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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, January 28, 2014

"Everything Is Deeply Okay..."


I awoke this morning to a 2 inch dusting of snow and joy in my heart. I ran outside to quickly snap these photos (the first two have been color inverted digitally). However, I was not joyful because of the snow and crisp winter morning air, but because I fell asleep and awoke finding myself repeating the phrase – “Everything is deeply okay” – and knew it in my bones.  I *felt* it deep in my Heart of Hearts that no matter how life *appears* on the surface, everything *is* deeply okay.  On a much larger level than just our little existence here, it is Cosmically okay, when seen from the Cosmic view of Reality.  How I *know* this, I don’t really know, except that I read it in Jeff Foster’s book – The Deepest Acceptance last year. J LOL… (which I wrote about here.)  Seriously - that’s not really why either, although it planted a seed.  We can’t just read it in a book.  It has to become a *felt experience* with life…  And it is, gradually becoming my *experience* – a way of *seeing* – little by little, day by day – well some days that is – yesterday the view was not so "cosmic." J


Despite the intensities of life and living, and believe me there are many at the moment, there is a lightness of Heart breaking through the fog here, a letting go of the personal drama orientation to life – hopefully - at least for today J  Mostly there is more awareness that it is the mind, my thoughts *about* what is happening, that creates my mental suffering, the *thinking* that there is something “wrong” with the way life is playing itself out here, that life should be different than it is, and that I need to *do* something to make it fit my idea of what it needs to be. Like digitally enhancing a photo. :)  Instead there appears to be a collapse occurring.  Those mental structures, beliefs, and concepts that life must fit my image of what I *believe* it should be are collapsing, to a degree.   And, a realization yesterday that I am still trying to hold onto those beliefs about life that keep me tied to those mental structures and ego constructs that filter my perceptions of the way things really are, and *its* deep “okayness.”    

Shall we Dance :)

~*~

“*You* don’t have to be okay with anything.  It’s not about the me-person being okay.  It’s that everything is *already* embraced by *Life* ItSelf.  It is a cosmic okayness that goes beyond ‘I’m okay’, and ‘I’m not okay.’  We are totally free to respond to life experience in authentic, honest, human ways.  We are free not to like our experiences, and - on a deeper level to experience a total, all-encompassing okayness with the entire situation.  Underneath everything is a cosmic okayness.  It’s not about telling yourself that you’re okay when you are not.  It’s not about pretending to be okay, trying to be spiritual, trying to be peaceful.  You don’t have to be anything other than you are in the moment.  It’s about radical honesty.  It’s about seeing reality as it is, acknowledging it, and discovering that the situation is fully admitted into Life – already.  There is simply Life, in all its mystery, wonder, and timeless simplicity.  And in this recognition the illusion of separation between us and Life falls away, and we are no longer at odds with life as it is.”

Jeff Foster
From: The Deepest Acceptance

~*~

“The treasure of deep Being is buried under the rubble of personality…”

Coleman Barks
The Soul of Rumi

~*~

The first two photos are color inverted.
It makes them look more magical :)




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Window Through - Ram Dass...

This morning I received an email with the excerpt below from Ram Dass regarding his new book, Grist for the Mill.  Some of you may already know Ram Dass as a “spiritual teacher”, from the psychedelic 60’s.  Ironically I knew nothing of him at the time, as a teenager growing up outside of Boston.  I have only come to know of him in the past few years, having read several of his books, resonating with his words….

