Thursday, February 19, 2009

Impermanence

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Tonight I ponder impermanence.

There are times when I try to see my whole life -- everything that has ever happened, all of the impressions I contain which have fallen into this vessel over the course of a lifetime -- at one time, and find a way to open a door within my Being to offer all of that upwards towards what Christ referred to as "our Father."

At this moment, it seems as though that effort is as close as I can come to an idea of what it is to live within the bodhi-dharma, the reality, the totality of truth.

In the midst of offering this tiny slice of the magnificence of this planet and all that takes place on it upwards--held in my two little hands like a wondering child overwhelmed by the beauty and newness of life--I feel sorrow.

The sorrow stems more than anything from a vibration within the organism; a trembling offertory, an emotional quality that emerges from parts that I am usually not sensitive to in the midst of what we call life. But everything about this sensation, this emotion, this perception, is for me more true than the dreams I routinely occupy myself with.

As I truly gain more sense of my impermanence, my mortality, my sense of responsibility to those around me undergoes a metamorphosis. It's all about the relationship; it's about discovering this vibration of compassion, and employing it honestly in an effort to support those around me. After all, all of us are doomed to die; what better thing can we do for one another than to attempt to offer a real support, a support that springs from a kind of love that does not try to take and own, but rather give and share?

To die fully within life is to live fully within death. This is not a state, but a process; in the finding of what is true, I need to shed the dry skin of what came before it.

How do I fully inhabit my life within the joy, within the interaction, within the reciprocal feeding that takes place in each encounter? How do I honor the other? How do I approach not with criticism, but with support?

Do I really examine this question within the moment of my life, as I know my sensation and I know my breath? Or do I just think about it sometimes?

I think a lot. If I look carefully, I see that even the thought, which seems so solid, is supremely impermanent. Many of the thoughts are incorrect, or even destructive. As I see each one of these thoughts, it is possible to know that they are not this Being.

The organic sense of Being becomes a yardstick against which the temporary nature of all arising and falling phenomena can be measured. The fact that I so frequently forget to take this measurement does not mean there is no scale, or that measurement does not exist.

In the midst of even this effort itself, there is a need to stop. To deepen the relaxation, to see that within this moment it is possible to let go of even more tension than I thought or knew I had. What wishes to penetrate has no path to travel if blocked by unconscious tensions. Acceptance needs to begin with a letting go in the body. In the same way that there is no compassion if there is no effort, no connection, help cannot arrive without acceptance. And in this case, the acceptance consists of a seeing, and then effort to relax.

Why do I try to control things? What ever I "do," life arrives anyway. It doesn't arrive the way I want it to. It just arrives. The objective nature of the Dharma, of bodhi, exists before I do. When it arrives, it clashes with my subjective nature. The resolution of this conflict can only lie at the place of intersection -- the place where the impressions enter the body.

I have no simple resolution for this conflict. I sense, as always, the need to present this awareness naked in the midst of relationship, so that more can be learned, more can be suffered, more can be taken in.

May our hearts be open, and our prayers be heard.

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