A Yogi tea bag told me that happiness comes through what one does for others. Experience shows this to be true. I write for openly selfish reasons. I can do little at this moment but offer insight from this place of perspective. It is my hope to kindle some remembrance here.
People speak of their love of service, of the great Work. This love abounds under the right set of circumstances. Beautiful synchronicities, delicate bird songs accompany our sacred practices. And with the love of the wonderful awe inspiring wise, compassionate, generous and the rest of those 99 names of guru – baby, we couldn’t get much higher. But I have heard it said from the mouth of such a one that the Work is in hell. We work where work is needed – where else but in the darkness of hell would the light of the work be needed? Not in blissful, blue skied nirvana. Not in the zing of perfect Zen.
If you find yourself in those states, kudos to you, I guess. Working, you’re going to get yourself dirty. Being awake, you might have that Zen thing on, where the right action of the work can be taken. But too often, because of the earnest lies we’ve told ourselves especially about the work and our love of it, we fail to get down to business when the opportunity arises. In fact, we run in the exact opposite direction of where there’s work in pursuit of blue skied nirvana. We fail to see the weather worn beauty of moving into the wind.
Evolution happens through a series of very uncomfortable experiences out of which we emerge having rid ourselves of a veil and/or gained a skill that is useful to further evolution and service. I am speaking from experience. It was under the extreme circumstance of having a gun pointed at me that I saw what really mattered to me. My first thought was for the safety of the kids in the adjacent room. My life meant nothing in that moment – it was the kids that mattered. I did no heroics – didn’t have to, as it turned out. I just observed something I might not have otherwise seen. Those were extreme outer conditions. There have since been extreme inner conditions that have revealed to me this is nothing, it doesn’t touch the realm of work sacrifice and nothingness the truly enlightened know.
I read an article about a homeless man who died on the street in front of many people either walking past, or worse, some recorded it on their I-phones. Finally one person, a social service worker, called 911 and a policeman tried to help the man who had blood coming from his mouth and nose until paramedics could arrive. The policeman in attendance asked, rightfully, why didn’t anyone call 911 sooner? This is one aspect of the state of humanity, the soup we swim in. The ability to buffer ourselves, to disengage from what is real and in front of us is mind blowing – it is in direct proportion to our skill at heart closing. It is a most insidious thing especially because we can convince ourselves that our occlusion is a form of healthy non-identification.
One’s mind has to be blown. It is said we can’t even begin to work until we realize our own nothingness. What in the world do you think that looks like? Perhaps like a graceful Mona Lisa smiling Kwan Ying or blissed out Buddha sitting on a pretty cushion?
Yeah, dig, hanging out where it’s high is where it’s at. You do no favors by giving others power to bring you down. But to practice compassion, empty is where its at, empty of one’s own agenda. Just be there. For God’s sake let’s stop marking self-important attempts at being compassionate by saying words we have no ability to stand behind when addressing one who suffers. Sit deep in your own helpless nothingness, and look through those eyes into the eyes of the suffering. That’s where we all meet, in the light of nothingness. Just be. Be willing to be, to muster up the courage to look into the face of nothingness, allow your heart to break open. Be with a person in presence. We must give up judgment to live in the heart. I’m not saying we can or should always be hanging there. But if you are having thoughts that reflect any kind of hierarchy or positioning relative to another, you are at that moment living in a monkey’s brain.
As I understand it, one must open the heart not only to the love of the inner world, but to the great outer world, even in its pain and darkness and indifference. There is something about one’s genuine presence that offers the sanctuary of companionship. In that state of nothingness, of willingness to sit and be present even in helplessness, one might touch upon love. Love the force, not love the word attached to notions we have of work. In this bottom line kind of radiant love we enable the healing, the light of the work can make itself known. I know I don’t know deeply enough. For whatever its worth, this is the craggy view from the wave I dance at the moment. This too will pass.
Waking The Infinite on The Persistence of Flowers (No… muspelspark on Alighting piph on Ranting Vs. Wonder muspelspark on Flow muspelspark on Seeing