It is perhaps difficult to imagine that a still, tranquil and thoughtless mind could go hand in hand or exist simultaneously with an active, emotional and multifaceted expression of self. A being with such an expression would be able to express a full range of emotions from positive to negative. They may laugh until they cry, cry until they laugh and yell until they are blue in the face! In other words, no level of emotional expression would be barred from such a consciousness. But could such a consciousness really coexist with a content, empty, wholesome and absorbed natural mind?
When one’s mind is empty then nothing can stay there; nothing can remain there to be endlessly chewed over and analysed. But this does not mean that the state of an empty, content mind precludes the arising of a full spectrum of emotions. Having a still, wholesome and empty mind means only that such emotions flow through it without resistance or suppression to be fully expressed and thus exhausted at that moment.
One of the main reasons that minds don’t stay empty and tranquil, and bodies don’t remain relaxed and blissful, is that beings often have an enormous back-up of unexpressed emotions, thoughts and feelings. Such emotions may have been suppressed and trapped within for the entirety of one’s life. When one gets into a pattern of suppressing certain kinds of emotional expression, then one may crystallise in this repression and thus become a boiling ball of suppressed anger and negative emotion. This unexpressed emotion leads to a constant underlying tension within the body, and therefore the mind too.
When one encounters experiences in life that would naturally trigger anger or some other negative emotion to come to the surface and be expressed, and if one is also emotionally suppressed, then one will feel an acute tension – one will feel the initial impulse to act and express, along with a feeling of great tension and pressure in the body, usually in the solar plexus area or even the head. If one does not express, but rather just swallows that anger, the anger doesn’t leave. It is simply stored in the cells of the body and contributes toward more and more general unrest and stagnation within one’s individual being.
Anger, if felt or aimed towards someone else, cannot be truly hidden, even if it is actively unexpressed. The other being will still feel those waves of anger, but instead of there being a clear moment of communication where one expresses that, ‘This is what I feel. I don’t like this. I’m angry and upset,’ there is instead a state of passive aggression which actually serves to push one further into an emotionally sealed-up coffin, where it becomes increasingly difficult to emotionally connect with others, build relationships and understand oneself and one’s genuine desires properly to live both peacefully and joyfully.
To have a still mind does not mean that one is passive and lifeless in expression and just tries to avoid thinking or involving oneself in situations that may provoke strong emotional responses. It means that one lives fully and one expresses their own flow of being wholesomely and honestly. Whatever is there is expressed and exhausted the moment it arises. This phenomenon is well known to most through the feeling of ‘getting something off of one’s chest’, expressing something to someone that was previously unexpressed, and the huge feeling of mental and physical relief that comes along with that. During the moment of self-expression, one may even let go of any thought about what the result of or response to that expression will be – what the other person may say, feel or think – because one is just relieved to express and empty self, regardless of what comes out of it. Such moments of honest self-expression and confession can often be moments of healing both within oneself and within relationships with others and the world in general.
In mainstream spiritual discourses, this notion of free and honest self-expression has been left out in favour of cultivating an artificial stillness or filling up the mind with new second-hand ideas, which lead nowhere. Becoming truly established in equanimous blissful Being and becoming more honest, direct, free and spontaneous in self-expression are simultaneous and mutually complementary and stimulating processes. The more one expresses what is within self courageously and selflessly in each moment, the more one is able, in the next moment to plunge into complete stillness and bliss within, because nothing is weighing on one’s mind and nothing is causing contraction and stagnation within the body.
The same thing goes with cases of procrastination. The one who procrastinates is not sitting and joyfully avoiding tasks that they know have to be completed, rather they often think of how much they don’t want to do something, whilst actively avoiding doing that thing. They are not foregoing action in favour of stillness or non-action, they are rather foregoing that action through avoidance, in favour of the escapist action through inner-restlessness.
You cannot recognise that individual being who is truly established in stillness by looking at how quiet or non-confrontational they are. You also should not judge them by their charisma or whirlwind of so-called spiritual activity. An active social attitude, charisma and direct emotional expression is not necessarily a sign of any wisdom. Emotional expression can be overblown and unwisely amplified through indulging in inner dramas and stories. The action resulting from such inner emotional/mental indulgence may end up as shallow, confused or simply insincere.
The action of a truly evolved and refined being is absolutely sincere and honest at every moment. Their action, first of all, stems from the honesty which they carry towards their own individual conditional being, with its genuine preferences, feelings and desires being freely expressed. Such action is wise, because it is completely rooted in and stems from a state of content Being, and it does not grasp or look to link up to the emotions of others in a co-dependent way. It flows naturally along with the expression of others and reflects and flows with that which it encounters. It is a totally fluid and unpredictable expression that moves with whatever task or interaction is at hand. If nothing is at hand then it can easily subside into the blissful stillness and no afterthoughts occur.
Such a being does not drag a chain of stories and emotions along with them. One moment they are this and another moment they are something else, yet nothing is happening within. The essence remains untouched. Every moment is a new moment and so it stays for eternity. Stepping into one moment, and letting it go in the next one. In each moment they are a natural and selfless expression of the self on various levels and then, the next moment they are the same being in a new circumstance without linking it all up into an artificial coherent flow of stories, feelings and emotions. That is why, life for a refined and evolved being is not perceived the same way as it is perceived by people living through the chain of memories, emotions and past actions, and thus emanating those past thoughts and emotions. Such freedom is the result of evolution within the being who has unchained self from the compulsion to connect their past with their present and project it all onto an ephemeral future. This future is unreal because it is simply a reflection of the past tendencies, inclinations and choices driven by them.
It is the freedom and flexibility of the action and expression that really characterises an enlightened being. When one does not refine self, and one holds emotions within, then one will always fall into predictable patterns of behaviour and expression. Because one is constantly boxed in and suppressed on some level by the limitations or knots within one’s consciousness. As much as one tries to compensate in other areas and hides behind either active or passive aspects of the personal expression, it will always be possible for one to become stuck in a moment and not know how to be, act or think, more so projecting this very moment onto the eternity and invoking a chain of negative emotions, feeling weak and incapable to live through a natural flow of life. Being stuck in an artificial flow of one’s own past stories, thoughts and emotions, we become slaves to this flow and fail to come back to our Natural Being – that very natural flow of life that enriches us and makes us feel content and free.
Enlightened or, in other words, evolved and refined beings are fearless. They do not have vast pre-calculated databases of how to behave in every moment of life, they simply flow through the freedom of self-expression, each moment being themselves and each moment being conscious, intelligent and yet absolutely free in expression. They seem to act fearlessly, honesty and selflessly, and this makes their action always look elegant, true and noble, and yet unconfined to any such notion of what that kind of behaviour should look like. And yet, again it is only a perception of their actions from the outside. Internally such a being is free from judgment, simply flowing, yet seeing self and the world through this self clearly. Such beings seem to live in a moment without coming back to the moments that are past unless there is a practical need for it.
Such living and expression cannot be boxed, because they are the flow of the Being that is beyond boxes or any kind of categorisation. That being simply plays and unfurls in an effortless dance of expression in the space of existence through all forms of creative being and living.