Making Use of Heat

Then you come to that place of burning through the atmospheric fabric of consciousness.  You learn how to make use of the intensity of heat, and you use it to burn through thoughts and emotions, fears and desires, to purify and transform. 

Because you are not your thoughts, emotions.  You are not the sum of your fears and desires, however enslaved to them you perceive yourself to be.  You are a thread in the fabric of consciousness.  You are part of the awareness that witnesses all things in this field of time, this dimension of duality.

So you can stop trying to hold on to your identity as it is defined by others.  You can start to let go of how others might see you, how they might judge you.  And you can start to release your own judgments, assumptions, and misconceptions about others.

You might arrive at a place of thunderstruck stillness in yourself, a calm quiet place that has always been there, somewhere, like the surface of a pool of still water, or maybe the eye of a storm.  All the great importance of your external environment is diminished in this place of being at rest within yourself, this sensation of coming home to your own heart, this peaceful pause in the wake of the ten-thousand things.

It’s a place where no one owes you anything, and you don’t owe them.  A place free of demand or expectation.  A place of clarity, blindingly brilliant, where you can see a little more clearly what it is to be human.  Because each time you make an individual self-discovery, you discover something about humanity in the process.

There is a revelatory quality in your experience of self-discovery that is unique to you, but you are also simultaneously connected to all those who have made the same discovery, all around the world, down through the ages.  You are connected to those who have not been born yet, and those who are here now, shedding their own brands of light.   

 

The Tourist

Why do I wake while morning is still night?

I grope along endless caverns, it seems, descending many fathoms deep into memories of the past, and dreams of the future, my hand outstretched, a flickering candle in the curl of my fingers.

Journeys that – in the present light of day – I struggle to recall.  And I am a tourist there, though I carry no passport and leave no footprints.

People whisper, muttering: “Oh, he looks tired.  Something wrong with him?”

Yet I just smile because I know my pockets were sewn with fortune-thread.  And I know I am the ragged onward-goer, the ever-forward marcher.

 

 

Open Up

Sometimes we are born with deep secrets.  Secrets we don’t even know we’re keeping, until they unveil themselves.  Startling surprises.  So open up, open up, roll back the curtain, don’t close yourself off, don’t shut down, don’t do it.  It is tempting to keep quiet and lay low, but let your heart take a few lashes, let all the voluminous light inside of you come out before your inevitable worldly departure.

Contemplate the line between who people think you are, who they need you to be, want you to be, and who you truly are.  Let yourself change, stretch out, grow, expand.

One would think that once your heart has taken its share of lashes, you might retreat, pull back, run for cover.  Never mind this, it’s only logic tugging at you.  Go up and out instead, run towards the fire.  Open up the wicker of your rib basket and pull your heart loose.  Set it down gently, still beating, in the eye of the whirlwind.

You never know when you might see yourself.  Not a glance, not an examination.  See.  What you once could have sworn was solid now reveals itself to be translucent.  What once looked to be a pillar of immovable strength now strikes you as fragile.  So take everything they think they know about you, every last scrap of how they think you should be, of who they think you are, and just burn it.

Don’t be frightened, it’s only death and resurrection.  Open up.

 

 

 

 

Reception

Friends, I toss myself aside for you.  I become available for you.  I eat, drink, mumble, run hands through hair for you, scramble down the gulch for you, carry wood, fold socks, scrub pots, ever-fearless, requiring nothing.

These are not the days of time’s inhalation pulling way up under the world’s collarbones, stitching together the fibers of dream and memory.  These are days of emptying the mind, distilling the essence.

Friends, what does it matter if the world hears your voice?  We all belong to each other. Your voice is here, mine is here: as wild, small, and equal in worth as any other.

The voice is in your heart and so the world’s heart knows it, as surely as you know the heart of the world and hear its voice also, as surely as there is perfect stillness in the eye of the storm.

We listen for the voice with all the power of our deepest listening,  as if our line is cast before the coming of a great fish, a sudden tug is felt through our hands, and our withered husks give rise to some new possibility, somewhere between dusk and our return journey.

 

Neahkhanie Mountain

On this, the first day of my life, the elders tell me they never acquired anything they didn’t later wish to be free of.  They ask about my mother, father, umbilical cord.

Soon, I tell them, soon: the wind on this mountain will sweep my mother’s ashes from my hand and combine them with the Pacific.  Soon I will learn that my father has gone off to Spokane, that the cord was wrapped around my neck and had to be untangled.

We travel up the Kilchis River, pick huckleberries, eat sourgrass and purple clover, catch steelhead.  These elders, these children of the mountains tell me I’m one of them, kindling my warm hunger, my quiet thirst.  Dirt and clay emulsify with the tissue in my fingers.

The voice of this place is audible to me now, I understand the meaning of my name.

I hear the presence of this Coast Range, and rest in the tremor of waves grinding their verses against the ankles of Neahkahnie, the story of the earth told to me in a wordless dialect.

Deep listening is effortless on the first day of your life, when you’ve yet to unlearn it.

This Is Earth

This is Earth, sell your house.  Go on, do it.  Just see it through.  How will any change ever truly come about if you don’t sell your house?  There are many thoughts inside your head that are not true.

This is Earth.  Give away all that you own.  Don’t be afraid, just begin.  The rest will take care of itself.  How can you ever breathe the true breath of the world – drawn way up under your collarbones – if you don’t give away all you own?

This is Earth.  Release all that is expected of you.  Forget everything they want you to be.  Close your eyes and make the brave discovery.  Do not let the noise of the world drown out the voice inside you, the voice that is to be held by you, above all the other voices, whose speech only you can understand.

This is Earth.  Know what is home to you.  It might be someone’s face held in your hands, or the music of waves crashing.  Keep your path, and the feeling of home, close.

This is Earth.  Do you know what you must do?  Only surrender to the door through which you must go.