How interesting that this excerpt would show up on my “doorstep” at this time, dealing with challenging family issues and personalities, which my husband calls: the “misery drama.” J  I’ve been looking for a new window through which to see this experience, and my interaction with it.  And voila – here is something I needed to hear, something I needed to look at once again.  Syncronicity at work… J

Here is the excerpt – which for me offered a window through which to see my family situation with different eyes…  Hopefully J  At least make me more aware of the dynamic and my role in it…

“The optimal strategy in behavior change, with yourself  and every other human being, is compassion.  That means, as far as I understand it, the ability to see how it all is.  As long as you have certain desires about how you *think* it ought to be, you can’t *hear* how it is.  As long as I want something, I can’t really understand it, because much of what I can see are just my own projective systems.  You must come to see every human being, including yourself, as an incarnation in a body of a personality, going through a certain life experience which is functional.  You allow it to be just the way it is at the moment, seeing even your own confusion and conflict and suffering as functional, rather than as dysfunctional.
The greatest thing you can do for any being is provide the unconditional love which comes from making contact with that place in them which is beyond conditioning, which is just pure consciousness, pure essence.  That is, once we acknowledge each other as existing, just being here, just being, then each of us is free to change optimally.  If I can just love you because here we are, then you are free to grow as you need to grow, because none of it’s going to change my feeling of love.
We’re used to having these special role relationships, thinking certain roles apply to one, yet not to another, because we’re very attached to externals – do you touch somebody, do you sleep with them, do you control them, do you collaborate with them, do you support them, do you pay them, do they pay you?  That’s all stuff of the vehicle of the interaction between two beings; it isn’t the essence of the matter.
 As you work on yourself through your daily life, more and more you see your own reactions to things around you as sort of mechanical rip-offs.  You get much calmer in the space behind it all, and you’re able to hear more of how it all is, including your own personality as part of nature.
 The deeper you are in that space, the more there is available for everybody you meet who is capable of coming into that space.  You are the environment that allows them to do that – and from within this space all change is possible.  The minute you identify yourself or anyone else with models, roles, or any characteristic, any individual difference, change is really fierce.  Once you live in a universe where you experience even your living and dying as relative, rather than in absolute terms, it’s all free to change.  There’s nowhere you have to go to work on yourself other than where you are at this moment, and everything that’s happening to you is part of your work on yourself.”


You may also want to read this post I wrote on “Prickly Personalities” back in 2012 when I was more able to be in that space that Ram Dass talks about.  It does make a difference…  I just need to consciously find my way there again…


~

Photo:

Light and shadow through a window curtain
color inverted


Friday, January 17, 2014

The Deepest Acceptance - Jeff Foster...

Excerpts from – The Deepest Acceptance:
 Radical Awakening in Ordinary Life

by Jeff Foster


"True freedom is found not through escaping the present experience, but by diving fearlessly into its hidden depths.  You must be willing to see *through* the idea of separation from life, in all its forms, in the midst of your present experience.  You must be open to exploring suffering – how and why it manifests in you, where it originates.  You must be willing to look at your pain, fears, sadness, longings.  They are part of the wholeness of life.  You must be willing to face them head on and find deep acceptance for the seemingly unacceptable aspects of yourself…  Beyond the personal story of my own suffering, I discover that pain is not really my pain.  It’s the world’s pain.  It’s humanity’s pain…
 It’s one thing to know who you really are when life is easy and things are going well for you.  It’s another thing to remember this in the heat of the moment, when things fall apart, when life gets messy.  We find another way of looking at suffering, a radical new way of relating to it.  We can see the messiness and beauty of day-to-day human existence as something to be avoided, or transcended, *or* we can see it for what it really is: a secret and constant invitation to wake up *now* - even if we believe we already woke up yesterday.  Life, in its infinite compassion. won’t let us rest on our laurels.  It’s about finding out who you *really* are, beyond who you *think* you are, beyond who you’ve been taught you are, beyond your story about who you are, beyond all your concepts and images of who you are.
 If we are to be truly free – we must face reality with open eyes.  We must move away from denial, wishful thinking, and hoping and tell the truth about life as it is.  Great freedom lies in admitting the truth of this moment, however much it clashes with our dreams and plans – and self-image…  Acceptance is about seeing reality, seeing things as they actually are, not as we wish them to be.  And from that place of alignment with what is, all creative, loving and intelligent action flows naturally.
 True freedom has nothing to do with being a better wave in the Ocean, or perfecting our story of ourselves. Freedom is about waking up from the dream (illusion) that we are separate waves in the first place, and embracing all that appears in the Ocean of our present experience.  Maybe the true calling in life is to accept present experience deeply – to let go of how this moment should be – letting go of our false self-image.
 Great freedom lies in fearlessly facing the darkness and finally coming to see that the darkness is inseparable from light… Life cannot be good or bad.  Life is simply life.  It’s about seeing the Mystery of Life that is already here.”


