Loosening Our Grip
When I was in middle school, part of the physical education program was rope climbing. There was a long rope with knots at even intervals hanging from a very, very high ceiling in the gym. To tell the truth, I was never very good at rope climbing. But rope climbing provides an analogy for how the mind often envisions Self-realization. Every day, it hopes to climb higher and higher to reach its goal, and one day, with enough practice, enough strength, enough insight, enough improvement, enough increasing perfection, it will "arrive."
But what if the aim is not arriving at the ceiling, but the ground? Self-realization is a movement of return, of falling backwards, not going forward. What should we do to reverse direction? Loosen our grip! We will fall to the ground automatically. It is a matter of relaxing, loosening our grip instead of increasing our tension. Even for a moment, simply stop all effort to "arrive."
What do you discover? There is nothing we can do to produce the ground of our being. It is always and already here. Why not let go and return to your true self? We don't have to know "how." The moment we loosen our grip on controlling, striving, pushing forward, arriving, we will naturally fall backward into our Self. The process of awakening and embodying our realization is one of letting go, of losing ideas, identifications, and beliefs rather than gaining new, improved ones. It is letting go of who we have imagined ourselves to be, who we have imagined to be the doer. Perhaps being a very good rope climber is not what's required!