Monday, February 15, 2010

Web Of Oneness

Have you ever met someone who glowed from the inside out? A few months back, I went into the pet store with my son to get dry cat food for our three, not so little felines. A woman in a wheelchair was returning some items and she had a little dog with her. She spoke to my son and I, and just radiated warmth and goodness. I don't remember much of what she said but I remember being awestruck by her kindness. In fact, it was not anything specific that she DID. It was simply her being that was so wonderful and powerful. I am STILL deeply struck by the power of her being. Most of the time we are not able to feel that in each other. But each of us is like that deep down, even if we let it get obscured by being too absorbed in the world. And most of the time we walk around in a trance of separation because we are unable to peel away the layers beneath that presence masquerading as a person that is sitting next to us. How would we act if we really believed that everything was truly one?

Take a moment and breath slowly. How would you be if you believed everything were one; that everything beside you was a part of that which was most beloved by you; that "YOU" were not limited to a body or your thoughts. What if everything was just a projection created by you so that you could see yourself and behold your own beauty in all its many forms. How would you act when that speeding driver cut in front of you? How would you act towards that homeless man out on streets in the cold? What would you do when your co-worker said something cruel about another co-worker? How would you be with your elderly parent ? Would you raise your voice with your child? How would you treat mother earth? What foods would you eat? After all, each of these seemingly different forms would be a part of you. I don't mean to suggest there are pat answers to these questions or even that one answer is correct and another is wrong. In some ways the actual answers don't matter. It is more to get in touch with the connection among all. If you can connect to that place - I wonder what kind of world would arise out of you.

For me, what happens is there is an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am blown away by the fact that I am even here or that anything else could be either. I deeply feel the miracle of existence and the fact that everything I have ever done, seen, touched, felt, thought, possessed, enjoyed, disliked, or wondered about is dependent on every single other thing. This moment could never be without all the other moments that preceded it. I owe "my" life to each and every person as well as everything there is. What is, is because of the totality of all else. I am because of this desk. I am because of you and outward it goes. I feel unending gratitude for the chair that is holding up my bottom. I feel awe at the mind that created the computer that allows me to type what I am writing. I look out my window and marvel at the thousands of snowflakes - each different than the next and as the zen saying goes, falling into its own proper place. I feel grateful for my aching cold feet and warm cup of Chai tea.

We need each other. Like a heart needs the lungs and lungs need the kidneys and they all need the head, we all need each other. It is easy to feel isolated and disconnected. Many of our modern habits lend themselves toward alienation from each other and trances of separation. But occassionally we come across people who remind us of the goodness that we all are. They can be powerful forces even as they "do" very little. Sometimes all it takes to be that glowing person is a simple smile or being grounded in oneself. The ripple effect can be enormous because if you believe life is one infinite web, then a twang of one thread affects a multitude of others, and ultimately its all one.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Opening and Closing

Awakening is the process of continually opening. It is the process of love claiming all. It is paradoxically already complete and at the same time blossoming. In my own life it is interesting to see the places that I contract. It is interesting to note the places where I am not open or feel a pull to close. It is interesting to feel them in my gut or throat or shoulders. Sometimes I will try to defend a mental position as if that position were somehow imbued with a little part of myself, and I guess to my ego it is. It is also funny when I can look back and think - how odd that I took that idea or situation to be so serious. Two places that have been wonderfully illustrious to me recently have been my relationship with my sweetie and my work.

Oh, yes, I got a job. It is very intense at my new job. People's expectations of me are very high. During the day I am often knotted inside, too much afraid of the ways that I might fail. One antidote of course, is riveting myself on the actual task at hand. If I am knotted, I am likely too focused on the future and not enough in the present moment. It helps to remind myself to dwell there as often as I can. Sometimes just the sipping of a cup of tea at my desk can remind me to come home.

It is also interesting, to witness my identity dissolving. The dissolution is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable. The contraction inside, the knotted place, is oddly helpful, it shows me where my ego is still invested. My ego still finds it important to be seen as an intelligent, competent person. It still fears failing and creates a story of "but what if. . . ." But who would I be if I did not excel at my job? The contraction is the gap between the truth which my heart knows and the pull of the illusion which suggests that I need to be special through my intelligence to matter to the world. Does this mean that I should suddenly stop trying to excel at work or that something is wrong if one is smart or any other "desirable" quality. No, not at all, it simply means that to the extent I tie my identity to those qualities, when I am so much more than them, I will be closed off and suffer. Remember, you are both all and nothing.

I am glad that I no longer for the most part make an enemy out of my contractions. Instead I try to let them be or embrace them with a little love. A little empathetic curiosity goes a long way. Don't make a foe out of them. They are signals that can allow you to open further if you are willing to hear what they have to say. With my sweetie, I have discovered perhaps for the first time, the real beauty of relationship. She is a crystal mirror for me. She reflects back to me who I still believe I am. If we "fight" it is the perfect opportunity for me to discover where I am not transparent. It is the perfect chance to see where I am still invested in again creating a story of "me" or in being something special or of being right. We defend ourselves because deep down we are trying to convince 0urselves of something. One only defends, or attempts to feel special or needs to be right when one isn't aligned with the truth that they are. When we are aligned with that truth there is nothing we need to prove. My relationship with my sweetie is such a gift because it gives me such a deep opportunity to open, or to see where I still feel my limitations. Where in your life do you contract?

So what is "open"? What does it mean? Well for a definition I suggest you check in with your own heart. It is a good compass for what is open and what is not. When I am open such a sweet tenderness exists. Open is the outpouring of love. It is connection with and compassion for. It is alignment with truth. The invitation is always there but I am not always courageous enough to rest there. But even still, all is well for, love claims it all. It never goes away, even if you are not open to it and remained closed at that moment. There are always more chances to open, to love.