The Pause Before What Is — an article which steps the reader through a personal process of spiritual practice. To go along with the written article, you may also listen to the article.
Simple on the surface.
Complex at the base of the iceberg.
Pay attention to What Is.
Okay – though the challenge is to see beyond the surface.
A word inquiring into the identity, value, or nature of an object or matter.
A word used to form a question.
A word asking, seeking understanding.
A word which forms a bridge between the known and the unknown.
What seeks the edges and the depth when What IS is obscured, hidden from view, possibly beyond understanding.
Present tense referring to someone beyond the speaker and whoever the speaker is conversing with.
This puts IS at a remove from the primary, first person.
Is: Exists. Has reality. An actuality.
Yet can also denote quality or identity.
Together, What Is leans into the current status of reality.
What Is expresses the desire to know what shape, form, or expression reality bares in this moment both within and without.
To move from unknown to known, asking yourself, “What Is?” requires openness, honesty, a release of barriers.
This is where I was held up today, as I pondered What Is in my life.
In seeking understanding, I ran headfirst into my barriers.
My thoughts. My emotions. My beliefs.
You know – all the things which exist within me as cobwebs and walls and tidal waves.
I often refer to them as my EBFJs.
My expectation, blame, fear, and judgment.
Blame sucks me into my past where I think I failed and definitely should have done better.
Fear pulls my awareness into the future so that my focus is not on either this moment or What Is.
Fear condemns the present – and me – as incapable of recognizing What Is now.
Judgment casts doubt, dismay, and dislike harshly, narrowly, and sometimes hatefully.
Judgment is determined to define What Is as less than undesirable, beyond compassion or redemption.
Expectations deliver on the belief that I can pre-determine exactly what will happen always.
Expectations skip the journey and jump right to the destination with blind assurance of knowing exactly What Is.
But that destination is a future illusion and not aligned with What Is in this moment.
Recently, I’ve been dancing the blind tango with several expectations.
Not really a straightforward dance.
More a sly motion born on the winds of self-delusion.
And, boy! This is a dance which is joyless, frustrating, and ultimately not really about the delusion that’s holding up everything.
Expectations create shadows across What Is, drawing an invisible curtain.
An unseen barrier which blocks observation and the process of clearly identifying What Is.
For me, I know that my dance with expectation began early.
To keep myself safe, I learned as a child to anticipate the needs and desires of others so that I could keep myself safe, protected.
Expectations are born from the bits of anticipation linked over time to deliver what was believed a safe source of information and knowing.
Birthed in a moment from a perspective not always conscious of its limitations, expectations come forward as a way to anticipate and to control events and outcomes.
Safety pushes anticipation.
Anticipation pushes expectations.
Expectations push to be the arbiter of experience and the filter by which all possibility is considered.
Within this pattern, expectation clothes What Is where both existence and actuality are distorted.
The good news is that it’s possible to see expectation.
To identify the barrier and disrobe the view by pausing.
In this moment: pause.
In the pause is the opportunity needed to see What Is.
The pause can be a deep breath.
The pause can be standing still.
The pause can be the thought, “Slow down!”
The pause interrupts determination and the blind attempt to anticipate and control.
In the pause comes a gap, a moment in which What Is can step forward beyond the barrier.
In the pause, there’s a chance to see how the EBFJs block clarity.
Again, easy word to say, harder to do.
To pause is a sidestep beyond the push of anticipation and the possibility of losing safety to then blunder recklessly into anxiety, fear, and pain.
If you keep moving, pushing, demanding, the objective is to avoid the potential outcome of your EBFJs.
Fear says if there is a pause that will be the moment everything hits the fan.
However, see and feel the fear and the worry.
Don’t allow fear to get in the way because not pausing continues the downhill tumble.
Fear feeds a mistruth to keep moving, reacting, anticipating.
Pause doesn’t get rid of fear.
Instead pause allows a moment to consider that What Is is not what was.
Pause provides opportunity to observe, to witness where truth is in this moment.
Pause isn’t a solution, or quick fix.
Pause is simply a moment to allow What Is to show up.
Without pause, life falls under the push and pull of EBFJs – always reacting, never responding within clear choice.
Pulling at any end, the veil covering What Is will begin to unravel.
First this belief, then that expectation drop away.
In the pause, all comes forward on the invitation: What no longer serves me?
In the willingness to ask, a path opens for release, for honesty, and for clarity.
As each thread falls away, What Is emerges with a sense of balance and an awareness of alignment.
Described this way, on your spiritual journey, What Is does not appear as a thing or an item.
Instead What Is presents as experience, a process of being and becoming.
What Is is not static.
Instead, awareness of What Is moves life into the dynamic flow beyond the limitations of EBFJs.
What Is also reminds that the journey is not finished and the EBFJs don’t magically disappear never to return.
Instead of creating expectation and anticipating each and every turn of the future, What Is brings focus to this moment now.
Simple to say.
Difficult sometimes because of barriers in need of release.
Give self-awareness time to catch up and release whatever no longer serves you in this moment.
Unfolding in the moment of inquiry, What Is answers, declaring What Is if you will release and see clearly.
Pause allows personal inquiry to sort through the layers in need of release.
Pause allows reflection and release.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Understanding the journey of life comes through the pause before What Is.
About this article, The Pause Before What IS: A lot of my writing explores the deep dives possible within the personal transformation process of spiritual practice. You can find more articles like this here: What is Spiritual Practice?