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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...

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Poem on ASS

Now that I have your attention :) And yes, that’s my husband’s butt…

I am posting the debut of a "new" poem here and on my website: A Serenity Sanctuary (ASS).

If you like prose poetry and haven’t yet visited my offerings you can read them on the Celestial Songs page. Most all of the prose poems emerged in moments of awakening. Some are very cosmic and existential sounding. All are of a “spiritual” nature – expressions from the Stillness. They are offered as an invitation to touch and be touched by Serenity.

If you’re not into poetry but are interested in more musings, there are several on the Musings page covering topics like Stillness, Meditation, and Enlightenment.

And so, let the unveiling begin… From my Heart to yours –


The Whisper

The Rhythm of the Silence calls me
back into Itself again and again…
It waits patiently while I move
through my stories – through my illusions.

The Rhythm invites me to dance –
to sway to its movement –
to hear its pulse –
like a whisper in the background of noise
trying to get my attention.

I have to be still to hear the whisper
of the Rhythm speaking softly –
come, be with me
come and be still
come, listen, hear me
come, dance with me
come, be with me
come and be still

I turn my attention to listen curiously,
as if someone has spoken behind me.
I wait and listen – aware.
The Rhythm rises – palpable.
It draws me to it.

I bow to the whisper of The Rhythm.
We embrace and dance the dance of Stillness.
Partners in Silence…

Mystic Meandering
copyright
March 17, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bring Your Attention to the Embrace...

First the weather report :) Today has been a beautifully overcast, spritzy, cool kind of day. We are actually getting a Canadian cool front, and weather similar to what the Northwest usually gets, while they are reportedly getting triple digit weather – the kind we usually get in this semi-arid climate in July. I *love* this weather. I thrive in this. We have actually had a whole Summer of the kind of weather that makes all the trees in our backyard look like a tropical rain forest embracing the house.

And on this wet, Fallish, invigorating kind of day I had tea with “Z” – a wonderful friend who helps me to see the Truth beyond my experience. He helps me unwind when I get a little too wound up in the mind, in the thought function of trying to figure it all out, and in my over vigilance *about* the words I’m using, trying not to *sound* dualistc. I sometimes find it hard having tea with “Z” because he tends to deconstruct all the fabrications that I have built around myself to protect myself. He points out to me, in the most non-judgmental ways, where I am still hiding behind the words - defending, explaining, clarifying - in an attempt to be “spiritually correct” so as not to offend, so as to be understood, and where I’m still caring about how I’m being seen. Sometimes in this allowing of myself to be seen in the places where I am still attached there is an incredible feeling of vulnerability, and a wanting to contract, to not see or be seen. But today “Z” invited me to see in a way that helped me let go of all that. (And here I want to explain that “we” really don’t “let go” of anything, it dissolves when it is truly *seen*. So you see the kinds of word games I get into here, wanting to be sure you know that I’m not caught in some dualistic way of thinking and expressing… :)

Anyway, what “Z” offered me in all my wrangling and entanglement in thought and words today was this: Who is having the thought that you have to figure it out, that you have to know, that you have to be vigilant about your words, about life? What part of you says what you know is not enough, that who you are is not enough, that the way you express is not “right”? In the moments of silence that followed, as I “checked in” internally (tea with “Z” is very experiential :), I met the internal monitor – this hyper vigilance about languaging and expression, the “aspect” that tends to want to monitor everything I do and say – and – I met the belief in inadequacy, in “not good enough.” And in that moment of meeting them I saw that all there actually is, is Embrace. There is only a deep, compassionate Embrace for these “aspects” (here I go worrying about the words again :). There is just Embrace embracing, holding this vigilance, this inadequacy, this not good enough *belief.* In the seeing of this all the contractions around the concepts relaxed – let go of me. In that moment of seeing I realized that what I had been struggling with doesn’t matter – the words, the vigilance, the inadequacy - because it’s all just being embraced - all the thinking and feeling and expressing and doing. There’s only Embrace of all that is, as it is. There is only the Divine revealing Itself *in* every expression. It is what I bring my attention to that fuels it into a fire of thought vigilance, a thought frenzy that obscures the *seeing* of the Embrace. I contract into, become fixated on, and identified with those objects of attention, unable to see beyond them; seemingly unable to experience the Embrace of it all.

In this incredible opening of a doorway into seeing clearly there was a sense of translucence, of everything being seen *through,* seen as it is – just thought forms, or objects *in* Embrace, in Consciousness, in Awareness (sorry, the word thing again :) that are utterly translucent. And with this also came the realization that I don’t need to explain or clarify anything. And then “Z’s” absolutely lovely words emerged into clarity. Don’t focus on the words, on the thoughts, on the concepts, just keep bringing your attention to the Embrace that holds it all.

In speechless wonder…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Connection

I’ve been thinking a lot about connections lately, as in how people connect, and where, and why – or why not. It seems I am a “connector” of sorts. I like connecting with people, yet I don’t *need* to be connected. Maybe you have experienced this too…

In our fast-paced society it seems it is more difficult to find real connection. More and more people are turning to the Internet for connection, with Twitter and Facebook – for the 30 second sound bite connection. I was invited to join a Twitter this weekend. My husband has a Twitter page, so I had him log on as a follower so I could just see how this works. Interesting. The Twitter owner puts out some kind of statement that the “followers” read, and maybe offer a comment of their own. But where is the *connection*? There’s no real dialogue, it seems. I don’t Twitter, or is that Tweet, and I don’t have a Facebook page, or a My Space page, but I have enjoyed blogging. Blogging seems to have more depth to it. I love reading other people’s blogs, and writing my own, and knocking on someone else’s door to leave a comment, and inviting them over for a visit. There is an element of mystery in its ability to connect us, as you never *really* know whether you’ve really “connected” with anyone “out there.” It’s like writing into the Nothingness never knowing whether some planet out there is picking up your signal. Maybe it just goes zooming past Pluto out into deep space – the blogosphere – located in cyberspace... Sorry I don’t have directions for that, just follow everybody else as that seems to be where we’re all going anyway. :)

The grocery store is another kind of “space” that offers interesting connections. Kind of like the blogosphere. And so the noticing today while at the grocery store was about – you guessed it – connections! :)

I like the grocery store kind of connection. I can be personal, engaging, interactive, and I can go home. :) It’s connection without *connection* - as a Buddhist therapist once told me. It’s a place to go to feel connected with people, without the commitment of connection. In other words there’s no expectations and no *need* driven connection. It’s just connecting. You don’t have to commit to a long term friendship, try to make anything work, worry about hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and all the ups and downs of more connected kinds of connections, if that makes sense. Which is not to say that I don’t like deeper connections as well, I do. But in the connection without *connection* space I enjoy being present to people, engaging with them. The grocery store connection gives me a good opportunity to practice Presence – to step back from self and be aware, to notice and respond – to see the Beingness in others. Sometimes the connecting is instant and natural – not intentional – more spontaneous. There’s eye to eye contact with the clerks behind department counters with light banter and pleasant interaction. You *feel* a connection. You get to peer into their eyes and *see* who’s behind the persona. And others are just walking through the store with a veil over their eyes, not wanting to make connection. I’ve been one of those myself - especially today. After 3 grocery stores I still had an errand to do at the local department store, which took me longer than I had anticipated. The veil came down over my eyes, the blinders went on, and the do not disturb sign went up. I had had enough connections for the day and I just wanted to dis-connect. So I did. It was more of a protective mechanism than anything else; a response to the over stimulation, and a resulting retreat into inner Being connectedness.

