TAKE IT WHERE IT IS, NOT WHERE YOU THINK IT OUGHT TO BE

My teacher, Rudi, used stories to illustrate some of his teachings. I think my favorite story is the one where the architect and the wise man were wandering the world together. As they traveled, the wise man was entertained by the company of the architect, who was looking at everything and saying, “This tree ought to be like this,” and “That rock ought to be over here,” and “This thing ought to be this way,” and “That thing ought to be that way.” One day they had traveled a long time without eating, and they came over a hill to a meadow where there was a flock of goats. As they approached the goats to milk one, the architect said, “This goat’s tits ought to be 6” higher.” The wise man went to the goat’s udder and the architect went 6” higher. The moral of the story is: take it where it is and not where you think it ought to be.

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What we think about how it ought to be, about how anything ought to be, it is only our ego talking. It is absolutely useless. If I were going to describe, in the simplest way I could, our spiritual practice, I’d say we practice contact, alignment, and flow. We practice contact, alignment and flow in our bodies, which activate the deepest healing capacity of the body to express itself in its broadest range of motion. We practice contact, alignment and flow in our hearts to realize our own self in the deepest possible way that we can and to flow from our own source through this body into this field of experience, ever in alignment. We’re also practicing contact, alignment and flow between ourself and the entire universe. It is contact, alignment and flow in every dimension of our life that wakes up our own creative resource and facilitates its expression through the field of our life.

This contact, this connecting, is connecting with what is, not what we think ought to be.

The second day I was in New York with Rudi, I was sweeping the stairs outside his brownstone on 10th Street before class because I noticed it had gotten a little dirty out there. While I was sweeping a guy named Hans, who was ostensibly a student of Rudi’s, came up to me and said, “Oh, you’re new here,” and I said, “Yeah, I am.” Then he said “How can you study with Rudi?–he’s so fat.” I said “Really, I didn’t notice. All I’ve ever seen when I looked at him was love.” I guess Hans thought Rudi ought to be thinner, and some people thought he ought not to be in business. Everybody has thoughts about something that we ought to be letting go of in order to extend our capacity to connect.

When I was a young person just starting to teach, I thought there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Now I think the fact that anything ever gets done is a miracle, and each and every day that I wake up and start to express myself, I establish contact and flow within me, and the rest of it is an experiment. Maybe in the linear world how it ought to be is a straight line, and easy to say. Sometimes I wish we lived in a linear world. It would be a lot simpler. But we don’t. So, quieting our minds and then feeling into our hearts, we let go of our ego and all of the ways in which we think it ought to be to connect to the reality of our own self and the reality of each other. We begin to hold, without any kind of judgment, a completely open and loving space from within ourselves for everyone that we share our life with. Be the wise person and, if you’re hungry, take it where it’s at. Don’t go eating where you think it ought to be. Because it ain’t there.

We have to constantly wake up the energy that is this body and, with our own personal gentle awareness, by feeling and feeling and feeling, bring the body into total alignment with itself and its resources and its creative flow. Then everything else happens on its own. It will happen not like we think it ought to be, because that is the limitation of anybody’s creative expression. It will happen as an unimaginable possibility that is beyond anything that this crazy brain of ours can wrap itself around.


The story of the architect and the wise man and other teaching stories appear in Rudi’s book
Spiritual Cannibalism,  published by Rudra Press.