That woman I love is in Mexico, on her grand adventure. I am proud of her. It makes me love her more, if such a thing were possible. Look at her go.
It make the soles of my own feet itch.
Wanna go somewheres.
And like her, I want it wild and silent and I want it to shake me, to put a voltage in my bones and an ocean in my heart and a stone in my mouth and windows thrown open in my soul.
Through my own affinity for error, I am embarked upon an interior journey, fraught with imaginary peril and real horror. Nor will I strike for shore or drop an anchor nor reef the sail.
Nor man the helm.
I seem compelled to grip the rail and feel the deck buck and slip beneath me, listen to the wind in the rigging and the whisper of the known world sliding against itself, as the craft does what it will of its own accord.
Bearing witness to my own soul is what it is, I suppose, without the metaphor. Just looking at my mind, watching what it does when I let it follow its own inclination. It seems to be intent on making me suffer. Time and again it makes the same bad decisions. I used to think it was surprised when it got the same result, but I’m beginning to realize that it likes the bad outcome.
I think there’s value in this dark approach. When I was practicing last year it was all about seeking the light, burning for it, yearning for it. I wanted to shed the darkness and be blissed out and joyful and I was. I really was for a while. And it’s not that I wanted to turn away from the light. Not intentionally.
But I did. I sought out the darkness again.
I’ve struggled with depression my whole life and I have what feels like an intimate knowledge of the darkness that can descend like weather on the soul. This is something different, though. I can’t call it depression. It seems more like going back to visit someplace you grew up in after you’ve been away a long time. You know the landscape, but things have shifted. You’ve changed, and it makes the place look and feel different. That’s how it is for me right now. I’m back in the darkness, but the darkness has lost its hold on me. I can be right in it, but I can’t take it real serious anymore.
But there’s something to be learned for me, I think. And that’s what I’m doing, what I’m trying to do. I don’t want to change anything any more. I don’t want to get enlightened. I don’t want to be a Bodhisattva. I’m going to do that- I’m still committed to that goal- but I am coming to the realization that I can’t simply will myself to that state. I can’t pretend that the darkness in me, the confusion and error and fearfulness, can be ignored or repressed or cleaned up- at least, not without more work on my part. So I’m sitting here in the dark. Just watching. Listening. Opening my heart to it, opening my eyes to it, and trying not to make any judgments about it at all. I want to see it. I want to let it speak to me if it has a mind to.
Maybe then I can let go of it. Or dig it into my own topsoil to act as fertilizer. Or uproot it. Transform it into wisdom.
Or see that it already is wisdom.
If all goes as planned, I will be in Kathmandu in a little more than two weeks. Through the generosity of a benevolent sponsor, I will be going on pilgrimage with one of my teachers and a group of about twenty other practitioners to Nepal and India.
We’re going to hit all the Buddhist holy spots. Lumbini, Sravasti, Kushinagar, Rajgir, Bodhgaya, Varanasi.
Whirlwind tour, two weeks. Prayer, teachings, meditation, contemplation. Rubbing up against the world in a way I’ve never experienced. I’m frightened a little bit, astounded a bit, but thrilled, too.
When I doubt the astounding power and reality of this path, which I sometimes do, all I have to do is to look at what this path has wrought in my life since I committed to it with all my heart. I am going to go stand on the earth where the Buddha attained enlightenment, where he first taught the Dharma, where he died his human death. I will be in the company of my teacher, who holds a living connection to the teachings. And I have the support of a community of fellow seekers surrounding me and helping me. I have the teachings in my heart, I look out upon the world with eyes made clear by the teachings, I hear them whispered in my ears throughout the day and night.
I am living like a tiny little baby mystic. Hard and crusty on the outside, but bathed in light on the inside.
What’s wrong with me is but small, what’s right with me is vast, but neither of these are mine.
I am glad to bear these wounds of my deep confusion and to hold the warped and twisted knots in the grain of my wooden heart and to feel the living breath of God in my lungs as I turn my face, now to the glory of the light, now to the vastness of the dark, and to see that they are not two, nor am I, nor are we any of us.