Notes on the Journey

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"I" Do Not Exist

In my last posting, I wrote about the loss of the markers in my life that had previously defined me.  I also wrote about the possibility that no new markers would show up, and I'm beginning to think that that is more the probability than not.  It is actually my hope.  Because the markers are limitations that hold me prisoner to the small sense.

Today, I read something in "Mind Beyond Death" by Dzogchen Ponlop, that has moved me somewhat out of the need for further markers, or to think that there's any definition of who I am.  I'm going to quote it here:

"Ultimately, what we call 'life' is just an illusion of continuity--a succession of moments, a stream of thoughts, emotions and memories, which we feel is our possession.  And therefore we, too, spring into existence, as the possessors of that continuity.  However, upon examination, we discover that that continuity is dreamlike, illusory.  It is not a continuous or substantial reality.  It consists of single moments, which arise, dissolve and arise again, like waves on an ocean.  Therefore, this 'I' arises and dissolves in each moment as well.  It does not continue from one moment to the next.  The 'I' of one moment dissolves, and is gone.  The 'I' of the next moment arises afresh.  These two 'I's cannot be said to be the same or different, yet they are identified by conceptual mind as a single, continuous self:  'Yes, this is me..."

I was so grateful to read this, just at this moment, when who I am anymore is in question.  The idea of not holding on to any concepts of who I think I am is so relieving.  To die to each passing moment and to be reborn in the one that follows is so freeing.  I don't need to know who I am in any kind of mental, conceptual way.  This leaves the whole scope of being and experience open to me each and every moment.  There is no, "I don't do that" or "I do that" or "I'm that" or "I'm not that."  There's just being, pure and simple.  No preconceptions, no concepts or ideas about should or shouldn't being based on who I think I am.  The only continuity is the flow of Life itself, but who I am within it can and does change in every moment.

I suddenly feel free to allow each day to show up however it does and to respond to what shows up without the overlay of thinking I'm anything specific within it.  To drop the illusion that I am or need to be anything other than alive and present takes away expectation and judgment, takes it out of the realm of mind and into the realm of pure experience.  The mind is always trying to make sense of things and set up relativities and conistencies and categories.  When we exist in the realm of mind, we base what we're experiencing on what has gone before...we make judgments, we come to conclusions, we have expectations of how things should or shouldn't happen.  But, when we let the realm of mind drop away, along with all the inherent illusions it harbors, then we are open to the purity of whatever is happening as it happens.

I'm not saying, "Don't tether the camels."  But, what I'm discovering is that there is a way of being in the world that is about receiving each and every moment in its purity.  That I don't need to hold myself, or anyone else, to anything that has gone before.  I'm not defined by past experiences and external events and the perceptions of others, I'm not defined by anything.  Because I'm more than any definition is able to capture.  This developing awareness has freedom at the center of it, and I'm very excited about where it's taking me.  And, it not only takes me into freedom, it allows me to release everyone I know from any concepts of who I hold them to be.  Everyone is free to rebirth themselves in each and every moment.


Monday, February 25, 2013

You Gotta Get Up

I write when the words start forming themselves in my mind.  And, they haven't been forming lately.  My outer life and my internal landscape have been very quiet.  But, in contemplating the following quote from Rabindranath Tagore, some words started to form.

"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.  Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it."

Yes, I thought as I read it.  Please let me always remember this.  But, I also realized that I have often prayed to be sheltered from dangers and for my pain to be still.  I've often asked that things happen in ease and grace, to be made as easy and smooth as possible.  And, I have often not handled my pain very well, yearning to be released from it, to escape it, to deny it, to do everything possible other than be with it.

As much as I want life to be easy and pleasant, I know that my deepest growth has come through adversity and pain.  Adversity and pain are the things that demand that we push through the limitations of our understanding and our stamina, that demand that we break through to new personal paradigms of reality, that demand that we dig deep into who we are, and reshape ourselves in order to triumph.  Without the demands made through adversity and pain, we stagnate.  I'm not saying I'm not for breaks in the onslaught, but in general, if we're not challenged often enough to push us forward, it feels like pointless existence.

I've gone through so many changes over the last six or seven months that it feels like the basis of my reality has been pulled away.  All the markers that structured my previous reality are gone, and so I'm rather adrift in the cosmic void until new markers show up.  And, I don't know that any new markers will show up, at least in the way I was used to seeing them.  It's a new world and an entirely different frequency that we currently exist within, and it's changing as I write this; therefore, the structure of our lives, and the way we're used to seeing that structure, are also changing.  I think the current challenge is to accept the unknown and the fluid quality of life and trust that things are moving ahead exactly as they need to.  I get this intellectually, but integrating this concept is more difficult.