And so it seems the little moments of connection are just as important as the deeper kind. We connect and then we’re gone - never knowing who we’ve touched, or how we’ve been touched by others in the moment. Some connections touch our hearts, others challenge our thinking, others open a door into seeing the larger Reality. Making little points of connection here and there through cyberspace, or in the grocery store, is a part of living - the interconnectedness of a collective shared experience on the spiral of life. And the ultimate grocery store wisdom is that all connections converge into One.

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Sound Behind the Noise

Saturday while cleaning the house I had some cleaning type music on. I started with Fleetwood Mac and then ended with the Moody Blues. My oldies but goodies. I am a child of the 60’s :) - not too hippy-dippy though, wasn’t even aware of who Timothy Leary was, or his buddy Ram Dass. I was just a teenager coming of age in the burbs of America in the age of “Spiritual Awakening”, “evolving consciousness”, and the Vietnam War. And I don’t think I even really understood the words of the songs or the people I was listening to back then – but they struck a chord.

Anyway, The Moody Blues song – OM – came on and it reminded of an experience I had sometime last year. It was late afternoon, and I had reached a wonderful place of internal Quiet during “meditation time” – a time of internal communion and stillness. Afterwards I needed to go outside for some reason, and I remember standing just outside the front door. I became acutely aware of a low sound, like the hum of an engine somewhere, like a background sound, but very obvious. In that moment it occurred to me that it sounded like the sound of OM – not like I had actually heard this before, except for people chanting it - but I *knew* what it was. It was actually the most delightful noise, not irritating at all. A smile came to my face with the recognition that this sound was *in* the everydayness of noise. I realized back then, that “IT” (OM) was the background sound for everything! OM is the sound behind all other sounds. It is the underlying “sound” of Stillness that permeates what we call “noise.” Of course practiced yogis and yoginis know this… But that day I actually felt it – experientially - as if for the first time. And something came alive inside.

That evening while I was on the cushion again just before bed, my husband was cleaning out the cat box in the laundry room, just around the corner from the room I was in. I could hear the crunch-swish sound as he poked and raked the pooper-scooper through the kitty litter smoothing it out. It was the most delightful noise I had ever heard. There was a rhythm to it. I found this all quite hilarious as well – that I would find the *sound* of someone digging out the kitty litter box “delightful.” I started grinning and chuckling to myself. Once again it was if it was the sound of OM that I was hearing, and it gave me Joy! I have never experienced anything quite like this before or since. And yet I *know* it’s there. I’m aware – internally. I can sense this, feel this underlying still aliveness humming through my body. Like now, sitting here typing this, thinking these words, feeling emotions – it’s always present – enlivening me, animating me, living me.

Listening to the music reminded me that this ever-present Presence of Life – the hum of the Universe – what some call Awareness, Beingness, Stillness, Isness – runs through us all, connects us all. And once again I smiled. Ah - so – OM - the sound that is everywhere, behind every other sound... the sound behind all the noise. What a great mystery!

“The Earth turns slowly round.
Far away, the distant sound,
Is with us everyday.
Can you hear what it says?

Om…”

The Moody Blues
In Search of the Lost Chord


May your heart dance to the sound in the noise...

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday's Shadow Shot

Today is my second submission to Shadow Shot Sunday on the Hey Harriet blog where people from all over the world share their photos of shadows. And where we get to experience how connected we all are through creative expression, like the interconnecting lines in the shadows in this butterfly picture.

This picture was taken at the Butterfly Pavilion in Broomfield, Colorado, north of Denver. The butterfly is actually sitting on one of the opaque glass window panels near the top of the pavilion. The shadow lines in this shot are from the seams of the window panels in the ceiling and beams from the building structure being “reflected” on the *opposite* side of this panel, giving the appearance that the butterfly is sitting on top of the shadow – how amazing! It creates quite an illusion. Kind of like life. What do we take to be real and what’s just the shadow of the real? Only the shadow knows :)

If you look really closely you can see a very faint shadow of the butterfly’s lower right wing on the glass.

Enjoy!

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Simplicity

I have been cocooning for a couple of days, allowing myself to be drawn back into a silky, soft cocoon of Stillness once again – resting in Awareness.

What wants to arise?, was the question that arose last night while hanging in this cocoon of Stillness…

Thinking about the wonderful still water with the grass arising out of it from the Shadow Shot on last Sunday’s blog, there’s a sense that I haven’t been waiting for whatever needs to arise from the depths of Stillness, to arise. Instead I’ve been on automatic – pushing and plodding through life, wrestling and struggling, not paying attention to the inner voice of Stillness speaking.

And in all that push of outward movement there is a sense that I have lost touch with Simplicity and moved into complexity of the mind again, into thought contractions that ripple through my body.

So spending time cocooning has gotten me in touch with the simplicity of Being again – aware of Awareness - the alive, spacious Non-Dimensional Knowing Awareness that is the “ground” of everything. Simplicity, for me, is a profound felt sense of this Beingness - with a movement through life from that simple Stillness - paying attention to what arises, and expressing that – not the *thinking* of it, but the arising of it from a deeper place of Awareness.

And yet I am aware that I create so much complexity *about* everything, getting lost in the stories of a “me” living “my life.”

Scott Kiloby says that thoughts that arise create a “self-contraction” – the sense of a separate self. I have felt this, and noticed it more having spent more time in Stillness these past couple of days. I am aware that when a thought arises in the space of still Awareness, a contraction occurs in the body. And in that thought something called “I” seems to rise up out of this space of simple Awareness – out of that still water. I feel the thought draw what I know to be “me” outward, *away* from simplicity – away from Stillness, into a contraction of some kind. They – thoughts – arise *in* this lovely place of Stillness and yet *seem* to pull “me” *out of it,* although I know that “I” am not separate from this depth of Stillness, this cocoon of Stillness that holds everything that arises, that allows everything to arise *in* it. Everything is suspended here in this loving cradle.

