mysterious seeker early in his travels in India. This Obvious Truth struck Ram Dass dumb when he realized how it stripped him of all the security blankets he had piled on top of his naked, loving soul.
This week, we throw off some of the blankets that we have consciously or unconsciously smothered over our ability to love in any moment. And, it is my secret -- and obvious -- hope, to help you breathe love more freely, here and now.
Adam Gilad: Hey, welcome again to The Fearless Lover on Personal Life Media. I’m your host, Adam Gilad, and this week I want to talk about the obvious.
Adam Gilad: In my work with men and women in the dating world, I found that I kept running into the same problem, and that is that people love their stories from the past. In fact, they’re in love, they’re passionate about their stories from the past. As any good Buddhist would tell you, they’re attached to their stories. And that attachment reliably blocks them from opening into the love in the here and now.
Adam Gilad: Most people close themselves to being truly open to loving others in the moment because, now if you can picture this, they unconsciously position themselves to be a point with infinite arrows coming in at it. Stories from the past, projections and expectations from the future, all pointing in, surrounding, smothering.
Adam Gilad: Being truly present in the moment is a doorway to an open heart, and an open heart is the doorway to loving what is. Loving the people around you. Loving the world around you. Loving the unlikely gift of life itself. And even, if you try really hard or rather stop trying at all, loving yourself.
Adam Gilad: What’s the obvious? You know, a lot of fuss was made last over the book The Secret, and fuss was made over the movie The Secret, the playing cards The Secret, The Secret mugs, t-shirts, day planners, The Secret coaster sets, Secret cufflinks, The Secret eye shadow, tarot cards, drawer liners, law of attraction tableware, The Secret placards, flags, bumper stickers, at-home workbooks, and of course rose tinted intention goggles. And I kind of like The Secret in all its goofiness because inside that hopeful hockus pockus there is a truth, and that is that life more often than not goes in the direction that the mind sends it. For me, I’ve seen way too much orthodox in my life to take the absolutest determinism of The Secret seriously. But it did give me a great idea for a spoof, so it was worth it. It gave me an idea to do a movie called not The Secret but The Obvious. And in The Obvious you have incredulous scientists and probably a lot of Buddhists remarking on the truth of the obvious, which is that all we have is the here and now. With all our breadth of intellect and with all the storm power of our emotional imagination, all we really have is the here and now. What is actually going on in this instant in and around us right now. Now on one level we have this instant to make our life as it unfolds right not bliss or misery, or as most of us and most people choose, somewhere in between, although a lot more people seem allured to misery. With all the philosophizing and preaching about the origins way back of this God or that country, and with all the delicious love affairs going on in the world today with great meaningful mass death, either in the vicious kind of bin Laden form or flavored with our own sweet huckabee and the whole left behind series where they love to envision mass death and a few people saved, that kind of end of the world is in the future, takes us away from what we have, which is this moment, no past, no future. At this moment there is no revelation on Mount Sanai and there’s no 2012 Mayan end of time. There’s no 13th century crusades and there’s not battle for, I don’t know, minerals on Mars or wherever the hell else our lovely governments will be meeting up to rumble somewhere in the future. In quantum reality perhaps all those things exist in every moment, but in your daily reality and my daily reality and the daily reality of the human heart that craves to love, one thing is the obvious; past, future, ideology, projection, they are not here, now. But they do clutter our ability to enjoy the here and now, and our ability to create the love we really wish to create. So today, I want to say something about how the past intrudes on our ability to open and to love. In my work with men and women in the dating world I found that I kept running into the same problem, and that is that people love their stories from the past. In fact, they’re in love, they’re passionate about their stories from the past. As any good Buddhist would tell you, they’re attached to their stories, and that attachment reliably blocks them from opening into the love in the here and now. The story may be that, “Oh, men only want one thing”, which of course Shanghai’s the opportunity to experience a man who may want that other thing, the crazy little thing called love. Or the story may be that, “I am not worthy of love”, so that when someone does love you, you think they must be diluted or stupid or both. It’s Groucho Marx on a date, “I wouldn’t belong to a club that would allow me in. I wouldn’t date anyone who would date me.” Some men and women clutter the here and now with stories of their father or mother and forget that they’re living their own lives here and now, not living an addendum to a story previously told. Some invent narrative of, “Well, I’m just not supposed to be in a relationship right now”, or “If it was meant to be or if I was meant to meet someone I would.” They believe this all while sitting home drooling over McDreamy and McSteamy on Grey’s Anatomy, expecting somehow maybe because they’re intending it, a la The Secret, that they will meet the love of their lives just because. Now don’t get me wrong, I love stories. I’ve written many of them myself for television. And in my personal life I’ve diluted myself with many of them to prevent myself usually from admitting realities or weaknesses I’d rather not see. We, you and I, use stories as the agents of our own fears to prevent ourselves from opening innocently, vulnerably and lovingly into the moment and, and this is really the key point, to the people we meet in the moment. We tend to cage the moment in the aging fraying mesh of our stories. Let me tell you my sad story and you tell me yours. And we could commiserate on how we been done wrong. Let me tell you about my fantastic life and you tell me about your fantastic life and we can get high on what we want to believe about ourselves. What we do is slip the noose of the past and the future over the neck of the present and squeeze the life out of it, we squeeze the opportunity out of it, we squeeze the possibility out of it. With our stories, with the way we insist on retelling the past as if it were still happening now, we squeeze the truth out of the moment. Most people close themselves to being truly open to loving others in the moment because, now if you can picture this, they unconsciously position themselves to be a point with infinite arrows coming in at it. Stories from the past, projections and expectations from the future all pointing in surrounding, smothering. What does this do? It does serve to draw other peoples sympathy and pity, interest and annoyance. The key here is that it draws in their attention in one form or another. After we take a short break, I’m going to flip that image totally around so that we can open ourselves to an entirely different paradime where we’re free to love fully in any moment. We’ll be right back. This is The Fearless Lover and I’m your host, Adam Gilad.
