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...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Serenity's Sanctuary - The Movement

Life is the movement of Aware Still Consciousness.
Life is the manifestation of this “Mystery” ~
the movement of this vast Stillness.
Life itself is “The Mystery” in endless, subtle movement
with Itself ~
*as* Itself ~
in form…

There is a rhythm to this movement
a rhythmic fluid movement
that intimately “interacts” with form,
like the Ocean lapping up on shore ~
The gentle, rhythmic movement of Consciousness ~
aware of Itself…

”The Movement” is Awareness Itself in the space of Quietude,
where everything falls back into
the Rhythm of Awareness ~ Awareing.

There is an invitation from this Still Aware Presence to
rest in this movement of “The Mystery” within you.

Be the Rhythm ~
Live the Rhythm ~

Sweet Serenity…

Notes from my journal – 2009
Photo ~ Christine Kennedy

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Mystery in Geese

The other morning I was standing at the kitchen sink, puttsing. I happened to look up and out the window just as a very small flock of Canadian Geese flew over the roof top of the house behind us – maybe 150 feet away, close enough to bedazzle me and make my heart swoon… Yep, I’m a sap for Geese – especially Canadian Geese. I feel drawn to them. The sight of geese flying fascinates me. It was unusual to see them flying so low and so close. I followed them as long as I could, which wasn’t long as they were soon out of view flying below the tree tops. I wondered where they were going – probably a source of water, or a field. We have a lot of open fields and park areas around here with ponds, which draws them in. I felt a resonance – like a kindred spirit…

This week I have also had a familiar “visitor.” My “friend” anxiety and her close cousins jittery and antsy have been constant visitors for 3 days now – keeping me rather frazzled and frozen. It’s really time for them to leave. You know the old saying – fish and company get old after 3 days. I know these are deeply laid neuronal and energy patterns that keep running their groove when triggered by health and body issues, along with assorted other life stresses. And then I get anxious about the anxiety and off we go. The adrenals are now on over-drive, and every little thing now sets off the anxiety loop.

It’s amazing to me that I could have the previous insights about the nature of Existence with its constant fluidity and be caught in this frozen tundra of anxiety. When it comes it feels like an intense spiraling of energy winding its way through my body – contracting me - leaving me spent, unable to function. Maybe that’s why I hear the geese calling to me. It’s like a homing call to be free…

So I went in search of geese today, to watch and observe – to feel their call and sense their freedom. Geese seem to have a simplicity that attracts me. They innately know where to go, are content to fly wherever they need to, and are unaffected by the externals of life. Maybe that’s what draws me – being unaffected, undisturbed, by the externals of life – content to just Be – having an innate sense of knowing how to move through life – like all of nature.

I wonder why “we” humans have seemingly lost that instinctive, intuitive *sense* of knowing how to move *with* Life, with the natural Rhythms, with the Flow – how to live in harmony with Self - content. It seems to be the thinking mind that screws us up, that causes such inner conflict and turmoil. How interesting that we keep following the mind instead of our True Nature. (Not that the mind is an “enemy.” I like having the ability to think. It just doesn’t seem to know when to quit!).

The “spiritual teachers” say that all you need do is *identify as* Consciousness/Awareness and these “things” will subside – the mind will essentially “stop” and inner conflict will cease. This hasn’t been my experience – or maybe I just haven’t made “the shift” – which then keeps me searching for “the shift”, thinking I need to “get it” in order to be free of anxiety. It seems like that’s a set up for never feeling like I “got it” when I feel the twinge of anxiety or some other feeling deemed to be “unenlightened.”

So – how to be more like a goose…

They don’t obsess about health issues. They don’t worry about financial issues, or where they’re going, or how they’re going to get there. They just do. They innately know how. They innately know how to be a goose. So why am I having such a hard time *being* Who I AM!? - this fluid Conscious alive Awareness… How strange this cerebral cortex that seems to keep a lot of us from deeply *knowing*/experiencing who we innately ARE – the Pure Conscious Awareness that we constantly seek after (called the spiritual search) as if it’s somewhere else. What a strange way to live – this unknowing of and constant search for what we innately are…

So I keep watching my geese friends – simply living, deeply, innately themselves, deeply content, aligned with their Nature – instinctively knowing how to fly – following the Homing call…

Honk >> >>> >>>>

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life In Motion

I’ve been noticing this week that Life is always in motion. I know this may be a blinding flash of the obvious intellectually, yet actually *seeing* how Life moves, rising and falling, expanding and contracting, ebbing and flowing from day to day has made it a “knowing.” I have become more aware of how unaware I have been. I tend to look at life linearly, expecting, or projecting, that life will go a certain way, or get “better” one step at a time – but it’s all actually just Life in fluid motion: Pure Conscious Knowing Awareness moving in, through and *as* life experience – morphing into shapes, forms, colors, sounds, life circumstances and events. This has been an eye-opener, allowing a little more Light in – dazzling me with its brilliance.

