Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Observations From the Edge of Time

An Excerpt from "Questions Along the Way"

A seeker wrote:
It's easy enough to be a warrior and practice the right way to live in the serenity of my own home, but what about at work or when I'm forced to engage with my family and friends? Can we really be cohesive and whole and walk the path through the real world?

To me, that's what the path is - because, as Orlando pointed out years ago: "There is only one world, divided infinitely by perception." If we're one person at work and another at home and another at grandma's house for the holidays, we are fragmented and unwhole. And yet, as another seeker said...
It's easy enough to be a monk in a monastery, but how does that same monk fare in a whorehouse? 
As I awoke from a nap one afternoon, it was to the sound of fierce winds hammering at the house, rushing through the trees with such force that even a huge desert pine was threatening to snap, and slamming sand and debris against the window with such fury that it seemed the glass would surely shatter. It occurred to me that I should be worried, or I should be unhappy that a storm was blowing in, or I should get up and go see what needed to be secured. It was deep into dusk, and if I didn't act quickly, darkness would soon obscure my way.

"Be alarmed!" the voice of reason seemed to shout.

Instead, I simply lay there feeling exhilarated by the whole thing, listening to the voice of gnosis which whispered, Eternity is in that wind. It is not the wind nor the objects blown by the wind. It is the force behind the wind that is both calm and fierce, dark and light, life and death and everything in between. Yet it is none of those things - and therein lies its nature and its power.

Impossible to describe the mindset I had awakened into - but suffice to say it was where I most want to be in life - a state of ecstasy and detachment all at once. In that manifestation of the crack between the worlds - the perpetual dusk that must certainly reside at the end of all things - there were no worries, no concerns, no agendas. Dinner would wait. There were no wars to be fought, no disasters to divert, no immediate demands. My weenie dog was sleeping soundly at my side. Orlando was with me in a way that is impossible to describe - a tangible presence in the room, an essence of Spirit blown in on that magical wind.

For several minutes, I simply lay there absorbing it all - the actuality of silent knowing, the visceral reality of the crack between the worlds, and the serenity that came with simply Being a being who could perceive and experience the magnificence of it all - the violence of the wind, the eerie gold-grey light that hangs in the air after a sandstorm, the perfection of a single moment in all of time.

But eventually time drags us forward again, and even though a warrior takes those perfected moments with her into the world, there is nonetheless an undeniable speed bump that delineates the passage from one world to the other.

As I got up and peered out the window toward the west, it was easy to see the damage. A large lantern in our yard was blown over and shattered; trash littered the Joshua trees; and one of the light-up Christmas trees had been dislodged from its stakes and was rolling down the driveway like some runaway toy afraid of being shoved back in the closet to endure a long season of darkness before it would be in good favor with the human consensus again.

Minor inconveniences, of course. Just things I noted during this passage between the worlds on a New Year's Eve of no particular significance.

So I cooked dinner, brought in some firewood, picked up the shattered lantern, and generally began going through the machinations of real life - and even though I was still pondering that profound state of mind, I was left with a sense of wanting to return to the monastery of my silence rather than putting myself through these strange actions which have no meaning whatsoever.

The world is a nuthouse and the lunatics are running the asylum, Orlando reminded me as I stood looking out the kitchen window to where the winds were causing even the stalwart Joshua trees to shiver like cold, brittle children.

I sighed softly, for even though I have uttered those words countless times as a source of amusement, I cannot deny that they are also terribly true. As I stood there in my silence, I could literally feel the other humans gearing up en masse for drunken parties, excursions to various clubs where they would engage in The Mating Dance, and all manner of debauchery assigned the label of "fun", and all of it occurring only because it was the night on which we throw away last year's "Puppies" calendar and replace it with this year's "Kittens".

Arbitrary demarcations of time.

Some of those humans would even die as a result of their revelries - and though some might argue that it is better to have been puking drunk than never to have partied at all, I'm not the least bit sure that is a sentiment with which I could agree.

It is madness when viewed from outside the container of its own agreement.

The winds have gone still on the first day of the new year, and as I gaze out my window toward the west, it is to see a new snowfall on the top of Mt. San Gorgonio. The silence there must be phenomenal.


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