Solidity And Renunciation

by | Nov 8, 2021 | 2 comments

The meditative tradition makes frequent use of the verb ‘solidify’. We have a tendency, the teachings assert, to do this. To the extent that we do solidify, we suffer. All of which seems pretty straightforward in a 1 + 1 = 2 kind of way. But what the heck is meant by this term? What is being pointed to with the word ‘solidify’?

I hosted an online meeting over the weekend. This was announced ten days prior, attended by a good number of us, though I know many were unable to take part live. Because of this last fact, I recorded the call and have intended to post a link to this recording in my upcoming newsletter. My plan was to publish this newsletter late next week.

As soon as that gathering concluded, however, I received a couple of inquiries. “Was there really going to be a recording?” one of these asked. “How and when will it be shared?” another wondered. Reading these, I felt a growing sense it would be appropriate to get this video out as quickly as possible; sometime this week. The only problem, in my mind, was the fact that I would not actually be publishing my December newsletter for another ten to fourteen days.

This is what the teachings mean by solidify.

Solidification points to our human tendency to ascribe a kind of absolute or definitive reality to something that is not absolutely, definitively real. Plans are a great example of this. A plan to publish a newsletter on a certain date can be a helpful thing. It orients my workflow, times my priorities, relaxes any need to ponder the ‘how’ or ‘when’ of release. This plan is not, however, an absolute entity in the universe.

Solidification occurs when I assume my plan is definitive. This tendency is in evidence when I know people would like to see this newsletter (and the link it contains) sooner rather than later, when I feel in my bones that an early release is in order, and yet resist the clarity and wisdom of these signals because a plan is a plan is a plan.

As for linking this all too human tendency with suffering? I’ve felt pretty miserable through the past several hours. As another email arrived and that bone-based feeling grew, as I continued to hold tight to my intention to publish late next week, I started feeling more and more yucky.

This is what suffering points to: a kind of yucky unease. We could also use the words tension or stress or resistance here. They all point to the same thing: a tendency to resist the actual flow of my embodied life, a tendency to solidify something that is not definitive, not solid in this life, and a tendency to suffer as a result.

What to do about this? I started this piece with the meditative tradition, so why not return there. The word the teachings use in answer to this question is ‘renunciation’. What does this mean? Quite simply, in times of holding and solidification – when we are suffering in the ways noted above – renunciation encourages us to do something different.

So I will be publishing that newsletter later today.

– Neil


  1. Interesting point, will ponder!

    • And I will join you in this!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Stay Connected