Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the end of all our exploring.
Will be to
arrive where we started.
know the place for the first time.

~ Little Gidding, TS Eliot

The internet has given a whole new face to long-distance relationships
And it's the face of a screen,
An interface
That defies time zones and places.

no colour, sound, smell, taste, touch, or what the mind takes hold of, nor even act of sensing

How weird. But how true!
My own mind framing seeing.
Not you, not even my projections onto you
(Although you are there, poor dear, putting up with this nonsense, waiting patiently three hours behind)
But my mind seeing projecting
Seeing seeing, right there before my very eyes
Like staring into the mirror at life itself.

Here then, my love
Is emptiness:
Not in the pixels I see
Nor in the beautiful face
That moves me to sadness because it is not really here to see,
But in my own looking through them all
To you.

We smile and laugh
(But not too hard because we might fall off our chairs
And disappear from view)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Now you have to stand in desire,
all your life long,
if you are to make progress in the way of perfection.
~Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous

In everyday situations, when faced with ambiguity, conflict or other challenges, we are prone to respond instinctively with a fight or flight reaction. In spiritual practice, on the contrary, we are encouraged to just sit, do nothing, and breathe.

In Contractions, I wrote about the crucible as indispensable to the transformation and sublimation of energy in relationships. The same holds true of spiritual practice.

What happens when, voluntarily entering the crucible, you offer no escape from cycles or loops of thoughts and feelings? At first it may feel unbearably uncomfortable, increasing suffering. And at the beginning, it is tempting to get up and do something else. This is the right thing to do if one is not choosing to practice. But if one intends to go beyond suffering rather than avoid it, one must stay with it. Then the energy in the loop is contained and intensified, just like the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass. You do not have to focus, just contain. This is the exercise of following the breath, the magic crucible of practice and prayer. And just like oxygen to fire, breathing will give you all the space and fuel you need.

No solutions emerge with practice, because practice is a constant rekindling of what you already are-- beyond all problems, beyond all specifics, beyond all thises and thatses. Practice will not bless you or bring you peace or any state of mind or emotional satisfaction. It will bring you face-to-face with being, that's all, but that's everything! Just being. Dynamic, active, desiring, but not wanting, love.