Friday, January 3, 2014

something beautiful

The new year thus far has been...I don't have an exact word. But the first that comes to mind is heartwarming. Does that make sense? I'm especially grateful for getting to spend time with my brothers--just the three of us. I can't explain it very well, but it's just...they're always being their brilliant selves. With their puns. Their sarcasm. Their commentary. Their wit. Their sense of humor. Or even the way they are aware when I put myself down and  help me better recognize my unwarranted self-consciousness or social anxiety. The way they point out my own ridiculousness via sarcasm and humor, but make laughing at myself feel the way it's supposed to feel. The way it used to feel.

When I spend time with them, I remember the sheer joy and freedom I used to feel at simply being myself. It's so weird. Today, when I started my shift at work this afternoon --after the three of us ate and walked around the boating store together (HA)--it dawned on me that there actually was a good year or so of my life where I felt completely free of any inhibitions and 100% comfortable in my own skin. I probably wrote about it in a past journal, ha. I'll look for it tomorrow or something and maybe type it out later for further reflection. I'm just so thankful to have such good guys for brothers. It's a huge blessing that I should never again take for granted. And I''ll always remember and be thankful for these past two days.

So this is the new year, correct? Well, tonight I stumbled upon something that I now see as the perfect Introduction for the formerly blank pages of The Book of 2014.

"Existence is rich with mystery and wonder, and sometimes, without warning, light can shine through the cracks in the separate self. For a few brief moments, there is the cosmic suggestion that life is somehow infinitely more than what it appears to be. The most ordinary of things can easily turn extraordinary, making us wonder if, perhaps, the extraordinary is hidden in the ordinary always, just waiting to be discovered.

Yes, perhaps the ordinary things of life—broken old chairs, bicycle tires, sunlight reflecting on broken glass, a smile from a loved one, the cry of a newborn baby—are actually not ordinary at all. Perhaps hidden in their ordinariness is something extraordinary. Perhaps all of those things we take for granted are actually divine, sacred, infinitely precious expressions of a wholeness, a Oneness that cannot be expressed in thought or language. 

And perhaps this wholeness is not “out there,” somewhere else or in the future, waiting to be uncovered. Perhaps we don’t need to go to the farthest reaches of the universe to find it. Perhaps it is not in the heavens or hidden away in the deepest depths of our souls. Perhaps wholeness is right here, where we already are—in this world, in this life—and perhaps we have somehow blinded ourselves to it in our obsession with our search for it. 

Modern physics is now confirming what spiritual teachings throughout the ages have always been pointing to: everything is interconnected, and nothing exists separately from anything else. We have invented many words over the years to try to point to this cosmic wholeness, words like spirit, nature, Oneness, Advaita, nonduality, consciousness, awareness, aliveness, Being, Source, Existence, Isness, Tao, Buddha Mind, and presence. We could sit and argue for a hundred years about what the wholeness of life actually is, but I wonder if we’d end up arguing over words and miss what the words are pointing to. So pick your favourite word for wholeness, because in the end it’s not about the words. You call it the Tao. I call it Life. She calls it God. He calls it consciousness. Someone else calls it nothing, and someone else calls it everything. Someone else likes to keep silent about it. An artist paints pictures about it. A musician writes music about it. A physicist tries to touch it through complex calculations and mind-bending theories. A poet or philosopher juggles with words to try to reach it. A shaman gives you strange substances so you may see it for yourself. A spiritual teacher points you to it both with language and silence. 

The point is, whatever it is will never ultimately be put into words. Thoughts and words fragment wholeness; they break up a unified reality into separate things: bodies, chairs, tables, trees, the sun, the sky, me, you. The world of thought is the world of duality, the world of things. But the most important thing to remember is that it's not about the words. It’s about the wholeness of life itself—and that comes before all words, even the word wholeness." 

Thanks, Jeff Foster.

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