Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A positive direction in perilous circumstances

In this troubling time, when nothing seems quite solid, reliable or certain, I believe we need extra heavy doses of positivity, gratitude, courage and endurance.

Of course, we should all be sensible and careful. We should wash our hands regularly and distance ourselves from other people in ways that make sense - working from home and staying home, wherever possible. We need to be vigilant about keeping our immune systems healthy. There is plenty of information on the Internet as to how to do this.

My contribution is simply to say that this too shall pass; that we have to get through this, that when the crisis is over, the opportunity is there to come out of it better than before, depending on one's interpretation of  'better'.

This crisis is a medical emergency and we must be vigilant. This crisis is also a moral and spiritual opportunity. We either take that opportunity and run with it or we allow fear to overtake us.

I belong to a group and the following was the offering to the members of the group this morning by the leader of the group. I just loved it and would like to offer it here to anyone who passes by these parts:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
"And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
"And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."
~Kitty O'Meara

Be well. Be happy.  Be safe. Have faith.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Order, disorder, reorder

I woke early and slipped out of bed with my novel, 'Wide Sargasso Sea' to read on the couch underneath a warm woolen blanket. In the quiet of the early morning I was fully engaged with the novel, the unraveling of the first Mrs Rochester (of Jane Eyre fame), when I became aware of the experience of sitting there in the quiet and the very distinct sound of bird song close by; some traffic sounds from much further away.

I registered that the sounds were coming to me clearly, as clearly as if I was engaged with conversation with someone right beside me. It was as if a portal had opened in my mind, a portal that brought with it clarity.

So profound was this experience, and yet so simple and everyday, that I turned away from the book and simply sat in the experience of living this moment.

It may be insignificant to the reader but as a meditation teacher it is significant to me, that I made no observation of my breathing, highlighting the fact that as we have revelations in a meditative or contemplative state of mind, that our transformative thought is all that draws our attention. We are fully immersed and engaged with that experience of the mind. The body doesn't come into it.

This was pointed out to me by a wonderful visiting meditation teacher from the USA and came as a surprise to us as students, but she is absolutely correct.

In a theoretical way I knew what I am about to say, but theory and practice are two very different things. As I sat there, silent and alert, it occurred to me that I was living this moment of my life. The past was truly the past and unless I particularly wanted to do so, there was no good reason to think about it.

I considered, 'if I didn't engage with the past, I didn't engage either with difficult moments from the past. In essence, if I didn't engage with the past, I also didn't need to think about, or assess or analyze events from the past which had been painful.' I know what I know, of course, but when living in the moment, so what?

It was like I had an eraser and all the writing of the blackboard, the complicated formula that had taken up the blackboard was brushed away, leaving a blank slate on which to write again.

It also occurred to me that in this present moment awareness I had full acceptance of myself. I wasn't flawed. I hadn't been neglected. I didn't have doubts.  I simply sat. (This, by the way, is the mindset of 'the doll'.)

This transformative thought happened at 7am and it is now 2pm. It wasn't just a flash in the pan. It feels more embedded as the day progresses.

As I communicated with people throughout the morning, this profundity was my constant companion. I was acutely aware that I was my own entity, empty in a sense, and thus in some way, available to them and yet untouched by them. I mean this in a good way. I was untouchable, in the sense that neither good news or bad news seemed to effect me one way or the other.

Words are hard to describe all this but I would say that I was looking out at the world not as me with a constantly thinking brain but as an observer; free floating.

Father Rohr, a Franciscan friar, talks about transformation having three components: order, disorder and reorder. To use his words I would say that this morning I had a sense of what that meant; that the disorder (the suffering) had somehow become reordered. On one level it blows my mind. On another, I am so chilled it's almost too subtle and smooth as to be an event.