Monday, July 9, 2012

Crumbling down in a waterfall of grace

A friend was sharing that she felt like everyone around her was “waking up” and having all sorts of wonderful spiritual experiences, moments of bliss and no-self, and that everyone was at deep peace except her. She was so genuine and authentically feeling at a real crossroads, wondering if anything fundamentally would ever shift for her. Would she ever fall one day into the elusive "sustained transcendent experience" that so many are after, where only love and sweetness and oneness arise, and yucky human emotional relationship stuff would be finally burned up in a special process of some sort.

We reflected upon how it is not really that difficult to construct some sort of altered experience, or enter into some conditioned spiritual state. We wondered about what often seems a frenzied moving away from present experience which is somehow seen as just not enough, toward something more “spiritual,” as a way to cover over our deeper feelings of inadequacy, meaninglessness, groundlessness, shame, boredom, uncertainty, and the deep hurt we carry in our personal and collective hearts. We sat together in the park and watched the little ones play and just allowed all of the sadness and grief and shame and self-aggression and unbearable tenderness to fill the intersubjective grace-field which we shared together. All was welcome.

The hurt, the sadness, the judgment, the comparisons, the frenetic compelling pull to spin off into some “higher” state of consciousness... it was all taken in, embraced, and held… in a larger field of awareness, tenderness, curiosity. Together, we experienced what a sweet gift this life is when somehow, miraculously, we allow ourselves to be what we are, for this precious reality to be what it is, sharing its sweet fragrances in ways that are beyond imagination. Somehow, everything is invited into the great field of love, through some radical unexplainable trust, and we relinquish the lifelong movement out of immediate experience, instead turning directly into the raw vulnerability of intimacy. We saw so clearly how we often hide from real relationship with others, all the while basking in our safe spiritual identities. It is much more difficult—and potentially much more interesting and rewarding we came to discover together—to set aside the struggles of the spiritual self and the great effort it takes to sustain the magic display of spirituality that we’ve created. And that it takes no effort to simply be who we are. Rather, all the effort is in maintaining spiritual identity, conditioning, and distance from the burning fires of intimacy. 

We so badly want to believe, want to give ourselves to something which is transcendent to the vulnerable human heart. It is so sweet! And so painfully precious! And so everything… We saw that it is much easier to be in relationship with a spiritual figure from a distance, with the coming and going of "special" spiritual experiences, with the conditioned scrambling movement away from *this* state of consciousness right here, where the breaking of the heart and the exposure of a lifetime is not so near. But the risk of relatedness is the greatest risk of all. And it is terrifying. And it is endlessly precious and offers fruits beyond our wildest spiritual fantasies. 

A soccer ball rolled up to our bench, a little one approached, and the three of us shared a sweet moment together. In the end, as we all discover in our own precious way, determined by a vast, unknown timetable created in the stars, our struggles, our deeply rooted need to control this life, our wired-in tendency to pull away from embodied immediate experience, our ever-creative strategies to avoid the excruciating dimension of intimacy… in the wide open space of an immense kindness to oneself and to this preciously raw and tender journey, it all inevitably comes crumbling down in a waterfall of grace, washing us away in the great love that has no bias as to what arises in our experience, containing it all in its infinite sweetness.