Very slowly over many years, I have learned that consenting to be with what is, body, heart, and mind, without judging or seeking to change anything in any way, allows a new energy or vibration or feeling of life to appear- and this is the truth I was searching for. One moment we are fully embodied beings, sensing and feeling the world around us and inside us, opening to perceptions of reality that lead us towards a living unknown. The next moment, we contract into thought, into stories about who we are and what the world is like, splitting off from the whole to claim our little portion of the life force as our own. But from earliest childhood, that same energy in us seeks the greater energy, seeks to be part of the greater whole. I slowly came to accept that the drama of being a self and being no self plays out over and over again without end. It would be many years before I discovered that what I needed to know was not to be found in some singular and extreme act of bravery or brilliance, but in the small repeated act of coming back to the present moment, letting go of who I think I am……….Tracy Cochran
how do we know how present we are? this question comes up again and again….fading into stories, judgments, appeasements, not-enoughness…..maybe that fiery, yet quiet, sublime, yet edgy weight in the heart is presence…..is this moment without the perfections we so long for……can we really know how to receive this?
We enter the gates of awakening carried by the same melodies, the same songs of joy and despair that first called us to the spirit. The ocean of life brings us waves of birth and death, joy and sorrow. For many, as at the beginning of our search, it is the painful truths of life that become our sacred gateway, that open us to the great heart of compassion. The blow of tragedy, the devastation of our losses may have begun our return to the spirit. Now in a deeper octave, this dimension of awakening opens our being to the shared pain of the world. To enter through this state is called ‘Awakening by the Gate of Sorrow.’ There are times in spiritual life when it feels as if all the barriers we have erected to shield ourselves from the pains of the world have crumbled. Our hearts become tender and raw and we feel a natural kinship with all that lives. To see the truth of suffering completely is to come to freedom through the gate of suffering. We can never successfully grasp or control the changing conditions of life. When we open the heart through the gate of sorrow, we sense how pain and dissatisfaction are woven into the fabric of experience. By the careful observation of the source of each action, a constant movement to alleviate suffering is revealed. For within the heart is found a freedom and love even greater than suffering. By facing the pain of the world they awaken a fearless and merciful heart, the universal birthright of humanity…..Jack Kornfield
While I of course remember various insights and revelations, on the whole my spiritual life has been a process of years and years of consciousness opening. This process simply has to be respected and encouraged. If I pay attention to what is happening inside, what wants to open next, it will always intensify. And as I sense each new capacity, I also discover what is in the way, preventing my opening. So if I sense my compassion is growing, I also encounter the doubts and resistances that stop me from really living in compassion. Acknowledging this becomes the next step in the process of opening. Even though we know the truth, we have to work through the holding and beliefs that keep us limited. For a long time you have to keep this opening process going by paying attention. But you reach a point where it goes on by itself. There’s no turning back because you know what it is to rest in True Being, to trust, even though you fall back into resistance sometimes. Because you know this is who you are, your understanding can’t disappear…..Sufi master