Building community in a changing world

July 27, 2021

Positive Groundlessness: The Freedom to Choose Something Different

I’ve got a friend who’s been living on a sailboat for quite a while. He talks about the “aimless” feeling of living that far off the grid. Sometimes it’s comfortable; sometimes it’s not.

The comfortable part comports with Pema Chodron’s concept of “positive groundlessness.” Here’s an excerpt from this “Yoga with Daphne” blog that talks about that:

Pema Chodron spoke of a profound Buddhist concept Shenpa in her talk Positive Groundlessness: The Freedom to Choose Something Different. Through an understanding in the impermanence of all things in essence, and the ability to relax into this knowing. She offered a 3-step tools whom she deemed as “difficult”, but with practice, will help in not setting us back into our habits / patterns that keep us trapped, to not get stuck in the status quo or our perceived comfort zone, and to revel in the “unknowing” of it all.

Some reflections…

Awareness (Jnana) ~ to notice when we get “hooked”- the baits, the triggers (expectations, fear, assumptions etc) that led us to believe that the rug is being pulled from under our feet, and our conditioned reflex to “fight/flight” by reacting with judgement, blame, anger, hate, even towards ourselves.

Desire  ~ A desire to change – simply noticing or becoming aware isn’t enough if our default ego-driven response still goes “Yes, but…” A solid willingness to transform (Tapas) has to goes beyond superficial cognition, but also somatically. When the mind closes, the body contracts, and vice versa. Being able to allow our mind-body to stay open in challenging situations and self inquiring into the status quo can fundamentally change our behaviour.

Action ~ A life-long practice to keep coming back to this groundlessness in our words and actions. To keep falling flat on our faces and getting up, to not let our sense of righteousness drive us into believing that being right is more important than being love, to let our bleeding hearts crack open as we fall, and to allow this sense of groundlessness be the womb in which kindness and compassion flourish.