No Rush

You don’t have to rush.  You don’t have to be in such a hurry all the time.  You don’t have to feel pulled in a hundred different directions.  It’s only the energy of the society around you, and has nothing to do with the conversation your life makes with the world.

When you give up the habit of rushing and the need to be in control, it creates space in you for peace.

Notice how any system has rules and limitations, and must operate within its own boundaries in order to control effectively.  Notice how weak – or how strong – any single aspect of a system becomes when approached in a non-systematic way, or when it is removed from the system to which it belongs, revealing just how limiting a system can be.

Fear, desire, and the need to be in control are like obstructions in a river, blocking the full potential of the water’s flow.  You can always be less rigid and more fluid, less like stone and more like water.

To live less systematically – and let go of the rush – is to allow the space and flexibility for peace to flow more abundantly into your life.

 

“May I be the tiniest nail

in the house of the universe.

Tiny, but useful.”

Mary Oliver

 

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Quote by Erich Schiffman

“When you let go of everything you think you know about yourself and stay with what’s left, when you willingly abandon the contradictory evaluations of who you are and courageously reach deeply into yourself in order to experience yourself directly, you will come upon a new experience of who you are.”

Erich Schiffman

Ubuntu, Yoga, and the Illusion of Separation

Ubuntu is an ancient South African term meaning “connectedness to others”.  It points to the human virtues of humanity and compassion.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “union”, “connection”, or “to join”.

Between all the reading I’ve been doing and my recent journey into yoga teacher training, I have noticed an idea that comes up again and again.  It’s the concept that our ego constantly tries to convince us that we are all separate (the ego’s effort to build and maintain any self-identification that supports the illusion of control), when actually we are all interconnected in ways that are beyond our conception.

For instance, having your body tattooed with an image that is meaningful or beautiful to you.  I have several tattoos.  I like my tattoos, but I also see them for what they are: my ego’s effort to qualify the identity it thinks it is.  It’s my ego working hard to define itself, to project a self-image it finds favorable.

The identity our ego insists is real, is of course not real.  It is an illusion brought about by the fact that we exist in a world of forms and so our thinking is limited to forms.  Who we truly are is beyond forms, and is concerned with awareness, not thinking.  When one recognizes the illusion as an illusion, it begins to die.  It dies because its survival depends upon it being thought of as reality.

The power of a yoga practice is that it teaches you to be vulnerable and humble.  From there, you begin to open up.  Stuck places inside you slowly, slowly start to move, like a dam being deconstructed one stone at a time.  Maybe life has hardened you in certain ways, and these hard edges start to soften, as you devote yourself to returning to the practice again and again.  Your awareness increases, and you begin to notice the difference between awareness and thinking.

“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human.  Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation.  It speaks about our interconnectedness.  You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.”  –Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“Don’t seek the truth, just cease to cherish opinions.”  -Zen saying

“Our separation from each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”  –Albert Einstein

“Give up defining yourself, to yourself or to others.  You won’t die.  You’ll come to life.” Eckhart Tolle

“Don’t become too narrow.  Live fully.  Meet all kinds of people.  You’ll learn something from everyone.  Follow what you feel in your heart.”  -Yuri Kochiyama

Say Yes

Say yes to storms, stillness, success, failure, silence, noise. Yes to high winds, bitter cold, sweltering heat, crushing loneliness, joyful connection, isolation, liberation.

Yes to the broken and the unbreakable.  Yes to the shaken and the unshakeable.

Say yes to danger, safety, pain, pleasure, exhaustion, energy.  Yes to the suffering you’ve known and the gifts you’ve been given.  Yes to a small and closed-in place, yes to the mystery of limitless space.

Say yes to old hurts, fresh wounds.  Yes to your rise and yes to your fall, to effort and ease.  Yes to the fields of time and timelessness.

Say yes to all the things you think you could never do or be, yes to anything you’re afraid of.  Yes to duality and oneness.  In saying yes, you become unstuck.  When you say yes, nothing can hold you hostage.

First Light Splatters The World-Canvas

First, I dreamed that I wandered from room to room in a glass house at the edge of the sea, working with my fears and my desires the way a sculptor works with clay, the way a fly-fisherman works his line.

Then I dreamed of women, of all the sisters I have known.  They made a great circle around me and chanted Om three times.  My heart became a bird of many colors.  My rib cage opened and the bird flew up into the sky.  My tear-ducts ran themselves dry and the muscles of my eyes ached.  I knew I was alive.

Finally, I dreamed of bloodlines and of men, the many brothers I have known.  I dreamed that my father, my grandfather and my son all sat with me at a round table of thick dark wood.  At the center of the table was an elk heart with stones and feathers and seashells on it.  We each ate some of the heart.  I saw them all from a place of peace, a place where all my emotions and thoughts had become transparent.  A place where love runs freely without refrain, a river whose dam has been lifted, flowing with its natural movement restored to it.

Love, you are the answer.  Love, you are the way.  Love, you are the force that opens me.

I woke early to a lone bird whose song split across the darkness, as if repeating something I had yet to discover.  I had the feeling he knew it was spring.  Whatever he knew, or didn’t know, he was joined shortly thereafter by his own sisters and brothers to usher in the sun.

 

 

Vision Quest

Once, everything you knew – wanted to know, even –seemed so important. All the things you were sure you understood, and wished to better understand.

But then the long night of your life came.

Deep in among the folds of that night, you cried out for your life to be different, but it was only ever up to you.

A thousand pairs of eyes watched you from a distance.  They only knew there was nothing they could do to protect you, and that their final breath would come as surely as yours, and that they were hungry.

Songs of moonflowers, rain-shadows, animal powers – even the song of the wind we must unlearn.

You’ve walked a path upon the earth – now to it, return.

 

We Cannot Wait

We cannot wait for things to be different, for things to be perfect, for things to meet our requirements.  We cannot wait for everyone’s approval.  We cannot wait for the certainty that everyone will like what we have to say.

We cannot wait for ourselves to feel less afraid.  We cannot wait for the coast to be clear before we step outside, because the coast will never be clear.  We have to take the risk.  We will be criticized, misunderstood.  Still, we cannot wait.

Transformation means loosening our grip until we let go completely.