~*~


Photo: I noticed the different patterns
in this sheer curtain from the play of light on it.
For me these patterns represent the
”fabric of life”, the weave of life,
in all its variations…





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Diving Into Dementia...

My mother is diving into dementia.  She is getting more confused, unable to comprehend and carry out important tasks, like remembering to pay her bills – getting late notices and past due notations on her statements.  We were not *aware* that this was happening until November when my sister became suspicious when there hadn’t been any bills sent out in the mail for quite a while, and asked my mother about it.  Subsequently, in helping Mom to pay her bills, she discovered a notice on the electric bill that they would shut off her electricity if they didn’t receive payment by a certain date because of a missed payment the month before.  And most recently she received a cancellation notice of her supplemental health insurance for non-payment!  And yet she adamantly and angrily *insists*  that she is paying her bills, as if forgetting to pay them is somehow a reflection on her character, rather than an indication of a problem -  a slippage of the linkages in her brain…

I tell this story because my “spiritual path” also includes these tough thresholds with family that need to be continually navigated.


Mom is strong-willed, stubborn, and in denial of what is happening.  She feels that “certain people” are conspiring against her to make her *look* bad, and thus suspicious when we try to approach her with the issue at hand, or offer any “help” to try to remedy this.  When my sister, who has lived with her for the last 3 and ½ years, discovered what was going on, she went on a hunting expedition and found unpaid bills hidden away in mother’s bedroom, stuffed in her chair and other assorted places.  She has been diligently trying to manage this situation, and trying to establish a payment system that my mother will agree to.  We both felt that although searching her space was a bit invasive, it was necessary under the circumstances.  But my mother doesn’t want my sister, or me, to know about her “finances”, which I understand, and so balks at the system and any attempt to help.  And - my sister doesn’t want *me* to intervene, or to say anything to my mother indicating that I know what is going on, as she feels that Mom will think that the two of us are ganging up on her.  And yet they both vent to me about each other, each telling me a different story – as I pretend not to know…

It is frustrating actually – having to *pretend* - that life is different than it is.  Putting a pretty bow on it and pretending it is “fine.”  But, as we discovered, trying to confront this situation head on, at this point, only creates more overwhelm for my mother.  Crossing this threshold is a gradual process, needing skill, diplomacy, humor, psychology, awareness, patience and Presence with *both* of them.  And so I concede – maintaining the secrecy – playing the game…  Which I hate doing… But I also know this is what happens in family dysfunction where people cannot be honest with each other, and then you add dementia to the mix and it creates a never ending loop of lies, suspicion, and malfunction.  I am certainly able to be “present” in the moment, and to them, but it doesn’t *address* the issue, which now has gone beyond being logically addressed with my mother.


In October, my sister set up a “payment box”, one that can be bought at any office supply place, with the numbers of the month on it.  She explained it to my mother and started putting the incoming bills in the box – to help Mom *remember* to pay her bills.  Initially my mother resisted and then agreed to it – or maybe just acquiesced under perceived pressure.   Then one morning my sister came up from her living quarters in the basement, and found the box empty.  My mother had taken all the bills out of the box and put them back in her bedroom, hid them away – forgot them - and didn’t pay them, although prompted by my sister.  There is obviously a power struggle going on over who’s in control.  My sister taking charge because she *needs* to (in more ways than one ;) and my mother resisting, resenting that she has to hand her bills over to my sister for processing – in her mind, losing control – although she is still making out the checks with my sister’s help.