*Everything* is in constant motion – everything - even those things that appear to be still. A tree is growing. Seeds are germinating. Snow is melting into another form. My simple cold turned into the “flu.” The intensity of the swell of love and emotion for my brother and anxiety over his circumstances diffused with the realization that Pure Consciousness is moving "him" through life - is moving *as* his life experience. Amongst these major movements and awarenesses, there are the smaller movements and awarenesses of the usual flow of life from day to day – whether I participate in them or not. This week it’s been mainly noticing and realizing how easy it is to engage in the emotional reactiveness that is still there – another movement; or the interpretations of what’s happening and the mental gymnastics about what to *do* about them – another movement - when in fact there was nothing I could *do* about most of it. It was just Life moving Itself. Consciousness, in its dynamic stillness, is fluidly moving as form and formlessness simultaneously. I’m now more aware of this movement of Consciousness Itself taking shape and form, color and texture, disguised as life experiences, thoughts and emotions.

From my noticing it appears that this Pure Consciousness is interactive in the way that it moves in and through life experience. It intermingles – never static, not separate - continuously moving with and as Itself – manifesting Itself *as* the manifest, in the experience. Like different paint colors coming together in a swirl – the same essence, yet different colors - morphing Itself into a new color; or like cosmic energy fields, swirling through space, morphing again and again, yet always in dynamic stillness…

It seems the way to get through the varied circumstances of life, then, is to move with Life – with Pure Consciousness Itself. Another blinding flash of the obvious. Yet, I so easily resist moving with this Conscious Creative Awareness. It’s like a dance really, using little nuances of movement, leaning into the movement of Life, letting it lead – making adjustments here and there, big or small, depending on the conditions. This week it appears it’s about seeing/feeling the movement more clearly, and adjusting to the Flow of Life, staying tuned to the subtle movements of Consciousness through being fluidly aware from moment to moment… Obviously more awareness is needed…

The little video above is music played to a visualizer. I am mesmerized by these. They are such a wonderful expression of the movement of life, the movement of Pure Consciousness, shape-shifting Itself continuously – Life in Motion. Enjoy!
It's only 1:52 long.

Video created by Christine
Music: "Beyond Words"
from: Music Bakery

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love In Motion

Yesterday afternoon my brother found out how fleeting life is – and everyone else did too, vicariously, through him. At the very least he found out how quickly life changes. He was coming down a ski slope on a mountain in New Hampshire where he works in the winter, although he was not working at the time. He lost control – no one knows how - left the slope and hit three trees. Fortunately he was skiing with a group of friends who saw it happen, and they were able to get to him quickly. He was face down and unconscious. He came to quickly, and evidently was in quite a bit of excruciating pain (and I imagine couldn’t breathe very well either.) He broke 5-6 ribs in several places, front and back; broke his shoulder blade; collapsed his lung and has a concussion. Fortunately there was no life threatening head trauma or spinal injuries. He was taken to the local hospital where he was stabilized and preliminary tests were done. Then he was transported by ambulance to the Maine Medical Center Trauma Unit in Portland, ME, nearly an hour away. They say he will be “okay,” although it will take several weeks of recovery. And with that many broken ribs I would imagine a lot of pain and difficulty breathing, as well.

I’m feeling emotionally impacted by this event – which surprises me… My brother and I were never close, yet I am deeply emotionally moved by *his* traumatic experience. I suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of *love* for my brother! And I am moved by that fact. Love has not been a free flowing emotion in my family, so I have been surprised, and a little unnerved, by these swells of repressed emotional waves. It also became important to me that my brother *know* that he was loved – to allow those swells of feeling to crash out onto the shore, be expressed – breaking free. Except I couldn’t talk to him…

It has also been a little unnerving not knowing exactly what’s going on, not being able to *do* anything, visualizing my 6’-2” little, obnoxious, stubborn-headed, invincible brother smacking into trees, helpless, vulnerable, and in pain. Plus, trying to get through to his life partner of 15 years, whose cell phone is not always working, finally making contact and hearing the trauma in her voice, was unnerving. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone trying to find out as much as I can and keep my 81 year old mother encouraged with frequent phone calls.

