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Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Fence...

Life, as it always does, afforded an opportunity for me to see things differently last weekend.  Who knew that a Fence would become fodder for awareness, and a blog post. :)

Our neighbor came to the door Friday evening wanting to know if he could take out the split rail fence on the property line between us, saying that the fence was not functional.  The real issue was that it kept him from easily accessing our side of his raised garden beds that abutted the fence, which meant he had to stand in our yard and lean over the fence to get to them. 


The fence belonged to neither of us, but had been put there by the developer many, many years ago.   My husband answered the door. I was preoccupied somewhere else in the house and missed the whole thing.  Anyway, B said – sure!    And then came to tell me what had transpired.

Enter drama…

My ego-mind immediately took over.  What does he mean that a fence is not “functional”, of course it’s functional, it sets boundaries! – I retorted.   It’s symbolic I argued.  It’s the principle of the thing, I snorted, feeling dismissed and disturbed that I had been left out of the decision. (No control issues there! :))  I felt myself go into resist mode.  My husband thought I was crazy and couldn’t believe I was making such a big deal about it.  He said to say no would have created uneccessary tension between the neighbor and us.  Maybe so – but still, I felt it necessary to defend my point. :)  Isn’t that the way the unawakened mind works… :)

It was obvious, even to me, that something in me had been triggered.  I suddenly felt vulnerable.  I watched as it took our neighbor about an hour to lift the fence posts out of the ground with a hydrolic car jack, and dismantle the fence.


For some crazy reason I felt sad, felt a sense of loss of what it symbolized – the letting down of boundaries, and a deeper fear of being more open; something that, from a spiritual perspective, I thought I really wanted anyway.  But now that it was really happening, in a symbolic way, it made me uncomfortable, feeling somehow unprotected and vulnerable.  Interesting how we are wired for safety and protection, and our egos become fearful of emancipation.

As Yoda said in a movie once – “You must unlearn what you have learned.”    

I am aware enough to know that a fence is only a symbol of a boundary.  That in reality there is no separation, no dividing line.  And yet, my mind *likes* the *idea* of separation, of yours and mine, of “other” who needs a reminder to keep from violating “my space.”  How un-enlightened of me. :)  Robert Frost, a New England poet, had a famous line in one of his poems, Mending Wall: “good fences make good neighbors.”  That has always seemed to work for me! :)  But an awakened view of the world requires a letting go of boundaries, of the sense of “other.”  I was being faced with that in real life, not in some idealistic spiritual concept.

Each day it became less and less of an issue as acceptance set in; cautionary acceptance, “what if” acceptance – like: what if his teenage son sees this as an invitation to come into our yard; not like the fence has kept him out before!  Once again, it’s only symbolic.  It doesn’t really keep anybody out.  It just makes *me* feel better that there is an *illusion* of a boundary that one must respect, providing a false sense of security and protection, an *illusion* of safe separateness.

Isn’t this how the world works too.  We create these false boundaries thinking it will keep us safe, like fences between countries.  We create tribes, communities, circles and in-groups.  Even beliefs and belief systems become fences that we create to keep us separate and safe.  But something always manages to get through – whether literally or symbolically.  Something crosses the boundary that we have created, disturbs our comfort zone, and forces us to awaken from our illusions of our separateness; our illusions of control; our illusions of safety.


Yet, there *is* something about a fence that I like. :) 

Mirabai Starr recently wrote about this sense of “other”, of separation, in her blog post “Otherizing.”   Here is an excerpt that struck me.  I highly recommend you read the whole post to get the context.


“The illusion of separation is what causes violence and oppression.  The minute we identify an individual or a group as being Other, we banish ourselves to a spiritual wasteland and justify treating someone else with anything less than loving kindness. [We] draw artificial boundaries to bisect a circle of our inter-connectedness with all beings.  [But] when we sit together and begin to peel back the layers…..it turns out that just about everyone everywhere affirms that Ultimate Reality is a unified field, and that no matter what names we ascribe to it…..it’s name is Love.”





