"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about calming your mind and opening your heart enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a Long-time Student of Meditation.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Nothing Special: Part Two

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”  
-- Rumi

There's a first time for everything.  Looking closely, I suppose there is a last time for everything as well.  Each unique moment arises and passes away within the flow of eternity quite distinctly, so quickly that we can't actually grasp it at all no matter how hard we try.  

With any luck at all, we can notice it, though.  And, it seems to me, is where the Real Magic exists.

This is the first time since I took on the task of scribing a weekly blog piece that I actually set myself up to continue writing about a "theme".  Usually I finish a piece and let it go.  Then when the next Thursday morning rolls around, I pull out the laptop and start fresh.  Sometimes I might have a theme in mind, or I've latched onto a title as a starting point before I begin.  Often, I just sit facing a blank screen -- and wait.

This week it's different.  I came to a point last week where I realized there was much more to say about the notion that there is really Nothing Special.  There was no way that I could keep the post at a reasonable length.  (Some of my friends have already complained that they are too damn long)  At that point, I scrolled up to the title window and typed a colon and P-a-r-t  O-n-e.  When I hit publish, I knew my goose was cooked. 

What the hell I was thinking?

Looking back to that post, I saw that I wasn't satisfied with having proclaimed that in my Heart of Hearts I believed that everyone and everything should be loved and appreciated --and then immediately went on to say that this was No Big Deal. It seemed that had come awfully close to proclaiming that the manifestation of Unconditional Love was nothing special.  Another way of saying that could be that God is No Big Deal.  That sounds a bit blasphemous, huh. 

And yet, as I Sit here this morning with the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds in a milky sky,
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as I Sit here with the sound of one bird twittering in the distance (now two, now three) through steamy windows, I again sense the Presence of the Sacred.  There is a brilliance, a vividness, a tangible energy to the present moment, a calm exhilaration.  And yet there is certainly nothing really "out of the ordinary" happening at the moment.   Birds twittering are, after all, simply birds twittering, right?

Having made a point of conversing about what might be called Spirituality with as many people as I could buttonhole for quite sometime now, I actually think that "special" moments like this aren't all that special.  In fact, as children it seems we all may have been in "the Zone" quite a bit.  To a child at play, Life simply is --  free of any sorts of discriminating thoughts about it.  Although we can all remember the darker moments of our childhood, most everyone I know can remember those moments that everything was quite fine just as it was.  Some of it may have even seemed quite magical.  (Lest ye be like little children...--J.C.)

Then, all too quickly, there comes the Fall. Immersed in a highly materialistic and competitive culture that places a high value on the so-called "rational thought", we are conditioned to believe that the world is divided between good and bad, right and wrong.  We learn to judge everything!  Tossed back and forth between the emotional energies of praise and blame, we are taught that there is success and failure, gain and loss, fame and disrepute.  As this develops, we learn to make a Big Deal of things, creating our "identities" out of a set of strong likes and dislikes, even attaching great importance to some pretty ridiculous things as we stumble ahead.  Our lives can even become a roller coaster ride depending on how our favorite sports team does that day.

Yet, it seems that most of the people I meet can still relate to the experience of "perfect moments" that operate at a more fundamental level than any of that.  At a certain point, standing (or sitting or walking or laying down) in the midst of those moments there was a deep sense that we were alive, somehow awake, aware that we were aware in a qualitatively different way.

Although the Gateway of these perfect moments sometimes emerges with high voltage bliss and fireworks as some sort of Big Bang with an outpouring of tears or ecstasy, this sense of Presence may have been just as simple as a deeply calm "moment's peace" in the midst of our personal fray or the direct perception of simple beauty in the world around us.   Once we understand the nature of Heart, we realize that this Gateless Gate may even come adorned in a feeling of soft melancholy as we open to the vast groundless ground of Eternal Life/Death to experience a direct perception of the fragile beauty of the human condition. Although I didn't know what to make of it at the time, (terms like relative and absolute bodhichitta were still years ahead of me), I spent an especially Surreal passage through time one crisp autumn afternoon my senior year in high school awash in that one.  Even now a sense of Presence resonates through that memory. That experience held within it a clear perception of the Truth of the Matter, a truth that has only ripened over the years through the Practice.

I'm certain that a formal meditation practice isn't essential to cultivate a more consistent access to the experience of Presence, a quality of consciousness that isn't dominated by what some teachers call "judgment mind".  I'm just as certain that it can help.

As we become more mindful of our breathing and the sensations of our body;  as we gently gain greater control over exactly how and where we place our attention, a whole realm of previously subconscious feelings and energies emerge.  We come to our senses in a different way.  It's really no big deal.

We get out of our head and into our Heart. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your analogy. No big deal you say? I can't help but gaze at the photo posted of the hemlock trees dressed in snow and feel just 'what a big deal it all is, and that I personally have been blessed to be part of the awesome beauty. It feels really good to answer to my higher self, to be guided and influenced by my higher power that flows through me like the breeze whistling through those tiny needles of that tree that have their own feelings of how to bow to the elements,to offer up shelter, give off oxygen, offer food for tiny birds with their seeds, To stand still and breathe through their existence here,doing the best of what they were created to do. To tolerate change, and keep on, keeping on. Everything to me is a 'big deal' I would feel less than whole to think less. We all deserve to be loved, if it doesn't come from human contact, it comes from home! I am made of my home and will always be welcome to be healed, protected and nurtured by it. To be sensitive to my God given senses turns out to be a key to simplicity, and life after all is suppose to be simple. Come to me as children rings in my ears as a reminder to clarity and what really matters while I dance on this planet, and die along with it.

Lance Smith said...

Wonderfully expressed! It brought a glow to my heart and a smile to my mug.

The teachings surrounding "nothing special" and "no big deal" often assist folks in navigating through the spaces where they DON'T feel the power of the ever-present, but so often missed, Miracle of It All.

The attachment of the ego to either the "low" side or "high" side of our experience can mire us in some pretty muddy places -- or give us rope burns as things shift.

That's why I made such a big deal out of it being "no big deal". LOL

Anonymous said...

<3