grief is a shower of grace

This Unlit Light - well of grief - image by Smith Eliot

 

On October 23, 2009, I wrote a post called the gift of grief:

Seven months since she spun out of her solar orbit and left my life.  Well, appeared to leave my life.

What a cruel lie it is to believe that those we love have gone; what an ignorant denial of Life’s infinity of guises and disguises; what a limiting perspective on the vastness of Life’s Play.

She is missed, yes.  But I find that if I simply allow ‘missingness’ to be its unadorned energetic self and ignore the siren-call of memory’s stories, she is there, in that movement of energy.  Missingness holds the blessing of mutual gratitude – a two-way appreciation of love known and cherished.

Who would want to miss such a blessing?  Who would want to “move on from it”?  Who would want to heal it, transform it, transmute or transcend it?

Who would want to deny the gift of grief’s solidarity, the diamond sharp sorrow shared with the mother whose child disappeared a decade ago at the school bus stop, the father whose son has just been shot dead practicing maneuvers for a dubious war in a distant land, the lover whose beloved has passed away before she was ready?

Grief is a great gift.  I love the way it keeps my heart soft.  I love the way I see it in your eyes, in the eyes of all ‘I’s walking this Earth.  It is a hallmark of the unclouded Light of human-being-ness.

Please don’t tell me to get over it.


April 3, 2016 – an update.

Only one word to change: “months”, to years.

Seven years since she spun out of her solar orbit and left my life.  Well, appeared to leave my life…

I still slip  – delightedly – beneath the still surface to “the secret water, cold and clear”.  I still marvel that these eyes spill tears of gratitude.  Love blesses me with grief.  I make no movement away, rather, I turn to meet it, gladly.

Grief is – for me – a shower of Grace.


The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.

~ David Whyte

Where Many Rivers Meet
©2007 Many Rivers Press


The original post was inspired by an email exchange with Vicki Woodyard shortly after my mother’s death and the beginning of this blog.  Thank you dear Vicki.


Image by Smith Eliot


the world is your light emanation

In the light of consciousness all sorts of things happen and one need not give special importance to any.

The sight of a flower is as marvelous as the vision of God.  Let them be.  Why remember them and then make memory into a problem?  Be bland about them; do not divide them into high and low, inner and outer, lasting and transient.

Go beyond, go back to the source, go to the self that is the same whatever happens.

Your weakness is due to your conviction that you were born into the world.  In reality the world is ever recreated in you and by you.

See everything as emanating from the light which is the source of your own being.

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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to surrender to the truth of yourself, is to surrender to love

My title is stolen from Gangaji, with respectful thanks.

I’ve had an interesting few days since the last post. Interesting as in wondrous, as in OMG, and as in “what am I gonna do with this?”

(The last post. Crikey – isn’t that what they play at funerals?)

In this case it was a poem by Mary Oliver about Buddha’s last instruction imploring his friends and followers to “Make of yourself a light.”

Make of yourself a light. My beloved teacher Krishnamurti issued the same urgent invitation – “Be a Light unto yourself!” – and if anyone was a stand-up example of a being who put everything – even godhood – behind him to be his own Light, it was K.

Make of yourself a light. Be a Light unto yourself. I’ve been sitting with this and I confess it no longer makes sense to me. How can I be a Light unto ‘myself’ when what I am cannot be separated from the Light of Beingness? Clearly both K and the Buddha were speaking to the individual. But this Light that ‘I’ is, has no experienced beginning or end and is indivisible and changeless and inescapable. It’s meaningless to imagine that I am separate from it and need to make myself one with it. No disrespect to my teachers, but … why didn’t they come upfront and say something like “Be the changeless Light that you are?”

A Light. A Light that knows all other light as its shadow. This is the truth of what I am and I cannot argue with it. I can only dive deeper and deeper into it, to “surrender to it” as Gangaji writes.

And what a strange synchronicity: at the same time I have been becoming acutely, painfully aware that the bottom line for me now is Love. It’s the only thing that really, truly, interests me – Divine Love. Paradoxically, it seems to be most intimately known by its absence.

In the mix of moving and settling and re-establishing relationships I have been neglecting the Beloved. The zafu has been waiting, the Gap has been beckoning. To the extent that I have procrastinated I have felt the subtle ache of estrangement. Finally it could no longer be tolerated and I pinched my nose, held my breath and dropped into Point Zero – Zafuland.

Beloved Lover was there; lovingness and lightness and laughter were there.

No buts, no maybe’s. Love lies awaiting when ‘I’  make the turn – when Unlit Light makes the turn. There were tears. There was contrition. Lover simply laughs: “No big deal babe!”

Love is like good bread – it must be baked fresh every day.

Krishnamurti used to say “Enlightenment is a Light that is continually lighting itself.”

Yes. I go forth with a massive box of matches …

~ miriam louisa

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thus spake the heart-whisperer

Dear One –

– you will never be more at home
than in the ceaseless energy
of your body’s wild word

– you will never know purer peace
than in your blessed breathtide

– you will never find more happiness
than in this miracle-moment

– you will never find truer love
than in your own forgiving embrace

– you will never be more creative
than when you disappear

– you will never know life’s purpose
outside of simply living it

– you will never be more free
than before you contemplated freedom

– you will never be more awake
than within the quiet murmur
of your soft, animal, secret senses

– you will never find your self
apart from your changeless
inescapable
light of being

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~ miriam louisa

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what is it with steps and falling?