Top Photo is not "the fence" at the property line :)
Unfortunately I didn't have a picture of that one.
It is another split rail fence 
from another place
in the neighborhood.
Sorry for the poor quality...

2nd photo - neighbor's garden beds
right up against the property line
where the fence used to be...



Friday, May 24, 2013

Windows Into Infinity Mandala...

Sitting in exquisite Silence at the window
I recognize the Cosmic Breath of Infinity
breathing in, breathing out…

Held in the pause between
I know that “I” am being breathed
by an unseen Rhythm…

From the window
at the edge of Infinity
I see beyond form into the formless void,
beyond moon and stars
into the Infinite Vastness
that holds it all…

Aware of what is aware within:
Life – breathing ItSelf into Existence…

Every sound is the Primordial Sound
of Existence reverberating;
the breath of Life rippling through space…

Hush
Be Silent
Listen

Entrain with the Cosmic Rhythm of Infinity
within you…

Breathe the Infinite Breath…

All is infinitely well…


Mystic Meandering
May 22, 2013



~*~


This mandala reflects a view of the Cosmos
from buildings with windows in them surrounding
the inner circle,
symbolizing that there are many views,
many ways of seeing the Truth of Existence,
if we are willing to be still and look deeply.


I practice what I call "window sitting"
at night that I started back in 2010.
(See original post about it here.)
Like meditation, it helps me to see Reality more clearly,
from a place of Silent Awareness...



Friday, May 17, 2013

Reflections - Alzheimer's


Our time visiting with B’s mother last weekend was poignant.  It went much better than expected.  We had been told by family members that she was unable to see, hear, and was pretty much withdrawn into herself, having been diagnosed with "Alzheimer's."  We were unexpectedly surprised, as she was quite coherent – recognizing both B and me.  “She” was not absent, not blank.  She could see, not well, but well enough to recognize us, and could read large letters on her birthday cards.  She could hear with the aid of her cochlear implant, although it was intermittent.  We soon let go of the imposed label of “Alzheimer's” and just experienced her as she was – engaging with her as she was – not having expectations for how she was supposed to be – either way – coherent or confused.

We had been instructed by family members that it was okay to ask her questions, but we found that barraging her with questions to see what she could remember was unnecessary.  There were many things she remembered. Instead, after an initial barrage of questions, we just sat there with her, quietly, just being present with her, enjoying the silence without expectation of interaction.  B and I sat across from each other while his mother gently rolled back and forth in her wheelchair between us; which I found interesting behavior.    Before long she spoke, saying she had to be in the care center (which she thought was a hospital) until she got “better” (meaning until her broken arm had healed – which it has) but did’t think she would get out of there.  She said she just wanted to go home.   She wanted to know if she could come live with us…  We were told that Alzheimer’s patients do that.  They want to leave (escape) and go “home” – wherever “home” is in their minds.  But we were struck by her question.  It was deliberate and pointed right at B.   She turned away from me as if I wouldn’t hear, and asked: Can I come live with you?  Oh dear… What do you do with that!

It was quite clear from our time with her that although she clearly had diminished capacity, memory, and had moments of confusion – often asking if her mother was going to come to her birthday party, and repeatedly asking us how long we were going to be there, she also was quite *aware* and knew exactly what she did and *didn’t* want.  Had she lost connection with herself?  It didn’t appear so to us.  Her personality was still quite in tact, including mannerisms of speech and nuance of affect that I clearly remember. 

Her birthday party was filled with laughter, as she quipped that she was surprised that she had lived that long, hoping that she would have more birthdays “here” (in the care center).  You could see the pleasure as well as the lostness on her face.  Interesting. 

