When beautiful Barbara asked if I wanted to participate in A Selection of True Awakening Experiences Part II, I took a few days to think if I could participate because the flow is especially pressing to me right now, and writing at all, let alone reading others, has gone to the side. I am teaching many classes which require lots of grading, so taking time for anything beyond eating, sleeping, and brief, brisk walks is rationed. To have tasks that require my full focus is just what is needed now, because this is what is happening. This squeezing will perhaps bring me awareness that l need to transition to something new that leaves more open spaces for body and mind. Or perhaps I will be able to continue to find the spaciousness of opening as needed within a challenging flow of time. As this post is due today, I wake again at 3 AM, with a desire to write again, just in time.
I thank Barbara, who gives space for words and a place for connecting back during these February days.
Where I find myself now:
All instants are opportunity for returning to me, again and again,
second by second.
Who is this me I am returning to?
Good question. That is the one I ask. Who is the me I am returning to? The non dual teachings are the ones speaking to me now. Who is the one observing the one thinking? The more I return to the presence the less the attention lost in the game feels okay. Returning home becomes a known and effective possibility, even when I think I am drowning or being blown about in this life storm.
What does this observing look like in real life?
An example, one morning, as I was driving and thinking worry thoughts about my daughter, (lost in an idea I had that moment about who I am in relation to my role as “mother”), I got on a bridge that does not lead to my workplace. There was no turning about on the bridge, of course, so I had to carry on the road until I could do a u-turn on the other side. My life choice to get lost in thoughts while driving forces me to WAKE UP! One moment I was lost in worry, the next moment I was back in the present moment, on a road that forced me to return. No curse words were uttered; there was no worry of a late arrival. This wandering girl is loved in her lost moments. The second I missed my turn and realized there was no way but to go forward over the bridge, I was offered many long views of water meeting ocean, the light and fog mixing to a rapturous view that was invisible a moment before. I can, in an instant, return to being bathed in the morning light.
The world says to me “be here;” every road leads back to me.
When I am hurrying, confused, thinking that something is wrong, I am gone for seconds, moments, hours, sometimes. But the returning is becoming more the normal. The space of no thoughts, no agenda, no worry is often steady. Joy. The outer world dances with me – and my flow is as easy as what (and who) appear next.
My thoughts lost are mirrored to me with such compassion. The bridge which takes me far from my destination, brings me back again. My thoughts play back to me on the stage of the world.
The title Life as Improv becomes an ever more real instant to instant thing. I can go about as the perceiver who meets even old friends without an idea of how the moment will unfold.
Who is appearing on my stage right now?
I can see and feel your shifts
as subtle as snow’s first flakes, as dramatic as seizures.
You are me, I see, as you pass by,
your face, your expression, my mirrored image.
I feel your heart squeeze and know not the cause
but it is my heart, too.
Better with no words-
Better quiet now,
but instead it can be still loud, at times — as the thoughts built towers yesterday and now towers fall, regularly.
There is still the demolition, my house is still falling down.
Everyday I get to tear down another idea, closer and closer to the invisible veil.
I’m in the dungeon shining light into the corners
where the hidden dust of old ideas needs sweeping.
But I am happy to report,
the air has lost its smell –
and god willing I will build no more towers.
I will not build new religions for the key that opens my door today.
I am comfortable in huts.
I will ever be a nomad,
even if I stay in one spot.
Beginning again again, each day,
do I see the flawless avocado for my toast?
Do I savor tea as it is sipped;
do I meet you with no yesterday story of me?
My today is frighteningly simple, even in this busy time,
as I’ve lost my yearning for most things. The middle path was not a distant philosophy but a real clearing out and daily practice. Now the subtlety of desire and aversion becomes apparent – the consumptions of body and mind, clear. The addictions of the subtlest nature are rooting out and getting dropped bit by bit.
Awakening is a heavy word – to me it is just the beginning, one dawn at the start of many days.
In vigilance and joy, driving to work, talking to students, juggling chores, buried in all the paperwork that life generates, losing my focus yet gaining it again, with less and less time in between…
who doesn’t need instructions to flow
to the sea.
Up tomorrow: Brian at middle pane