And still, the question keeps coming: what wants to arise here…

Everything. Everything arises from here, spontaneously, from this clear, silent cocoon of Being – like a wave rising up out of the Ocean, and yet not separate from the Ocean. Everything arises up out of and passes *through* this space of Stillness, if we don’t latch onto it and believe that we are the contraction that is occurring. And maybe that’s the issue – not fixating on and identifying with the thoughts that rise up. But to see thought within the context of this Greater Reality of Primordial Stillness that we are, just coming and going. There is a deep peace in this – a profound simplicity.


Trusting in the simplicity of Life,
let Life come to you…
Resting in Simplicity,
all things will find you…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
http://www.aserenitysanctuary.com/

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wordless Words - Stillness


Enlightenment is about seeing the Stillness in everything...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Change

Today’s noticing Life living Itself is about change – and no not the pocket kind. This has been my theme for the week it seems. Sunday night my computer crashed, requiring me to change to my husband’s old lap-top – a difficult adjustment; plus all my files are now inaccessible – maybe forever, which has large implications. The computer is in the repair shop to see if it can be repaired, or at least the files retrieved. Monday I wore my new glasses for the first time – another change requiring adjustment in vision and focus, forcing me to *see* differently. And today I went to a new grocery store – well the same chain that I go to, but in a different location – another change, but one I brought on myself by choosing to try this new location.

So what I’ve noticed here in all these changes, is that I don’t adapt very well. When the river of life bends I resist. I want familiarity and certainty. Uncertainty unnerves me, which is ridiculous really because life is full of uncertainties – change. And yet I live under the illusion that I can somehow create that certainty by following the same path, the same routine, and avoiding change as much as possible. But sometimes change is thrust upon us, by age or by circumstance – by the river of life flowing in ways we don’t anticipate. And sometimes I’m paddling my little canoe like crazy against the flow – resisting where life is going, not wanting to accept the changes that come my way – fearful that the change will be harmful. I want my old computer back – because it’s familiar. My eyes don’t want to focus in a new way, and the unfamiliarity in seeing in a new way is causing anxiety. And looking in the mirror with my new glasses reminded me that I am in fact aging… Darn. However, I actually loved the “new” grocery store. So at least one bend in the river this week didn’t drop me over a cliff.

And even the new grocery store had familiarity to it, as there were a couple of the old department clerks working there from the other store, which brought the old familiar smiles and light banter to a strange setting.

Last night as I watched a brief interview of Meryl Streep, the interviewer asked her: “What grounds you?” She said: ”Sustained uncertainty.” Wow I thought, what an incredibly profound statement. And it was said with such ease, like it was second nature to her to accept uncertainty, to be grounded by uncertainty. Something I envy – to be able to just accept that life is always uncertain and changing, that this life-stream that we’ve entered is always changing course – without wanting it to be other than the way it is.

And then I remembered some things that Pema Chodron has said in her writings, that I have posted on my refrigerator as reminders. (She even wrote a book called Comfortable With Uncertainty). But the quotes I have are from her other writings. And the phrases that popped out at me when I went to the refrigerator to read them were: See that everything is in transition. Be a child of fantasy - be curious instead of afraid. And, Rest in the nature of Essence – the Primordial State of everything.

And maybe it seems we have wandered away from the grocery store a bit, but at least the refrigerator is where the food goes after you bring it home. :) So the wisdom that emerges for me (present tense, as it’s always unfolding every day) in facing change and uncertainty appears to be this: Practical reality changes – period. There is either acceptance or resistance about it – in the mind. That which we are – the Essence – this unchanging, non-dimensional “Awareness,” that is our basic nature, is always curious. It *meets* life with a completely open, innocent curiosity. Nothing is seen as “change” from this space of Awareness because it’s really just one continuous, seamless flow of Life, no matter what is happening. “It” doesn’t even hold a concept about acceptance or resistance, or uncertainty. When I *rest* in this Primordial Nature of complete open Awareness that is just aware, I am resting in this basic nature of acceptance of uncertainty with a curiosity about life. When I rest here, something expands in me, I relax, and I can play in the Primordial Pond of endless uncertainty… Well, little play dates in the pond – moment by moment. I don’t wade too far into the pool – yet…

My challenge then is to just notice change – with curiosity; to just keep bringing awareness to it and to the ways I respond to the inevitable thoughts of uncertainty that arises when the river bends… And - to follow the reminders that bring me back to that which is always present, and never afraid of change, until it becomes second nature… Any bets on how long that will take? I could always use some spare change… :) oh boo yourself…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
http://www.aserenitysanctuary.com/

Monday, July 20, 2009

Words


I’ve been thinking about words lately, as in do I use too many words to express myself, or maybe I don’t use the “right” words, and maybe I’ve gotten too caught up in words – moving away from the Simplicity of Being… I love words – as you may have noticed. :) I love the rhythm, the cadence, the pulse of words, the creation of language, and the picture that words create.

There are some in the internet spiritual blogosphere who wrangle and rant over words used to describe the Indescribable, especially in Non-Duality circles. You could call them the “word police.” (And, by the way, I’m not talking about anyone who’s reading this blog;). The “word police” take issue with the word “me” because they’ve become very fixated on the *idea* that there is no me/self, and no one having an experience, and no one reading this blog. And you can’t say the word “I” because there is no “I.” That is all fine in the abstract, what my husband calls “ooga-booga” language, but can we *relate* to it? “Technically” they are “right”, in the sense that there is no *individual* “me”, *separate* from That which IS, having an *individual* experience because we are all just Awareness/Beigness living Itself – here in the dream of Consciousness – that *appears* to be a lot of different individuals living a “life.” (And now maybe *I’m* getting a little too ooga-booga :) And even if one knows this intimately, has realized this at their very core, the question still remains, for me, can we *relate* to that languaging of no-me, no one here, etc.? Is it helpful? Is it a good finger pointing to the moon? To which the word police would respond – there’s no one to relate to it, and there’s no one to help… And on it goes – caught in their own conundrums – which only creates a *self*-consciousness about the words we’re using. So my question is: Isn’t their censorship of words coming from the “me” function that they deny exists? Hel-lo…

Although words can never be a true reflection of, or expression of Awareness Itself, or the *experience* of it, there is *something* that wants to express these words that we write… or speak… or sing… It seems all we have is words (well except for dance, music, art and all forms of creative expression – but you get what I’m saying – maybe?:) If we don’t use words to express what we know to be true in our Hearts, how would we express that which *lives* us – which, it appears, seems to want to express Itself – as us – as words. It’s all a *living* experience of Knowing Awareness – which speaks in and through us – as us. That’s part of The Mystery I guess – that we’re all expressions of The Mystery, and we all express differently. And yet some expressions speak to us more clearly than others, more deeply.