Adam Gilad: Welcome back to The Fearless Lover. I’m your host, Adam Gilad. We were just talking about how people squelch their ability to love openly in the moment because they smother themselves in stories from the past, projections of the future and just can’t be in the moment as it is. We’re going to take the image of people as a point, with arrows pointing in of stories and expectations and projections, and we’re going to flip it around. Imagine instead that in every moment you’re like a point, same point, except the arrows are going the other way. You’re surrounded by arrows which are shooting outward in infinite directions, like bright yellow sunrays in a child’s drawing. There’s no past, no future, only a powerful exuberant radiation from the center. Now what are those rays? Well, each of them to me represents an opportunity to love. But you really have to be that point, you really have to be in that point in order to feel all those opportunities, all those rays, all those directions, all those people. It takes a kind of ferocity, a fearlessness, our happy theme here, to let our old stories slip away, as well as our expectations, so that we may radiate our love outward rather than suck attention inward from others. Our stories and our expectations, they’re like our security blanket, and sometimes we pile so many security blankets on top of ourselves, we suffocate beneath them. Now there’s a story that Ram Dass tells in his book Be Here Now, his title by the way being our theme for today, well he was traveling in India and he’s, he’s really at this point kind of a professor, psychology professor on the search in India, he really doesn’t have a guru, he doesn’t have a place to go, he just knows he’s after something, he’s after some kind of truth. He meets a mysterious tall lanky blonde American whose been studying with the guru who is going to turn Ram Dass, who was then known as Berney Albert, into Ram Dass. I’m going to read you from Be Here Now, it’s such a great passage. So he’s traveling through India and he’s clutching onto his passport and he’s thinking about going home, and he was sitting with this fellow and he writes, “During these travels on the train he’s starting to train me in a most interesting way. We’d be sitting somewhere and I’d say, ‘Hey, did I ever tell you about the time Tim and I…’ and he’d say, ‘Don’t think about the past. Just be here now’, silence. And I’d say, ‘How long do you think we’re going to be on this trip?’ and he’d say, ‘Don’t think about the future. Just be here now.’ And I’d say, ‘You know, I feel real crummy. My hips are hurting.’ ‘Emotions are like waves’, he said. ‘Watch them disappear in the distance on the vast calm ocean.’ He had just sort of wiped out my whole game. That was it. That was my whole trip; emotions and past experiences and future plans. I was, after all, a great storyteller. So we were silent. There was nothing to say. He’d say, ‘You eat this’, or ‘Now you sleep here’, and all the rest of the time we sang holy songs. That was all there was to do. Or he would teach me ocinas, hothayoga postures. But there was no conversation. I didn’t know anything about his life, he didn’t know anything about my life. He wasn’t the least bit interested in all the extraordinary dramas that I had collected. He was the first person I couldn’t seduce into being interested in all this. He just didn’t care. And yet I’d never felt so profound an intimacy with another being. It was as if he were inside my heart, and what started to blow my mind was that everywhere he went he was at home.” That’s the end of that quote. Now has that for an epitaph by the way? How would you like that written on your headstone? “Everywhere he went he was home.” “Everywhere she went she was home.” It’s no secret, being truly present in the moment is a doorway to an open heart, and an open heart is the doorway to loving what is, loving the people around you, loving the world around you, loving the unlikely gift of life itself, and even, if you try really hard or rather stop trying at all, loving yourself. Now I was about three months into a relationship with my lover, and we developed a deeply devotional sense of mutual service and deep intimacy in the moments we spent together, which were increasing. And one day I said, after a few months I said, “I don’t even know where you went to school, what you studied at college or even if you went to college.” She looked at me and said, “Does it matter?” Her response blew me away, kind of in the same way that Ram Dass was blown away. College degrees, resumes, so much part of my life, they always seem to matter so much, but in that moment it didn’t matter. And in this moment it doesn’t matter. Where love expresses as love, there is no past and no future. There is only love awaiting you to step into its dancing shoes. But then again, isn’t that obvious. This is The Fearless Lover. I hope you enjoyed this session on Personal Life Media. My name is Adam Gilad, and I’d love to hear your thoughts at www.thefearlesslover.com. See you next week.