On our last evening there, after an agitating incident in which I innocently tried to get her to eat her dinner, she told me I should go have dinner and come back later, then closed her eyes and withdrew somewhere into herself, and rapidly rolled her wheelchair back and forth at the table, occasionally peeking to see if I was still there.  I began to wonder if it would be better if I left the room.  This went on for nearly an hour.  They said she was soothing herself with this movement.  But what was she agitated about – was it the loss of control, being directed to eat when she didn’t want to.   She was clearly angry.  Was she not able to handle the emotion, and this was her way of soothing it – like an autistic child?  Who can say…

Later, we each went to her to tell her that we were leaving.  When it came my turn, I was tentative as I bent down, looked in her eyes and said I was leaving.  With sad eyes she said, you’re leaving with B aren’t you… as if she had remembered that we were leaving the next day, resigned to the fact of our departure.  Once again I was surprised.  She lifted her hand and placed it on my face as we stared into each other’s eyes.  A poignant moment of connection…  Someone is still “home”…




Photo:
An unfinished mandala,
like an unfinished life…



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Whirlwind Trip...

We went on a whirlwind trip this past weekend to Ruidoso, New Mexico.  The photo is a “Dust Devil”  that we saw on the way.  Actually there were two of them combined in this one.  And there were several other smaller, less dramatic dust devils all in the same area.



We went to see my husband’s mother who turned 90.
  She recently entered a Care Center for Alzheimer's in a neighboring town.


I wanted to share these few snapshots that I took from the car window as we traveled.  Most of the 525 mile (9 hour) trip was through barren grass land and desert.   Like this…




Wind Turbines
(sorry the photo isn’t good, but they were really impressive)


And there was more desert

 And an endless road with buttes


And more buttes


This photo was taken from a scenic overlook near Carrizozo, NM.
  It is part of the Capitan Mountain Range that runs East and West.


Golf anyone?
There were herds and herds of deer in town.


There were clouds in our rear view mirror leaving New Mexico


 Returning to our beautiful Colorado country…
Home Sweet Home – Good to be back :)





Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Grandmother's Mandala...

I have many memories of my grandmother crocheting
doilies and table cloths with fine cotton threads.
  She taught me, but mine never came out like hers.
 I have many of the ones she made.
  This one I have on my little meditation table.



As I was lighting the candle and striking the bowl the other day, I noticed it underneath, although it has been there all along, and saw how it was really like a mandala – made of interwoven threads.  I remembered the movement of my grandmother’s small, gentle hands and how the crochet hook would dip and pull each loop of thread through so quickly and easily.  I remembered the soft, contented look on her face as she crocheted, following an unending rhythm.  It was easy to be in her presence – connecting in the silence of our hearts.  The crocheted “mandala” also reminded me of how intricately woven her wheel of life was, of which I was only a thread.  Her wrinkle in time lasted 93 years. 

We wrote letters back and forth to each other when I was a teenager and young adult, when she moved to Maine and then Southern California; sharing a special bond.  Her ripple in time was absorbed back into the Ocean of Being nearly 15 years ago. 

~*~

“The Silence which is not the silence of the ending…
is only a beginning.
It is like going through a small hole
to an enormous,
wide expansive ocean,
to an immeasurable, timeless state…”





“Death is only for the imagined separate self.
…..for who you truly are there is no death.”

Jeff Foster
Read the whole article:
 “Why there is no death”

~*~

Top Photo - Color Invert
Gives the affect of the Ocean
behind the doilie,
which is actually the
grain of the wood…



Monday, May 6, 2013

Art Speaks "The Mystery"...


Art speaks in a language I cannot express, from a wordless place, through imagery and symbolism – whether abstract or the precision of a mandala - allowing entry into the Mystery of Being that we all are…  

Lately I have been running out of things to say (except now of course) :).  So I have been allowing the mandala art and photography to speak, and even that has gone silent for the moment. Sometimes I may feel inspired to add a few lines of words, whether mine or others, :) and at times add a few lines of explanation, or clarify something in a comment, as we all see art differently, assign different meanings, different interpretations, or significance, based on our conditioning, our unique view of Reality, and our level of awareness of the “the Mystery” within.    

