Monday, January 10, 2011

Do The Work

Times are tough...they have been for many people, for quite a while, myself included. Situations are changing so rapidly that it's difficult for many to meet survival needs, much less those of a "higher" order.

I have seen so many implosions/explosions--relational, financial, psychological--that I am sometimes tempted to give up. I want to to crawl to the back of a dark cave, pull the wool over my eyes and turn the light out in my heart. Forever. Leave me alone, you angels and demons. Go away. I want peace, and silence, and some kind of eternal, effortless love wrapping me up in perfect serenity until I leave this crazy planet (hopefully soon). I want warm fuzzies, fearlessness, butterscotch voices and less wrinkles. Now.

This is what I think when I am exhausted, when under the influence of the invisible toxin dripped into my brain many years ago during various childhood traumas (and a couple of adult ones). When we try to deny our conditioning, it sneaks up to steal any ease or contentment while slashing balance to pieces. Fighting it all just pulls us deeper, and traps us in the same old patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.

The paradox is that, even while we are worn, grooved, etched and grained, we are also brand new and empty of patterning in any given moment. Reaching the "state" where this is more than a mental concept can be (in the absence of brain injury or psychoactive influence) quite difficult. It seems like a fantasy, to be able to be in any way fresh, free of attachment or aversion (and the place where one becomes the other). It feels as though there is some kind of barrier between the deepest sense of self and Everything Beautiful and Good.

There is. As long as we need one, there will be one. Like some kind of flaming sword, it comes up to protect us when we get too close to our own imaginary edges. Why? Because the beautiful and good is only half like our reactionary Utopian visions, our pendulum swings away from rudeness and violence and insult to innocence. The beautiful and good is also contained in the ugly and evil, the entirety of our experience, as painful as it may be at times. Until we can comprehend and admit this, the walls stay up, and access is denied...access to all of ourselves, and thus our Self.

There are many kinds of "work" to be done, on many different levels of being, if a person is truly interested in meeting the entirety of Self unashamed, and seeing the actual boundlessness of experience. The work always involves a meeting of oneself in various forms--the mind, the body, the emotions, and "out there" as the world. None of these elements are truly separate, and so activity in one always involves activity everywhere else. Methods vary as much as life forms, so it isn't necessarily the path through the mind/body/spirit/world that matters, but the attention paid to the movement, itself. The point, as they say, is in the journey, in the unfolding.

Attention rediscovers a sensitivity that is open and curious rather than stunted and hostile. Attending is like walking a pattern with full awareness of your feet on the lines, knowing that you hold that pattern, can see the pattern, and have the freedom to make a different one if and when it is right. It is being in full relationship to everything you encounter, within and without. All we are, actually, is this sensitivity, this sensing of Self. To be in full relationship, we operate from a clean place, a pure place, an identity unconfined to any small self-image we may carry. Every time we notice a thought, feeling or action, we are coming from spaciousness, from what is unaffected.

It may seem as though the more of ourselves we see, the more cluttered chaos there is to "deal with". But the truth is, the more of ourselves we are able to see, the clearer and simpler we get--because we are shedding identities like skins. Soon you see the goatskin over there and the angel-dust on the other side, right next to the kid who hates spiders and the teenage lusty gypsy. They are your family, your growth-rings, and you know them. But this knowing sensitivity is unfettered by these or any other "guest" in your house. They are dressed up in stories for you, whose only task is to meet them all equally. That's it. You don't have to try to be what you already are. Attempting that is what creates confusion.

For me, spaciousness takes over in fits and starts, concurrent with the degree of attention I am. Going through a rather hellish year in which I felt rejected in every possible way brought me into spotty, rough, and finally direct contact with hidden wounds and sneaky pain from long ago--stuff I was holding silently, children active in my psyche that I was ignoring in an emotional back room. I think, perhaps, that I was trying to set things (life) up so that I could safely see them. Instead, I had to see them to understand my own safety.

I can be backwards, like that.

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