Saturday, September 23, 2006

For Rebecca

Allagash River
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao.
Two summers ago Becky and I went alone to Allagash River in Maine- one hundred miles of a river running north to the Canadian border starting in the part of Maine that is demarcated by letter and number rather than county name. We’d paddled the hundred miles a year or two before, so this last time we knew where we wanted to stop and base camp for 2 to 3 days before moving on. The first three days the only person we saw was the ranger who came by to say hello. We were out there totally alone, except for moose and loon, pines and gravel banks, for there is a string of lakes along the river.

When we got home I was surprised to discover that I had been changed. I felt like I’d been on a long meditation retreat and that deeply held neuroses had simply disappeared. I was amazed, for I never felt “a thing,” none of that usual purging required to be free.

After your email the other morning where you described your own “lightening” that occurred by the side of the river in north Georgia, I went to take a sauna. I carried a book by Adyashanti with me and opened to these words:

The more harmonization there is, the more there is an intensification of the Truth, or radiance, within us. Of course the radiance is everywhere. We can’t get away from it. But for a period of time, it’s helpful to have some intensification in our environment. … We come to that by being willing to expose ourselves to experiences and places that make it more potent… This harmonization is the reason it’s been said that if you want to wake up, you need to hang around awakened beings. It can be awakened human beings, awakened trees, awakened mountains, awakened rivers… If we are sensitive, we can feel when environments are awakened. Human beings can be more or less awakened. So can trees or a mountain, canyon, hilltop, or a particular street corner in our neighborhood…

The old Taoists would call this “rectifying the chi.” In ancient times… the Taoist priest was called in if there was a problem in the village…. So he would trot off from his hermitage and go to the town and say something like, “Give me a quiet place, give me a cabin, and leave me alone.” There he would sit down and open himself to the chi of the environment. Now that’s a great compassion because when you open yourself to the environment, if it’s out-of-kilter, you are going to feel the out-of-kilter in your own being. But if you have enough stability, if you have enough insight, nothing in you is going to be worried about that. It’s not even going to make you suffer, but it will just happen: turbulence… The Taoist priest would sit there in the cabin and just open himself to the chi, feel it, experience it, and then open the chi to the light of his own consciousness. It could take a day, a week, sometimes a month, but he’d just expose the chi to the light of his own consciousness and the energy would start to rectify itself. Then people in the village would start to feel better and get along for awhile.

That’s why scriptures have advised us to hang out with awakened beings. The awakened one could be a human being, a tree being, a street corner being. Expose yourself to them. Don’t worship them and put them on a pedestal. But expose yourself and this rectification happens; this harmonization happens because of the state of their consciousness. But don’t become dependent. You wake yourself up.

Adyashanti Emptiness Dancing, p 28-31.

This rectification is also the subject of the book, The Developing Mind, Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience, by Daniel J. Siegel, though it is never called that. Siegel describes it as the spreading of coherence between brains. It occurs and is required between mother and child for the development of attachment and love. It also occurs between therapist and client.

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