Recently I received Dorothy Hunt’s online newsletter. She’s the Spiritual Director of the Moon Mountain Sangha in the San Francisco Bay area. She speaks to this issue of words. She says: “At the heart of all movement is an ever-present Stillness and Silence to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be subtracted. It is from this silent Source that the mind arises as an expression of Truth (my italics). Every day thousands of words form in our minds – streams of thoughts…, commentary…,interpretations…, identities…, judgments…, theories…, perhaps a few profound insights now and then, and a great deal of useless drivel. Some words simply swim in the sea of mind-waves unspoken; others are spoken as part of functioning. And there are words that invite us to a deeper reality. The most potent part of our communication is the place that words come from.” (italics mine).

And it seems maybe that’s the key in giving voice, through words: Where do the words come from? Are they expressions of that simple Aware space of Being, from the Heart, or are they just mind clutter, ramblings and rantings of the mind that *attempt* to speak *about* “IT”…? Dorothy says that “it is possible to speak from the deep silence of Being within” – the voice of Stillness.

I think we know this when we hear it – when we *hear* Presence *behind* the words. We know when someone is speaking from the Heart of Being. It is personal, and authentic, and real – not “just words” – but expressions that are able to touch the Heart and create a resonance within… We’re all little tuning forks, vibrating with those expressions of Life, sometimes called words, emerging in us – to *speak.*

I know when I’m speaking from the space of Stillness – and when it’s coming from the mind: rambling – trying to connect one thought to another. You can probably hear it too – when I wander off into the thought stream. I’m a word-crafter, so it’s easy for me to get lost in the words without paying attention to where they’re coming from. If you notice me doing it, you don’t need to get a billy club out, just tap me on the shoulder and give me one of those looks.:) I'll understand.

Heart Smiles - MeANderi

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

This is my first posting for Shadow Shot Sunday, on the Hey Harriet blog from Australia, where people can post their pictures of shadows – how cool! This picture was taken at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado.

It reminds me of the simplicity and beauty of Stillness, the wordless place, waiting for whatever needs to arise to arise from the depths of that Stillness within.

Just Be-ing…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Dream of Existence

Warning, I’m entering esoteric territory again. :) But you may find this amusing and even heart warming. It’s a writing about the deepening of the realization that I wrote about in Monday’s blog – After Awakening – Keep Dancing. (click & scroll down).

In the shower several months ago, water cascading over me, I was humming a tune. My mind went back to a TV program I had watched last season where a man who sang opera won first place in a talent contest… I realized I was humming that song. And yes, I watch TV. (No groaning please…) I know most “spiritual teachers” consider this a “non-spiritual” activity. They consider TV “gross consciousness,” and I guess for the most part it is, but believe it or not, some of my best insights have come from TV watching. The Mystery can speak through anything, if we’re paying attention.

The programs I tend to watch are entertaining: talented people in search of fulfilling their dream; people who are passionate about their talent and want to express it no matter what – as if their life depended on it. This is the kind of passionate intensity that entertains me. It delights me to see someone reach their dream, and realize their passion. It makes my heart smile. :)

Anyway, I was attempting to sing opera in the shower, :) trying to remember the notes and tune, singing away in my personal music booth. I began to feel deep emotion well up within as it suddenly dawned on me: *WE* are the dream of Existence. *WE* are the passion of Existence. We are the dream of Existence coming true. We are the dream of Existence expressing Itself – passionately – lovingly - with all Its Heart in form, just like the man singing opera that night who touched the hearts of others through expressing his passion. (By “Existence” I mean Being, Presence, Awareness, the Mystery, or however you refer to “It.”)

I was completely emotionally overwhelmed by this insight that we are none other than the dream of Existence Itself. Wow… The insights continued flooding in. This life, that some refer to as a “dream”, an illusion, that we are living, *is* the passion of and fulfillment of Being. How can this be, when some sages tell us we must awaken *from* the dream and “become” who we *really* are, as if we have to step out of the dream, which implies separation from that which is Dreaming – the Dreamer Itself. And so believing the dream of separation, we are conditioned to go on a “spiritual path” in search of this other-worldly “Self.” Hmmm… But – mayyybeee – I began to see, as awareness deepened - we awaken *to* the dream and *realize* that the dream is not something we escape from, but in fact is the expression of the passion of Being Itself, which is us! We are the passionate expression of Existence. Wow, could it be that Earth life, human life, IS the expression of Pure Consciousness?...and not some “illusion” that must be “transcended” or dismissed as unreal – but in fact is Reality Itself expressing Itself, as Itself, which is us! Hmmm… I don’t think I’ve ever heard it explained quite this way before - but for some reason this particular version woke me up in the shower that morning - again. It was a deepening of the realization from last December becoming *real.*

And so I bow to Existence and say, thank you for this… And thank you for this wonderful dream that is being dreamed in every moment – known as “my life”, and your life too – the One Life; although I’ll have to admit sometimes it feels like a nightmare. :)

I hope “Existence” is smiling, delighted by “Its” expression of passion in all Its forms – us. Just us – the Formless in form – life as it is.

May we all live passionately and creatively – expressing the true Beingness that we are!

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lens/Focus

Yes, the picture to the right is supposed to be blurry. :) Although it was not originally taken for that purpose, but it serves a purpose here.

