Piet, Heloisa, Maria
A couple of interesting
related points arose in my reading of Piet's and Maria's last
am continually struck by how often the concept of paradox has entered
dialog, not the least of which is the paradox of Trying to Not-try.
Piet described that paradox very clearly when he wrote that it's
even begin to Not-try, for in beginning you are actually giving-in to
And I think Piet is correct that the Vipassana technique of observing
sensations, thoughts, feelings, and images without judgment is an
bootstrap past the paradox of Not-trying. In doing so, you get to see
trying as it intrudes into your attempts to not-try. A fascinating
Piet then goes on to
more radical sense of not-trying, which I'll characterize as the Cold
Turkey Method. If I may elaborate on Piet's analogy of kicking
habit of cigarette smoking, going Cold Turkey means to simply STOP
you're doing. But as anyone addicted to nicotine, food, consumerism, or
other habit knows, going Cold Turkey is extremely difficult. The
of habit" peck away relentlessly at our best intentions, and we find a
myriad of excuses to fall back into our habitual practice.
So, may I suggest that
perhaps addicted to Trying, as a Western cultural habit. That we are so
addicted to Trying that even "not-trying" is framed as another
example of trying. And as a deep-rooted cultural habit, Trying carries
a host of "demons" ready to de-rail our best intentions with
seemingly logical reasons for continuing the habit.
Which gets me back to
"expectations." Expectations, in Vipassana meditation, are merely
thoughts, and as with all thoughts they can be dispassionately observed
what they are. Look at your own expectations. Become aware of them.
rise up in consciousness, then disappear. Observe their form, their
their implications. Look closely to see how they control your life. And
seems appropriate, let go of them.
Now try the same technique with "trying." Meditate on trying. Trying is merely another thought pattern, and as with all thoughts, trying can be dispassionately observed for what it is. Watch trying rise up in consciousness, then disappear. Observe what it means to try. See if, and how, trying controls your life. And if it seems appropriate, let go of trying.
The Paradox of Trying is only a paradox while we are addicted to the habit of Trying. Let go of the habit of trying... take a chance... and see what happens.