Thursday, April 26, 2007

Story of the Day... Yet Another!

Originally uploaded by YAR!.

I received another Story of the Day from Story People. It’s entitled, “Personal Plateau.” It goes like this:

I don't want another opportunity to learn & grow, she said.
I just want to eat crackers & watch Oprah & pet my cat.

Words, words, words and stories. They are sitting on my nerves!

I was reading The Truelove by Patrick O’Brian last night. Jack Aubrey, naval captain in the Napoleonic Wars, is at sea on a broad reach to Figi. He is encumbered by legal correspondence from England and among other problems finds he must appoint a new chaplain to a couple of parishes. He enters into the following conversation with his friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin, naval surgeon and spy:

“I have the particulars of the advowsons I told you about some time ago. But tell me, is Martin an idoneous person?”
“Idoneous for what?”
“Oh, just idoneous. Two of the livings, if you can call them livings, are vacant; and this letter says I am required to present an idoneous person.”
“As far as benefices are concerned no one could be more idoneous, fitting or suitable than Martin, since he is an Anglican clergyman.”

And then later, there was this little do between Clarrisa Oakes, stowaway and prison escapee from New South Wales and Dr. Maturin:

“I had almost made up my mind to send you a note asking if I might consult you. But perhaps female disorders lie far outside the purview of a naval surgeon?”
“In the nature of things he has little to do with them. But I am also a physician and therefore omniscient.”

God, I love it! Doctors were omniscient even then? What are these characters about?
What does idoneous mean?
I don’t know - either, any, all of this. But, somehow all this blather was just perfect to my mood.

In the past few weeks I have listened and listened to Byron Katie CDs while laid up in bed with a bad back and legs that would not work. She is into Spiritual Inquiry – really looking at the stories that we tell ourselves, though she calls them “judgments.”

“The sky is blue.” That’s a judgment. It’s also a story.
And if that is – Everything is… I guess.

Notice what you’re telling yourself.
So often it is not true.
So often it is causing pain. That’s Katie’s whole deal. So, I have been noticing.

I have been noticing a lot. Try staying alone in your house for about two weeks and just notice all the insanities that rumble through your head and living room… stories….

Take for instance the fact, “She left me.”
Of course, not unlike “The sky is blue,” this too may be a story. But you have to start some where.
So, OK- “She left me.”
Now what? The stories start.
There is hers. Do I believe it?
There is mine. Do I believe it?
Yahda, yahda.
I went with hers and have been processing that for over a year.
Most of the time now, I can live fairly easily with it. I have accepted "what is."
And that is good. The pain is over.
Katie’s, Tolle’s, Adya’s whole thing (in one flavor of another) is “Accepting What Is” or being-even becoming- a “A Lover of What Is.”
I’m still not close to Loving that she left me, but Accepting was no mean feat either. So, I have been pleased and it gets me compliments from many corners.

But what did I discover these past couple weeks?
The stories come in layers. (Bette Boop puts hands to cheeks, “Oh, NO!”)

I went with “hers” initially because deep down it was what I wanted to believe.
It had this noble, spiritual tinge that I preferred to my own initial, “She done me wrong!” This latter more dramatic version expanded so easily into mean and painful thoughts.
But then, both She and I knew all along there were other versions.
My sister had her interpretation, our friends had theirs.

Story after story, I would not listen to...
Until, I had the privilege of lying around the house for ten days.

We start with the story we most prefer (however awful it may be) … and adjust to that.
And then voila - you are freed to accept the next story, the next interpretation of the very self-same “fact.”
Dang! This is not the best discovery!

Yet, it seems that each version of the story is a bit easier to accept.
And this must be progress, given that originally any one of these renditions was more than I could face.

In part this ease arises from being more alert to when my inner gears begin to spin. I can take a breath and let it go before they gather all that much momentum.

And too, maybe I’m just a bit more tolerant of the stories others choose to tell.
So many stories, no one is more real than the other.

So many stories, each adjusted to the pain their teller can endure.
There is kindness coming here.
Or, with a nod to Adya who likes to quote William Blake, “A fool who persists in his folly becomes wise.”


pick one
Originally uploaded by Mr. Mark.
This just in, as I write: an email with yet another Story of the Day
(Actually it and others are from “She Who Left Me.” So, I’ll let you decide if she’s really gone.)

This newest story is entitled “Connection.”

there came a moment in the middle of the song when he suddenly felt every heartbeat in the room & after that he never forgot he was part of something much bigger

Which brings me a bit more rested and relaxed to another teaching of Adyashanti:

The Nothing that is Everything does not explain Everything.

(Or is it explains Anything?) Doesn’t matter- his point is in a true Unity and Wholeness, everything affects everything. A single cause and effect is simply impossible - not withstanding the fact that if you drop a rock on your toe… OUCH! (it’s all so paradoxical)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Just a Brief Note

Yangon, Myanmar
Originally uploaded by JET_ny.
I am alive and well and kind of running in too many directions at once. So this is just a quick little note - to those who may stop by and be disappointed by the lack of action.

Please check out my other blog: Silence: A Gallery.

I have been inspired! ... Over there... Not here.

This is verbal. That is visual.
You got to have the whole Yin Yang thing working for you!

... No... (oh, how sad.)
Beep. Beep.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Salle de Bain Sanity

Bath 2
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao.
I’ve not written much for the last month or so. Today I realized the trouble started in part after self censoring a ditty I’d written called, “Salle de Bain Sanity.”
Censorship - it doesn’t work!

I’ll just have to live with the risk of my sister once again calling to inquire because, “You didn’t sound well!” Well, hey, it was nice to talk to her. I think I am going to have to just let one rule of this Blog be… honesty… even when you’re stupid. That seems the only way.