Last Wednesday I picked up a new pair of eyeglasses. It has been more than a couple of years since I’ve had a new prescription. Now you might already think you *see* where I’m going with this, but read on…

Within an hour of *trying* to adjust, *trying* to see I had a pressure headache, my eyes hurt, and I became physically fatigued. So off came the new glasses and on went the old way of seeing – which interestingly was MUCH clearer. :) There are multiple metaphors here I know… But let’s just focus here a little bit…

The rest of the day my head and eyes hurt and I had trouble focusing. I felt like my brain had been scrambled. Well it is anyway, but it felt like someone had put it in a blender and hit the liquefy button - the thinking function went mush. I had no idea that blurred vision could cause blurred thinking. My poor eyes didn’t know where to focus, and neither did my brain evidently. I was just going to lay down, close my eyes and rest and hope it would pass, but on the way to the couch I got distracted at my desk doing some paper work. And it seemed that in the *focus* my symptoms started to clear up. By actually focusing my eyes on one thing at a time, instead of being over stimulated with trying to take everything in all at once, the eyes evidently refocused themselves and my headache lifted… The act of focusing actually helped. However, as soon as I left the act of simply seeing and went into a wider aperture, allowing in more stimulation, the eyes lost focus again. Hmmm. I know there must be another metaphor here as well… :)

And maybe the simple noticing here is that when I’m feeling bombarded with too much input, I need to come back into the place of present moment awareness and focus. If I try to make too many decisions, or think about all the things I need to do, or have so much information coming in at me at one time, the system gets overloaded, things get out of focus, and I get fatigued with the distortion of it all. Sitting in a quiet, low-lit space and quietly focusing, minimizing the external distractions that blurred my vision, brought back perspective to an overly distorted view of things. This reminded me of my need to spend more time in quiet stillness, something I don’t always remember to do. It is helpful for me to withdraw myself from all the “eye strain” of trying to see too much, and just focus on what I need to see in the moment.

I was able to get an appointment with the eye doctor for a re-check the next morning. She gave me a thorough exam, made adjustments and gave me a new Rx.

During the exam the doctor nicely explained that when you change the lens it focuses the light on a different place in the back of the eye, changing how your eye focuses, and thus how you *see.* The eyes try to get the light to focus back on the old focus point, causing muscle strain in the eye. Interesting. So even physically we try to *resist* seeing something new, or seeing in a new way…


And of course there’s the old familiar metaphor here too. :) It seems the lens we use can create clarity or distortion, because it’s the lens that causes the eye to focus, or not, to bring the light to the point where we are able to *see.* It seems the clarity with which we see life depends on the lens we are seeing *through* - the lens of our perceptions. My perception of the way things are is the lens through which I’m seeing life, which creates distortions of how things really are. My usual lenses are fear, worry, stress and anxiety. But I’m going to need different ‘eyeglasses” to clear those up. I’ll need a monocle for that – the One Eye of present moment awareness – focusing moment by moment from the place of Stillness.

How clear is your focus lately? What lens of perception are you seeing through?

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

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
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Heart Hugs to all beings...

These pictures are for all those who need a heart hug today. They came to us enclosed in an email. Get out the tissue...


Polar Bear: I come in Peace

Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear coming up on tethered sled dogs in the wilds of Canada ' s Hudson Bay.




The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his dogs when the polar bear wandered in.










It's hard to believe that this polar bear only needed to hug someone!



The Polar Bear returned every night that week
to play with the dogs.




In simplicity of Being...

Heart Smiles - MeANderi
http://www.aserenitysanctuary.com/

Sunday, July 12, 2009

After Awakening - Keep Dancing

Many of us on a “spiritual path” have had many moments of “awakening" – little openings that allow us to *see* the Truth of Existence. I wrote the insights, that eventually became this blog, on scratch paper last December as I sat in a doctor’s office waiting for my appointment. Insights, or “awakenings” can come anywhere at any time. As I waited in the waiting room I reflected on how it seemed that I had been very *invested* in my spiritual search for “enlightenment” – for many, many years. It had been my life’s work, so-to-speak. In a sense I gave up “my life” (or what I call “my life”) for the search – *believing* the search for finding “awakening” was all that mattered.

There is an abundance of Non-Duality teachers and teachings out there, and what appears to be a lot of wrangling over semantics. Last Fall I was drawn to read Scott Kiloby and Jeff Foster – two of the top Non-Duality teachers. In doing so yet another door opened in this life-long search for Truth, except that it wasn’t what I expected. They revealed what I had heard from other spiritual teachers, like Adyashanti, Ganagaji, Eckhart Tolle, and Jack Kornfield – that there is just ‘This’ – Life living Itself in this present moment as it is. That there is no need to seek for“enlightenment” because it’s all just ‘This’ (Consciousness, Presence, Awareness, the One) *in* everything. And yet - we seek - until we don't need to seek anymore.

When I heard it this time I felt the full realization of it, as if for the first time. Something opened up and let it in. And, at the same time, I felt like a child that had been told there is no Santa Claus – well not quite as devastated, but certainly there was an impact that is difficult to articulate. I became unsettled, unnerved because the illusion had been shattered. If there is just ‘This’ and if I’m not *searching* for “It”, I thought, what will I *do*? My *mind* wanted to stay in search mode, after all that had been its “job” for quite some time. It had *identified* with the role and story of a “me” searching for "It."

In the past when I had heard spiritual teachers say – It’s just ‘This’ – I internally responded with: You’ve got to be kidding! That can’t be true! There has to be more than This! This can’t be it! I thought for sure that “enlightenment” had to be a big deal with Light shining everywhere, blinding me. But when I *heard* Scott and Jeff say, it’s just ‘This’ – Life living Itself, on some level I knew it was the Truth. It was taken in and absorbed like a healing elixir. Something inside awakened.

The word “ubiquitous” arose while I was sitting there in my seat, waiting, jotting notes. I didn’t know what it meant, so I made a note to look it up when I got home. (For those like me who don’t know, it means being everywhere at the same time; omnipresent). After reading the definition I realized that what I had been searching for is ubiquitous – always there, everywhere – right here. ‘It’ was never anywhere *else* needing to be found. ‘It’ just needed to be *seen.*

And so it appears that “awakening” is in some sense very ordinary, especially when one *expects* there to be some kind of transcendence into Light – ascension into an ideal Divine state of another worldly nature - a future arrival at an end reward for all the searching. It also seems that we can have many wonderful “awakening” *experiences* and still not realize the Truth. I know. :) The “final realization” (if there is one) it seems, is more like a discovery of something we already know. Oh – ‘This’! There’s a realization that the search doesn’t matter anymore. All the wrangling over concepts like “self or no-self”, “path or no-path”, “duality or non-duality”, “enlightenment or no enlightenment” just doesn’t matter. I realized that the “spiritual search”, which had started as a longing in my heart, had become a delusion of the dream mind. And, that the ‘This’ that I was searching for *is* revealing Itself *in* the dream of existence everyday… It was like a subtle awareness – a quiet knowing awareness that the dream continues even after “awakening.” Eventually there was a peace in realizing this – a deep serenity.

While writing my notes I remembered the words to an old Peggy Lee song (well that dates me doesn’t it!): “Is that all there is? If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.” But I wasn’t feeling a sense of resignation. It was more of a sense of rest, a resting in this new awareness.