My current context of growth is to let go of the past and trust in Life itself enough to accept each day as it comes; to be unconcerned about what, if any, direction my life might be taking at this juncture, and to enjoy the journey.  But, the letting go is not so easy, my level of trust and surrender is spotty, and enjoying the journey is proving to be much more challenging than I would have thought.  I do have glimpses of release and moments of pure joy, but they don't stick around, they come and go.  Although, as I'm writing this, I realize that my concept of what I think should be consistent needs to go.  Humans love consistency, but that's not always the way, nor should it be.  Which is why we need to be fully present with whatever feelings of release and joy we get, as well as any other feelings or experiences.  Most things are fleeting, and best to be received as fully as possible in the moment they visit us...adversity and pain included.

And so, I realize that I've often prayed and begged and wished for things to be easy and safe rather than developing the fearlessness that would allow me to face whatever comes head on.  And, I've also prayed and begged and groveled for release from pain, on all its levels, rather than developing the depth of heart that would allow me to bear it in grace, or conquer it altogether.  In that way, I've been focusing on my personality's wants instead of my soul's needs.  But, it's time for the personality to step back and for the soul to step forward.  It's time to grow up, to stop complaining and avoiding and move forward in trust, both in Life and in myself, which might be the same thing.  No excuses or explanations, but acceptance and receptivity.

I might stumble and fall, but as Ben Affleck said last night in his Academy Award acceptance speech for his win for "Argo" for Best Picture of 2013, "It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, 'cause that's gonna happen.  All that matters is that you gotta get up."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Free, At Last

I let go of something today...something big.  Something I'd been carrying for a long time.  Something that I'd been excited about in the beginning, but something that had started to feel like a heavy burden.  It started to feel like a "have to" and a "should do" rather than a "want to."  And, the new field doesn't support the "have to's" and the "should do's."  The new field supports what's true, what comes from our hearts, what we want, not something we've taken on for reasons other than heart's desire.

This project that I've put down, came to me at a time when I felt that I had nothing.  It gave me something to hold on to when I needed to hold on to something.  It gave me hope and something to work toward, to grow into.  It connected me to deeper things within myself and was the context for my growth for the last twelve years.  It took me on a number of trips around the globe.  It became the basis of some wonderful, and I hope lasting, relationships.  It was the thing that kept me going, and also the thing that got me to stop when it was time to stop.  And, as it showed me that I needed to let go of script supervising, it's now showing me that I need to let go of it as well.  I need to lay down the burden it's become, to walk away from the pressure of it, to allow a new way of life and a new focus to show itself.

I'm in a place that demands that everything that is a "have to" or a "should" or has the feel of pressure connected to it, has to go.  I've spent my life doing things I had to do, that I should do, that were necessary, that were expected, that were requested, and that seemed like the "right" thing to do.  I've existed under the pressure of living up to a set of expectations that are built on illusion, and it's time to stop.  Just stop.  It's time to really set myself free.  To climb out from under anything that feels constrictive in any way.  To let the great unknown spread out before me on a daily basis and see what shows up without the burden of anything in its way.

And so, I let go.  I let go of the thing that's been my guiding force for so long I thought I'd die if I put it down.  I thought I would be a failure if I put it down.  But, I'm still alive.  And, it's been a learning, not a failure.  We live and we learn and we try things and we let go and we try new things.  I don't know why we hold on so hard sometimes, but it's feeling like it's getting easier to let go.  The holding on was part of the old field, and the new field is helping us to let go.  And, as painful as it can be to let go sometimes, it's also a relief.

As soon as I realized it was time to say "no" to something that I'd said "yes" to for so long, I relaxed.  Tension flooded out of my body.  My lungs opened up and I could breathe.  I'd been in resistance for a long time and was starting to feel paralized, and I didn't understand why.  But, once I saw that the "no" was in resistance to something I felt I "had" to do, I also saw how that resistance had spread to the rest of my life.  And, until I became aware of the underlying "no," my life would stay on hold.  Today, I woke up.  As of today, the "no" is no longer hidden and acting out on the rest of my life.  I've acknowledged and honored the "no" for what it's really saying "no" to, and now my life can begin again.

Happiness and joy are creeping in.  Excitement for the unknown is creeping in.  The concept that I now have choice that is unburdened by any "shoulds" is dawning on me.  I'm starting to see what real freedom comes out of.  And, to give myself the gift of real freedom, feels very self-loving.  I've let myself off the hook.  I've stepped off my own personal cross.  And, a new path is open before me.  Where it leads has yet to be revealed, but as I walk forward into that unknown, at least I feel free.  Free, at last.