Follower of No Separation

Right now I am a follower of 

“No Separation” 

This nor that, 

Here nor there

I weave between traditions and practices

like a mendicant in search of a holy light, 

which is always

already

Here.

No separation: seamless living with what arises,

going with a flow, 

acknowledging grace of present moment,

being in a state of love –

and not just in mind or heart

but full body

extending into an ether of oneness. 

No separation: quiet gaze understanding

common heart of wisdom

swimming beneath all disputes and orthodoxies.

Soft wind blowing leaves,

reminder of cycle of life

which transcends words.

No separation: the space Beyond and Before.

The space steeped in silence

like hot cup of tea:

burns but delicious – 

a drink to be savored, 

a Holy Gift:

just like human life with all its complex flavors

unfurling into 

One 

Great

Expression 

(some call God).

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Wearing Out the Lessons of Exhaustion, Weaving A Divine Thread

Every sound crackles into a worry that I’ll wake Rowan, who sleeps quietly near me.  Its 10pm on a Sunday night – late Spring dancing into Summer’s blazing heat, and I rest in the balance – a full moon pending just before Solstice. Everything is basked, baked, bathed in Colorado’s golden light, and I’m ever more aware of the places in my own experience that have yet to sprout from seed’s darkness.  Spring:  It’s a time of beginnings and unfolding – a turning towards light in new ways.

An easefulness has woven its way into relationship between Rowan and I – and I feel a sharp contrast to the resistance and struggles that have marked many periods in these first two years of his life.  All of the sudden it dawns on me that I am in a relative period of rest.  Perhaps I’ve worn out the lessons of this phase?  All that is left in this moment is a simple acceptance with a flair of zest, regardless of external circumstances such as sleepless nights or a worn down immune system.  Perhaps there is something to why we say “worn down” along with “worn out.”  All of the sudden we’ve worn something down to the point that the wearing has served its purpose of potential purification.  Like a stone thrown about in water, we can’t see the edges being smoothed while banging against what often feel like sharp, turbulent obstacles.

So too the periodic discomforts of parenthood.  Of course being ‘worn down’ feels lousy, until something therein is ‘worn out,’ burned up, smoothed out.  We wear something until we have outgrown it or until we have literally worn it out.  So too with our experiences and spiritual path.  If we can ride the waves of transformation, even through discomfort and relative ‘stress,’ – and if we can leave ourselves open to the possibility that we are being worked on in mysterious ways, all of a sudden we may notice we have moved through something akin to a rite of passage.  (The key is to pay close attention to the shifts!)

For some reason the silkworm comes to mind, with her ceaseless work (I’ve heard she only pauses to rest a handful of times before she spins her cocoon that holds her while going through metamorphosis).  She spins with little rest until she is ready for her transformation.  Meanwhile, out of steady effort one of the lightest, most beautiful substances is born.  Like a new cloak of understanding that is ultimately translucent, light, free-flowing like silk – we too can wear a new parenthood understanding that transmutes difficulties into a loving lightness of being when the parent-child relationship has finally struck a balance, found a flow (and when we’ve ultimately worn out the lessons of exhaustion). The work doesn’t stop and rest may feel scant, but the weaving goes on.  And sometimes we simply aren’t able to see the beauty of the weaving until a moment of rest is upon us.

So when rest is available, bask in it – just like basking in the emerging light of the season, or wrapping yourself in the lightest, most beautiful silk scarf. Take those moments of rest in order to settle into what you’ve unfolded or discerned in your life journey.  Trust the weavings of a simple life:  the ebbs and flows of waking, breakfast, playing outdoors with no agenda, carefree.  A nap.  Lunch.  Laundry.  Dinner.  Green beans and raspberries.  There does not have to be anything more.  There comes a moment when you can do nothing but rest into the fullness of simply digesting your experience.  That is the lesson of silkworms, hanging in the balance between seasons – digesting mulberry leaves, weaving a Divine thread.

Full Circle

Life’s course carries us unabashedly forward into aging.  As Rumi reminds me we’ve been through a million cycles of birth and rebirth, a million circles of beginning and return – even in one lifetime.  I feel my place in life’s great circle this weekend as I witness my son next to my grandmother:  Rowan, who is just shy of two, next to LaRue, just five years from being alive for a full century.  Lao Tzu comes to mind as he says “Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.”

My mother and I dance in the middle, she caring for my grandmother and I for my son.  We live a similar existence as full-time caregivers – helping with toilet, bath, food and sleep.  Both of us up several times a night, we are firekeepers in the middle – bearing witness to the great signposts of life:  Beginning and End – and the realization that we often go on from this world much the same way we came in.

My mother tells me it’s easier to stay grounded in the present moment now that she is caregiving so intensely.  I sigh in agreement.  We muse about the calling to be intensely focused, on point, on guard – preventing a fall and ensuring comfort… “Yes, its easier to be present so long as you are in the flow of tasks and not resisting what’s arising,” we say.  Stay in the flow, stay present.  Loose the flow and crash.

Lao Tzu comes to mind again.  Stay in the flow of life, breathing deeply, not resisting, moving in the world like a graceful dancer carrying water with the task of not spilling;  Ever present, diving into the day’s tasks with contentment rather than begrudgingly – receiving what arises like a gift of Nature.  “Embracing Tao, you become embraced,” he says.  Embrace what is given and you are embraced by life.  Resist what is given and your life becomes like the dream I had the other night:  riding uphill on a bicycle in snow and ice on a busy highway full of cars (yes, this was really my dream).  Instead:

Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.
Nurturing your beloved, you become impartial.
Opening your heart, you become accepted.
Accepting the World, you embrace Tao.
Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
Controlling without authority,
This is love.

-Lao Tzu