In many mystical traditions it is accepted that as one individual cleanses her mind of resentment, hostilities and attachments, all other minds benefit and show a similar ripening. That's how it seems to me right now, and while I was just meditating and in this period of doing the work of developing a heart dedicated to compassion.
MR, speaking about Buddha Shakyamuni the other day, mentioned that some believe when a Buddha gains enlightenment, all beings simultaneoius follow suit. So why aren't we all enlightned then, he asked. He didn't answer this question. Well, perhaps we're more enlightened than we would have been otherwise. As for me, I found it curious when, walking down Prospect Park West, I was suddenly delighted that there are 6.77 billion people on earth. 6.77 billion flames to light my heart up. This is rather a large shift from my former (hopefully) mindset in which the enormous human population makes me want to scream about resource depletion and the ravaging of the earth.
The train of thought brings to mind Rumi's extraordinary poem called "An Invisible Bee." Here's a skepful:
Look how desire has changed in you,
how light and colorless it is.
with the world growing new marvels
because of your changing. Your soul
has become an invisible bee. We
don't see it working, but there's
the full honeycomb! Your body's height,
six feet or so, but your soul rises
through nine levels of sky. A barrel
corked with earth and a raw wooden
spile keeps the oldest vieyard's wine
inside. When I see you, it is not so
much you physical form, but the company
of two riders, you pure-fire devotion
and your love for the one who teaches you;
then the sun and moon on foot behind those.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I wasn't really ready to meditate until about 2 years ago. I vaguely remember what it was like when I'd try... something like when you try to body surf and get caught by a wave and tossed around, smashing face against sand, inhaling salt water through the nose, getting the bathing suit filled with grit.
Why did it feel like that? I have an idea. I think it was the strength of intense unresolved psychic traumas and fears that buffeted me so much I'd feel queasy, but in an unconscious way, so that I hardly knew what was happening. I think Buddhists would talk bout these forces as "winds."
In the year or two before I started to meditate I went through pockets of intense upheaval, as if I was allowing karma to arise, pay my debts and get on with it. As the months went on, I experienced a death-in-life every so often, when some long held issue or belief about myself or others that limited my experience of the world would emerge from my energy field, come to a head, erupt, dissolve, dissolve so completely it was as if it had never existed in the first place. Gone. Attachments renunciated, but not deliberately and consciously, but as if my magic, or as a product of me getting out of the way so my higher self could kick my posterior to high heaven, saying "enough is enough!" It hurt. And then it was over. And then there was bliss, and stillness.
I believe Hindu Gurus such as Maharshi call this process letting go of "sheaths." I think that' very apt. On the other side of those sheaths, I started to meet the goddess behind all goddesses, Tara-Fatima-Guadalupe-Kali-Prajnapamitra-Yemia, who set my heart on fire with her illuminating lamp. Let the love that she lit there spread to all living things in the form of deep and true compassion.
So then finally it changed, and it became not only comfortable for me to hang out with myself in the darkness of my closed eyes, but very appealing, weighted by a profound blissful stillness. It was like slipping into a shallow ocean alive with little electric fish that buzzed and tingled while waves of warmth rippled deliciousness through this void I call myself, and within, an immense, soothing anchor. Work with shaman Joe Monkman helped me greatly in gaining a level of comfort with being in the present moment, in my body, with myself, and helped pave a path for me to go deeper, finding in myself that which can nurture, warm, and brighten and pacify my mind.