Storm


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There was I time I thought of myself as “Stormchaser”. It was a label I assigned to offset the difficult times that seemed to follow me as a way of reversing the odds.

I saw myself as not only actively engaging those hard times but as pursuing them in a “if life is suffering and suffering brings enlightenment then, for fucks sack, bring it on” mentality.

I was wrong.

Man, was I wrong.

The hard times pursued like a predator on blood scent and I, tough as the wind, really was bleeding, profusely.

I’ve said before how I’m only now rubbing the sleep from my eyes, but I look back with these blurry eyes and see that young man and rather than think “whaddadouche”, my favorite quote when it comes to ignorance, I can say “good start.”

It really was.

Since then I’ve learned that Life is more often concerned with giving lessons than with leading me to them and that the path of life is much more flexible than I thought.

She is the train
I am the rail
Or more like the spike
Or the ground it’s driven into
Or maybe just a house it passes by
Sleeping

That’s my attempt at Zen poetry, which I’m okay with, in a Zen sort of way.

My point is this:

I have felt the storm.
I feel it now inside me.
I’m not sure it ever goes away.
I’m okay with that.

That, by the way, has nothing at all to do with either Zen philosophy or poetry, it’s who I am.

So right about now you’re probably asking yourself what the hell this post is about so I’ll sum it up in six words …

 

We find what we are looking for.

 

… okay, seven words.

 


 

Audio: “Stormchaser” by J M Greff

 

Who am I?

The Buddha was once asked if he was a god to which he replied “No.”
“Are you a wizard, then?”
“No.”
“Well, are you a man?”
“No” he said.
Confused by his answers they asked “So, what are you?”
The Buddha said, “I am awake.”

I can not claim that I am fully awake yet. I still lay in this bed I made and rub my eyes, trying to make sense of the world around me, but that simple answer, for me, begins to define the answer to my own question:

Who am I?

Over the last few years finding that answer has felt somewhat more critical because of the things I am trying to accomplish in life, and while I admit that I feel like I am no closer than when I began, I have begun to understand that it matters less than I originally thought.

Instead, I am finding that it is who I believe myself to be that is more important and that the expression of those beliefs is an expression of the things inside me that I give life to.

Those beliefs come from experiences and those experiences are interpreted through my previous experiences.

If I believe myself to be compassionate it is because I believe compassion to be of more value than indifference and yet indifference, selective and focused to achieve a positive goal, can have value as well. Much like not caring if I smashed my thumb with a hammer because that happens from time to time and does not mean I deserved it or am a horrible carpenter.

However, I would never describe myself as indifferent. In this way my views of Self are presented as more than expressions of those things I believe myself to be, they are expressions of who I hope to be, who I want to be.

So, who am I?

It really is simple. Much simpler than the explanation.

I am the sum and expression of my experiences, I am who I want to be, and I am who I believe myself to be.

I believe that I am on the right path. Making the right decisions despite their outcome because those decisions are based on faith and hope and love. I believe that everything will be okay. That my life will be everything I want it to be. All of those things require that I believe I am already the person I want to be regardless of how transitional my life may appear because that is how I become that person.

I may not be awake, but I am waking up.

——

Image: “Awake” by Martina Stipen

 

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Control

ship.at.sea
Life regularly spins out of control, beyond my ability to keep it in check. Road blocks appear from nowhere or I look around my self and realize that I have no idea where it is that I am going.

The truth is that I am so deep on my path that much of my future is already decided no matter what I do. Knowing that will not prevent me from continuing to alter that path by taking careful steps that improve life. Not just my life, yours, and truly, all life.

Maybe that’s expecting too much from myself but it is what I am working, and most often failing, at.

How easy it is for some people to do those things. Some seem born into it. Gifted from birth and then guided through life while I seem to always be restricted. Prevented. Partly because of decisions I’ve made in the past and partly because I was simply born into a world that lacked proper guidance. Most of the guidance I have received has been either internal, and therefore slow to process, or divine and therefore impossible to interpret.

But maybe that’s the plan. Maybe I’m supposed to learn slowly and to exert myself rather than have it made easy, to focus my efforts in the wrong places along the way in order to learn by mistake rather than by success.

I don’t know.

Honestly, I don’t care.

Why should I?

Life is a steady progression of difficult decisions for everyone. It would be delusional for me to think that I might be exempt from that fact and it would be a loss of faith to believe that I will ever be let down or led astray by the Divine. She has never done either, something I am always grateful for, so I have no loss of faith.

I’m human. So I am bound to doubt myself from time to time or feel completely unworthy of the goals I have set for myself or have fears. Human. Go figure.

In the end I know, despite the fact that I have very little control over what happens, everything will work out exactly as it should and I will guide positive change as much as I possibly can and accept whatever it is that is beyond my sphere of influence.

I may not control the ocean that heaves this ship with waves the size of mountains to force it in new directions, but I man the rudder.

I will always steer towards home.

In search of truth

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The further along the difficult path of spirituality I started long ago the more clear it has become that the answers I seek are less likely to be found among religion or spiritual teachings or gurus and more readily obtained through careful consideration of the mundane.

A single line of poetry in a obscure work, something a co-worker says without being aware of the implications, the flight of a red-tailed hawk as it rises and falls with the wind. These things all hold a higher value than the books of a modern day self proclaimed messiah or the doctrines of any antiquated or recycled movement.

The truth, though transient and subject to the interpretation and experiences of the observer, reveals itself in its own way and is a personal experience.

The Universe is constantly calling for us to join her but our own voices are so loud that we seldom hear her. My job is to recognize those truths when they are presented and to be grateful for the gift that they are, to quiet myself and the voices of the egocentric prophets and listen when she speaks, to filter out the untruths and find divine perfection in the world around me.

Those are my truths.

Find your truth. Live it.


Image: “Universe Speaks, We Listen” by Laura “Pelick” Siadak

Metta

In order that I may understand the path to peace:

Let me be able, upright, and authentic, impeccable with my word, gentle and caring.

Let me be content and easily satisfied, without pride.

Let me cultivate a boundless, limitless, unconditional love and compassion for all beings and all things in the world.

Let my prayer be:

“May all beings be well and safe, may they be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, whether large, great, middling, or small, whether tiny or substantial,

Whether seen or unseen, whether living near or far,

Born or unborn; may all beings be happy.

Let none deceive or despise another anywhere. Let none wish harm to another, in anger or in hate.”