The phrase “tightening & loosing” is an interesting one. Jesus told his disciples that he would give them power to “bind or loose” things on earth, meaning to either nullify or enhance the principles he taught them.
There are many symbols that come in what I call “pair-teams.” A few ideas are light & dark, good & evil, feminine & masculine, Yin & Yang, etc. Though there are two parts, all these pairs operate as holistic units-in a sense you can’t have one without the other; ‘a horse & carriage go together like love & marriage,’ and the colloquialism ‘two sides of the same coin,’ all apply here.
Pairs are equivalent to a whole organism, to use biological language. Western culture is a very dualistic, “either-or” having construction for many objects, places, things or people. Eastern Spirituality implements a “both-and” metaphor for reality-it’s inclusive and depicts a binary amalgamation as one.
In writing this blog, in the discussion of “pair-teams,” I’m using metaphysical language-metaphors-these allow for individual perceptions & our reactions to the symbols. As time moves forward, these may become a popular, social medium that people engineer & design as social norms, memes, social conventions, or even a way to evaluate class status, i.e., “They must be rich-look at their clothes, but why is he driving that old “beater,” the Lincoln, may it rest in peace.”
There’s another pair-team that has been helpful to me on my spiritual journey. I first learned about this concept through Pema Chodren’s writings, the well-known Buddhist nun. She has observed & experienced that when something “bad” happens to us, or we have a high expectation for something to occur, and then it comes crashing down all around us.
Our human reaction to this kind of stimulus usually is motivated by fear, anger, defensiveness, and a “tightening” up of our resistance, so we can think of alternatives as solutions. If our minds are fixated on the problem itself and we see it as an invading enemy, we’re able to track the patterns we see (racing, obsessional thoughts, etc.), we find ourselves in a “vicious circularity”, our body-minds are tight and stretched beyond our capacities.
It’s like the story about the man who is holding a squawking & noisy bird in his hand. The gets angry at the bird because he can’t hear himself think.
There two basic things this man could do: 1. Squeeze the life out of the bird; 2. Open up his hands and let the bird fly away; he can also choose from other alternatives to solve this “bird problem.”
Generally, when we encounter something really distasteful to us we tighten, we hold our ground, and also allow ourselves to become hardened and non-malleable.
Pema goes on to write that there are spaces within each wave of the process; she advises readers to meditate on or experience the sky. This gives us a chance to redirect our minds; we observe our own minds, “the way things are” not how we want them to be. Having any tension or an ego-driven “fight” reaction squeezes the sense of “moving through” in the situation and constricts growth as a consequence.
One can shift across the threshold to a mind that is relaxed & softening. This offers our consciousness a chance to experience, to bloom, as it were, to see our hearts are all big enough to take in the episodic times of suffering, apply genuine compassion for those people who are agents in the suffering.
It should also be noted that any form or method of meditation should encourage relaxation & respite from a feeling that we have to wear a mask to hide our False Selves.
Through the repetition of breath or the saying of a mantra (a word or phrase you repeat in you head, a way to come back after your mind has wandered); as we do this, the mind frees itself. We’re able to see more of the Infinite Reality and recognizing that everything else will come & go, so don’t judge yourself in any way; just let these distractions slip away. Always remember to be compassionate with yourself.
The “pair-team” of “tightening & loosing” is a team for a reason-the universal & eternal love is its beacon. Growth in consciousness is its consequential mind-body change, to more & more of the Infinite, yet still being mindful about the empirical, finite world which we encounter.
©Christopher Bear-Beam June 1, 2016