November 1, 2006

Mr. Duffy

I love this line by James Joyce from one of his short stories in Dubliners:
Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.
This made me laugh when I heard it recently. Then I realized that sometimes I have lived a short distance from my body, too, and I felt sad about that. Sometimes I am just disconnected, and I don't realize it. My head spins off in rational thought, or I may become immersed in an emotion that envelops me, separating me from my cognitive reason and my bodily sensations.

In meditation recently, I began to grok that I am able to listen, and inhabit my whole body when I stabilize my attention. This involves turning the lens of attention to my experience in this moment, and then to concentric circles of my moment-to-moment experience, without pushing any of it away. In this, when listening deeply and fully, I begin to discern a unique and full expression of who I am.

I can listen from my head - and find clarity and discernment. I can listen from my heart, and delve into a full range of emotions that arise within me, including my inherent warmth, love, and compassion. And also, I can listen from my body. Here I am able to really feel my chest and my gut, to detect tension in my shoulder, or a restriction in my throat. Further, I am able to (sometimes only subtly) detect a 'felt sense', and tune into my intuition. My awareness of the truth of this moment deepens when I am listening carefully to my body. It is with this fullness that I sense the openness of Presence.

I know that my ego alone can never fully know the forces of my unfolding - I have to listen to and with my whole being. When listening fully, a larger guidance emerges, a kind of complete intelligence that is inherent within me. This is available in the context of my very ordinary life. As I learn to discern this guidance, which is always already available, it naturally helps me in my functioning, in a very connected, integrated manner.


Jon said...

It is indeed so hard to live within the body.

Thanks for the reminder. And for writing "grok."

Aqaufraternally yours, Jon!

Meredith said...

"Grok" - a word I have grown to love.

Anonymous said...

In Dubliners, a collection of short stories, Joyce writes about Mr Duffy in: "A Painful Case."

The first lines of Ulysses: " Stately plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned '"Introibo ad altare Dei'..."
How could one stop reading?