Everyone I meet – socially, clinically, or intimately – has a “resilience project” in front of them. Like ants on a busy sidewalk, all of us are on a constant collision track with reality. All of us are in a kind of flow state of navigating the life-and-death slalom of logistical and existential traps. We are so good – so brilliant! – at this that most of the time we don’t even know we are doing it – our survival is tactically on autopilot. Verily, we are survival machines! And mindlessness is our most precious adaptation to this jungle. But inevitably a moment comes when we run into the wall of the unfamiliar and we no longer have the choice to go on as before. Something profoundly shifts in our life and an awakening is required of us. A new strategy is demanded of us. But to re-program we have to de-program first. And this adaptive paradigm shift calls for mindfulness, the nemesis of bliss. When we – humans ants – finally awaken on the sidewalk of life, when we consciously take in the significance of the peril we are in … when we finally glimpse the mind-numbing transience of this cosmic rush-hour that we are trying to survive … we panic.
How do we get to the other side of this moment? How do we survive this dodgeball of random circumstance? How can we ever again fall blissfully back asleep into our favorite reverie of routine and status quo? It is then – which is really “right now” for you and you and you – that another “project of resilience” summons us like a crocodile’s yawn, threatening to swallow us whole. And during this conscious survival phase we will do whatever it takes. Our idealistic presets aside, we will suspend all of our ethics in a Machiavellian game of self-serving survival. First we must survive – and we will rationalize each and every step of our selfish decision-making process later. Later – not now (when we are busy staying afloat!) – we will surf the recurrent waves of our cognitive dissonance. Yes, we will find all the necessary justifications. No doubt, we will eventually retro-fit all the ethical gaps with sophistry and Darwinian logic.
One way or another, we will all die convinced of our innocence. And rightfully so! Why? Because we are innocent, we are sinless, we are all beautiful in the midst of our human predicament of suffering. Karmic theories aside, none of us asked – or deserved – to be born. We have all been thrown into this samsaric hamster wheel of suffering without an informed consent. None of us earned this dubious privilege of existence. And yet all of us have been sentenced to life, to doing time, to surviving. And so we all are in “this” … together but also alone … We, the amazing living protoplasm of cosmic bodymind … we, the glorified amoebas … we, the so-called humans … yes, you and I … we are all trying to find our way in this cesspool Petri dish of life.
When I say “resilience is everything,” you probably hear a misplaced emphasis. Let me clarify what I mean: when I say “resilience is everything,” I am not saying that “resilience is all important.” Of course, it is. That is self-evident. What I am saying is that “everything is resilience.” Not just standing up but also sitting down. Not just fighting but also fleeing. Not just not taking a shit but also shitting your pants. Everything is resilience – now, I think, you hear me correctly. Anything and everything you do is resilience. Anything and everything you do is your here-and-now “resilience project.” Anything and everything you do right now to survive is what it takes for you right now to survive. No justification is needed. No self-loathing is necessary (unless self-loathing is necessary for you to survive whatever it is that you are surviving). In a dilemma of living, there are no “wrong” paths – that’s what makes a dilemma a dilemma. A dilemma is a perfect balance of pros and cons on both sides of the scale. And in a terrifying moment of arbitrary choice (mind you, arbitrary choice is the only free choice we ever make) you tip the cosmic balance in the hope of turning the shit of your predicament into the gold of your wellbeing.
Godspeed to you in this endeavor. And the silent applause of my one-hand clapping. This moment of survival is a big deal to you. It isn’t the only make-it-or-break-it moment of your life – they are all like that, you know – but it is that one moment that you are suffering through consciously (most of our lives we suffer unconsciously, thank god). So, it is in this moment of conscious suffering that you and I meet in the arena of these rambling words. “Namaste,” I say to you, meaning that “the conscious protoplasm of my bodymind recognizes the conscious protoplasm in you.” Hello, brother and sister, from another cosmic daddy – all of us hail from the same Universal womb and I can hear our “What the f#@$?!” birth-cry in any language our tongues choose to speak.
One way or another we are all walking on water …