The spiritual practice of Whatever is a deep and profound practice that will transform your petty Western obsession with clinging and striving with the liberating realization that nothing really matters, so why bother anyway?
In this very special workshop, we will sit motionless in the newly renovated Nothing room and gaze at the backs of our eyelids as if there were something interesting to see there. From this comfortable and meaningless posture, we will simply observe the thoughts that arise, such as “did I put enough change in the meter?” or “I wonder when those blood tests are going to come back” or “What do I do if my car gets towed?” or “My butt hurts.” We will notice these thoughts and release them into the gentle spaciousness of the room, more gentle and spacious than usual since we finally jammed that big mess of a pile of Mexican blankets into the back closet and shut the door.
After our thoughts have arisen and we have let them drift away, we will open our eyes and smile with our brains. Not too wide though. The brain smile is a soft and subtle Whatever smile, not a bright and aggressive one like the smile of a wolf stalking a rabbit. The Whatever smile reflects the growing wisdom moving around in our spines that we have no preference whatsoever regarding what happens in our lives. With the Whatever smile, we recognize that it is only in not clinging to desires and outcomes that can we remain free when ultimately we don’t get what we want, which is what usually happens anyway so why fight it?
After the Whatever smile, we will practice Standing Ambivalence. Standing in our socks, we will remain frozen while noticing our strong impulses to move in many directions all at once. Finding ourselves drifting in a particular direction, we gently take ourselves back into a space of inspired stasis and resist the urge to move, because movement implies desire and desire is stupid. The practice of Whatever recognizes that everything is perfectly fine exactly how it is, and if you don’t agree, it’s because you’re just not very good at this yet.
It’s normal to feel uncomfortable and impatient during Standing Ambivalence. Ignore those feelings. All they mean is that you are not even close to achieving Whatever, and that you should really consider developing a home practice, even though we know that you’re not going to. If you can stay with the impatience and ignore it at the same time, you have taken the first step on the path to Whatever. If it helps to think of the image of one hand not clapping, then do that. Otherwise, never mind.
Next comes the tea service, or what we call Tea-preciation. At this point we will sit on our meditation cushions and pass around a hot teapot and some cups. It is very important to pretend that you don’t notice how hot the teapot is. Commenting on the hotness of the pot is like poking a tiger with a stick—you will simply invite the hot water to come leaping out of the pot and land on your lap. Instead, use the wicker handle. Again, please notice the thoughts that may arise, such as, “I don’t like tea, I like coffee” and then shut up about it and get with the program. After all, this is not about coffee vs. tea. This is about the act of watching with your eyeballs and noticing your body as it instinctively leans away from the scalding hot teapot, all the while keeping your face soft and expressionless as you imitate the peacefulness that this ceremony is technically supposed to invoke. If your mind wanders, simply repeat the mantra “whatever, whatever,” but not out loud, stupid—just say it to yourself in your head, and pretty soon you will feel a little better, unless you’re doing it wrong.
After the tea ceremony it’s time to lie flat on the floor like a dead person. This is a practice we call Feigned Lifelessness, because nothing evokes the true spirit of Whatever like the absolute preference-free state of death. Indeed, Feigned Lifelessness is the true pinnacle of our practice, if we cared about pinnacles, which we do not, because pinnacles are so Western. Instead, think of Feigned Lifelessness as an endless plain–sort of like Kansas—and you are lying in the middle of it, except nobody can see you, because you are obscured by native grasses. Above you is a giant overcast sky, a formless cloud mass that will never, in any lifetime, blow over or erupt in storms. This is the flat Whatever sky of your newfound consciousness, and if you’re lucky, you’ll never get away from it.
At this point Kevin will move around in the classroom touching people. Just keep your eyes closed and don’t worry about it, it’s not a big deal and the things he’s doing are simply necessary for the completion of your practice.
When Kevin has finished, you can leave. It’s best that you go quickly, before the effects of your practice wear off. Also Kevin prefers it that way. Do not talk to Kevin afterwards, or approach him in any way, or attempt to make eye contact. Kevin is exhausted from giving himself to you, and as he is a true master of Whatever, he would not have an answer for your questions anyway. It is important to realize that once we are on the true path to Whatever, there are no answers—there are simply a lot more questions?
If you are ready to disengage from life and watch it dispassionately from a safe distance, this is the workshop for you! Slots are filling up so be sure to sign up early, or, if you’re already a practitioner, sign up whenever you feel like it, or not, it doesn’t matter.
“When you’re ready for Whatever, Whatever is ready for you. “
—Yogiraj Kevin Thurbiss