So, perhaps a month late, here you go: “Salle de Bain Sanity.”
(And I am so happy you get to see the retro mint-green tiles.)

As it turns out I do my best thinking in the bath tub.
As it turns out the bathroom is my inner sanctum.
I use to think that locale was my bed, but as I’ve aged I tend to lose consciousness too quickly for the bed to be of much use.
So, I am left with my bath tub kind of by default.

The fault lines are what need exploring and exposing. And that is often a messy process of excavation. How handy to be so near water and a tissue.

So I lie there soaking in the warm waters of the tub, the urban dweller’s substitute for the Oceanic and tell myself a story as I try to think things through. And soon I realize…

“The Greatest Story Ever Told” isn’t in the Bible. It’s “The One You Tell Yourself” about your self (small “s”).
And what is even funnier (to me) is that people give me credit for this- this story telling. I’m a great story teller, down right life of the party. That’s what story telling is- pure entertainment. Such a ruse and yet, it is “pure” in the sense that there’s always the outside chance something wise might be conveyed.

So let me begin here with the retelling (cause All stories are Always a retelling) of a story that I actually got published in the Sun. I called it “The Secret of Life.” (Maybe… I’ll have to double check that fact.)

This story really began with a dream, a dream I had when I was a teenager:

Pop and I were standing in this line of silent and disheveled people, under a blackened night sky tinged by the red fires of Apocalypse lying just over the horizon. No one was in charge, yet we all seemed totally subdued. We just waited there in line, unconsciously, slowly inching forward.

Peering up ahead I realized that we were waiting to enter this dilapidated shack of an outhouse, just this classic clapboard thing. One by one, each person entered.
And No One ever came back out. The line was disappearing into this toilet.

And as the line crept nearer I realized, “The Secret of Life.”
The Whole Secret was Not to go in there. Just refuse.
It was that simple.
Just don’t go in and you’d be saved!

I tugged on Pop’s arm. We had to get out of the line. I tried to explain. He wasn’t listening. I tugged and shouted. “No, No! Don’t go in! Listen to me!”

I was still screaming and pulling on his arm as he did this slow motion header right down the tube. Like that, he was gone. Only the swirl of flushing water remained.

And Just like that I woke up in a sweat.
What a horror. You can know, you can be screaming the Secret of Life, and you can’t change a thing.

“The Secret of Life.”
That phrase means a lot to me. My seventh grade science teacher used it and so thrilled my soul that I knew right there I had to understand. He was talking DNA and RNA and I resolved to become a molecular geneticist, though it’d be decades before I new the label.

And taking that header of a dive means a lot to me too.
Maharishi used to say that meditation was like diving, simply take the correct angle and let go. Gravity will do the rest.
You execute an effortless dive into the Absolute.

And Adyashanti says that Where you go is into the Nothingness (that is Everything- but first you have to really understand… NOTHING.”

So as I soak here in my tub, viewing yet again those cool, mint-green retro bath tiles and allow that Silence and gap of witnessing to arise, I decide to simply accept the Gap.

Maharishi use to say, “Never try to bridge the Gap.”
Adya might say something like, “Approach with curiosity.”

So I do that.

And there ahead of me is such a hole. Such a chasm I could simply take a header into. It’s as if I am standing out on the end of the high dive trying to screw up the courage to simply lean over and let go.

That’s what I’m doing.

I’m trying to get my courage up, because this is no belly flop I’m risking.
This is The Great Flush. This is down the tubes into Nothingness. And even the splash I’ll make will get sucked down after me, pulling all Creation down the tubes also.
I mean this is direct perception!

“That’s all folks!”
The Loony Tune would be over.
There’d be no more stuttering.
No one talking and no one watching.

…As it turns out, I not only made up the story but also the audience.

A Little Context

First a definition: “witnessing” is the experience that meditators sometimes have of feeling the self as separate from activity. Tolle calls it Presence. I think it arises in part from an experience of Silence.
(See also, Enlightenment & Witnessing, July 6th, 2006, or The Freeze Response, July 10, 2006.)

I was thinking about this “witnessing” that keeps throwing itself into my face. And now I am totally, utterly confused. It (both the witnessing and perplexity) has been going on for so long now it’s getting on my nerves.

Over a year ago Evie and I were talking about it. Laughing really, for the bottom line back then was, “I’m either enlightened or hypoglycemic.” And I really could not decide. Now, there is the forest of Over Thought Confusion and Clueless Ignorance if ever you want a museum specimen of such an animal.

So a week or so ago, I was reviewing the conversation in my ever thinking head and once again I was having a good laugh at how stupid can I be, when I noticed… for years now I have been watching the witnessing and trying to explain it away.

I spent months, if not an entire year, watching the hypoglycemia explanation until I was really sure, “No. That’s not the cause.” So after that, I seamlessly switched to another excuse: “decongestant medicine head.” I have come up with one culprit after another, until just last week it became “Candida metabolites” and I saw the pattern in my madness.

Then it hit me, “Why all the excuses?”
“Why not just except it?”

And with these two questions finally came an authentic answer which broke upon me in tears.
“I cannot accept that.”
I realized that if enlightenment were handed to me on a platter, I’d not be able to reach out and take it.

What a strange revelation. I could not accept that which I so long for.

Well, at least now we’re getting to some really useful stupidity.

I resolved to behave differently.
Instead of excuses, how about curiosity?
What can I find out about this witnessing?
What about this Gap between me and Creation?
I’ve started looking and stopped trying to explain.

A couple days later, I wrote out “Salle de Bain Sanity.” (I hope I spelled it right- if not- Oh well. It’s not the only mistake out there; is it.)