“A guardian is broad-minded and understanding. A guard, on the other hand, is a vigilante, narrow-minded and most of the time despotic.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Lonely is Better

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I have been in Israel for a few days and will be here for a few more. I came because my father injured his spine, went through surgery and is now embarking on a journey of recovery. I came to offer what help and support I can.

Before coming here I was in a long continuous period of retreat. I hadn’t left Bhudeva for almost three months, had spoken to very few people other then Iulia and was quite happy to continue that way. Coming out of retreat into this reality is jarring. I feel a bit like I imagine the Buddha felt in the story where he, a prince, left the confines of the castle and encountered suffering in the world.

Here, now, around me, at ground level, I see an ugly world with so much unmanifest potential. I see people divided, animalistic politics, primitive “reality” on TV, and people moving around like zombies … hardly aware of each other, hardly aware of themselves. My father’s physiotherapy sessions take place on the 5th  floor of a 6 story building that towers over the center area of this small city. I got to see this part of the city, I know so well, from this slightly higher perspective … and it is so ugly. I wonder: if the building was much taller, would the ugliness fade out and be replaced by something better? how high would I need to go for that to happen?

When my father is intellectually engaged with intellectually engaging to “gain a sense of control over an abusive world” he seems vital and distracted from his pains and limitation. At other times he seems to tired and broken, slouching in his seat. I remember a picture of his father, having fallen to sickness, sitting slouched on a his couch … and now I see my father … and a shiver passes through me.

Yesterday the circumstances were right for his broken spirit to come through and express itself. He shared a feeling of emptiness. He says most people their age are busy helping with the grandchildren. They have no grandchildren. He has nothing to do, no purpose to pursue and guide him. When I said briefly that I feel the same, he explained to me that he doesn’t have long to live, I still have plenty of time to figure it out.

… I am getting, for the first time in my adult life, reading-glasses … I felt my eyes get weaker this past year … a clear slightly fuzzy sign that I have plenty of time!

… and here Sunni … at 4:30am … after listening to a rainfall … here is where I meet your words “welcoming … there in lies your work.”

I feel like my consciousness has been lifted in this lifetime … maybe not much … just a bit  … the 5th story feels like a suitable metaphor. High enough to see the numbness and zombieness. High enough to discern that there is so much potential … and so many good intentions. High enough to discern that good intentions do not obviously translate into good actions … that correct effort is not yet a common skill.

I managed to escaped the zombies and the numbness. They would have been content hypnotizing me into believing that I am depressed … that there is something wrong with me … and that THEY can help me, THEY can fix it. They would have filled my body with chemicals that would have numbed me … enough to not feel depressed … enough to not feel me … enough to not feel. And that would have been a lucky outcome … because in the not too distant past they may have tried to “reboot” me by electrocuting my brain or to actually cut a part of it out.

It feels darker around me, now that I am looking at the laptop screen … but the bird-song tells me morning is coming … and that the birds feel refreshed by the rain.

There have been many times that it seemed that a baby would have “made things right” for others around me … and through them maybe even to the “totality” of my life experience. There have even been times where I felt swallowed by a deep, powerful, loving, demanding presence that “surrendered” me to it. I have many times felt a deep capacity to love. But, there have not been times where I felt able to be sincerely welcoming.

Welcoming to what? I feel like I can barely make my own way in this world. I feel profound hurts and pains as I write those words … tears coming to my eyes. I also feel peacefully able to be with and in those hurts and pains. But the sum of those two movements, the hurting and the being, adds up to a delicate emptiness … a stillness. It doesn’t add up to “welcoming”. It doesn’t add up to feeling adventurous. It doesn’t add up to feeling like I have a capacity to nourish and provide for and protect a baby. For that it seems that AT LEAST I would need to feel welcomed and nourished and protected.

But, for whatever reasons, that hasn’t been my life experience. I do not say that as an excuse and I carry no sense of blame towards anyone in my past. And I recognize the love and caring that has been and is present in my life. I simply want to acknowledge that is where I am. I do not have a time machine to go back and re-do / un-do what has been done. I am grateful that I’ve found my teachers and the teachings that pass through them that make it possible for me to peacefully inhabit what I am. Being present in your meditative space makes me feel connected … as if I am looking across the town center to another building that is also slightly higher than its surroundings … and there in a window I see you … and you too are looking around … and our eyes connect … and we connect … and in our eyes I see that you have seen what I have seen. But those words “welcoming … There in lies your work” … feel like a punch to the gut.

It seems like there are plenty of narratives which could explain how my life journey is devolving, how I’ve given up, how I’m stuck, how I’ve lost. There are moments where I am vulnerable enough to be effected by such narratives. But for me the loneliness I’ve arrived at in life represents a journey of clearing, healing and strength. Peaceful, clear & lonely is, for me, better then “depressed” and medicated into a numbed and comfortably socialized life.

… welcoming … not there (yet!?)
… and I don’t know if there is space enough in this lifetime for me to get there
… and I don’t even know if “welcoming” is at all on the trajectory that I am on … is it ahead of me or have I passed it?
… I do feel that I am open to receiving clear guidance that I can assimilate, hold and act on
… and I do feel that I am open to receiving guidance that I may not even recognize as guidance and that will move in me despite my conscious rambling
… I do know that that one word leaves my exposed heart feeling alienated and alone.
… I do know that I increasingly … feel like an ending
… and it is a difficult notion to hold peacefully

… and dawn has come and gone .. and morning is here and I want to close my eyes a bit more.

 

 

 

 

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