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Posts tagged ‘Being’

Living into Dying

I have had the gift and privilege of sitting beside a friend who is in the process of dying.  Even saying the word is hard at times.  Sometimes I soften the language by saying “passing away”, almost like a cloud passing in the sky.  Dying and death has so much more of a finality to it, at least in this physical realm.  But still it is the straight truth.

Conversations at this precipice of life and death are unabashedly Real.  We sit and meet each other Being to Being.  When the body and personality are in the processing of going, they naturally soften into the background.  Here the foreground is spacious, and we can feel and share how the personal and transient currents arise and fall away.  They carry less of a good or bad.  It is very much like Rumi describes, “the field beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing”.  Everything just is.  Judgements soften, and intimacy and trust deepen.  

For me it has been a season of witnessing the tenderness of humanity, the fragility of the physical body, and the immensity of Spirit/Essence that is so large that it moves through me like the ocean itself.

Love and ease to my friend as this journey continues within and beyond the body.

 

 

Among the Trees

This week I was able to spend a little time outside during the early dawn hours.  I enjoy and savor the quietness of the mornings.  I can rest in the soft melodies of the birds, the scurry of the squirrels, the wind, the leaves, clouds just becoming visible, adrift in the sky.  My inner dialogue and the world’s still in an easeful slumber.  Lately, I often pause in awe of the trees.  The Grace with which they meet the seasons of their life.  They are a vision of exquisite surrender, not resisting the wind, the sun, nor the rain; simply rooted, their leaves falling and returning every spring.  And if it was meant that they were to be completely uprooted, then that too is included.

This morning my attention began to settle a little lower.  The earth beneath the trees and the beauty in this.  I could feel the earth holding all of these trees through the seasons of their existence.  The earth does not seem to have an agenda, not fixing nor changing.  It just holds what is.

My attention settles a little closer to home, to the terrain of life within me.  Was the earth not holding me through the seasons of life just as she holds the trees?  Is she not holding all of Life, at all times?  Here, no experience and no one is more or less worthy.  For a while, I rest in this open embrace, just the experience itself.  After a few minutes I walk back inside, remembering Mary Oliver’s poem.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Simplicity

I had the pleasure of sitting with some dear students yesterday, and I listened as they shared their reflections after meditation.  The feeling and idea of simplicity surfaced, especially in contrast to the moments of life that instead feel complex and complicated.  How often are we caught in the web of our thinking mind?  How often are we chasing our ideas and beliefs, our past and future, our sorrows and joys?  While this is a part of our human experience and not to be denied, it is also exhausting if this our prominent way of navigating life.

What if we had the space to lay all of this to Rest just for a while, allowing it to come and go like the clouds in the sky?  Instead of being caught inside the clouds, we could feel the space through which they move.  We could begin to open to the fullness of the moment and our direct experience by way of sensations and vibration.  For moments or more, we might open to the Simplicity of just this.  Just Being.  This is not something that we can strive toward or try to think our way into.  That only perpetuates the narrow and constricted conditioning.  Instead we avail ourselves to moments of Being, feeling and sensing our way into Life beneath the complexity and conditioning.  These moments and spaces allow us to return to our natural state: open, undirected and uncontrived.

When we emerge back into life, we may carry insights that were otherwise not available through the thinking mind.  We may feel a fresh and new relationship to the very same situations and people.  This can arise quickly or even days, weeks, months later.  I’ll share an example of this from my walk early this morning.  I stepped into the crisp morning air caught in a mind full of things to do and stories about the week’s unfolding.  Several minutes into my walk, my attention opened to the gentle rush of cool air across my skin, warm sun upon my face.  My eyes caught the vibrant, green leaves on the trees, not just seeing, but also feeling.  These same trees just weeks prior were barren.  My whole body began to fill with vibration, and for some moments I was available to the simplicity and the beauty of life.  I returned to my house not feeling as limited for time, nor feeling the urgency of my to do’s.  I knew they would get done, and even if not, things would likely be fine. I felt open and free, at least for a while.

If this resonates, I encourage you to allow for spaces in your day, brief pauses between tasks, between arriving and leaving work, or dropping off children.  Allow these moments to give you the opportunity to return to the simplicity of Being and aliveness of Life.  If you are interested in more of this, I will be offering a 3 1/2 hour event at Yoga Yoga North on April 21, 1 to 4:30pm, Coming Home to Ourselves.  You are welcome to read a brief post about what I hope to offer.

I’ll leave you with this poem by Mary Oliver.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

the Wisdom of the Body

Finally, this week we will begin to explore why we spend so much time in the field of the body in meditation.  The body can be a source of many things: pain and pleasure, birth and death, health and illness … the list goes on.  The body is a play (lila as spoken in sanskrit) of these opposites of experience, truly a dance of that which is always changing.  When we embody this dance and its vibration, perhaps there are moments we drop beneath the appearance of opposites, and we deepen into the unchanging essence of Being … Being that is complete, whole, perfect and timeless.

As much as we may try, we cannot think our way into this experience, we arrive by feeling and sensing our way into what already is and has always been here.  Please don’t take this as your truth.  I offer it to you as an exploration, so that you can recognize Truth in your own way.  If you are able to think yourself into this unchanging experience, please share it with me.  As a student, my intention is to remain open and curious.  I will continue to share some reflections and guidance on exploring the realm of the body in future posts.

For now, I leave you with some words from Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now.

“Do not turn away from the body, for within that symbol of impermanence, limitation, and death … is concealed the splendor of your essential and immortal reality.  Do not turn your attention elsewhere in your search for the Truth, for it is nowhere to be found but within your body.

Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own reality.  You are your body.  The body that you can see and touch is only a thin illusory veil.  Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested.  Through the inner body,  you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life – birthless, deathless, eternally present.”

 

 

A child’s gift of Being.

Almost every morning I witness how children fall into Being so easily.  By Being, I am referring to a place where we feel so deeply immersed in the moment that the sense of who we are is lost.  It is here that we enter the realms that are without concept, yet alive and full of life.  As adults, this can escape us unless we make time for it.  A paradox in and of itself because as we approach Being, even a sense of time subsides.

Nonetheless, most mornings I am predominantly governed by time and schedule.  Daily life and commitments requires this.  I am often trying to get my girls to school soon after 8 a.m., so that then I can get to work as well.  As time begins to close in on me, my gentle encouragements become slightly more threatening.  However, children are beautifully children, and sometimes neither encouragement nor threat seems to motivate them.  Thankfully, some mornings, rather than frustration, I have the presence of heart to catch my daughters deep in the throbs of laughter.  It is a gift to witness.  Ironically, witnessing another in Being evokes much the same in us, even if for moments.  Perhaps remember a time when you were witness to children playing or lovers embracing.  Yes, we can feel what they experience.

Of course, as a mom with a timeline all the same, I often return within moments remembering we do really need to get to school.  Though now something in me, easily and without effort, softens.  My threats relax back into encouragement.  We can, and often do, live between the paradox of Being and doing, seamlessly, back and forth like the waves of the ocean.

Though timeliness is very important, I hope not to deny my children the gift of timelessness sooner than needed, if ever.  In the words of poet, Mary Oliver, “It is what I was born for— to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world— to instruct myself over and over again”.