An Inescapable Care ~ Georgi Y. Johnson
The quality of care has been confused with the demand that we ‘take care’ or be caring. Forcing care is not the care we are talking about here. So often care-taking is part of the negotiation that goes on in which we create dependencies to feel safe. If people need us because we take care of them, then they can’t abandon us, right? This kind of care-taking can often be driven by unresolved contractions around guilt and often lead the care-giver to a space of burn-out, flipping them into rage attacks and/or abandoning behaviours: “I have to take care of myself now!!!”
Likewise, the accusation of being uncaring or selfish carries a weight of condemnation, shame and rejection. This can cause us to lose the authentic connection with an unconditional care that is always here, inherent to our feeling awareness. When the demand that we care generates a forcing of care, then our freedom of expression and honesty gets distorted through contortions of form in which we try to avoid abandonment through attempting to conform. Of course, nobody really cares about these compromises and we feel abandoned anyway. It’s never good enough.
Care is not caught in the perimeters of measurement: being good enough or not good enough. Care is. We care the moment we are aware of something, whether we try to block the care connection or not. We care when we give up and say we don’t care – sometimes even more. Care surrounds us and suffuses all of nature. It’s inherent to the interconnectedness of all phenomena.
We are taught to believe that care is an activity done by the “I” in the play between subject and object. But it is not like this. The “I” can only interfere. Care is inherent in the object, in the subject and the consciousness that unites them. It is inseparable. It arises of itself, spontaneously and authentically, the moment the idea of subject as separate from object subsides. We don’t need to earn it and we don’t need to do anything with it: is here in and of itself as integral to our true nature.
Imagine the touch of a mother as she caresses the cheek of her new-born child, and the bliss this awakens in the experience of the baby. This is the power of care: healing, penetrating and connecting the parts of the whole. When we touch any object with care, care moves through us and it is possible to the experience this bliss. This includes the touch of our feet on the floor, the touch of the wind and the touch of our eyes.
It is the care within all contractions that calls out to us for attention. It is the care within our attention that moves to the contraction and that seeks to resolve it.
Care calls out for care. It is care that leads us to be cruel and care that leads us to be kind. Care is behind our anger and equally behind our fear. Care is in our jealousy and in our idolatry. It seeds our sense of loss and affirms our sense of gain. It is here when we are receptive, taking in the world, and it is here when we express our qualities into the world. We often lie because we care, we hate because we care and we reject because we care. It is the subtle intelligence behind the whole cycle of creation and destruction. It is the soft floor of the sentient dance of dualities.
How to experience unconditional care? The more we relax into pure awareness, allowing ourselves to be aware that we are aware, without grasping at anything that arises in the field and without pushing anything away, the more we can release even the concept of awareness itself, the more we can notice a fine resonance of care which is inseparable from awareness. It has a sweetness and familiarity which is beyond words. It impregnates every mite of experience. Yet it’s never far away. We will all find it in the sweet love that has been the atmosphere of our parents our care-givers, even if it was often obscured. We can find it because we were conceived through it. We can find it in contemplating he perfectly imperfect symmetry of our flower. We can feel it through the touch of the skin on our own bodies, or on any material object. It resonates on contact all by itself.
Care is at the root of suffering and a return to care is precisely that for which all suffering longs.
Do we care? It’s not in our power to negate it, because the care within us is more vast than we could ever imagine ourselves to be.