I realized that when we really *see* that ‘This’ is all there is – the ever-present Presence living in form *as us*, we keep dancing - maybe to a slightly different tune, but we keep dancing in the dream - *aware* that it is the dream of Existence, dreaming Itself, playing the song. Life living Itself.

Just keep dancing with Life!

Heart Smiles - MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"take the rabbits"

After a very hectic week fraught with interruptions and distractions, I awoke this morning in the doldrums – absolutely dead in the water – all momentum for doing gone – no excitement for life, just worn down by a lot of unexpected turns in the River. I asked, where does Life want to go today? Nothing, nada. I asked, what is needed here? Again blank, zilch. What am I supposed to see here? Hello-o-o-o-o, anybody home? Evidently not. So I trudged my way to the kitchen to feed the cat and make breakfast, inwardly listening, trying to be aware of something, anything that would give me some hint of what I was experiencing and why; why there seemed to be a lot of obstacles and no real flow these last few days – just a lot of busyness, and in most cases accompanying resistance to the way things were going.

Over breakfast I started sharing with my husband about what I was feeling and experiencing. We got on the topic of the flow of experience, the river metaphor, like the opening phrase on the home page on my web site, “Our lives are like rivers, eventually they go where they must, not where we want them to.” And so I was lamenting that life was not going where I wanted it to, but that I didn’t know where it was going, because at the moment, it didn’t seem to be going at all, even with all the effort and busyness, and how unsettled that was making me feel.

And so I took off with the metaphor and started talking about how sometimes life is just like that – trying to convince myself I guess - that sometimes there are still places on the River where nothing seems to be happening and sometimes life is like the rapids – it just takes you, even when you don’t feel ready for where it’s going. And how I often find myself saying to life – wait, I’m not ready, hold on, I don’t know how to do this, I’ve never been in a kayak before and no one gave me lessons! This happened when I published my website and blog last month. And then out of my mouth came – “and sometimes you just have to take the rapids, whether you’re ready or not.” How interesting I was now excitedly talking about taking the rapids when an instant before I felt like I was dead in the water.

My husband had been attentively listening, adding his wisdom here and there. But after my last statement I could see this rather quizzical look in his eye. I thought he was maybe pondering the deep profundity that had spewed forth. :) He started laughing. I became quizzical as well, and asked – What? - with a grin on my face – like he was now going to tell me some profound point that he had just gotten. With a gleam and a grin he looked at me and said: I thought you said you just have to “take the rabbits.” We both broke into a hearty belly laughter beyond our control. We have resident rabbits around our home that graze on the grass and live under the front stoop, or the back spruce tree, or the shed. We love to watch the rabbits while eating in our “breakfast nook" window that overlooks the back yard. So of course it made sense that he would hear me say “rabbits.”

And there it was – the moment that took me out of the doldrums. It just took a little humor and a lot of laughter in a mis-heard phrase and I began to feel a stirring of life within again. And here I thought I’d have to spend some serious time in morning meditation, meeting this unsettledness, this disgruntledness with life, working with it, seeing what lesson was there for me. But life itself had unexpectedly presented the remedy in the moment. Ah, the medicine of humor.

So I pondered the metaphor of the rabbit. Rabbits, it seems from my observations, are content to graze on grass all day – to be in a state of inner stillness for most of their existence. They are not thinking: This is not how my life should be. They seemingly know when to run to take cover and when to freeze in place, blending in like a rock in the grass. And they multiply unendingly – like the rapids on a river that intensify as they go over the rocks. They, rabbits and rapids, innately go with the flow of their life, whatever it is, without resistance - content in their true nature – their Beingness, not wanting life to be any different than what it is.

So the next time I’m feeling unsettled about where life is going, or not going, all I’ll have to do is look out my back window and remember this funny little story, and allow the River to take me – freely without resistance - let what arises arise, and just be with it. And, oh yes, I’ll remember to “take the rabbits.”


Living life as it is…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Serenity Sanctuary

Sunday I got to spend some time out in the backyard in the hammock. In the morning I went out to the back garden to take a picture of a Megellan Zinnia for Sunday’s blog post. When I stepped out the back door I realized that I hadn’t been spending much time outside this year, for one reason or another, and realized I missed it. The hammock had been up since Memorial Day, the last weekend in May. I remember being in it only once since then. The smell of wet earth was deliciously inviting. We’ve had a really wet Spring and early Summer, which is unusual for the Denver area. We’ve been in a 10 year drought until this year. The weather has also been unusually cool, which has been delightful, as the normally hot, arid southwestern climate has been a little harsh for this body. The smell reminded me of New England, where I grew up. Anxious to be outside I finished the blog post and made lunch. After lunch I grabbed a pillow and headed for the hammock – my serenity sanctuary – for a couple hours of blissful stillness.

I have been on a low level hum of anxiety for the last several weeks now, for one reason or another. Life living itself as it does sometimes creates anxiety in me. It has been difficult for me to find the inner space of Stillness lately, probably why I write about it on my website and here. :) (I write what I need to know type thing.) But Sunday I could hear it calling to me to come, to rest… I plugged in the little water fountain we have on the back patio for some soothing background sound and settled into the hammock under the silver maple tree and its lush canopy of leaves. I could hear the two children playing in the yard next door. The neighbor on the other side just sold their home and they were busy moving out, so a few helpers were in and out of their backyard moving stuff… There was the noise of a lawn mower somewhere in the distance. A wonderful song bird was lyrically singing its song, and then a Blue Jay chimed in with its call. A squirrel scurried along the top of the fence at the back of the yard, and a bunny rabbit grazed in the grass just about 20 feet away. The trees are especially full and lush green this year because of all the rain. The air was thick with moisture and I breathed it in – along with the smells of nature that wafted past my nose: the spruce tree, the juniper bush, the thyme, lavender and basil from the garden. And my eyes took in the beauty of the oranges, yellows and reds of the blooms in the garden just off to my left…


Ahhhh…. Finally, an automatic deep breath taken in and the body began to relax. Not only did I feel held by the rope hammock I was laying on, but I also had a felt sense of Presence, as if the thick, moist air was Presence itself holding me, embracing me. It felt good – like I was Home again. More deep breaths and the muscles began to let go of their long-held tension. My racing heart slowed as I connected with the pulse of Stillness (Beingness) in nature, and realized it was the same pulse moving through me. The anxiety muted a bit as I refocused my awareness on the Awareness behind the anxiety.

And so, no big metaphor or wisdom here, just a moment of resting in this wonderful Stillness, the ever-present, alive, dynamic Stillness of Being; allowing myself to take it all in, body, mind and spirit; feeling its rhythm lull me; sinking into the sweet, spacious serenity of nature’s sanctuary, and resting in the inner sanctuary of still aware Presence; resonating with the Rhythm of Life once again – the Rhythm that runs through us all.