Some have the “just here”, “just now”, “just this”, grounded view of life – for me, limiting the view to our humanity - projecting that onto the greater Reality.  But that is my interpretation – or possibly mis-interpretation.   Words like “cosmic” or “mystic” or “mystery” may seem “otherworldly” to some – and they may feel a need to ground the mystics in “reality.”  But whose reality?   Are we forgetting that earth is only part of a larger cosmos, a grand infinity; a tiny speck whirling in space, not the ground of Beingness ItSelf?  Have we become grounded in our perceived solidity and forgotten how impermanent it all is?

Reality (capital R), like art, is always as we see it, not as it really is.  Others, like me, are more cosmic in nature, oriented toward seeing “the Mystery” of Life, in and as everything; the spacious aliveness of living Being animating everything – projecting a cosmic view of “spirituality.”  Both views are true – the Eternal Mystery of Being *is* “just this”, “just now”, already here.  But I do not write to persuade, correct, or convince.   I write to clarify the View for myself.  We do not need to convince each other of our point of view, either directly or indirectly. We can leave that to the spiritual teachers, gurus and sages of old.  Reality is what it is, no matter what we *believe* about it, or what we project into it.  And the “point” of the “spiritual journey” (if there is only one point) is to let go of our “beliefs”, our personal point of view, and realize the essence of Reality for ourselves (or so I’ve been told), in whatever way IT reveals ItSelf to us, through whatever means.  For some through mediation, prayer, and a contemplative lifestyle; for others through time in nature; through art, creativity, writing poetry, music, or through spiritual teachings; ultimately, through listening to the “Spirit” of Life ItSelf – for the “Spirit” of Life within speaks to us in a language that is beyond words, much like art, a language that speaks to the Heart, a language that we can hear and receive, if we are open to it.

Whatever our personal mental understanding of “the Mystery” is, IT is still a wordless mystery, and IT speaks to each one of us differently. For we are all different wrinkles in time, unfolding uniquely in the cosmic fabric of Reality. 


Namaste…

~*~

Speaking of View :)

The pictures below were taken as I was lying on the couch
 for a few moments of needed rest last week.
My awareness was captured by the simplicity
of Life living ItSelf outside my window…
The images speak to me of the Stillness of just Being
which is probably what I needed
:)

Enjoy the View however It speaks to you…



“The timeless dimension of our being is awaiting realization.”
   Tara Brach – True Refuge




“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.”

Rumi





“…what is really true?
Is there something behind the appearances,
something boundless
and infinitely spacious,
in which the dance of change
and impermanence
take place?”

Sogyal Rinpoche




“The real world is beyond our thoughts and ideas.
We see it through a net of pleasure and pain,
right and wrong, inner and outer.
To see the universe as it is
you must step beyond the net.”

Nisargadatta




“Don’t expect anyone to understand your journey,
especially if they haven’t walked your path.”
Author Unknown

~

Photo: Cosmic Meditating Monks Mandala
Zoom Blurred



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cosmic Meditating Monks Mandala...


“We are afloat in a sea of immensity.
The mind has no hope of working
it’s little tricks here.
It is faced with an emptiness
that never began,
and it shrivels in the face of
such grand nonchalance.

And yet inside this egg,
this shell of me-ness,
the immensity continues,
unburdened,
untroubled:
never born,
never dying,
sailing into
luminous night…”

Author Unknown
via: Wonder, Silence, Gratitude


"You are not IN the universe,
you ARE the universe.
You are a focal point
where the universe is
becoming conscious of itself…”

Eckhart Tolle


~*~

This mandala was made with compass, ruler and a template.
I had the vision of this one dancing in my head for some time.
I made the meditating monk template from a photo
in a catalogue of a meditating monk statue…
The piece of black paper came with little white dots on it,
looking like little stars in space, giving the piece a cosmic look .
I just enhanced the dots inside the little meditating figures,
giving them the affect of impermanence,
of formlessness within form;
of *being* the Universe...