Friday, July 13, 2012

Rest my sweet friends...


In speaking with a number of you over the last few days, I’ve been reminded of how exhausting our efforts are to organize our lives around the experience of certain feelings and emotions, and the avoidance of others. Especially for spiritually-oriented people, the “awakened me” project can drain so much from the preciousness of a life of embodied immediacy, chasing this or that conditioned state or high, convinced that the freedom our sweet hearts long for can be found in an experience. Many of my sweet friends are feeling tired. We want more peace, less fear, more certainty, less sadness, more joy, less anxiety, more "bliss," less conflict, more “divine,” less … non-divine (whatever that is). We want so desperately to be the spiritual people we know we are, riveted in the “higher” consciousness, far far away from the “lower” consciousness, and the rest of the constructed spiritual gobbledygook we’ve taken on in our attempts to escape the many faces of suffering and ways of guarding against the vulnerability of an unguarded heart. 

We are quite sure that if these so-called “negative” experiences are there that something has gone wrong, that we have somehow failed life, that life has failed us, that something must be done, that we must do whatever it takes to scramble back to the spiritual feelings, “high” states of consciousness, “divine” experiences, etc., ad nauseam. We marvel in our great fortune when certain feelings or "states" are present, calling out in anguish when others are there, wondering where the grace has gone. We feel conflict and we go to this or that spiritual event and then feel nice and are quite sure, ah, finally, the grace has returned. And then wake up the next morning sad or depressed or anxious or “unspiritual” and there we are again, knowing for sure something terrible has happened. Where is the next spiritual experience? What have I done wrong? We then go searching into the soul’s library of feelings, hoping to reserve and check out one of the good ones. 

 
At some point, though, life has something else in store for us and we fall heart-first into the groundless, uncertain sweetness of this fragile, precious human life, which will without any doubt be ending just around the corner, whether that corner is 30 years away or later this afternoon. And sadness can be there, or emotional pain, or confusion, or depression, or heartache, or just an overall sense of feeling low or down. And we can for a moment just touch the earth or listen to the birds singing or look into the eyes of someone we adore and we see that sacred opportunity that is always there to behold this one and only life. And we can stop for just one moment and realize that we need not respond by frantically chasing after the next spiritual high. We can pause and consider that the spiritual journey might actually be about something other than me and my experiences, me and my frenetic exiting of immediate experience to get into some other “state.” We can entertain the wild and crazy possibility that the journey might instead be about falling on the ground and thanking this intelligent, creative, love-infused universe for giving us a precious human body and the senses to love and touch another; and perhaps open to a spirituality constructed around gratefulness, humility, and the most utter radical love of *this* state of consciousness, right here. We can love ourselves, and be tremendously kind to our tender hearts. And we can just be sad, or confused, or a total failure, without needing to replace our experience with something different. Somehow the “me and my spiritual experiences” project is let go, even for just for a moment. And then whatever thought, feeling, emotion, or sensation which arrives is embraced as a sweet friend from beyond, there to show us something very precious about the true nature of love.

*Photo of Maroon Bells at sunrise, near Aspen, one of the special grace-places here in Colorado. Photo copyright per Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. http://www.rockymtnrefl.com/maroonbellssunrise.html.