July 8, 2007

The Touch of Grace

Sometimes, after dreams, I feel the emotional weight of the conditioned self, thick like a blanket of clay; I feel the texture and substance of the conditioning - guilt and shame, worthlessness, the whole lot bedded there, covered with cold heavy air. I have been told by the wise that awareness of this suffering arising is simultaneously the arising of freedom. I have been shown how all of our frailties and negative emotions are no other than this, the ungraspable this... And this seems right, these forms (thought forms, emotional forms) like all form are a manifestation of freedom, consciousness, being, the very presence itself, the flowering of purity and perfection. Through love and communion I smile now when these troubling forms arise. There is a vast consciousness that is holding them, allowing them, loving and saying "yes" to them, "Yes, you too have a place here, obviously." (The problem, the mug, being unmistakable.) With this "problem" arising we are reminded, we are given the opportunity of instantly seeing the gate, here, now. The path of release is suddenly open before us, outside of time. In a flash of insight we are presented with complete freedom, though we may not recognize it. We are given the opportunity to open our heart, unveil our fidelity to our true nature - the ungraspable this, which never leaves, never comes and goes, but abides, calm and clear.

In that line, "The problem, the mug, being unmistakable," it is all too easy to slip past the most significant word in the passage: being. It is hidden in the wide open, easily glossed over because we human beings focus almost exclusively upon our "human" and generally neglect our "being," which is the infinite and eternal in us. "Problem" and "mug" are much more accessible and familiar, like that pure word the wanderer has brought to the valley from the mountain slope; the blue and yellow gentian. "Are we here perhaps just to say: house, bridge, well, gate, jug, fruit tree, window-- at most, column, tower... but to say, understand this, to say it as the Things themselves never fervently thought to be." The wanderer does not bring the unutterable being from the mountain slope to the valley, it is already here. But he has to say it somehow, and what is there to say other than through form, through a "pure word he has learned, the blue and yellow gentian."

"The Things themselves never fervently thought to be." This is our gift, to realize and say their being, which is our being. The paradox is saying, realizing, the unutterable, that which already, always is. This is our dance, our celebration and our bliss. Even a "problem" - the mug with its white ring marring the dark table - is a "pure word" that comes to us from the mountain slope. Everywhere the white rings of our conditioned existence mar the dark table of our being. The problem, the self-identification is, for most of us, far from unmistakable. In the poem the ring is white, the table dark. Our attention is focused upon the white ring, not the dark table, our being, which receives and holds all forms, yet remains "dark" to us, hidden, unconscious. We especially focus our attention on the forms that mar, that cause suffering to self and others. In so doing we most often miss the "problem," misperceive it, again and again do we not? We are fixated on these white rings that brightly mar our existence, unable to see the root cause of this suffering; unable to see through the conditioning, to see the impermanence and limitations of the personal center, we misperceive form, we do not realize its emptiness.

Held in the light of love, and through humility, I have come to see my problems as the touch of grace, reminders of blessed emptiness, that form is no other than emptiness. With this realization a natural fidelity emerges to that which is here, now, ungraspable, unmistakable being.


isaiah said...

Sometimes being is complicated for a mirad of reasons.

Here's to wishing just enough complication for us and others to realize how grace flows.

Learning to say "yes"... what a lesson. And yet, "Yes" is all we are, all we see, all that is here and now!

Perhaps a larger lesson comes when we allow grace to move when all around us we see the seemingly "no."


Meredith said...

Yes, Tommy, for sure, yes. Your words, "Yes is all we are, all we see, all that is here and now" have been circling in my thoughts since reading them. This feels accurate. Noticing the Yes, and heart-ful allowing is a form of grace. It is deep acceptance of all that is, right now. This is not to say that we don't respond, but rather it is to say that "Yes" includes allowing our response, whatever it is.