Sunday, December 9, 2012

Empty Attic: No Object, No Fix, No Problem

I am living in the lap of luxury, teaching and practicing yoga and meditating. I have heat when it is cold, I have food when I am preparing to feed my family, and various means to provide for holidays and birthday celebrations. I can walk to my work, which has become an offering from my essential self using my energy in ways that gives what I have to give and brings back to me what I need. This is not a manipulated view of my life, but one that reflects the truth of my daily experience.

People I love have deep on-going struggles, friends of mine are suffering with terminal illnesses and the attendant treatments, entire nations in the Middle East are losing the ground upon which civil government stands, and many people have lost their homes and livelihoods in New York City, Haiti and the Philippines. This is not a manipulated view of my world, but one that reflects the truth of my daily experience.
How to position myself to accommodate these truths? The first step is to stop attaching to a particular definition of what is good or bad about what I perceive; the second is to approach each aspect of that with an open heart that accepts what I perceive without assigning blame; the third is to nurture that open heart from a state of gratitude so that all the possibilities appear rather than a one-solution frame of mind (this includes allowing the feelings to arise rather than clamp down on this one and pretend that one is the good one).

I will not cure the causes of cancer, not stop the pain of personal loss, nor create a plan for civil society or dispel confusion even in one young sweet mind. I do understand that each of us has a life span, and that we cannot know its length or purpose. We use energy every day, turning towards goals, tasks and practices to provide what we imagine as necessities, satisfactions, support, and sometimes generosity. To a large degree, we do this in whatever context we find ourselves with more or less angst or joy.

Here in the last weeks of 2012 I see my operating fundamentals are: not attaching to, grasping at or hoarding meanings, goals or objects; seeing situations as causes and reactions rather than as a duality of good or bad; remembering again and again that gratitude in this moment will lead me out of confusion into clarity.

In this way I can enjoy my mysterious little part here on earth. Living in a human body fraught with its own foibles, applying my thinking as I have learned and relearned and unlearned, and surrounded by the context into which I stumbled by my birth, growth, and connections to other people. So easily we slip into the space made for us as the children of these people, living in this place, growing up here, and having these good and bad experiences.  Eventually I have come to see that all drifts away like mist, and while still honoring my ancestors and my own experiences in earlier contexts, I have much greater freedom in the moment than I ever imagined.  All the stuff clutched in my mind, attic, closet. barn, or basement can make its way back into the world without adding or subtracting from me.

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