The first time I was engulfed by the realization of Radical Inclusivity was during a 60-day meditation retreat. Under the guidance of my spiritual teacher I sat from morning until evening following the simple instruction, “Let everything be as it is.”
As I sat with my legs crossed I made supreme effort to follow those simple instructions and allow whatever I was experiencing to be exactly as it was without making any effort at all to do anything. I realized intellectually that the goal was to truly do nothing and resist the temptation to engage in any way with whatever my experience was. These simple instructions were asking me only to accept whatever I was experiencing.
It is a practice of perfect passivity – literally asking you to do nothing at all.
As the hours of meditation became days of meditation I saw over and over again how I would catch myself in the earnest effort of trying to do nothing. Every time I would catch myself I would realize that ‘trying to do nothing’ is still doing something – and doing something is not doing nothing. So with each realization I would stop doing something and start doing nothing.
After hours and hours spent in this cycle of entrapment and escape I began to realize that the act of stopping doing something was another way of doing something. I experienced prolong times of torturous frustration trying to solve this insoluble puzzle. Like trying to look at the back of your eyeballs it was impossible. The spiritual physics would not allow me to do nothing.
Eventually I realized something that was so obvious you that it couldn’t be seen. If the instruction is to let everything be as it is, you literally can’t fail. Absolutely everything that happens is already the way it is and there is no reason to do anything about it. When I realize that I have spent the last twenty minutes locked in an imaginary struggle to let everything be as it is – then that is the way it is. In the moment of realizing there is nothing to do except see what happens next. Anything that you experience and anything that you do will always be the way it is. Meditation is not different from just being.
Once I realized this my experience of meditation changed even though nothing was different. I was still struggling in all the same ways. I was still having breakthrough experiences of bliss and illumination, still living through prolonged tormenting bouts of doubt and frustration. Nothing was different except it stopped bothering me.
It was all so obvious. The instruction is to allow everything to be the way it is and the way it is is already the way it is. Sometimes we are sitting quietly aware, at other times we get lost in thought and struggle and other times we wake up from being lost in thought. That is the cycle of consciousness that we experience all the time.
The realization of Radical Inclusivity is the realization that no matter what you experience it is the way it is and there is nothing you need to do, or could do, to make it other than that. No matter what appears to be happening, everything will always already be the way it is including thinking that it is not. At this point in my meditation practice something finished. I stopped feeling like there was anything I could do. I stopped wanting anything to be different from the way that it already was. Everything was different and nothing had changed.
In the context of meditation your stop needing to do anything because when you accept that everything is already included in the instruction of letting everything be as it is. That is the realization of Radical Inclusiveness. It is the recognition that everything is already included – that the perception that there was ever anything outside that needed to be included was always an illusion.
The Art of Staying on the Inside is simply the continuous embrace of the truth that radical inclusivity is the way it already is.
From this point on my experience of being on retreat was one of unbroken trust in the fact of Radical Inclusivity. The cascade of insight and realization was now free to move through me because I had stopped doing anything to distract myself. There was no reason to do anything at all but sit still, pay attention and relax. Everything else was just the way that it was and always would be. In that deep state of calm abidance I experienced profound spiritual openings and energetic breakthroughs.
My first encounters with Radical Inclusivity came as realizations during meditation practice, but over time I have come to realize that the fact of Radical Inclusivity goes far beyond the experience of deep meditation. Inclusivity is an inescapable and all pervasive property of reality. It is the recognition that everything is already part of a larger whole. Everything is already inside of something else, and ultimately there is no outside at all.