So I would say I’m feeling a little challenged at the moment – challenged to keep perspective and not let the little me run off on its emotional journey of anxiety that often comes when I realize, over and over, that I’m not in control of where and how life goes. I’m also feeling challenged by this new movement of Love that I’m experiencing and don’t really know how to express. And I’m challenged by the uncertainties of life that this life experience made acutely clear. It is also clear that I can’t rescue anyone from their life experience or their pain and trauma. It has brought home, once again, the fact that life is just being lived - with its pain, sorrow, heartache, and trauma – in its Totality… You just have to show up. So I focus on what needs to be done, whatever is called for to meet this situation, and to offer what I can from 2000 miles away, or 30 minutes away – maintaining perspective and trusting in an ever-present Presence living Itself in *every* experience – Love in motion.

But it’s been a very weird day.

Photo - Bill Kennedy

Serenity's Sanctuary - The Heart

What we look for in another is what our Being is:
unconditional Love – Acceptance – Compassion.
Everything that we long for is just an *expression*
of that longing of the Heart ~
For Being – For Love
which gets substituted with longing
for objects, things, people, experiences.
What’s behind it is an innocent longing for “Home”
~ Oneness with the Divine ~

Let your innocent longing carry you to
the still Heart of Being.
Be at Home in the Heart of Being
within you.

Come into deep communion with
the Heart of Being.
Recognize IT in you.

Being is like a lover who knows you intimately -
an intimate knowing that holds who you are
in deep acceptance.

You are embraced,
you are touched,
like smooth ripples on a pond
that gently caress everything in their path -
and kiss everything in their unfolding.

You are deeply Loved…

Sweet Serenity…

Notes from my journals 2005
Fun-Qi Art™ :) - Christine

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Simply Sitting With a Cold

This morning I woke up with a head cold. I haven’t had a cold in a very long time, so it *felt* like a “new” experience, although one I certainly remembered in a hurry – yuk. So – what to do… Well, nothing of course. Just simply let it take its course.

Fortunately my husband was away for the day, tending to business possibilities. So I had a reprieve of sorts to just relax and let the day be what it was – simply living – without having to be “up” for anyone or responsible for anything, not having to make anything “work” – including myself.

Underneath the cold symptoms I felt the usual sense of restlessness, my constant companion for several weeks now. I’ve been noticing how she seems to like to keep churning things up underneath the surface. I’ve just allowed her to be there. But today she kept me from being able to settle into the Flow of the Stillness underneath, so I decided to pay attention to her. I simply sat with her a while and noticed that she was really just mind clutter, constant mind distraction, constant thought percolating. So we talked and I asked her to go to the back burner, like that stew of life that’s been simmering there forever.

While she slowly and quietly simmered there, next to the stew, I was finally able to get a glimpse of the simplicity of Stillness. Not through *trying* to “meditate” – but simply sitting and allowing. Simply sitting provided a felt sense of sweet communion with Infinite Presence – just being with each other like old friends, feeling that comfortable familiarity - in silence. The more I go down this life path, the more I realize that this is how I want to live – in simple communion with Being, simply living, simply Being – just simple, simple, simple. But I am surrounded by “complexity!” – mine and others. My husband spends a lot of time in his head trying to figure things out. We engage in a lot of conversations about what is going through his head, the “business” stuff, life circumstances stuff, the financial stuff – stuff, stuff, stuff - and how we’re going to navigate the stuff. I am inclined to go right along with him in this mind stream, spending time in my head, trying to figure things out as well. No wonder I have a cold, I’m all “stuffed up!” But today I just wanted life to be simple, and simply lived. So I simply sat – with the cold, with restlessness, and with the inner Flow of Life.

At the end of my “sitting time”, I went to the kitchen to get lunch. As I did so, a phrase arose from within – “Simplicity has to do with the way you *approach* everything.” Okay – what does that mean?! See, the mind kicks back in and wants to complicate the answer by trying to find its meaning. I went back to sitting – just sitting.

The awareness from simply sitting today is that it’s this restless mind clutter that keeps me in a constant state of complexity and agitation, that stuffs up the simplicity of just Being. I’ve noticed that if I *approach* life’s questions, situations and circumstances through the mind, a downward spiral of complexity results – stuffing everything up. Evidently, as a society of seekers, we think that long, involved, wordy, mental “answers” to our questions are going to take us where we want to go. Instead they keep us mentating to the next thought and the next question and the next supposed “solution.” But it’s only a mind game of problem solving, coming up with supposed solutions – a mind approach that loses simplicity in the process, and creates more complexity and more questions – more things to figure out – more head stuff.

