Shouldn’t I Strive To Evolve?
I feel it is kind of my duty to evolve, that if I strive I can be an instigator in some higher purpose. Isn’t this at odds with “accepting what is”? – Joseph, MN
A phrase like “accepting what is” can be a useful pointer when we are engaged in denial or caught up in a fantasy of the future. Sometimes it can serve as a useful entry point into the realization of nondual awareness. It might even be a description that we create to help share the ultimate state. However, it shouldn’t be mistaken for an ethical rule or a component in a philosphical system. For example, it is not a rule against evolving.
The ultimate truth is prior to any philosophy or ethic. It is prior to any set of words or phrases. No words can capture the essence of this nondual reality (as if there were also a dual reality!) because words are necessarily dualistic. Their meaning depends on a contrast with other words. There is nothing to contrast with ultimate reality. Where is non-reality? We might say “illusion,” but illusions are part of reality also.
Nothing ever really conflicts with nonduality because nonduality includes everything and is not a thing. So whenever we think we’re opposed to nonduality we can only be opposed to an idea or image of nonduality that we have mistaken for the truth itself.
So now let’s look at what’s happening for you when you believe you should be “striving to evolve.” This belief could be a useful pointer to the ultimate, a call to relax our fixation on manipulating the conditions of our life and to remember that it is possible for our awareness to expand, that there is a more evolved way of being with what is happening and that this evolution is our highest calling. This belief might interrupt a conflict with someone or something. It might lead us to relax instead of getting anxious or frustrated when we are reminded once again that we are not in control of reality.
Alternatively, the belief that we should be “striving to evolve” might just be another way for us to write the story of our inadequacy, yet another way to interpret ourselves as “not good enough.” It could be used to spawn judgments like “I’m not evolved enough,” “I’m not trying hard enough to evolve,” “it’s my fault I’m so unevolved.” In other words, it could be used as an invented yardstick that we use to measure ourselves against and then beat ourselves with.
Is believing that you should be “striving to evolve” working for you? Is it useful? Does it support you in accessing the truth or lead you deeper into the narrative of self? Either way, it is useful to appreciate that when we inquire directly into our experience we can’t find what this belief refers to. Are you evolving in this moment or not? What do you look for in your experience to answer the question? Are you striving to evolve in this moment? What effort is needed to experience your true nature right now? Is nonduality evolving?