A running stream
Or placid lake
As much an ocean
Or a single drop of rain
From the same source
The same water
A running stream
Or placid lake
As much an ocean
Or a single drop of rain
From the same source
The same water
Life is all about discovery.
When we are born we discover the most amazing things: the world develops before our very eyes and as we grow it expands as if we, ourselves, are the gods that create it moment by moment.
In our teens we discover complex emotions that threaten our very existence: rage, pain, immense joy and sadness, and, for the very first time, even though we may not recognize it for what it is, Love.
We go through school being taught pointless rhetoric: math, science, history. All the while being taught none of those things that could lead us to deeper paths; mindfulness, loving kindness, compassion. Those are supposed to be taught by our parents. Parents who never learned those things either.
Learn them. They will lead you farther than you imagine.
Later still, we discover that we wished we had learned more of those worthless ideas. Paid closer attention. What was that formula for finding the volume of a circle again? That will come in handy later. I promise you that. So pay attention if you can. But there’s more.
We discover the value of money. Of friendship and of hard work and of possession. We go into the world discovering fine food, good company, bright lights.
Too often people don’t make it past those last discoveries. They base their lives on the hedonistic values of life: a big house, a nice car, good clothes, physical pleasure. Discovery ends. Life has been explored and all that it offers has been found.
Discovery continues despite that belief. Our friends die. Our loved ones leave us. Our investments fail us. We discover loss, suffering, disappointment.
Those discoveries become empty. Meaningless. Superficial. Life becomes meaningless. Emotions become an intolerable consequence. A side effect of life.
If we are insightful, or have a fortunate predilection for it, or have a loved one willing to force our awareness, or we are just plain lucky, or unlucky, we push deeper. Struggle harder to find meaning.
Our path of discovery narrows to two distinct paths: inward or outward.
The outward path leads us to medical discovery. To miracle cures. To pills that end our suffering. To gurus and healers and shaman. The path can branch over and over from here but it always leads us to the discovery of the inward path though very very few can make that transition.
If you find yourself at that transitional fork in your path I hope, I truly hope, you find your way to the inward path. Reach into that place and you will find a hand willing to lead you farther than you ever imagined. I promise you that.
The inward path leads us to ever deeper discovery: understanding, self love, honesty, acceptance, awareness, unity, Love. True Love.
Discoveries that lead us to higher planes of existence. Planes where loss and suffering are accepted as simply a part of life and where the value of a single breath, drawn long and slow while listening to and feeling the beat of our own miraculous heart connect us to the very soul of the Universe, is beyond measure.
What we discover there can never be fully expressed in words but in that place are experiences outside the realm of comprehension and yet understood as if we were once again children creating, moment by moment, the very fabric of our own distinct, yet combined, reality.
My wish for you is this:
Continue your journey. Never cease in your struggle of discovery, because even further beyond that point lay infinity: a point of chaotic generation and regeneration of life where the distance between infancy and eons are but fractions of moments of the life of a single drop of moisture on a spiders web and all that we have discovered between birth and true life, the life that always awaits, that bekons and welcomes all, are a single reflection on the surface of that dew that shimmers a while before dropping into an endless ocean that rises as mist to condense on the web over and over again.
In that chaos of constant re-creation resides the Divine where She rests on this, the Seventh Day, with arms wide and welcome, to bring us into Her embrace.
It is a place of constant discovery and awe and wonder where a word as simple and complex as “Love” or “Gratitude” can define our very existence.
Though I tend to speak of it in terms of enlightenment and higher planes of consciousness it is not some mythical place reached only through lifetimes of deep meditation and study. It does not require the use of psychoactive compounds or healers or teachers.
It is here.
It is Now.
It awaits your discovery.
Close your eyes and breathe.
Image: “Infinity” by Tue Bengsston
I don’t understand
Though I will try
But it really doesn’t matter
Because I accept
That there are things
I can not change
Who have no desire to
Image: “Acceptance” by Jyou Jo
I am mindful
I take my time
To learn the moves
To receive my muse
To wade through
To bring light
To those places
It does not,
and learn the steps
of our dance
One move at a time
Image: “Dance” by Tatyana Volgina
I am taken by a calm of soul this morning. A peace which has eluded me for some time. So rare that I barely recognize it.
It penetrates my inner being through all layers of Self though it was born in an acceptance of that most base Self, the Shadow. That part that is child, artist, the voice of passion and impatience and arrogance and outrage and fear and shame and doubt.