So, what if I my approach was to trust LIFE to take its course, like my cold; trust LIFE to show me how to move with it, to inform me, instead of constantly trying to swim upstream to the mind – seeking solutions. What if I let LIFE unfold the way it needs to – like a river returning to the Ocean– allowing that movement to carry me – responding from that space of Flow. What if I “decomplexify” (my new word:) my head and simply stay open to LIFE, not *needing* an answer or a solution, or to fix anything – as if it was “wrong” – just adapting to the flow of the River. What if I patiently wait for the answer to arise, to reveal itself, from a simple resonance with Being, rather than from the mind stuff… It’s not like I haven’t been here before, or haven’t felt that innate sense of “knowing” what was needed – through resonance. But once again I have “complexified” my life with head stuff, wandered off into the mind field, and am having to rediscover the simple approach – the *Essence* of simplicity – where wisdom just IS – where life gets unstuffed. :) All that from simply sitting with a cold!

Photo - Bill Kennedy

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Serenity's Sanctuary - Nature

The Common Land

The common land – the land that belongs to Nature -
spreads out before me straw brown and velveteen,
carpeting the earth, plush and soft.

The colossal cottonwoods line the edges of the
common land and fill out the in-between spaces.
Like skeletal silhouettes, they reach up into the
cloud whisked sky, embracing the late afternoon sun.

The pond lies frozen at the distant end of the common land
like an opaque mirror unable to reflect.
Yet – adds its frosted image to the lullaby of the landscape.

There’s something comforting about the common land
in Winter that draws my soul and captures my spirit;
a soothing presence that plays its own mystical rhythm
around and through me.

The land in its dormancy provides solace;
allows me to hear the Stillness that surrounds me.
In this deep connection everything else loses its importance,
its priority, its urgency.

Perspective returns like a long lost, yet familiar friend,
and my spirit is released…

Nature ~ Sweet Serenity

Christine Kennedy
January 1999

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nature's Call

A difficult week here. Facing reality as it is has been intense.

Late Friday afternoon, needing to find a get-away, I drove to a place where I used to walk near an old agricultural canal. The path along the canal is rather wide, winding through open space, a wildlife refuge, huge cottonwoods and pines. Many people walk, jog and ride bikes here. From the parking lot there is a foot bridge to get over the canal to the pathway. When I used to walk here I would be about halfway over the bridge when I would feel myself take in a huge breath and relax – as if relieved by entering the gateway to nature. Due to health issues in the last several years I haven’t been able to take my usual walks here, and I have missed it. So Friday when I needed a respite, and didn’t have time to drive the 40 mins to my usual retreat place, I thought to take this quick drive to a familiar place and re-discover a familiar sanctuary.

Being late afternoon – after 3:30pm – the sun was far to the west leaving long shadows as it shone through the clouds. This long-shadowed light was comforting. I’m not usually out at this time of day, but I love the late afternoon sun. As I pulled into the dirt parking lot, classical music playing on the radio, I felt the familiar deep breath, and saw a hawk swooping in the sky. The tension began to subside. I found a space to park in the small lot at the end of the row, tucked away from the comings and goings in and out of the parking lot.

As I sat there taking in the scenery with my senses, I reflected that I needed to start seeing my situation with new eyes. I have to see it as a life *experience,* a new opportunity, as uncomfortable and intense as it is, and one that I would rather not be experiencing. I realized that life is just an experience, and we’re not guaranteed what experience we’re going to get, even if it’s due in part to our choices along the way. So I have to deal with what is - now – along with the discomfort, the frustration, the anger, sadness and grief. I have to *move* with the way life is moving.

I continued reflecting. Despite inner and outer life chaos I was beginning to feel the call of Nature – like a homing call. The still, yet fluid movement of Existence, in the scenery around me, was drawing me in from the outward experience of chaos. I watched as people walked their dogs on the path, and in the distant field near a frozen pond. It was quite pastoral and picturesque – and soothing. While sitting there it occurred to me that trees are just being trees, mountains are just being mountains (yes, there are mountains there), fields are just being fields, frozen ponds are just being frozen ponds, clouds just being clouds, hawks just being hawks. Everything is just being what it is. Life is just life – being lived, being experienced: people walking dogs, crossing foot bridges and fields – life falling apart and coming together. And of course it’s *all* Existence, all Consciousness, “The Mystery” disguised as trees, mountains, fields, frozen ponds, clouds, people, dogs, hawks. LIFE disguised as life.

