Friday, December 28, 2012

A Pledge to Live with Paradox

I am living in a layered world of paradox. Without goal, without limiting myself to definitive closed-end attitudes, how can I act with quiet certainty and follow a path in any direction at all? It is absolutely required of me that I let go of grasping onto my life as a product to be produced in a certain way, or as a specific thing, in order to experience the true possibilities I might have. The only thing that protects me from feeling myself to be continuously on the edge of the abyss of meaninglessness is to accept that meaninglessness is an idea, like any other goal or product of the mind.

So I come to weightlessness, a weird sensation where there is no gripping at all. It disappears in an instant of panic, or certainty. As soon as I allow myself to attach to a feeling -- any feeling -- I am on the ground again. Feeling every bone, missing those I've lost, wondering who I am. This state of illusion is not comfortable either, seems so heavy, never resolves, though sometimes settles into a groove that I feel as familiar. That's when the old tapes begin playing all my stories; the criticisms and praises, sorrows and joys line themselves up.  This is of no use to me at all.

The important part for me now is to also let go of this paralysis, a sensation easily confused with not knowing, or uncertainty.  No amount of thinking is going to create certainty, the more I close in and nail down the structure around an idea, the less likely it is that it will lead to my liberation. The clarity and depth of inquiry provide the path, not so much the bits that turn up as I dig.

A neighbor of mine in upstate New York handed me a long list of ignorant unfounded sound bites as a rationale for his political negligence, social belligerence and protectionist gun-toting perspectives. I felt myself circle the bait, mouth open, but I closed my lips and smiled instead. "Then shoot me first," I said, smiling. I didn't have the will to say, "you must be terribly afraid and disappointed in your life,  your community, the choices we have all made together," or even "then I must be the enemy since I do vote, feel responsible for others and I do believe in peace."  I felt that he did not want to talk about that, he just wanted to bluster his way through this moment and go home. It is a role that he often plays. Part of me couldn't wait for him to leave, but part of me wished I could hold on long enough to reflect his anguish and let him know that I am not dismissing him, blind to his painful condition. We all make misinformed or fear-based choices sometimes, ones that endanger ourselves or others. I am no better than he.

How do we live side by side, with ourselves and each other? Tolerating the paradoxes, accepting the gripping and the weightlessness, until we get used to it. This is what takes practice. Months and years  of daily, weekly practice, over time we learn to change our own shape and accommodate all the thinking in order to operate directly from our energy source.  I can see the abyss, I can see the snow flakes filling the space between the hill on which I sit and the ridge across from me.  Like a blind cat, I step and explore, seeking information from outside my body in order to live in my fullest form in my body as it changes constantly.

What kind of resolution can I make to encourage myself in the coming days and months? Perhaps it all comes down to allowing myself the space to practice. Can I do that? Can you? Yes we can.

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