Can you feel it?

For a little taste of serenity I invite you to view my “Serenity” video montage.

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Tomatoes

Welcome to another Tuesday edition of “Grocery Store Wisdom” – a musing about noticing Life living Itself in form. You may want to read my blog from last week (June 30th) to get a little background, if you’ve not already read it.

Today I was in the second grocery store on my list of the three that I visit. I pulled the carriage up to the checkout stand. The clerk started checking me out as we made light conversation. For some unknown reason I just happened to look to my left, and since there was no one in line behind me I could see directly down one of the isles – which happened to be the light bulb isle. Just as l looked, a rather teeny tiny, frail looking elderly woman, started to turn her carriage around in the middle of the isle. She suddenly had a look of panic on her face, although it wasn’t immediately apparent why. I knew something was wrong, just by the look on her face. And then her little legs and feet just started backing up *really* quickly in very little steps. Her eyes grew wider. In that same instant in time I suddenly realized that she was off balance and was trying to hang on to the carriage, but the grocery cart had wheels, of course, so she was actually pulling the cart backwards *with* her. In an instant she slammed backwards into the wall of shelves behind her and then quickly slid down the face of the shelves and landed *hard* on her little butt. She looked panicked and quickly scurried to get up at the same time that I said to the cashier that someone had fallen and headed up the isle to make sure she was okay.

By the time I got to her, she had already stood back up and was hanging onto the carriage again. She looked shaken and stunned. I asked her if she was all right and she *said* she was, but I asked her again, just to be sure, cause *I* wasn’t. She still said yes, although she *appeared* confused and shaken. The cashier came up behind me and tended to the woman. I went back to the check out stand where I had left my purse and wallet out, wide open on the stand. Ooops… I waited there as he tended to her. She seemed to be asking him about the light bulbs on the shelf… as if trying to divert the attention from what had just happened. She was embarrassed I’m sure. Other store employees came to assist. The clerk eventually returned to the check out stand and finished checking me out. I turned again to look down the isle. The little woman had disappeared, seemingly vanished.

I then wondered if she had driven herself, as she certainly shouldn’t be driving! My goodness she can’t even drive a grocery cart, let alone a powerful car! What if she lost control of the car!? I hated to even think about that…

On the way home I was reflecting on this incident and I became a little teary thinking about it. The grocery store wisdom began to emerge. She seemed so fragile and so scared. And it touched me because it reminded me of how fragile I feel sometimes too, how frightened when life goes in directions that I can’t anticipate or control - not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally, financially and even spiritually. In her moment of fragility I was also reminded of others in my family who are also fragile in one way or another. Others who at times I have judged, or felt impatient with because they just couldn’t get their life together… Like I should talk! :) Collectively we’re really all so very fragile, in so many ways, and yet we live as though we aren’t – hiding behind a faƧade of achievement and accomplishment, or toughness and violence, judgment and criticism, or even a mask of spirituality. But really we’re just like little tomatoes in the produce department that ripen differently, and when squeezed too tightly, say by life circumstances for instance, we can burst – squish. Or with just one slip we may fall off the shelf and roll across the floor, feeling injured… Vulnerability is humbling. It’s also an equalizer when we let it touch us, when we can acknowledge our own vulnerability in life. Compassion arises with a shared vulnerability, when we see that we’re all in the same tomato bin together, some more fragile than others…

Handle with care…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Dalai Lama

Today is the Dalai Lama’s 74th birthday. I am not a “practicing Buddhist.” However, if I were to have a label it would most likely be what my Buddhist blogosphere friend over at ZenDotStudio lovingly calls a “bookstore Buddhist.” :) I love Buddhist wisdom and have read, or listened to, many of the more well known, popular Buddhist teachers from many traditions.

So today I want to honor the Dalai Lama here – as well as the Dharma. I am drawn by his loving heart of Compassion, his laughter and innocence. His presence elicits compassion and innocence in me, and my heart sighs. There’s a resonance there. Who knows, maybe I was a Buddhist in a past life. :)

And too, I bow in my heart to all my Buddhist friends, acquaintances, and bookstore teachers, past, present and future. And to the Dharma, the Truth that Buddhism holds, and that has fed me over the years – even if only in little slices and morsels here and there along the path. And to all the little Buddhas in us all – the little shining jewels of compassion in our hearts…

May our Buddha Nature sing with joy…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Unfolding

My husband and I were talking this morning about the whole process of doing blogs and websites – something that is new to us, especially me. And what came to me was the thought that I was really just unfolding myself out to the world – through the web site and blog; just opening out to the world, like a flower that opens its petals and never knows once it has blossomed who’s going to come along and pick it, or where it will end up – whether at a funeral, or a wedding, or a birthday party, an anniversary, or a lover’s arms. We just never know. All we can do is unfold our petals, picture by picture if we’re an artist, word by word if we’re a writer, note by note if we're a musician, poem by poem, photo by photo, or whatever our offering is. We unfold our particular vibration of Being out into the world and wait for the resonance to occur. Like little tuning forks we wait for someone to hear our vibration and respond - happy to be playing our tune, our note in the chord of Life, waiting for the symphony to begin. We just unfold ourselves out there and offer what we have to offer, and maybe the wind picks up our pollen and carries it to unknown places that need to hear our particular song…

Can you hear it in the wind - that little vibration that touches your heart….? Maybe you have a tune to offer…

The music is playing. We’re all unfolding…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
http://www.ASerenitySanctuary.com/

Saturday, July 4, 2009

"To Infinity and Beyond"

Buzz Lightyear was a toy in a movie – you may remember. He would jump off bed posts and railings trying to transcend his “toyness,” and the bounds of earth. Being in his little bubble he felt immune to the realities of an earthbound existence. With each attempt at transcendence he would crash back to earth with a resounding thud – get up, shake himself off and then be off on another path in another attempt at transcendence.

He had an idealized image of himself as an astronaut, a space walker. And he believed he had a special mission that was beyond the confines of earthly life. He based his misguided attempts at transcending this realm on the fiction of those perceptions of himself.

I’m going to take poetic license here and add to the story: One day, on one of his launches, he suddenly found himself floating in a field of stars in outer space. It was incredibly still there, peaceful, no sound – just – nothing - but stars and the sounds of silence. He couldn’t believe it. Amazing he thought. So this is it. I’ve finally done it. I’ve transcended earth. I must be in Divine territory, he thought, finally attaining enlightenment. He had catapulted way, way out into spaciousness. But then, just as suddenly, he found himself back on the earth plane again. Grounded by gravity he became depressed. He wanted to go back to the stars. He wanted that experience again. It seemed his “transcendent experience” hadn’t changed the fact that he was a toy.

