Practice

I’ve read it a couple times, heard it said, each time from a different source, I believed it each time, felt the truth of it, but it never really clicked until yesterday. How many of my thoughts are tied to time and space? I meditated on this question for only about 10-15 minutes and it became clear that nearly all of them have some connection to a different time or place. Even while thinking new thoughts, new lines for poems, or pictures to draw, I’m simultaneously thinking of the blog post, at some point in the future, that it could go on! While driving I think of places I’ve been, or the destination I’m going to get to. It seems endless. And for what? For each of us the answer might be different, for me I’ve found that these thoughts come up when I’m feeling worried, unprepared, embarrassed; thinking my way out of a difficult situation, reasoning my reactions to help me feel better. So, where is the void around these kind of thoughts? The space that takes them in. When I listen to the silence that has no concerns for time or space, the formless, that is always available, I feel like I’m standing behind a waterfall. In a carved out granite ledge, feeling the force of wind and mist passing me. Very freeing.

Now I’m doing some walking meditation noticing the thoughts concerning time and space, and I’m thinking I have to stop, I know how unnecessary, I shouldn’t think in these terms, I should be doing better… And here’s where another teaching I’ve read, or heard a dozen times, believed to be true, but never really was able to call it forward more than a few times before it gets forgotten came in -Nonjudgmental observation. By understanding my thoughts to be my way of dealing with stresses and worries with nonjudgmental observation I give them that space to be, and feel that freedom. By understanding I mean knowing what the thoughts are, where they come from and being understanding of them.

Now after rereading this I realize that these words are just like the ones I’ve read, and so not even original to me, which is what makes it an underlying truth, a principal to stand on. The original part is taking the time to question these things, on your own until you come to your original unique understanding, Ah ha! which is called insight, knowledge is read, insight is understood in your own terms and words.

Moving forward
I know what needs 
to be done.
Understanding.

Naming Names

We paint our hearts with birdsong and sun-drenched green canopies. The sky was made up of tufts and wisps of sea. Sun breaks. The overnight rain. What we wanted was the same; adventure, joy, connection. One of us ducked off the main trail, down a side path already almost overgrown with new spring growth. So the rest of us followed. What used to be a creek, with a barely discernible trickle, had become much wider since the snow melt, moss covered trunks and rocks providing a way across, though we don’t have the courage or the will to venture that way, we just wonder at the new growth shooting straight and tall with ripe green foliage that, from our vantage point, could yet still be anything because we don’t have a name, or any other point of reference for it. The stream narrows and the stillness is hurried to yet more stillness. A great totem, a Douglas-fir bole perhaps two feet in diameter, slanted and dead rises from the pool of water that has forced the park stewards to put of caution tape. At the very top we spot our first bird. Not exactly discernible, though still wondrous, lightly pecking at the mossy wood, feeding on insects and organisms only known to the tips of trees. He deftly works his way around the trunk and disappears to the other side. After a few moments of wondering at a name, we just about give up waiting for him and he reappears in flight and back into the cover of a stand of Douglas-fir with his friends. As he flies from one trunk to another, we notice a striking red underwing, which will not soon be forgotten.

at the tips of trees,
a whole world of wonder
bright smile on your face.

What is this thing that insists on identifying and categorizing? while watching I cannot but focus on knowing a name for what I’m looking at. Is this the same place that imagination creates from? Would it make me a better dad if I had a name for it? Would it make the experience better? Back on the main trail we talk and laugh, plan and run under the cover of Redwood cedar and Douglas fir. One of us says, “wait, shhh,” The whole trail is alight with morning song, with what seems like hundreds of different species of bird. Our attention, like a flashlight, went from focused onto a single point, our own thoughts and words, feet on the trail, and in the next instant our attention seemed to include the whole 130 acres of the park.

how wonderful,
this expanse,
unnamed.

Mistaken

It seems to me 
that the pain of change
has been mistaken
all along. Maybe
this lonely 
desperation 
has really been 
acceptance.

well i tried and i tried and i tried
i tried to tell myself it'll be alright.

And now it seems 
to me i've gone this 
long livin' the great 
cosmic joke. A simple 
switch of perception 
and the struggle 
could vanish in smoke.

well i tried and i tried and i tried
i tried to drink it all away
and i tried and i tried and i tried 
i tried to tell myself it'll be okay. 

The struggle's almost over now
but it's worth mentionin'
that there's something i rather liked
about the pain of change, cause it 
seems that i keep going back, turning 
it over in my mind, like a stone.  

Could those feelings really have been 
acceptance? i'll try again.
and i'll try and i'll try and i'll try
i'll try again. 

Strugglin' through
the pain of change
what if this loneliness
is just the acceptance of change
of the things we don't want.

well i tried and i tried and i tried
maybe i'll try again.