Water takes the path of least resistance. A tree, a leaf, a human, all possess a central artery to supply fluid to channels, veins.
We are cells, tissues, bone, blood – but mostly water. This world is our body and our body the world. The sky and sea are our minds. Clouds and waves, our thoughts.
A glimmer of clarity, a fresh clean insight, a burning brightness leaves me feeling as if I looked at the sun. And by “me”, I mean “you”, I mean all of us. I mean the place of stillness, the one we keep inside, a source of renewable energy waiting to be accessed, directed.
The world will simply go on being itself in all its change and sameness, and we must eventually go on, away from human reflection, through the gate that only opens from the inside, moving out of the field of linear time into the river of eternity, along the path of least resistance.
Spiritual beings, living in physical bodies, in a material world.
I just love this passage from Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery by Chogyam Trungpa. To arrive at this place he describes, within one’s self, must be to arrive at a place of deep, deep peace.
“In the saddle, as long as you have good posture and a good seat, you can overcome any startling or unexpected moves your horse makes. So the idea of the saddle is taking a good seat in your life.
You belong here. You are one of the warriors in this world. So even if unexpected things happen, good or bad, right or wrong, you don’t exaggerate them. You come back to your seat in the saddle and maintain your posture in the situation.
The warrior is never amazed by anything. If someone comes up to you and says ‘I’m going to kill you right now’, you are not amazed. If someone says they are going to give you a million dollars, you think ‘so what’.
Assuming your seat in the saddle at this level is achieving inscrutability, in the positive sense. It is also taking your seat on the earth.
Once you take your seat on the earth, you don’t need witnesses to validate you.”
– Chogyam Trungpa
I don’t know who was doing the witnessing –
the lavender plant, or me.
I only know that its divine presence shone forth,
that in its presence I moved closer
to an experience of the sacred.
So, rather than passing it by, I stopped.
I stopped and spoke to it.
Not an audible speech, but a soundless one.
The cathedral whisper one uses
when one recognizes divinity.
I danced with the lavender too,
but not the dance of the body, no,
the motionless dance of the witness,
of awareness at rest in itself,
Dear Grandma Betty,
I hope I can maintain an honest assessment of who you were, and not get too wrapped up in memories seen through the milky windowpanes of linear time’s narrow corridor.
You wore your heart on your sleeve. You told it the way you saw it and made no apologies. You were born on July 31st. You repeated yourself an awful lot, and passed that particular trait on to your son (my dad) and your grandson (me). You liked taking people out to lunch. And you liked to talk…….a lot.
I remember meeting you for the first time. The pine boughs were swaying in the wind and it was summer when you came to the little house with the wood stove in the Oregon countryside, where my mom and I lived for 4 years and I rode my bicycle to school. Your voice with its syrupy southern accent – and your spirited personality – seemed so huge to me that I thought I felt the house shake through the soles of my worn-out sneakers.
But the biggest parts of you were your heart and your stubbornness. I didn’t know anything about you yet back then, but I could see right away that you were ruled by your heart, because of the way you were so kind to my mom. I was protective of her, and so I watched, and I listened.
It must be nice to have set down your suitcase of earthly burdens, grandma, but I miss your stories. I miss your grouchiness, your laugh, the way you pronounced hurricane ‘herrican’. The way you always used southern colloquialisms like ‘he was mean as a snake’ or ‘that girl would argue with a fence post’.
Sometimes a weariness comes over me when I think of loved ones lost. There are so, so many. And yet in a way, they’re all still here, they’re all….close. So I’ll say to you what I’ve said to them all, in one way or another, over the years:
to all those I love, and have loved, on either side of the transcendental veil – may my love be a lantern to help light your way. And may yours help me light mine.
Life is more the approximation of cooking than the exactitude of baking. There are an infinite number of ways to proceed.
Be curious, consider the methods used by every person you meet, and, in doing so, find your own way. Develop your own recipes and never hesitate to share them. To hoard them is to become your own dragon.
Become seasoned by the road of experience, but be wary of hardening. The residue of clarity yields a suggestion of radiance, unmistakably luminous.
May your love be a light in dark places.
This summer I hope to visit the place I scattered my mom’s ashes 26 years ago, near the foot of Neahkhanie Mountain on the Oregon coast. Standing in the wind above the sea, I will be sure to remember this Hopi Prayer.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circle flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.
My Spirit is still alive.” – Hopi Prayer
Meanwhile, the wind blows, incredibly. The sun rises – seen or unseen – and moves across the sky, incredibly. Water covers most of the planet. Effervescent laughter is remembered. The vast silence of the world helps quiet the noise of your mind. The great emptiness fills you up and calms your heart. Do not be too eaten up by your own life.