An old friend dropped this question into a recent email. It took me a while to understand where she was ‘coming from’ – it’s been a long while since analyzing events for their ‘deeper’ meaning has interested me. But I still love a good question, so I took a look.

I now understand that how a question is answered depends on where it’s flying in from. If I am zipped into my bodysuit – busy being a body – steps are solid forms to be negotiated in space and time. Falling happens when space and time are out of sync. Falling hurts; body might be crippled or disfigured. It’s an experience to be avoided: fear is body’s brand.

If I’m aloft in the thought-propelled balloon called mind, a fall down steps will trigger endless analysis of what it really means, what I need to know that I’m not looking at, what I need to avoid, what I must fix, change, rewrite about the story of “my life.” It will keep me very busy, very anxious, and very stressed out.

If I am neither body nor mind, but the spacious aware-ing that they and all their activities arise within – energy is simply dancing. It appears to take a tumble. It appears to be painful. It has no owner; it wears no name. Since there is no division possible in spaciousness, denial isn’t an option – nor is acceptance! Awareness knows itself intimately. And it knows exactly what’s needed for healing: rest and relaxation.

What is it with steps and falling? It’s a gift. It’s pure grace. The blessing of injury is that it delivers you, helpless and humbled, back to base: relaxation as Life, as the pure Light of awake, aware Livingness.

Gratitude!

~ miriam louisa

and the default demon turns out to be . . .

… a stuffed toy tiger chasing its tail!

“If I can only get a grip on myself I’ll sort out my anger, I’ll sort out my greed, I’ll fix my pride and jealousy, I’ll tidy up my relationships, I’ll get rid of my de .. lus .. ion .. .. ..s ..”

“Dammit! Why do I always end up back in the toy box before I can catch myself?  I just start getting up momentum and she plonks her butt down on the zafu.  Instant abandonment!  Oh the insult!”

“Doesn’t she know I am REAL?  That I’ve got ISSUES?  That my existence depends on getting them fixed?”

“And FCOL why doesn’t she turn off that darned Light?”

– miriam louisa

(with sincere apologies to Bill Watterson and Hobbes)


 

sunyata or story? – a reality check

Two weeks ago I took a tumble down unlit steps onto concrete. I’m no stranger to being hobbled for long periods (how else would a tearabout meet and fall fatally in love with a zafu?) but what’s interesting now, is that there’s … no drama. The Light of Being called ‘I’ is quite unaffected by two sprained ankles and one wrenched knee.

But there’s more, and it wants to be shared. In the leisure of forced immobility meditation finds no distractions. It flourishes. And this morning, after a sweet spell of simply being Being, it bubbled up some interesting questions.

Attention went to my left leg. There it lay on the sofa, the ankle swollen, the foot and calf black, yellow and blue with bruising. Not a pretty sight.

What do I actually see?
I see patches of color, shapes; a form.

Are the patches of color – in my actual direct experience, not in abstraction, interpretation or conceptualization – bruises?
No, they are simply patches of color – data perceptions. Bruises can only be inferred, not experienced.

And the shapes – the swollen ankle?
Swelling likewise. It can only be inferred, not experienced.

And the form?
Simply a form – ‘leg’ is what it gets labeled.

So?
No bruising, swelling or leg is actually being experienced.

What about pain?
My leg hurts, yes!

What leg?
Huh? Right. OK, there is sensation.

Where?
In my leg …… crikey…..?

Is the sensation outside of perception?
No, couldn’t be … could it?

Where is perception located?
Behind my eyes …

Really? Is perception outside of Awareness?
No. They can’t be separated.

So where’s the sensation actually experienced?
In Awareness – which has no fixed point of reference!

And where’s the perception of color, shape and form experienced?
In Awareness. Must be! OMG. There’s only Awareness experiencing Itself as a field of energy data!

And where’s the sense of ‘I’ experienced?
It … floats within Awareness … it is Awareness. It’s all Awareness!

Good Reality check, eh? Just in case you were tempted to turn it all into a wee story sweetheart!

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No-thing exists outside of the Awareing,
the Experiencing, the Knowing, that is ‘I’.
No accident, no injury, no pain, no trauma
ever affects this unknowable ‘I’.
The Knowing of this is sweet peace and Lightness of Being.

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I share this because I know the agony of bodily injury. This body has been smashed. One of my legs was severed and re-built. I have spent many months hospitalized and immobile, not knowing whether I’d ever walk unassisted again. Back then I was unable to separate the story of my experience from its actuality. Now I am able to do that, and I am profoundly moved to share this simple investigation with those who suffer. It’s such a simple inquiry, and it shows so clearly how we often don’t experience the actuality of what’s going on. We experience the story, and it’s usually an awful one. And it’s usually all a lie. To suffer is to believe the lie.

~ ml