Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nothing to Fear


A few nights ago I got sucked into the movie The Lovely Bones. I started watching and quickly realized that, as a movie about a girl who was brutally murdered and who watched and influenced her family from a gazebo purgatory, this was not a movie I should be watching before bed. But the craft of it was exquisite. The images were sumptuous and the performances were intimate and so heartfelt that I kept watching.  I went to bed with a feeling of fear bubbling up inside me that I have not experienced in a long time. That fear was wrapped up in the image of the murderer of the movie. Needless to say, I did not sleep well!

So last night, before bed, I consulted the writings of Sally Kempton, who gives tools for dealing with the distraught mind with beautiful clarity. In her most recent article she discusses the senses and how the Tantrikas held that enlightenment was gained through the senses. When we experience delight from the senses, food, art, etc., we should focus on the sensations within us. Know those inner sensations to be the source of the pleasure we feel through the senses, not the stimuli that appear to create the sensations.  We should wonder at the source of those inner sensations and we should think about from where they come and to where do they go?

I got to thinking whether that would work with any emotion and any sensory stimuli. Could my fear, in fact, become bliss if experienced as an unattached and impersonal creation based on stimuli. After a few moments of contemplation on the object of my fear (the image of the murderer), I found a burst of intensity of the fear in the form of a gripping in my belly, a tightening in my legs and hips and constriction of my breath. Knowing that I did not have anything to actually fear, I realized that fear was just a name that I associated with those particular sensations.  What would happen if I gave it a different name?  I smiled as my smart-ass mind thought of “Clyde” or “Felicity.” With that smile came a large dissipation of the fear; a spacious bubble wrap that surrounded the fear and escorted it out the door. When my ego did not have a name to attach to the sensation, it let go and fell back into waves of contentment.

I felt a beautiful moment of clarity. That success was due primarily to the fact that there was no real object worthy of my fear. After all, there are certainly very real things to fear in this world. But those things that should be feared will be there whether I fear them or not. So I aim to not be afraid and not to clench my belly and constrict my breath. I know that I will experience fear again, but I hope to remember that experience of impersonal Awareness which helped me find clarity.

Ultimately, it was simply a moment of practice. Practice for when I will truly need that skill such as in times of deep fear or sadness. Practice of remembering that my ability to surf the inner sensation waves is as real as the sensation waves themselves. Practice for remembering that connecting to that impersonal Awareness makes us stronger. A practice of remembering that we are more powerful than we know.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Steeped in contentment;
ever reverent;
humbly confident;
this gift of embodiment.
Such love have I seen;
Kindness more than I could dream;
My open heart can finally glean,
and offer passion to nature's scheme.
Inner fire without a burn;
a pledge to serve, from Grace I learn;
who and how and what to discern;
When gratitude blooms, there is nothing to yearn.
Teach me to receive her power 
at my very darkest hour;
when hiding in self pity’s too tall tower,
melt my heart into gratitude’s flower.

By the way - gratitude to!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dependence Day

Independence is the sloughing off of authority bringing a celebration of Freedom and Self Determination. Just as a rocket must contain enough thrust to break free of the atmosphere, any successful revolution must create enough of a bond amongst the breakers of authority (whether violent or peaceful) to uniformly push past boundaries without losing the support of the group. As America's founders broke free of the bonds of authority, they had to create new bonds amongst themselves.  Freedom requires bonding. Freedom without the glue of hope, faith and purpose is Anarchy and chaos in the political realm, and isolation, loneliness and depression in the emotional and spiritual zone.

Not to be confused with bondage which is involuntary, we choose and create bonds which tie us to others, to our profession, to our social standing to our families and even to our own bodies and minds. We depend on those bonds, find comfort in them, and we mourn when they are suddenly not there or are not giving us the comfort we expect.

To what do we adhere when our usual bonds fail us? Our challenge is to find bonds that are less dependent on external forces: to make our chief dependence on the vast life force that breathes itself through us. It's only dependence is on form itself. It is itself niralambaya, self-supporting and Independent.  That does not mean that we shouldn't bond with others. It prompts us to recognize the nature of what we bond with when we bond with others. We bond with the essence of the life force that is within them. We bond with the eternal within them. And then we realize that it is the eternal within us that connects with the eternal within them.

So for this week of Independence Day, may we celebrate our common dependence on the independent life force.  May we find common purpose, hope and faith in that energy that glues us together on this plane, and thereby recognize connection with everyone and with our world.

Thanks for reading!