Just Because

Kids often tell you they're doing what they're doing, "Just because."

In this moment, they are relaying great depth of wisdom and insight.

They're doing what they're doing because they're being the cause. The question, "Why are you doing that?" engages the mind, which has not caught up yet to what is being expressed through their being.

The best answer to this question then? Just because. 

If you could ask any creature in nature — plant or animal — what they're doing, like the child, they will not be able to properly answer. 

Nature's creatures know nothing but being. They do just because. Because they are being informed from within, beyond the level of thought. Their actions, then, take on a quality of effortlessness. All of nature occupies an effortless space. And in that effortlessness, a tremendous amount of work gets accomplished.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we have minds and an ongoing inner monologue that constantly analyses, puts labels on things, and strategises. It wants to understand and figure things out. It especially wants to know what to do next (to be okay).

We also have hearts, or the faculty of intuition and instant, unprompted knowledge that do not need to ask questions.

More and more, we want to identify with our hearts and shed ourselves of all our unanswered questions.

It is a not so simple but, ultimately, a simple matter of trust to do so.

Trust what? That you will know what to do when you need to know, and not a moment before.

It's Up To You

Religions are filled with prohibitions and Thou Shalt Nots that many observe as law. 

Yet even Jesus taught, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." In other words, there is a healthy amount of flexibility when it comes to the so called rules.

No doubt about it. If you are earnestly following any spiritual path, certain prohibitions necessary for your evolution, will be present in your life. It will feel "wrong" to lie, steal, lust after things and people, harm the environment, make certain dietary choices, wear certain clothes, and so on.

Observing prohibitions informed from within through intuition is fundamentally different than following the Ten Commandments just because they were written in the Bible.

Such internally-informed prohibitions become tools for your spiritual practice and, really, are more akin to creative restrictions than anything else.

There is nothing inherently holy about wearing the ocher robes of a Swami. There have been those who have achieved exalted states of consciousness in jeans and a t-shirt. It's just that the robes, for some, communicate a much needed message to the outside world to give this person a healthy amount of space, amongst other things.

You decide. You decide if it's best to be vegetarian or not. To live in a monastery or not. To meditate once or five times in a week. To pray or not. To fast or not. To be kind or not.

There is no right answer. There is no right and wrong. There is only what is right and wrong for you. And you can only learn that from yourself.

You will make mistakes. You will forget what you learned.

That is okay. There is no need to punish yourself. You need to make mistakes to motivate you to take the next step and the one after that.

Sometimes you are met with disasters and feel like you are being punished. Punishment is a purely human concept that does not exist in nature. What happens is that our choices, many of them unconscious and conditioned, can lead us into alarming, often painful situations.

Now, we have the opportunity to reflect on those choices with love and compassion and see if we want to continue to make them, or not.

Either way is okay. It's up to you.

Unsatisfactory

"Life is suffering."

What does that statement conjure in your mind? Likely a sense of your life being filled with nothing but difficulty, pain, and the like. 

Instead of suffering, what if we used the word "unsatisfactory?"

Now, we are cutting a little closer to the bone, and getting to the root of the sentiment behind the classic Buddhist teaching. 

"Life" is also somewhat vague since life is not inherently painful or unsatisfactory. There have been plenty of people who have walked this planet in states of pure, unalloyed joy, the Buddha included.

It's a certain approach (a common one) to life that leads to dissatisfaction, which, in turn, leads to suffering.

Most of us live in the try to state. We are trying to get something for ourselves, e.g., happiness, a sense of security, power, etc. Like Pac Man, we shrink into our personal sense of self and chase after these feelings, while trying to avoid anything that might take them away.

From time to time, maybe more often than not, we will get what we want and win a few games. However, like a dose of dopamine, the high is short lived, and then its back to the hunt for the next one and the next after that, our sense of I and bigness growing larger all the while.

This approach is a recipe for a life of never being satisfied. A life of suffering.

After a fair amount of seeking and not finding, we begin to ask new questions. We start to wonder about what it is that we are really looking for, and if there are more sustainable sources of it.

With these questions resting firmly on our heart, we are now free to pursue answers.