Every now and then I come across a book, a tape, a lecture or a person, that completely changes my life. Mary O’ Malley’s book , “What’s in The Way, Is the Way’ is one such book. I came across it recently, mentioned in one of the several emails that I get, and I took the time to read the first chapter which was on offer for free, because I was attracted to the title. I was delighted to find a simple but profound treatise on Mastery. Arguably the best I have ever read. In the East this book would be described as an Upu Guru – something that you come across that points The Way. (As against a Sat Guru, which is someone whose life is their message and who Is the Way) Here is a quote from the book on page 111:

“ Life is set up
to bring up
what has been bound up
so it can open up
to be freed up
so you can show up
For Life”

That’s about as close as I can get to describing her philosophy in a nutshell .

O ‘ Malley skillfully helps the reader become aware of how we are caught, constantly in the ‘clouds of struggle’ created by the thoughts in our head. All of us are in a constant state of listening to the story teller in our head, who is planning, arguing, reasoning, fixing, dominating, changing and trying to control our reality, instead of just meeting our lives exactly as they are and ‘showing up’ for the experience, good, bad and ugly. The cost of being caught in our ‘clouds of struggle’, this tug of war with what is, is we forget to be present or to ‘show up’ for the actual experience of our lives. We prefer to listen to our storyteller and get caught up in our old worn stories about what is happening, rather than being with what is actually happening.

So how do you show up for your experience? How do you meet it so that it can flow through you without you getting caught up in its drama? This is essentially what the book is about. It’s a skill to develop to be able to meet your experience, especially where you are going through a divorce or relationship breakdown, to move towards it instead of away from it by eating over it, drinking over it, working over it, watching TV over it to name but a few ways that we avoid actually feeling and being with what’s going on for us.

Again and again, I realize that mastery involves doing the exact opposite of what I would have thought I had to do. Its about learning to respect and honour what is happening and doing a U turn and turning towards that which we naturally want to run away from. In the process, things become much less scary and you become much stronger. You increase your capacity to deal with discomfort and you enter what she calls the Meadow- where you realize that ‘It’s all okay. It’s truly okay’. You can only do this once you understand that we are not separate from Life and that Life is Safe (even though it includes pain) and that you cannot control Life. O’ Malley says it is a gigantic leap in our awakening when we realize that our suffering does not come from what is happening in our lives. Suffering comes from believing our stories about what is happening. You just need to bring the light of your curious attention to yourself.

I am just dropping the seed of this idea and if I feel moved to share more in future blogs, of course I will.

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