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Arjuna Ardagh Headshot

Liquid Belief

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As we deepen our practice of relaxing, waiting, and not knowing, we start to experience our points of view as if they were a variety of costumes. We dress ourselves up for play, like a child putting on a cowboy hat or a nurse's outfit. And then we take the costume off again.

Most translucents share this fluid relationship to belief. They pick up and discard points of view, knowing them for what they are, just fleeting opinions that we can ride like a bus, and then get off when we need to. Through practice, we do not lose all beliefs; we simply melt them from solid to liquid states. We dissolve the stuckness around belief so we can embrace contradiction. Translucent living means living in paradox, while remaining at ease. To the dominant Iago trance, this fluidity appears flaky and lacking in integrity. The old model respects leaders with iron wills and concrete mind-sets.

In ancient times in China, the Shao Lin monks would debate in the courtyard. Whenever one monk had debated a point to perfection, like reaching checkmate in chess, he would slap his thigh and make a loud shout, Ha! The joy was not in being right, but in debating the truth from every angle, playing in the waves -- loving the great mystery of life. Recently I have seen this sport revived. Every year in Sweden, there is a gathering of more than a thousand people, called the No Mind Festival. Translucent teachers from all over the world travel there: ShantiMayi, Byron Katie, Brad Blanton, Deva Premal, and Miten: it is quite a feast! They give talks and workshops for the participants. In Sweden in the summer it remains daylight till one in the morning, and the sun rises again at four. I have had so many lively debates there, into the small hours, as we travel together into the uncharted territories of collective awakening. No one needs to have the final say on anything; it is a dialogue, an investigation, where conclusions are adopted and discarded like Kleenex.

The word "integrity" comes from the Latin integritas, which means to be whole. The word "entire" has the same roots. Over time integrity has come to mean a rigid adherence to a moral or philosophical code, but there is nothing whole about this if it rules out one entire end of a spectrum of possibility.

Translucents know that real integrity means the capacity to embrace all the different dimensions of a situation. To have real integrity you need to embrace paradox and to live with all of it simultaneously, to be so flexible you can respond to the river of life in its constant change instead of crashing on the rocks.

To live with this kind of integrity is a challenge. However much translucent practice we may have under our belt, it is always possible for Iago to kidnap us again, to impersonate real surrender and integrity. Saying "I trust my intuition" can in itself become just another form of fundamentalism. "I have let go of all points of view" can become the most rigid point of view of all. And an attempt to surrender and let go can solidify into a very stubborn and stuck place. A belief system imitating translucence is not translucent at all. So you cannot "do" not knowing, you cannot "do" surrender, you cannot "do" living outside of belief.

Real integrity is an art form, not a rigid science. Once we set our first toe in the water of dissolving the mind, it is time to let go even more. The fruit of dissolving belief gives us the trust to dissolve even more. So the only way to act from inspired certainty is not by "doing," but by "dissolving" the old and resting in not knowing. This takes practice, repeatedly nudging the old habits of being right back into the wisdom of not knowing.

To read more about the way that belief can melt from being solid to liquid, pick up your very own copy of Translucent Revolution today.