“To be “sociable”—to talk merely because convention forbids silence, to rub against one another in order to create the illusion of intimacy and contact: what an example of la condition humaine. Exhausting, naturally like any improper use of our spiritual resources. In miniature, one of the many ways in which mankind successfully acts as its own scourge—in the hell of spiritual death.” – Excerpted from Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings, Pg 63
There is something about sound that brings comfort even when a false sense or when dressed in chaos. It becomes the backdrop of life, the white noise that soothes when the room goes dark and quiet and we are alone there staring at the ceiling. To whom do we reach for in the dark when there is but the sound of our own breathing, the rise and fall of our chest quickening in motion chasing after a Monkey Mind running fearfully afraid of being abandoned.
At early ages, we are taught to socialize. One’s natural inclination to sit and discover the body, the mind, and the extremities overridden by the voice of parentals with their well-intended guidance that too often suffocate and stifle. They keep an ear out for sound, and when the backroom where the adolescent is housed falls quiet, they call out afraid that they’re up to something. They don’t know you well enough to know that you can be left to your own devices, and that you secretly crave the quiet. Continue reading “Markings by Dag Hammarskjöld: A Response”
There is much inside of life, and even though we often try to control things, there is more unknown to us than known. This isn’t always easy to accept. Some resist only to have that resistance spiral out of control toppling onto other areas of life creating more to control, to fix, and to deal with. The cycle can be vicious, though not impossible to end. All things are available to us in every moment that we choose to turn toward rather than away; that we choose to flow with rather than be the salmon swimming upstream. There is purpose for them, there is no purpose for us. It is the mind reaching for something, anything to resolve the discomfort of now. It is the ego taking us by the hand like the rope of a tetherball, swinging us around and around until something abruptly stops the spinning. We are that something. We are masters of both mind and ego, and with practice we will be on the other side.
The precariousness that any moment is capable of bringing may leave you feeling like a boat lost at sea in the cold brought on by the night. You’re alone and afraid of the unknown in the blue-black of the sea. There you are sitting in your boat with your arms wrapped tightly around your knees, shivering, teeth rattling. Are you cold? Afraid? It’s hard to be certain when you are barely able to find your breath and keep from hyperventilating. Then you hear a voice that reminds you of the bag you’d taken for the journey. Inside there’s a pair of socks, your funny owl beanie, water, a sandwich, a pen, and a book with a book light. You start to feel lighter, less cold, less alone. Then again you hear the voice telling you to open the book. You do, and it says: Soon you will be on the other side.
Because this day is unlike any day before. It came with the sun of sound and left with the chill of night. I sat at my altar today. That’s what I do when I want to connect or when I feel that I need to connect, because something is amiss. The feeling is easy to spot because it wears the face of all things external, and is the first cousin of discomfort. The mind has a way of running with anything I give it, so I limit its access and return to mindfulness when I forget.
Even when I’m not sitting, I like looking over at the candle, how it sets confidently inside a lotus attached to a metal Buddha adorned by Rudraksha mala beads. The light, the way the flame flickers when the air touches it. Wax has poured over at times creating a sense of things being permanent, even though that same hardened wax would transform the moment heat touched it. It runs down the side where the heat can’t change it. It stays there in place like a memory written down. There’s a yellowing black and white picture of my father as a young child held down by a rock I collected while out on a hike at Rodeo Beach in Sausalito. There’s a deck of Osho cards, a tarot of sorts, and a twenty pesos bill. Each serve a purpose. Each serve me in a way that creates an opening for me to learn more about myself and the path inside of the journey I’m on at any given point in time, should I choose to turn toward.
Today, I sat and opened myself up to the highest vibration, to the magnanimous nature of Life and all of its bounty to be gifted me again and again. I understand that nothing separates me from greater access, from the magic, from my ability to walk on water. The mind is the only barrier, but the practice of leaning into the mind enough to understand it, offer it compassion, and then transform it in order to be available to receive, is the way. It is found in the quiet, and we have to be willing to turn down the noise of the world in order to manifest a life breathed on by God.