I wrote in my journal that I know I need to open up to this particular experience of life, to the perfect brilliant experience of Life in all its expressions, all its experiences – including my present experience. This truth seems so obvious, and yet I find I need to keep seeing it – to be reminded of it again and again… And life is certainly providing those reminders in one form or another!

I just happened to look up from writing in my journal just as a flock of geese had taken off from out in the field. They were climbing into the sky, merging into the usual V formation, except for one. She went off in a totally different direction, all by herself – unfettered – following her own internal rhythm, her own nature – right over me. I couldn’t help but notice the metaphor and smiled. The Lone Goose – following her own path in flight…

I plan to return to my “new” sanctuary often. This time in nature, seeing the innate movement of nature, inspired me to want to experience life in a new way – more flexibly, more simply, as I also noticed this week that I seem to create a lot of complexity, and need to “decomplexify” – kind of like detoxifying I think. Life, it seems, is offering me/us this opportunity. I intend to go willingly, and see where this life experience goes… Who knows where I’ll/we’ll land…

Honk :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spirituality is the senses...

Since my excursion to the spice shop last week I seem to be more aware of my senses, of what I’m sensing, both internally and externally. They are like little whispers of the Heart – these senses. They come and go and leave their scent. They can come in many different ways and from many different sources – like the smell of spices, or ground coffee, or the sight of colors, or shadows on a wall; the sound of a bird, or the felt sense of an emotion like sadness, grief and anger – which I have been experiencing a lot of this week; or the subtle movement of Awareness within, bringing a sense of felt Presence. If I stay open to experiencing these senses, they open me and bring a sense of life. Sometimes these whispers can come through hearing other people.

Last night was just such a “hearing.” I was in my usual position, poised at the computer, headsets on, pen in hand, waiting, listening as Adya began his radio program, CafĂ© Dharma, in the usual way. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular, as sometimes it speaks to me and sometimes not - like anything else… However, as I listened, there seemed to be a whisper that wanted to be heard, so I thought I’d share it, in case you want to hear it too… These are excerpts from my notes. I have pieced them together to create a little flow and consistency…

“Spirituality is a *welcoming* into the deepest experience of life – into the deeper Reality. It’s not meant to be a struggle, or a lot of ideas… Come deeply into yourself, into *this* moment… We live lives of abstraction – thinking *about* life, living in the commentary of our lives and minds, or living in someone else’s commentary. (Oo – recognized that one.) Spirituality is a *welcoming* into existence, into life, into the Essence of what it means to be alive.”

“When we come into direct experience of our deepest nature, we experience that we are *all* made of Existence. This is our true body, not just the particular physical body. We are Existence Itself. We can actually know this for ourselves, in the depth of our being – that we ARE existence.”

"Open to your senses: hearing, feeling, sensing, smelling. Meditate with your senses wide open, feel what it *feels* like in your body to be sitting still – to *feeling* your body – to feeling you heart – to open your heart to what you’re *feeling.* This is what it means to be still. It means to really *be* all senses – wide open. When you’re in touch with all of your senses, that’s what leads you into the sense of Existence. It’s an aliveness. It opens you. To get out of your mind get into your senses. Relax into them, into the fullness of Existence. Just open yourself. Let Existence meditate you, breathe you and feel Itself *through* your senses. Existence longs for its own recognition of Itself – to remember Itself – to be fully conscious of Itself. It’s seeking to become fully conscious of Itself, to really *know* Itself. That is ‘spirituality.’”

“Open yourself, your senses, and be willing to be surprised.”

“To really open, pick something that has life, something you feel drawn to. Look at it the way you normally do – superficially – then look at it and feel into it. What does it *feel* like to look at it? What is it like to *feel* the *sight* of it, to touch it with your senses. It’s a depth of feeling and getting into your senses and out of your head. Pay attention to your senses. How does the object register when you see it from your Heart? (from feeling it). Consciously include your Heart in your perception. *Feel* it from the Heart. Just *feel* things. Open and feel and sense. Get into your senses. What does it feel like from the Heart level? This reconnects you with your senses. When we feel from the Heart it starts to open the Heart. *Experience* life from your Heart. The Heart is a sensory organ. Sensing from the Heart brings a felt sense of intuitive closeness – of intimacy. Just let that in...” Adyashanti

There it was again – the whisper that said - open, open, open – through the senses, through your life experience, through the visceral, felt sense of living - from the innate, felt sense of aliveness – Existence Itself.

Fun-Qi Art - :) Christine