Without a willingness to listen, to be aware, we spend our life “doing time.”
(Field note, April 17/12)
The well spring of natural well-being is affectionate awareness. This is an awareness that is loving because empty. Empty of prejudice, of opinions, of all the instilled cultural, psychological and philosophical knowledge we take or assume to be real. In other words, we have space – openness in our heart and mind that is not conditioned by the past, by “knowledge” based on memory which in turn is a record of our experience. Note the loop here; we experience what we have already experienced. That is to say, we “experience” the unfolding new moment through the lens of our stored, remembered experience…our beliefs. This keeps us in a constant cycle of seeing what we believe and believing what we see. And that recycled experience forms and maintains our individual and separate “realities”.
The Wardens Walk
To experience something means to quote “go through”. And so it is that we go through our life in a repetitive way. This programmed way of being is obviously not fresh and alive to the real – to the moveable feast that is reality. And so we walk the walk which I call the Wardens Walk. We prowl the perimeters of a defined nine by twelve foot prison cell not so much of our own making but of our cultural, social, and psychological making. This may well be the average human condition, but it is not one that is fully natural.
The nature of Nature
By “natural” we mean peaceful. It’s useful here to stop, look and listen simply, truly, to our immediate natural surroundings. Do we see trees with self-pity? Birds with greed? Leaves frightened about dying? Indeed life according to nature is not freighted with our anger, our illusions, greed, power and envy of our neighbors. In truth, in nature, there is generally a certain harmonious co-existence, a sharing of the planet. Of course all nature has survival built into its DNA. It does what it needs to do to survive, but it does not steal, threaten and otherwise violate and corrupt the inter-relationships it has with its environment …with itself. It’s interesting here to note that one can think of nature as separate and easily forget that we – you and I – are nature. And so our simple observation of our One Nature can teach us so much if we are willing.
Without a willingness to listen, to be aware, we spend our life “doing time.” And while this may be the average human experience, some of us Lifers may stumble upon reality before our time runs out. (In my case it wasn’t so gentle – I collided with it!) It’s quite a shock when we find ourselves up hard against the solidity, the actuality, of reality. Thankfully, gracefully, usually after much suffering, we may come to a certain wisdom which marks an ending of sorrow. And the beginning of love.
Our loving nature
We find that this love has nothing to do with our personal ideas and ideals about it. This love has no center –no lover. This love has no beloved – no object, purpose or meaning – no limitations whatsoever. As Jean Klein said: “to see what is, is to love”. To serve whatever presents itself moment to moment, lovingly. To attend the feast with all our being. To be fully and completely aware of our bodies’ sensations, our minds’ mentations and to perceive directly, without thought, without hesitation. We simply see and know what is. All action flows from this loving awareness that contains whatever arises, including the minds constant chattering of its likes and dislikes which I call “color commentary”. It’s helpful here to see all this mind activity as a sensation just like the other five sensations – tasting, touching, smelling, hearing, seeing…thinking. Indeed, it’s these very sensations which give us the sense of being an individual “me” living the dream.
Awareness and Sensation
This sensational consciousness is where we humans traditionally establish our sense of self. In reality, who we are and what this is, is not limited by sensual consciousness and its interpreted depictions of a body- mind created world. Of course, reality includes all of this phenomena – everything is included in oneness – so there is no need to deny anything that happens, but simply to see that our body-mind alone produces a fragmentary and incomplete sense of reality. Seeing this, we come to the end of that limited sense and identity in personal knowing. We step off into the unknown. Freed and freeing, we now rest in the mysterious wholeness we call Being.
The nature of this freedom includes a certain clarity and insight which acts effortlessly, lovingly, to bring peace and harmony to its environment. It embraces the entire spectrum of human and divine experience without judgment or attachment. By that I mean that natural well-being includes our relative human experience and our absolute divine nature. They are one and the same. Nirvana is Samsara. Samsara is Nirvana. So we wander in heaven with our boots on the ground! And when we move from this aware beingness, we see we are powerful transmitters of all kinds of energies in our environment. Naturally, this radiant well-being – let’s call it love – transforms our whole neighborhood and we find the real world is a fundamentally good place to live!