Living takes courage

Learning to be comfortable with uncertainty and impermanence are fundamental to spiritual growth.  I’m drawn to Buddhism and aspire to these principles; this path resonates with me. However, learning about these intellectually  is different from engaging in a practical, messy, deeply felt experience. Recently I was presented unexpectedly with a difficult situation that oozes with uncertainty. So many emotions…sad, lonely, helpless, embarrassed, disappointed, and confused. There are many thoughts that arise, some of which are dark. I read somewhere, staying “present” isn’t for wimps. I’m keenly aware of my life story unfolding as it is, which includes the painful experience of loving someone with late stage Alzheimer’s Disease.

Do I have what it takes to stay open to that which can never be lost, broken or fail?  Do I have the courage necessary to stay with the beauty of impermanence when a tricky egocentric mind would have me feel entitled to want to control life and death?  How do I relate to myself and others during times of adversity?

Consciousness welcomes going deeper. “There’s more to learn…”

I believe that self-righteousness  veils the light of knowing.  I can be arrogant.  when I over think.   It’s a sneaky spiritual ego that masks itself as transcendent and untouchable, just as the going gets tough.  As I sit and listen in silence, there is an ember within that lights up a hallowed space. This is effortless, except for surrendering to the present moment.

True freedom seeks no escape.

So, I gently lean in.  Breath.  There is no closing a heart that has been cracked open.  Know this moment, in its magnificence. Without judgment. Be tender.  Laugh a little, write a little.  Dream. Swim. Be authentic.  Trust in Love.  Live the yes.

What is it in me that never changes?  What is the nature of who I am that is undisturbed by the unexpected?   I am aware of that there is an essential part of me that is undisturbable and imperturbable.   There’s ample room in Awareness for every thought, feeling, perception- even ones that I’d rather avoid.  (Maybe especially these).  This life,  my life and all that I experience comes from Awareness. From this vantage point, there’s nothing in me or in anyone else to fix.  There’s nothing broken. I am deeply ok.

Sinking deeper into my heart I am Grace, Lena, Ken.   May I know humility and accept the entire experience of life, right here, right now; be one with it.   Resting with uncertainty and impermanence are sacred paths for the Bodhisattva.  Stay curious…stay alive.

Such sweetness

A poem from the heart …

such sweetness emerges

           unto ever-present love

or do we merge

            you and I

                        (no matter, all the same)

deep desire penetrates

            our space of being

                        humanity and divinity smile

free from lack

            there is no longing

free from fear

            experience eternity                

                           be knowingly this Presence

 in a benevolent universe

               never not now

-mjs

No cause

“Don’t try to find a cause of happiness or moments of fulfillment.  There is no cause.  As long as you look for, and give a cause, you turn your back on the fullness, the message of the moment.”   – Jean Klein

Infinite, unchanging Consciousness is Love. Happiness is another name for the same. A glimpse is enough for a life time.  That which is true and unstainable, resonates deeply in my heart and in my daily ins and outs. There’s a movement of my inner orientation to life.   Attention calls me back to Awareness; to rest here.  And action pulls me into a flow of life that is fully alive and engaged, albeit somewhat mysterious.  Awareness sees Itself, merging with people and places, free of restrictions of time and place.  How is this possible?   Ways of seeing and knowing are expanded. Stay curious; stay alive. Question, ponder, explore, dream, pray, love without hesitation and accept everything as it is.  Live the yes.

A new sort of freedom and peace abides, characterized by the absence of longing and seeking.  Fear no longer relates as an obstacle.  I’m humbly aware of how non duality pervades my identity and relationships. I hear gentle words of wisdom to “listen to your heart”.  This holds meaning for me.

Life is fragile with a very thin space between here and now and life beyond. Is there a life unlived, yet to be lived?  What am I called to do with my awakened heart?  Can I be a teacher? What is my purpose in being here?  An emerging is underway.  I am filled with gratitude.

 

By waiting

“It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.”         -Pema Chodron

I love this woman.  It’s simply amazing how her words of wisdom tend to surface exactly when my questions and ponderings are most murky; when I feel edgy.   Her teachings are like bright crystal light beams…that my spirit and heart recognize as truth.

In his book, The Joy of Living, Youngey Mingyur Rinpoche highlights that “feelings are not facts” nor are thoughts, perceptions or physical sensations.  However, our attachment to these can vary, based on the quality of our “restlessness or calm” at any particular time. He goes on to make an analogy that made me laugh, because it is so oddly familiar and surprising to read from a Buddhist teacher.

First, a little background.  Over the years, I’ve traveled some.  About 10 years ago, I discovered that one of my favorite experiences is sitting in an airport observing fellow travelers.  Surprisingly, most of the time people don’t seem aware of being watched.  Only one time that I can recall, did I notice another voyeur.  And we smiled at each other knowingly.   I love imagining who people are, where they’re from, where they’re going, what their relationships are like etc… Maybe it’s the mystery of our uniqueness and the recognition that we are all One.

Anyhow, I smiled reading Rinpoche’s analogy of how the “momentary expressions of the infinite possibility of emptiness” are like people passing through an airport on ways to various destinations.  He says “If you asked them their intentions, they’d tell you that they were ‘just passing through'”. Each of us, with our stories that feel so real, are merely coming and going; temporary manifestations of Awareness. To the extent we accept the impermanence of our finite thoughts, emotions, perceptions we know ourselves as only Joy!

This is from Pema’s July 2016 calendar…fitting I think.

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When things fall apart

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look. That’s the compassionate thing to do. That’s the brave thing to do. We could smell that piece of shit. We could feel it; what is its texture, color, and shape? We can explore the nature of that piece of shit. We can know the nature of dislike, shame, and embarrassment and not believe there’s something wrong with that.”― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

How can holding discomforts close, as close as breath, aspects that aren’t charming or inspiring or blissful, be healing?  Is that a path of the Bodhisattva?  Can humility be a portal to the heart?  Shame?  Sometimes, the raw edges of life weep with dark thoughts and emotions that feel heavy. The worst of these are ugly.  My inclination is to dismiss them as inconsequential.  Believing that I can bypass my fears and doubts is the stinkiest shit around.   Having a teacher with deep knowing of his own dark places, who offers compassion and staying power, inspires me. A little humor always helps too. Intuitively, I recognize that “never not now”, means a universal yes to all experience. I can be brave, a little at a time.

My spirit guide gently encourages me to “…stay curious and stay alive”.  She reminds me we are never alone.  So, following my curiosity, I returned to explore Brooklyn this weekend.  There’s a mysterious sense of belonging.  It’s interesting how comforting a place can be that feels familiar, even when it isn’t.  There may be some purpose for me there…time will tell.  This experience certainly makes life interesting.

At the end of the day, although there is much left unresolved, everything merges into gratitude.  I feel blessed.   Another way of sinking into the heart…