In the course of a daily shuffle it is easy to walk around in a trance. Our small, comfort-loving minds are happy to remain cocooned in the cozy-wozy of the familiar. That is, we all have a bit of Bilbo Baggins in us. We love our private Shire fully furnished with tea, slippers, E-Z chair, and pillow. However, the trance is always self isolating. Hermetically sealed off by the gauze of the ego, we may deem ourselves special, all-important, immune to the dangers of the world. But for the soul to live fully it must go on a kind of pilgrimage, a trek – maybe a long drive in the country – away from the domain of me/my/mine. In so doing, we may encounter the Other. The Other takes many forms – it may surface as a big cat or a creeping bug in your dreams or it may show up as a medical diagnosis, or the loss of a loved one. It might appear in the coffee shop or sit down next to you on the park bench. The Other is surreptitious, sly, playful. Like a trickster, it never shows up on demand, but creeps up on you when you’re not looking.
Not everyone is cut out for this kind of encounter. Many push it away as foreign, threatening, awful, or unwanted. In fact, people fear the Other, denigrate it, and outright deny any sign of its presence. But those of us on the path of transformation know we cannot go without it. Without the Other there is no healing, no renewal, no revelation. How to “practice” encounters with the unknown? Impossible! Because the Other always resists the working of the will. Yet, like tilling garden soil, we prepare for the unimaginable. We break down the walls of our trance by dropping our resistance, suspending our assumptions and beliefs, and making our heart malleable.
What we need is courage and radical receptivity, for only when our guard is down, only when we are un-selfed, might we be blessed, just possibly, with a vision of the astonishing Other.