Thick and thin. Having and having not against a back drop of the never changing. The uncertain breathes down the length of my spine and I sigh. To sit in the unknown with ease has become my practice. Not attaching to an outcome or grasping for a still, lifeless answer. Impermanence, every moment filled with life and death, inhaling, exhaling…
I return from one dark year, a pilgrimage I didn’t know I was taking. No matter how long we have practiced or how deeply we have gone into our own mire there is still mud at the bottom of the well. In the transiency of Seattle I became intimate with my attachments, with fear that rose from unseen quarters, with tidal anxiety as unpredictable as the Sound. I felt for the first time in my life adrift, far from all that I loved, from gravity itself. I was stripped of identification, human roles that had given my life meaning, form and function.
The sky in the PNW is an enigma erasing all sense of time and space. There is no orienting oneself by the presence or absence of light. The, fog land and water appear and disappear seemingly at will. It is an illusory place, surreal and mystical. It inspires one to question what is and isn’t real, what exists beyond the smoke and mirrors of existence.
In the perpetual dark, grey, horizon less phenomenon that is Seattle there were no distractions, no associations, nothing to inhibit my descent. In the silence of my little tree house surrounded by woods and water, mist and melancholy, the whole of my life came seeping in. It was as if I had died suddenly and was watching the Technicolor, frame by frame of my entire life. I saw myself at every stage, the inner workings of my mind, habits, patterns, and choices. I felt the rawness of my vulnerability, the shedding of one self for another. I could see how my decisions led to a whole host of consequences and outcomes, some desired, some not. I was shown the truth in all of its unerring, unbiased glory. Like a dot to dot it was all connected, one fine line to the next. The sheer complexity, pain, pleasure, self-sabotage, beauty, sadness, joy, entanglement, confusion, uncertainty, grief, ignorance, and grace, of my being; I was so irrefutably human, flawed and imperfect. My heart shattered into nothingness. Whatever stable ground I once stood on vanished. I questioned my entire life, it’s meaning and purpose. What value did I essentially have? What was left of my life to live? Why was I alone? I watched, as I judged, condemned, interrogated, and despaired. My mind, once the great liberator had become my oppressor. It was a merciless, inescapable fire that would devour every last self-deceiving thought I had. So I sat with my crazy mind, practiced courage, patience and faith. Throughout this process I felt the thin pulse of my own compassionate, beloved Self, tender, and AWAKE. Alchemy. I shed to the marrow erasing all the folly of self-importance and ignorance. I knew everything and nothing. The slate was once more wiped clean, and I was not as I once was.
It was time to go home, and so I did. I am grateful to a depth I never knew, appreciative of the simple in a way that I only thought that I was. My awareness has been refined by hour upon hour of solitary contemplation. Whatever darkness consumed me then now illuminates my waking moments. Thank you my beloved for never being done with me, for making me ever more humanly divine.
October 28, 2012