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sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Obstacles

Welcome to my third “grocery store wisdom” blog post – where I get to notice Life living Itself! I am actually looking forward to going grocery shopping every week now, as it gives me the opportunity to just be aware, to just notice… And I am discovering that something as mundane as grocery shopping can be quite enlightening!

Today’s noticing seemed to be about obstacles. It’s a theme that I’ve been noticing for a week now.

Almost immediately upon entering the grocery store I noticed obstacles: people blocking isles with their carriages, shelf stockers with their carts, little yellow the “floor is wet” signs in the middle of the isles in the produce section where water covered a portion of the tile floor, a man on a very tall ladder in the middle of one isle in the frozen foods section, and longer lines at the check out stands. I noticed irritation arising as well, and the sudden insight – ah - something needs to be seen here. So I jotted down the word “obstacle” on my grocery list; not as something to buy, but something noticed, like finding clues to a mystery.

As I continued through the store, it seemed like everywhere I turned there was an obstacle requiring me to maneuver a different way, to stop and navigate differently in order to get around the obstacle, which I found annoying, because, after all, the obstacle shouldn’t have been there – or so I *thought.* And that, I discovered, was the source of the irritation – the *thought* that the obstacle shouldn’t have been there, to divert me from *my* path – to get what *I* needed. Sounds arrogant I know… another noticing…. Hmmm. I added “irritation” and “thought” to my grocery list of clues.

It was as if Life was trying to get my attention by having me experience this – these “obstacles” that I interpreted to be “in the way.” It was my *perception* that saw them as obstacles – the perception of the “me” – the mind. But they were just *things* on my “path.” I believe there’s a Zen saying that goes something like, just keep stepping back until you step back into the Looking itself. When I step back from this mind perception I can see that Beingness/Awareness/Presence (however you refer to “It”) doesn’t *perceive* things as “obstacles”, but like a river flows around them, navigates around them. *Nothing* is perceived as an obstacle, or a problem from the standpoint of Pure Seeing. It’s just *seen.* It’s only the mind that interprets and perceives a problem that needs to be dealt with. Aha – like a specialty chef combing the shelves for particular ingredients, the clues just came popping out at me. And so I added “perception of a problem” to my list. By this time my curiosity was really peeked and I was actually looking for clues – spy glass and all! :)

What I also began to see in this clue shopping – ah-ur – grocery shopping, is that life is not always a straight path, but it winds and turns around so-called obstacles giving us a different view of things. By having to go around obstacles it slows us down, makes us *aware*, to *see* rather than being on automatic mode all the time, *expecting* life to go the way we want it to. Instead, I had to slow down, watch where I was going and maneuver *through* the obstacle, or even find another way. And in that seeing was the final clue – “awareness.”

In the awareness of it I noticed how often I let the so-called obstacles in every day life determine how I experience life, allowing the external life circumstances, and my thoughts about them, determine my perception of the way things are, instead of experiencing life from Presence, from Awareness – what I call “the Stillness.”

And so I came away with my “grocery list” of clues to ponder: obstacles, thought, irritation, perception, awareness, Stillness. And from the clues the wisdom emerged: Obstacles are just thought perceptions in the mind that create irritation. They dissolve when seen from Awareness – from just Seeing…

I want to leave you this inspiring quote:

“There is a new way of operating… It is more like navigating a flow. You feel where events are moving, and you feel the right thing to do. It’s like a river that knows which way to turn around a rock… It’s an intuitive and innate sense of knowing. This flow is always available to us, underneath the turmoil of thought and emotions… There is indeed a flow. There is a simple movement of life.” Adyashanti

Heart Smiles – MeANderi


  1. I like your idea that the positive side of obstacles is that they slow us down, providing us with opportunities to see what we might have missed had we been speeding through on the fast lane.

  2. Yes,that's what I see too - "providing us with opportunities" to see things differently...

    Thanks, C


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