VEILS AND COVERINGS

Ecstatic dancer yellow

If you become the one you long for then what will you do with your longing?  ~Rumi

What is there to do if you are so full as love that more love isn’t possible? If you truly trusted love abounding as all of life, then what would occupy your emotions? Unending and all-abundant love is the end of feminine drama. ~David Deida

Desire has been a driving force throughout my entire life. Deep inside I’ve always held the awareness that this isn’t all there is. I became insatiable for more, even though I couldn’t define what more was. As I grew older, that longing became twisted and obscured, protected and defended. I thought that what I wanted would come from outside of me, given to me by others, gifted to me by circumstance. I couldn’t trust enough in my own value to believe that it could come from me, through me, or that it might even just be me.

Eventually, I held that desire so far out in front of me and so far deep inside of me that I couldn’t reconcile myself with it. I could see what I wanted, watched others living the life I desired, but then, as if by magnetic force, I would repel that love and opportunity as far away as I could. Not consciously. Not by choice. But how can love come towards you if you’re vibrating not worthy in every cell of your body? Imagine a magnet whose desire draws everything she wants but then, at the last second, the force of her not worthy stops the desired in its tracks. It can’t move forward. It’s held in place by resistance. Eventually, it moves away.

It has taken me a lifetime, right up until this moment, to understand the battle I’ve been waging inside of my heart. These are not new ideas but sometimes it takes hearing it a hundred different ways, and experiencing suffering years in and years out, to finally grasp the concept that absolutely nothing is separate from who I am. It’s never been about what I do or say I want; it’s about the energy of who I am.

Perhaps the biggest frustration and stumbling block for me in the past, when I considered this idea, was that I could never figure out how to be love on the inside when I couldn’t feel it from the outside. Not that I was unloving–because I loved fiercely–but that love was never directed towards myself. I tried to fill the hole in my heart in every way possible but could never satiate my hunger, my longing. Then something really challenging happens–or many challenging things all at once–and I’m knocked so far off my center that my heart just cracks open from that hole. And then it finally gets filled by the only thing that could ever satisfy it. And it reminds me to keep waking up, keep waking up, keep waking up. Love is who we are. We lack nothing.

The most beautiful experience I’ve had this time around is that I’ve gone inward towards a vast and overwhelming love that comes from nowhere else. Meditation (combined with Yoga) is the #1 remedy I now give to myself for whatever ails me. And even the experience of meditating is an eye-opener for how I’ve handled most of my life. I find it fairly easy to slip into a deep state, where a bright white light starts to consume my awareness, but it’s taking consistent practice to let myself go into that light instead of shying away. When I do allow it, the experience is breathtaking. I am so accustomed to playing out the drama of resistance, lack, and suffering, that coming face-to-face with No-Thing, pure Love, pure Potential, almost literally blows my mind. It brings me to tears just to contemplate it.

All desires are the desire for God

obscured and veiled. When you go

out of this world and see the King

face-to-face then you will know

that everything you longed for here

–whether women or men, wealth

or palaces, things to eat, political

or religious power–all these things

were veils and coverings of him. (Her/It/Them)

~Rumi

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WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

yin yang

The book I was reading, asked, Why is this particular problem you’re facing perfect for your soul’s growth?

The answer was not in the book but the answer that came to me, was, How can you know who you are until you know who you are not?

Many years ago I broke with the Christian belief I’d been raised in that taught we were created by an all-knowing God who lived in the sky. Since then, the only thing that has ever made sense to me is the idea that the Universe/God/What-Have-You is actually Consciousness Becoming Conscious of Itself. How can pure Love or pure Potential know Itself as that unless there is contrast?

In this light, the deep dilemmas we face as humans could be seen as our versions of creating contrast. How can we come to truly and unshakably know ourselves as pure Love and pure Potential until we experience what we are not–the partial lack of both of those qualities?

Just a thought.

THE CANYON OF CHANGE

Grand Canyon

“I am still seeking my path, I am turning a corner…but…I am doing so in my heart…”  ~Marcel Proust

Change feels like dying. At least, it does to me. No matter how much I practice non-attachment to or non-identification with the ephemeral, I still wind up clinging to some sort of order I can make sense of. Life doesn’t make sense, though, especially at the micro level. All of one’s best laid plans, greatest efforts, and deepest desires can lead to nowhere. Or so it seems.

If you’ve ever hiked into the Grand Canyon, you know that it’s a presumably endless series of switchbacks. Trying to hike out from bottom, when it’s cold and dark and your body is protesting, feels like you’re trapped in a maze without exit. Three steps forward, stop for several minutes because your lungs can’t get air and your nose won’t stop running and your mind is telling you it’s impossible, three steps forward, stop for several minutes…repeat and repeat and repeat. Your legs can carry you but you don’t know if your heart will.

Everything looks the same. The zigzagging path can only be lit so far with a basic flashlight. The landscape you traversed in the sun is unrecognizable now. There is wildness out there, surrounding you, and potential danger. Progress is imperceptible. You’re just moving forward and up because you have to but not for any other reason. You want to give up completely but then what? It’s not an option.

At some point, not even halfway through the journey, resistance to what-is becomes futile. You’re suffering so much that you sit down, allow the uncomprehending vastness–and all of the attending fear—to wash over you completely. You surrender. It’s at that moment that the universe can attune to you or, rather, that you attune to the universe. Life cannot be understood on your terms. Life cannot be controlled by your will. Life will be whatever it wants to be and you can choose to flow or fight.

One of my greatest challenges has always been to see that flowing with Life doesn’t mean that I’m going nowhere. I often feel caught in an eddy, swirling around the same patterns and cycles or zigzagging up a trail to nothingness. No matter what I do or think or feel, I can’t get myself out of that eddy. But maybe Life is meant to be a series of circles and switchbacks. We circle around the same issues and circumstances, over and over and over again, but from different vantage points. We are working out our kharma and it doesn’t look or happen the way we think it should.

In this technological age, we’ve become accustomed to quantum leaps and immediate gratification. If something doesn’t happen right now or within a timeline we can comprehend, it feels like failure. It feels like death. That’s when the microcosm of change doesn’t serve and we need to pull back, up and out of our limited perception. Switchbacks do lead out of the canyon, and what feels like a closed circle might actually be a spiral.

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