“Take out the trash. The trash is anything that is keeping you from the only thing that matters-this moment, here and now.” ~ The Peaceful Warrior
Radical Presence, vulnerable attendance, surrender to the moment. The infinite ‘now’ feels oh-so finite to our mortal perceptions. So fleeting, so transitory and yet, it is all we really have. This moment … Right now !
Which forever escapes us even as it forever remains by our side. What is one to do but balk and cringe, staring like a deer in the headlights into this absolute moment that presses in on us like an abyss. That washes over us like a cosmic ocean of interconnectedness, that pushes us through space on unrelenting currents of time?
Rather than balk, rather than cringe, rather than stare like a deer in the headlights, let’s take out the trash.
As the Zen quote goes, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
Likewise, before radical presence, take out the trash. After radical presence, take out the trash.
Taking out the trash is parting the waters of the mind and creating a path through the maelstrom of overthinking, anxiety, stress, and worry. It’s peeling away the layer upon layer of cultural conditioning, political brainwashing, and dogmatic indoctrination. Leaving the mind raw and vulnerable to the ultimate truth of the moment, to the absolute Now, to the infinite breath of radical presence.
It’s shaving away the unnecessary suffering of the past and future, only to discover and surrender to the necessary pain of the present. Pain as guide, pain as teacher and pain as truth!
But taking out the trash is also a cure for pain. For it simply reveals what was already there. It unveils repression, whatever flavor that repression may have taken. Pain, fear, grief, shame, guilt, shadowy demons.
It digs them up from their festering graves and reconciles them before they can spread their black poison any further. It makes the unconscious conscious by bringing it to the surface where it can be dealt with, absolved, forgiven, and ultimately initiated into the soul-work of radical presence.
As Rumi said, “The cure for the pain, is in the pain.”
We take out the trash for clarity, for healthy-mindedness, and to get a handle on the elusive ladder of a life well-lived. Before the climb out of hell, out of unnecessary suffering, out of the shit-heap of a sick society, we must first reconcile hell, cure unnecessary suffering with necessary pain, and mediate a sick society by living healthy lifestyles.
None of this is possible without first taking out the trash. In order to even see the ladder to clarity, health, and a life well-lived, one must first dig through all the trash, all the pollution, all the fog and dust and smog, clouding the way. One must plough through the rough to discover the diamond. One must brave the blighted hills to reveal the gold.
Hence the vital need for radical presence. For it is only when one is truly present in the moment, deep in the interconnected throes of the infinite cosmos, that one can see the true nature of things.
When all the pretentious paint and outdated lacquer of a profoundly sick society has been peeled away to reveal the vulnerable exactness of health, the Golden Rule, of universal laws that cut with the primal sharpness of the Golden Ratio.
It is only then, when the all too comfortable comfort zone of mother culture is shed like a parochial snake skin, that the vital and necessary new skin can grow to become healthier, more resilient and robust, shimmering with the courage to stretch further and further into the unknown until tiny comfort zones become mighty horizons revealing the dawn of a new way of being human in the world.
Through the radical presence of taking out the trash, a life well lived is revealed. Where before all the trash of a cluttered, anxious, overthinking mind was piled high in a weaving labyrinth of unhealthy chaos, after taking out the trash, no-mind, the mind-field is cleared into mindfulness and open mindedness. The way toward eudaimonia and a life well lived is revealed.
In the end, taking out the trash is carrying presence to its fullest application. It’s digging through the garbage, the pollution and the waste toward a healthy, soul-centric, self-actualized foundation. A drastic move away from sickness into holistic surrender.
It’s daring oneself to take a leap of courage into the dangerous waters of necessary pain. Only to rise up into the fresh air of reconciliation and the radical presence of being in love with living a life well lived.