I confronted it last night. Drew it from the depths. Acknowledged its fears. Gave it voice. Listened. Offered it compassion. Love. Then put it to rest because I am not my Shadow. He is just a part of me.
The calm I feel now is a jewel, a treasure of unimaginable value, it is Hope.
Not just Hope for myself but for you as well.
I know what it is you seek. You seek the life you never thought possible. The passion you’ve only read about. The commitment of heart and soul that you know exists but have never experienced. I know this because I seek it too and that is what gives me Hope. It means I am not alone. Neither are you.
Be willing to confront and embrace your Shadow, that inner voice that tries so hard to convince you that you are not worthy, that you will never receive the love you so desire, that your time will never come. It does this because it, too, wants and deserves your love, your affection, your attention, and, truly, your gratitude.
Listen to it. Treat it with the love you want in your life, and reassure it that it will never be alone because it is you. In loving and bringing compassion to that part of Self you love yourself and in loving yourself you keep Hope alive.
Have a blessed journey.
I wake, alone, always alone, and wonder; why does it have to be like this?
I move slow, zombie like, to the kitchen dragging a handful of clothes which will be my armor this day. Too thin to keep life’s pains from intruding. Just enough to hide them.
It is too late in the morning to stretch my body and mind. Too late even for coffee.
Half dressed, I look down to Brown Dog, my traveling partner for these last twelve years, though he is going on fifteen or sixteen or I-don’t-really-know-what-teen since I picked him up as a feral stray, and I smile. I admire him. He is always ready to love and be loved.
I celebrate his birth along with my own in November which looms ever closer. I will be 54. How the fuck did that happen?
I make the time to love him then let him out the back door and shuffle to the front while pulling a dirty shirt over my head (too late now to find a clean one) and let myself out.
As the day progresses, the loads of water going from my truck to the road we are building keeps time like a slow moving metronome, those morning thoughts continue to intrude.
Surely I’ve learned the lessons that earn me the right to love and be loved? Surely the person I am now, regardless of my past, is worthy? Surely I deserve that most basic of all rights? Why am I such a failure?
I get ahead of the work crew and park my truck by the river that supplies the water I get paid to make the roads muddy with and walk to an overlooking edge.
I sit and breathe. Deep and slow.
I allow those thoughts to flow like the water that passes in near silence in front of me. I listen to and acknowledge each of them; “You are not worthy”… yes, I understand that’s how you feel. “You do not deserve”… it’s ok to feel like that. “You will never be happy”… it’s ok.
Each thought repeated with the impact and clarity gained through years of practice. Each identified, acknowledged, validated then treated with the same care and compassion I would offer another and released.
They are just words. Labels. They mean nothing.
Slowly, with practiced patience, the thoughts are reduced to a whisper and are replaced by the sound of the wind, a trickle of water, the birds, the rotation of the earth through the cosmos.
I slowly open my eyes and watch the gentle flow of the river and, without thought, begin to understand; The path I am on is like this little river that cuts its way through miles of prairie. It’s sweeps and bends the altered courses of my life. Its flow from past, through present, and towards the future.
I see my reflection in the surface. Static. Unmoving. It is in this static image that those thoughts live but it is an illusion. Beneath the surface the water is constantly flowing as it slides past stones and cuts its ever changing course through the prairie.
If I were to submerge myself in those slow moving waters, become one with it, there would be no past, no future, no false reflections, only a sense of Now. Eternal. Dynamic. It has no beginning. No end. It flows to the sea. Evaporates. Returns as rain. Flows.
It is that sense of Now, that never ending cycle, that I strive for in my meditation. Yes, the thoughts remain. My mind, like everyone else’s, never ceases its rumination and contemplation and formulation. It mutters incessantly.
But today, right now, I am like the river.
Image by JMGreff
My mind rattles
Like a thousand chattering clocks
That grasp and claw
With their metal hands
With the same time
Each clack a memory
Ticks and tocks
Past and future
The silent groans
Of grinding gears
The disharmonious chimes
Alarms and alerts
Each vying for my attention
With their own message
“Here! Here! Here!”
None in agreement
Still and quiet
As observer to that chaos
Draw in peace
To lovingly welcome
And caringly acknowledge
“You’re not good enough ”
Yes, I see you
“You don’t deserve…”
“What are you…”
One by one
A barely noticeable hum
Like wind turning a window fan
All that is left
Is the sound of my breath
The beat of my heart