Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What Passes for Experience

Is there such a thing as a requisite stumble? One flails in a welter of small lies, doesn't one. Most of what passes for experience is an evasion of our responsibility to remember God. A door can be held open a long time before quietly slipping shut and then what? Those who know themselves only in the responses of others are what loneliness does at closing time.

On the other hand, perhaps we really are an aperture through which the universe observes itself. One cannot find the boundary of awareness, and naturally the center follows them everywhere. The giant ladle so long treasured on the horizon spoons a dark soup where I walk. Rabbits commingling under the front yard pine tree. And later, strong tea perceived as a kind of emotional  antiseptic, much needed.

When we shift on the bed, the mattress whispers accordingly, and the blankets rearrange themselves. A miracle is essentially the insight that miracles are neither needed nor accomplishments. Let your yes mean yes indeed. How I long for the teacher who will tell me to stop writing, stop talking. Prisms are not the way though they illuminate it a little for those yet invested in maps and signs and guides.

Three days straight a flicker visits, and yesterday in the forest I found bear tracks in the muddy trail, and my heart quickened and then grew heavy, yoked still to a body yoked still to signals. Emily Dickinson knew the value of risk and also of making a decision. Symbols resolve nothing, and nothing becomes us. You have to go further than soft sighs, further than the multiplicity of choice, and especially further than always thinking in terms of distance and trails. One begs the historical Jesus for favors and so turns again from the ineffable's generosity. Walking in starlight without a hat - syllable by syllable - learning the lessons of shoelessness.


  1. How I long for the teacher who will tell me to stop thinking. Because as long as I sit at the center of thought -- or perhaps thought sits at the center of me -- there is this idea of self that just gets in the way.

    Really like the sentence that begins "a miracle is essentially... " So true.

  2. Tara Singh talked about thought as external, which makes intuitive sense to me. He said in response to a student that since we would not try to silence a waterfall or bird song, why try to silence thought? It's a good question.

    I know they are not precisely your interest, but Bohm & Krishnamurti have been very helpful to me, both emphasizing - as Singh did - that thought is external to what we are in truth. From that vantage point, thought is less troubling, and I remember that thought itself is not the problem but rather the attention I give it, which is in the nature of a bad investment.

    ACIM always talks about slipping beneath thought - sometimes shifting the verb but never the sentiment. It's like thought is a very shallow level of mind - the foam on the waves - and our work is to sink, fall, descend (which requires a willful passivity) past that to the richer depths.

    It is such a strange experience to try and find the limits of thought - its boundaries - its edges - its beginning or ends. There is nothing there but flux - spaceless and energetic - and you start to wonder: who is doing all this seeking? And then you try to find that . . .

    I am teaching today James Wright's poem A Blessing. He crosses so many lines - leaving the car, hopping the fence, approaching the ponies . . . He is blessed for his transgressions! He learns he is not a body - but something else that may break into blossom, as we all might at any minute . . .

    Thank you Cheryl!

  3. Actually, I like Krishnamurti very much and have read a few of his books, including one in which he engages several philosophers/thinkers in conversation, including Bohm. I have found his ideas very helpful. (By the way, I am currently reading a book of Sri Arubindo's letters and have been astonished at how much I am gleaning from them.)

    Where I get most tripped up by thought is when I start interpreting and then attaching to those interpretations and mistaking them for the Truth -- about myself and about others. Also, there has been a tendency to take the words and actions of others too personally, and I consider that a byproduct of being too caught up in thought. Still, I have gotten 350 percent better (at least) since beginning my studies in earnest seven years ago, and I feel this forward movement continuing. I very much like the concept you mention of willful passivity, because I quickly understand exactly what that is ... and it is something that is not unwelcome to this natural introvert.

    The poem is beautiful, the last line achingly so. Truly, we can only blossom if we move beyond boundaries , and, despite what I may think (:)), I imagine they are ultimately all self-imposed.

    Thank you, Sean, for sharing. It is, as always, appreciated.

  4. ah . . . for some reason I thought we'd talked about them and you respected but didn't really groove with them . . . I should read Aurobindo's letters - Dickinson's are so beautiful . . .

    Yes, that has always been one of my favorite poems . . . the students are always baffled by it, but it is gorgeous and fun to teach (I am not a body, I am free) . . . Another poem of his that I have always loved is this one . . .

  5. I am not particularly drawn to Bohm and probably said that at some point. For me, at least now, it takes too much work to read him ...

    Wright certainly changes everything with a single verse. It's like whoa, let's read this again from THAT perspective.

    Which, when I think about it, is like life after ACIM. It's like whoa, let's do this again from that strength-of-Christ, forgiveness perspective. Thus, instead of reading the poem, we become the poem. Or, even more deeply, instead of looking around for someone to love, we become Love and live from within that felt space.

    And that changes everything...