January 20, 2005

Openness

Meredith: Sometimes in the quiet a single word or phrase will circle itself amongst the energy as I sit. It won’t go away; and each time I acknowledge it, it has a slightly different shape. Today, the word is Open.

I have thought of the word ‘open’ in the relational sense as being willing to disclose, or to share more personally. I recognize there are many deeper meanings for this word/concept. Today, like natural ripening, new understandings blossomed for me.

I sense this: Openness is accepting and responding to God, or Ultimate Reality, or any one of those 100 names of the thing with no name... Openness has to precede any relationship, any relating. In the spiritual sense, opening has meant becoming a bit vulnerable, like rolling over and exposing my underbelly, becoming soft, quiet, and ready. Openness is being willing to expand my mind to embrace a new thought, or accept a new insight, or as Quakers say, a leading. It is as though it is by opening up to and integrating these leadings that I have awakened to who we actually are. Openness is also about responding; responding with a basic attitude of reliance in the ultimate ambiguity behind existence. In this, I stand with a gesture of openness. Openness in this sense is also relinquishing control, expanding my simple trust in the mystery.

Quakers have another saying, which is, “As way opens.” I have thought this to mean as things become clear. Today, I recognize that the ‘way’ opens all the time. “The way” has opened for me into some profound experience with love, something I cannot even logically describe. But I was open, and ‘it’ opened for me. This experience is blissful.

I looked outside my window at dawn today, and saw a watercolor painting. Each day, each landscape appears for me to be exquisite art. I see, I breathe it in, I exult in it. This is the pulse of existence, and I am open to experience this joy.

Meanwhile, inside, sorrow is present. My dad’s breathing is labored, his eyes seem vacant. He reaches for unseen objects. I care for him in a tender way - in a way I am certain he once cared for me, recognizing the full circle quality of this caring. My mother cries often. Her sorrow, palpable like heavy mist, is unrelenting. Yet, through it all, love swirls. Loving energy mixed in with more and more openness. We are all open to this energy, though we do not define it. This love keeps us all afloat. It too, is the pulse of existence.


Akilesh: Open, so open. You write, "Openness is accepting and responding to God." Yes, stepping out-of-the-way and allowing graceful presence to emerge. Your openness has provided a space for existence to pour into you. Without that openness existence has no place to bless you; there is no space for the benediction to occur. It occurs in the space you are. Your nature is space, but it is filled up with the structure of ego fixation and all of its pursuits, its preoccupation with want and fear. This is what covers the space available for benediction. Everyone has the potential for this bliss, this blessing to descend on them, the potential for their illumination to blossom from within. But they are distracted, preoccupied with identifications of all kinds. And here you are, "... relinquishing control, expanding my simple trust in the mystery." And of course we struggle with logically describing it. Truly as you speak, the Way opens all the time. The very nature of the Way is open, openness, freedom, bliss. It is a happening, a happening we can nurture. We can also turn away from ego fixation. With this turning away it withers. With our openness, existence opens. And this is blissful to me as well. Of course you would feel gratitude. With your discovery of authentic presence, gratitude is the natural result. Your life becomes an exquisite living work of art and beauty. In this beauty, which is a vast beauty, even death is included.

4 comments:

james said...

"I looked outside my window at dawn today, and saw a watercolor painting. Each day, each landscape appears for me to be exquisite art. I see, I breathe it in, I exult in it. This is the pulse of existence, and I am open to experience this joy."

Well said my dear friend. Everything is art and everything is beautiful in its own way.

tamingthemind said...

"Openness in this sense is also relinquishing control"

Yes, it's being willing to give away something and accepting the consequences of letting go. Sometimes, I'll disclose something and want to take it back. Too personal, too scary, too wierd, too honest. I want it back, I want to explain, I want to own it again.

But, openness means going beyond the intial disclosure or giving. It means staying with the discomfort that can arise when you are open to something or someone.

It seems our openness leads to being more generous with ourselves. I mean we are more willing to give ourselves to others - connect with others.

Great post.

isaiah said...

Thank you for your sharing- your presence here is such a gift to me.

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you while caring for your father and supporting your mother. I pray for you that God's love would move in under you like something vast, winged, and graceful.