Gardening

To be not who I thought I was, but who I became.

Worldly life, keen-edged chisel.  And I, the chiseled,

a garden tended by a master gardener.

How much lovelier now than it was

before the passing of fire and flood, before the pruning.

 

Path of Least Resistance

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.

Chogyam Trungpa’s Saddle Analogy

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

 

 

Depth Perception

Turning ourselves inside out takes courage, and a willingness to accept ourselves as we are without blurring the lines of what-is with the stories we tell ourselves.  Transformation is difficult because what the ego labels as “truth” in any given moment is subject to change.

The mind has a way of taking you down whatever road it finds most comfortable – in other words, whatever mirror reflects the ego’s current beliefs, that’s the mirror it looks at.  The ego must surround itself with those reflections in order to strengthen and qualify its current version of the truth, its version of what is real.  It’s as if the mind picks up a handful of – well, whatever it can get hold of – and calls it “the truth”, labels it “the world”, classifies it as “the way things are”.

Yet it seems that truth is highly subjective.  One person’s truth might contain grains of another person’s truth, or fragments of a larger truth, or be shared among large groups of people.  But any one person’s individual version of truth cannot help but be small, narrow and limited, because as individuals we cannot help relating all information back to ourselves somehow.  We are unable to perceive things as anyone other than ourselves, and we cannot process information with any perception other our own.  Not to mention the fact that our field of experience is a field of opposites because we live in a dualistic world.

No one’s truth has anything to do with anyone else’s, and yet we are all headed for the same ultimate, inevitable truth of death.  As Prince sang in his song Controversy in 1981: “life is just a game, we’re all just the same”.

So, can we not be a ghost of ourselves?  Because all the ghost does is forever haunt the same old unresolved house of all the thoughts, emotions, and beliefs we once had.  Resolving emotions doesn’t mean abandoning the house, though – it means repairing it before you move out, fixing it up better than it was, and then leaving it behind like an insect larva shedding its exoskeleton so it can grow and assume a new form.

To loosen our grip on what we feel so certain is the truth would be to allow ourselves to change, to become “unstuck”, to actually go ahead and love the hardest person there is to love: ourselves.  And instead of playing it safe and always only being one version of ourselves, we may as well be all of it: our whole self, every part that’s ever been, and every part still to be discovered.  Could it be possible to make contact with the deepest parts of ourselves?

It’s a scary prospect, a stone our controlling ego would rather leave unturned.  We may not meet the world’s approval of what we find there.  We may be judged, disliked, even hated by those who choose the easy path of judgment over the strenuous path of understanding.  Why take ourselves to an uncomfortable – painful, even – place, and try to stay there?  The mind would much rather lounge in the warm glow of synesthesia – a stimulating confusion of the senses – than to broaden its understanding of itself.

Yet it is possible to open more fully.  Go on now.  Shine a light in the darkest corners.

Lavender

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,

the acknowledger,

of awareness at rest in itself,

of recognition.

 

Calm Glimpse

The sky
is always there.
The sun
is always there.
Storms come and go.
Clouds come and go.

 

The Encounter

I stood in a glass house at the edge of the sea.

I watched as the tide rose, gradually swallowing the house, waves breaking against glass walls, and over the glass roof, booming, rattling, trembling.

Seaweed, rocks, shells, too many fish to count, so many colors.

Then came the crabs, starfish, anemones, cephalopods, sliding, clicking across the transparent roof, pressed up against the glass.

Then came the sea turtles, their old tough shells cracking the glass as the force of the sea slammed them against it.  The house was completely underwater now, and water began to seep through the cracks with mounting pressure.

My blood lurched through the veins in my neck.  I thought of running wildly from room to room, but just found myself standing perfectly still. 

I saw the small dark shape of a whale on the underwater horizon, the fluid border of sight.  I tried to blink it away, but it was still there, and it was coming. 

It swept nearer, loomed closer, until it filled my vision completely.  The transparent house was outside the whale’s awareness, so on it came, about to collide into the glass I stood behind. 

Friends, this is how it is to die and be reborn.

This is how it is, returning from the death of your animal nature.