Photo of Cooper Square, New York (using iPhone X and Adobe Lightroom CC)

Life is Effortless

I’m writing this on my phone in a small cafe called Abraço in New York City. They don’t allow the use of laptops, so this is my only way of communicating with you.

This morning I woke up late, at around eleven am, in the tiny room in the crummy apartment building where I’m staying. I felt emotionally down based on a story that I came all the way to New York but spent so much of a perfectly good Saturday in bed.

It’s partly because I haven’t slept much the past few nights, which was partly to get more work done and partly because of traveling. Then last night I didn’t sleep well, partly because the beagle belonging to my host was howling, apparently from bad dreams because his owner is away.

So I finally got out of the apartment at around one in the afternoon, and I found myself walking very slowly along the streets of the East Village, savoring this place. It’s so complex and beautiful, so full of intermeshed lives, so scratched and nicked and rebuilt again and again. This is human on a massive scale.

I’m in New York to attend meetings with Jim Newman, a person who talks about nonduality. I don’t even truly know why I’m here; it makes no sense. There is nothing for me in these meetings, even though I seem to enjoy them very much.

What is discussed is all there is, what is apparently happening. In the story of my life, this simplicity was revealed about seventeen years ago. I spent years trying to find other people who knew about this, but found no one.

Only recently have I started to discover, through YouTube, that there are many people who are talking about this, and Jim seems to be one that I listen to often. I sit in these small meetings and I barely even have any questions anymore. I just sit and listen, and sometimes comment. It’s so simple.

I don’t seem to be seeking anything anymore. I don’t seem to care whether I am already awake or not. It really doesn’t matter. Whether I am liberated or not has nothing to do with me anyway, just as everything else has nothing do do with me.

It’s very clear that what seems to be happening has nothing to do with me. There is no way for me to control it. I can’t even find a me in this. The me is an habitual assumption, but it’s without any substance; where is it? There is clearly no separation. There is no more a separate me in this body than there is in any of the objects that seem to be appearing.

What seems to be happening has no beginning and no end. It is timeless. When and if this body is no longer appearing, what seems to be happening will still be all there is.

There is relaxation. There is relief. There is ease. It’s amazing to watch people doing things: the girl with the cheap biro pen frantically scribbling thoughts into a haphazardly spiral-bound notebook; the woman polishing the screen of her phone; the kids leaning over the table and giggling. None of this is separate. It’s like I’m doing it all, except there is no me to be doing anything. It’s amazing how effortless it is; the exact same effortlessness that is producing these words, the exact same effortlessness that produces fear and frustration.

Now I’m going to find some lunch and make my way to the next meeting.