Their personalities are butting heads, and neither knows how to reach within and become aware of a deeper Presence, and so they remain veiled to their Eternal Being that lies underneath the surface, floundering in a sea of unconscious reactivity to each other and the situation…


And me?  Well, I’m no saint, that’s for sure. J I’m trying not to get pulled under by the undertow of family baggage and dynamics, and yet it happens.  I’m trying to remember that this is all happening within the context of Ultimate Reality.  Eternal Consciousness is the context for everything that occurs here.  *We* are just an occurrence here, a wave on that Ocean of Consciousness, rising and returning to the Ocean of Being in the span of a life.  I remind myself that when seen through the eyes of Ultimate Reality everything is deeply “okay.” The only way that I know to navigate the waves is to dive deep into this Ocean of Infinite Consciousness and become more deeply *aware* of what is truly Real within - otherwise I remain emotionally unconscious, floundering on the surface waves of the present moment, living from crisis to crisis, reacting to life. 


Life itself is an enormous threshold that we are all attempting to cross together – each in our own way…

~

Photo #1 - a mistake :)
Photo #2 -  shadows on the wall
Photo #3 - Shadows of spindles in chair back
Photo #4 - photo of sunset color inverted



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Intensity...

As I intuited – 2014 is turning out to be an intense time already! – roaring in - creating many “thresholds” already: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and familialy.  My word for the year is evidently “threshold.” J  I somehow *knew* there would be much to face personally this year, and much that would be opened within me because of it, and not what I anticipated.  Can I do it gracefully?  I don’t know.  All I can do at the moment is to give in to Grace and follow Her through the many doors…

Facing these current thresholds is bringing up a lot of intensity, as well as opportunities to go through each door with a different awareness of Life, Being, and “The Divine” - leaving behind what is irrelevant and uneccessary as I attempt to step through - diving deep into a new intimacy with “The Mystery”, grabbing onto “the rope of God” as Rumi calls it – and holding on. J

Much of it I am incapable of articulating at the moment, but once on the “other side” – if there is an “other side” J – I hope to write something coherent and intelligible of my experience with life, as it is being presented to me, and how I navigate it…

In the meantime, here’s a few hints in some interesting abstract contemplative photos that I took around the house with the play of Light on the walls, along with some Rumi poetry and a quote from Coleman Barks from The Soul of Rumi …  The top photo kind of reminds me of a fast moving train on tracks…  Yes?  Maybe? J LOL … See what other “images” you can see in a couple of the photos below

Okay, I'll give you a little hint :)  This next one looks like a hand reaching up.  And the last one a white bird flying...  The others I'm not sure about...  It's all a matter of perception anyway... :)

“Don’t let others lead you.
Reach for the the rope of God…
Put aside self-will…

Don’t insist on going where you
*think* you want to go.
*Ask* the way to the spring…”

Rumi




God is extremely subtle.
There are ways of understanding without forms,
an ocean of subtlety…

Rumi




“Rumi does not stress the *distance* between
human beings and God – the absolute -
but rather a * remembered intimacy*,
the original agreement in which
friend and friendship become
one sea-change union.
He does not stress prayer
so much as continous conversation
with our real Consciousness
beyond time and space.”

Coleman Barks
The Soul of Rumi





“There is a cure,
an individual medicine,
not a social remedy.
Sit quietly,
and listen
for a voice
within
that will say:

Be more silent.

As that happens,
your soul
starts
to
revive.”


Rumi



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Listening and Remembering - David Whyte


“In the first hardly noticed moment
in which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
and honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening
into the day
which closes
the moment
you begin your plans…

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live…


To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others…

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.


Now,
 looking through
the slanting light
of the morning window
toward the presence
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to
your
one
love?

~

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself
 heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
by
simply
listening

And the slow
remembering
~
~
~
[that]

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

[that]

Inside everyone
is a great shout
of joy
waiting
to
be
born

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the
new
life”
~


David Whyte

~

Excerpts from: “What to Remember When Waking”
and
”The Winter of Listening”
by David Whyte

From: The House of Belonging