I’m through following trails.
From now on, let me be like morning glory
feeling its way through this moment’s always open gate,
the bird that knows wherever it lands is home.
What could I possibly take from the monastery
that these hills haven’t already given me?
The path caked to my boots.
The light and dark side of everything.
Streams running from my eyes.
My walking stick, that has
traveled every pathway
but its own.
the hidden spaces in every life are as illusive as the disciple riding on the cloak of his guru….searching, always a step behind, deep in shadow…..the stream of our lives ciphers meaning from the grit and the depth of our waiting……allow the rain to soak all the way through……
There are many means by which we tap the resources of the heart and enter into the spaciousness of being. But all the work one does to cultivate feelings of lovingkindness through exploration and service and meditation is ironically still ‘what to do until the doctor comes.’ Though our underlying nature is pure awareness, pure love, until the heart fully exhibits its true nature, it is skillful to cultivate such feelings as lovingkindness in the meantime. Paradoxically, the cultivation of lovingkindness through meditation and daily practice is almost like using a water drill in order to hit the water table below, the enormous rivers of compassion and mercy which lie just beneath the surface of our ever active mind. In an odd way the necessary cultivation of such qualities as lovingkindness and sympathetic joy is almost a mimicry of our essential nature. The little love grows greater; the little fears disintegrate. As the mind sinks into the heart, so the heart is allowed to enter into all matter. And we discover the heart connected with the disheartened. By sending love with each breath into the once-abandoned area of discomfort, one’s whole life heals within them. Caressing the area with care and mercy, with forgiveness and love, a powerful purification opens and softens that area. This healing is not about being anything else but being itself. Nothing separate, no edges, nothing to limit healing. Entering, in moments, the realm of pure being, the gateless gate swings open- beyond life and death, our original face, shines back at us…….Stephen Levine
In Japanese mythology, the crane becomes immortal at the age of two thousand, when it is done being a crane. And the tortoise becomes immortal at the age of ten thousand, when it starts being a wave. So perhaps the purpose of experience is to wear us free of our names. Perhaps, underneath all the distinctions we can imagine- all spiritual paths are one. Perhaps all our ambitions and desires are like different cups dipping in the same well at center. And every name- every praise and blame- is such a cup, each holding the same sweet water. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what carries us to and from that well but only that we drink. Could experience be for humans what erosion is for the elements? Is the purpose of experience, over a lifetime, to carry us to what matters and then wear us away till we become part of the sweet water the next generation drinks? If this is so, then what is the work of being human? There is no tangible answer, any more than we can ask fire why it burns. But like a crane flying steadily till its wings disappear or a tortoise swimming mightily till its shell wears away, we can live our way into knowing……Mark Nepo