As all the Heavens were a Bell
And Being, but an Ear…
what is undeniable?….where does the weave unravel, and where does love become engulfed by the blurring of light? and where is the consummated passion of a life of clarity? the infinity of you and me seems to reveal itself in the simplicity of being who we are and the offering of this gift to one another….
I often hear two responses to the mystery of life. One is a declaration of how awful a world this is and how overwhelming the burden of what needs to be righted. The other is a declaration of how enlightenment and perfection are possible if we only work hard enough. The mood of these responses is either one of despair and apathy (what difference can I make?) or one of pushing for a romantic ideal (imagine a world where children never cry). These responses lead to either a life of isolation and dark endurance or one of missionary zeal to reshape the world into some form of Heaven. Though I’ve spent time lost in each, I find both responses insufficient. Devoted to either extreme, we are seduced to leave and bypass the work of being here. Historically, the Western view is that life can be improved and, therefore, it is our responsibility to control and shape our behavior and the behavior of others in order to make the world a better place. The older Eastern view is that life cannot be improved upon, only experienced. Life was complete before you or I arrived and will be complete when we pass. Herein lies a central paradox of being human. While we can’t eliminate hunger, we can feed each other. While we can’t improve upon the nature of reality, we can make things better for each other while we’re here. Over time and through the sweet experiments and harsh failures of the many lives within my life, I am getting there. And when I finally exhaust my smaller self, I will sit where it falls and smile to have been worn to the deeper, simpler self waiting underneath. Then I will be as congruent as a tiger so far from home its next step is home. I will sit where the old hunger falls and listen to the ancient wind voice its truth through the cracks in the one remaining wall that stands between us. My dream is that in time we might sing what we privately suffer and wonder……Mark Nepo
The sun of awareness in the gaze of the heart is not a heightened state of awareness that soon descends into a trough of awareness only again to ascend the heights. The Vastness of awareness itself grounds all these changing states of mind. The condensation of our innumerable states- thoughts, moods, and character- is an everchanging pattern of weather. The heart’s vastness receives pain, strife, confusion, fear, anger, frenzy, yet is untouched by pain, strife, confusion, fear, anger, frenzy. It receives and lets go as a riverbed receives and lets go- both at the same instant- of all the water of daily life the river carries along. Vastness that overflows as ‘Now,’ in which all of us ‘live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:18), cannot be absent, not due to any constraint, but due to the naked simplicity of its freedom. Certainly this spacious, silent land can seem to be absent or distant to the distracted, discursive, calculating, or frenzied mind. But to the still mind of the inner eye, ‘the eye of the heart,’ or the ‘gaze of the mind,’ as St. Augustine calls it, it is and always has been closer to us than we are to ourselves…….Martin Laird