Sunday, March 27, 2016

longing


Longing.

Have you ever noticed that much of our life seems to be spent reaching toward the next moment in a misplaced attempt to escape or appease a persistent feeling of longing?
Instead of sitting tight with the longing itself, we look for an explanation. "I'm not satisfied in this relationship." "I need to find my life's purpose".  "Do I even have a purpose?"  "Maybe if I can just clean up the shit pile from my childhood or get my ass back in therapy." "If I had more money I'd feel safe."  "If I was truly loved I'd know contentment." "If I were enlightened all of this aching and suffering would be replaced with the 'peace that passeth understanding'." 

Longing scares the holy shit out of us.  We run like hell away from NOW.  Where are we going?  Toward the next promised something, in hope of release?  News flash...it's another NOW.  It's just longing in a new dress.  

Even once we get that promised relationship, or new house, or bigger pay check or mind blowing spiritual experience, we inevitably come face to face with the evanescent quality of life. Everything is fleeting.  The NOW is constantly changing form.

We could pause here.  It's where we are anyway and there's no actual way of escaping.  (God knows we've tried) But we don't. We blame the relationship, the bills, the job, ourselves or our fleeting taste of enlightenment and seek again.  

So? Stop...now.

Our seeking is our suffering.  Our resistance takes a thousand forms... thinking, worrying, controlling, planning, jaw grinding, contracting, self helping, do-gooding, psycho-babbling...  It all amounts to the same thing. Resistance in disguise.
So let's try something different.

Stop.  Here.  Now.  Make an about face. Greet the longing with open arms.  Scary shit I know but we're braver then we think.  There's really no escape.  We are right here any way.  Right now.
Listen.  
This longing is asking only one thing of you.  
To be met.  
Here nothing is denied. 
So meet it.
This is where all your spiritual practice is pointing.

Longing unmasked is love

And love has taken a thousand disguises and a thousand more, all of them, no matter the appearance, are loves' invitation to love.  

In that passionate embrace even the God's shudder in ecstasy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Meditation

When the topic of meditation arises, I often hear, "I don't meditate", "I've never meditated", " I can't meditate"or "I AM a meditator" which often means, "I sit for x number of minutes every day which makes me subtly superior".  Once upon a time I meditated several hours a day, year after year, quietly sequestered from the hustle and bustle of the world.  Then something changed.  I asked what am I training for?

Meditation, as it's commonly referred to, is a practice composed of mental exercises and some degree of physical control, for the purpose of reaching a heightened state of awareness or a more relaxed condition.  It's easy to make meditation into a destination... an aspiration to attain some conceptual ideal or the means to get there.  Where?  I don't know…there?  Enlightenment? …some preferred future HERE? But meditation is a training tool and not a merit-based-goal earned through time spent sitting like a pretzel contemplating the belly button of the universe.
So what is all the training for?  Have you ever tumbled head over heart into natures beauty, astounded by the intricacies in each detail?  Have you ever laid awake beside your lover and watched the gentle rise and fall of his or her breath?  Have you held a new born baby in your arms and taken in the fresh newness of life with every sense at your disposal? Or become lost in the act of writing, creating, playing, loving and more?
These are all forms of meditation.  Formal meditation practice is meant to strengthen our muscle to be present. It's like learning to play the piano, we practice regularly to improve our playing. The play may be more formal and systematic BUT it's still playing the piano.  The same is true of formal meditation.  We are practicing conscious engagement with life AS IT IS right now.  If the internal landscape is bumpy, we are present and aware of the quality of bumpiness.  If it's blissful and spacious, there is a YES and release into that. Meditation is a no-fail business.  You are just showing up.  When resistance to this moment diminishes, so does the internal noise.  It's not a goal.  It's the natural byproduct of presence.  All the observed benefits of meditation naturally flow from a YES to this moment, as it is and exactly as you are.
And like all practice, meditation IS strengthening our capacity for YES.  After years seated cross-legged and contemplating my navel from every mystical tradition available, I asked the question… What is all of this training for?  And the answer came.  Life.  Living. And the secret of life is... to live it! 100%.  And that YES makes all the difference.