Many years ago I used to have the words “To Infinity and Beyond” as a computer screen saver – moving back and forth, up and down across the screen with stars in the background – to remind me why I was really here: to transcend my humanness – or so I thought. My search for ways to transcend into Infinity was serious business for me. I wore a mask, a bubble face-shield of “spirituality” – hiding behind and within its comforting certainties. But like Buzz Lightyear I kept falling off railings and bedposts every time I tried to transcend the ego in order to “become enlightened.”

Buzz had to accept that he was a toy. He had to accept himself completely as he was – the whole package. He had to quit trying to transcend, and then he could “fly,” with the help of a rocket on his back and his friend Woody of course, another toy who knew he was a toy and was okay with that.

At one time I believed that if I could just transcend my self, my ego, step into the Light and ride with the stars, that my ego-self would go away – that I could spiritually bypass the anxiety, the anger, the depression – the shadow self; that it would all dissolve if I could just “get there” – where ever “there” was. And I did believe there was a “there” to get to, instead of a right here, right now space to be in. (see The Lure of Enlightenment)

I had to learn to embrace my humanness, and my life experience. I had to accept my-*self* as I was, in each moment. I had to let go of trying to transcend it and just Be. Like the mind, like the heart, like breathing, it all has a function. Everything is in service to Being/Consciousness. The sages say as you become more rooted and grounded in Being, the ego becomes more transparent, allowing Beingness to shine through – but it doesn’t “go away.” They say that as you transition into and identify with the Consciousness of Being, rather than identify with the face plate, the ego is then seen through as being just that: a mask, a persona, a wave of the greater Ocean, a radar device of Being. It no longer is seen as a separate entity to overcome or get rid of. *Everything* is seen as one Consciousness – One Life living *as* the many. You just are as you are. You just Be.

I lose perspective on occasion. I start believing in a separate self again that has to “get” something or somewhere. When that happens I find myself thinking of the lyrics from R Kelly’s song and think of my buddy Buzz:

“I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day, spread my wings and fly away…” sigh…

When I get caught in the dream again I have to come back to Earth, to *seeing* the truth of Reality, and put Buzz back on the shelf...

Heart Smiles, MeANderi
http://www.ASerenitySanctuary.com/

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Let Everything Drive You To Stillness

Understandably in these chaotic times it is easy to get caught up in a frenetic way of being: over-thinking, over-worrying, over-stressed and over-stimulated with the task of living – of making a living. I’ve gotten caught in this myself recently. It is easy to start trying to make things happen, to strive, to effort on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and even spiritually. It’s tempting to try to find the “remedy” externally for what ails me inwardly - forgetting Stillness – that deep place of Knowing Awareness within - Beingness.

I have often heard the phrases, “It’s enough to drive you to drink”, and “It’s driving me crazy.” But what if we were to *allow* the strains and stresses, the frenzy and fret to drive us right into Stillness? Seems paradoxical when our minds have hijacked us and are spiraling out of control with fear and frustration, driving us to reach for any numbing agent, whether that’s a pill, a drink, a technique, a method, a religion, or a philosophy to calm our frayed nerves.

What if we were to let everything drive us to Stillness, the calm within the chaos, and let the Stillness be our refuge? What if we were aware enough to just stop in the midst of whatever we’re experiencing, in the middle of being hijacked by the mind, or life events, and drop into this internal, spacious Stillness? Gee, here are those themes again: stopping – awareness – Stillness. They are like new points on an old compass all pointing to – Presence. It’s a way of seeing that allows a returning to the point of Presence in this moment, no matter what is happening. But it’s not a one time discovery. It’s ongoing and continuing. You always carry the compass with you to remind you where you’re really going when you’ve momentarily lost your way.

Several years ago, when my husband experienced a serious mental health crisis, I was driven to Stillness. Each day, several times a day, I would stop what I was doing, go sit in my meditation space and “enter” (become aware of) the Stillness within for about 20 mins. There I felt cushioned and buffered from the storm that had nearly swept my husband away, and me with him. I would sit until I experienced the place of inner Quiet, inner Beingness where I could be still with what was, with what life was presenting. I would pray for my husband’s safe return to sanity, and be still enough to not spiral out of control myself. Inherently, it seemed, I knew that Stillness was my only survival.

My husband weathered his storm. In his own way he found Stillness, his inner Beingness, and came through the storm with an adjusted view of his world. Crises tend to do that… But he has a “new” compass, which, by the way, does not include the same points as mine, and is navigating a little differently now. We each have our own internal compass points that will take us there. For instance your compass points might be awareness – creativity - Stillness.

There have been many occasions where I have been driven to Stillness again and again when life, as I had been living it, became seemingly undoable, when I was frustrated with the way life was. Once again I was being driven by external, as well as internal emotional/mental forces, that had seemingly taken over and overwhelmed me, through non-acceptance, through resisting life as it is. And, I had lost touch with Stillness. Again and again I would just stop, go to my meditation space, lay on the floor for a prolonged period of time and consciously *wait* until I could feel the Stillness within, until I could sense the Stillness of Being, until I felt the touch of Stillness - entraining with the felt experience of Stillness. I allowed myself to sink into it through the layers of mental and emotional distraction. I could feel the frustration and resistance lift ever so slightly to reveal the underlying Stillness.

This did not mean that my external life situation changed. My life did not become miraculously better because of my rendezvous with Stillness. It did not mean that I was no longer frustrated, or angry, or anxious, or depressed, or whatever the feeling of the moment was. All the emotional elements were still there, but I was in touch with the still waters within, the pool of Stillness, the wellspring that feeds and nourishes me when I keep the currents of awareness open.

And my experience is that you don’t have to practice “formal meditation” to touch this space of Stillness, to become aware of Awareness. It’s more organic, more natural – like a natural emergence of the Stillness that is already there. Let that Stillness reveal itself and be the Dharma that calms you, feeds you, stills you…

So – if, like me, your life feels a little overwhelming, don’t let it drive you crazy with trying to change it, or figure it out, or worry about the future, or be angry with the past and being reactive to what is. Instead, take your new compass and drive yourself to Stillness. Sit there, stay there in Stillness, till you feel it touch you deeply and take you deeply into its depths. Bask in it. It will change your perspective on what life is handing you in any given moment.

It seems I need to spend a lot of time on the floor these days…in Dynamic Stillness. Want to join me?

Remember Stillness ~

Heart Smiles - MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com