What’s the question?

I woke at 7:30 this morning in spite of two glasses of whiskey yesterday evening. I had it in my mind to get out of the house before anyone was awake, get tea and a pastry and head to Point Reyes for a long hike. A little headachy in the cold drafty morning air of the house, I thought “I should get back in bed.” for a moment I stood with my shirt half off, looking at my unmade bed, then I put my good capilene in my pack, down jacket, gortex, warm socks, knit hat and gloves. Cinnamon roll, cheesy-english muffin, tea burned tongue, freeway, cloudy skys, toll, bridge, then exit freeway and the houses and car lots, and ten lane freeways relent and it is green.

I hear JMS ask “Do you believe in miracles?” Reluctantly at first, I began to believe in miracles this year. The word means something different when you’re out here though, suddenly miracle fills your body, becomes something in your eyes, the miracles pile up until you give in to the vast miracle that is as ubiquitous as each mundane day. Miracle is not a named occurence. It’s an enlightened moment where you realize the ongoing and ever-present miracle of living. JMS asks “Is love an accident?” he has no answer, mine is yes and no.

At the risk of sounding trite and sentimental, I don’t think you can have a relationship with a place, with an environment, without changing and broadening your definition of what love means. It doesn’t make sense any more for love to be confined to any one thing, person or relationship. What this world means overwhelms me sometimes…In this place I don’t think it’s possible that love could be an accident; it exists inside, and it is our small egoic selves that in attempt to keep us from being vulnerable, prevent us from being open to the experience of love in our daily lives. In this place, that unneeded protection drops away from me, and I feel more wise, more balanced, more open, and a greater awareness of my innate capacity for love. But I want to strive for that awareness in my daily life. It’s great to know that I can come out here and be snapped into it effortlessly, but what about when I can’t drive to Point Reyes? How do I cultivate my awareness of what the outdoors transforms within me so that I can enter that mental/emotional space from anywhere? That is the question, right? If we can walk in this world of drama, violence and suffering with peace than we do our jobs better, we can communicate more clearly, we can better cultivate peace in others, and we can better live the peaceful aware lives that will eventually transform our culture and this world? It’s an ambitious goal I guess, but what are we here for if not to envision the world we would like and then start to move in that direction with our whole being?

It’s pretty easy to be blissed out, forgiving and magnanimous in a place surrounded by the sky, the trees and the ocean; it tends to elicit the best behavior from those around you as well. But the triumph of will and awareness, I think, is being able to have your eyes on the prize(work for change) while acknowledging(not struggling against or thinking ill of)* the necessary imperfection in the present of ourselves, others, and the world.

*This is not to say that you don’t take action or that you avoid confrontation. That is not the upright path either. However, the path of engagement in confrontation and for change should be treaded carefully. Done for the wrong reasons(ego-inflation, desire for guiltless or blameless existence or martyrdom) engagement on this path can lead to more damage. Alienation from self and others, burnout at not seeing what one has pinned personal identity on achieving, and actually driving deep er wedges in existing cultural schisms rather than drawing people closer together towards compromise, understanding and growth.

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