This post is inspired by three wise wideawake souls: Jac O’Keeffe, whose cluster of words – borrowed for my post title* – made my hair stand on end; Lama Mark Webber, who advised me to “Never stop emptying!”; and Lama Choedek, Rinpoche, who so lovingly taught me that FORGIVENESS is the kindest gift one can offer oneself, and the world. Homage; deep bows to you.
R e l e a s e R e t r e a t R e l a x
When I think about forgiveness I see a beach with a quiet tide, just like the Bay here, where I lived out the last decade, and where I am at present a visitor. I see a woman (well, now, doesn’t she look familiar!) standing at the foaming edge of the water releasing a lifetime’s worth of pain, negativity, frustration, and fury – stuff buried so deep within her body that she had no idea it was even part of her. She just rips herself open, intent on releasing the traces of memory that are no longer relevant to her life, along with all – friends, foes, family – who feature in those memories. Out it all goes. She’s weeping: tears of contrition, tears of joy, tears of release and gratitude. She’s in the grip of bliss, actually.
The phrase “backing off” arises; retreating from mental engagement with the old wound-laden stories. I see the waves edging up onto the sand, obliterating all the traces of those who left marks, and the marks they left. I see the incoming tide meeting the outflow of her tears and retreating back to the womb of the ocean, carrying the past with it and leaving nothing but gratitude for Life’s learning.
I see the woman kneeling now. She loves the world – its beauty and incomprehensible order have always awed her. She deeply feels the troubles of the world and prays that those contributed by her mistakes, misunderstandings and delusion be erased and never repeated. She prays that the dream of world be refreshed and restored to its transparent luminosity for all who dream – whether they know it or not.
She rises. She walks away from the water and finds a spot beneath fragrant shade. She lays her body down. She relaxes. Breath by breath her body releases and her mind retreats. She rides the tide of her breath back to her unknowable spacious source and relaxes as that breath-breathing beingness, that incandescent awareness. All the phantom yesterdays, yester-wheres, yester-whos and yester-yous vaporize. She smiles a little smile – Hafiz was right about separation from God being the hardest work in the world.
And she smiles again at the realization that forgiveness is about giving and giving and giving; giving back to Emptiness; endlessly emptying. She knows that there is no end to it; there is no ‘until. . .’
– miriam louisa
*Born to be Free, by Jac O’Keeffe
Photo by Luke Norris