Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughts: on giving thanks, and on embodying energy (the four elements and stillness)

   It is once again time to write and yet, after another long gap, I hardly know where to begin.  And so, I will begin with what is obvious.  It is Thanksgiving (albeit the end of it), and therefore a time to express one's gratitude for all things that sustain us.  In my case, I would like to begin by acknowledging and thanking the different elements:

Today, I will begin with earth.  For earth is the element that sustains and nourishes us.  Earth is the element through which we plow our fields (even if only metaphorically) and reap our harvest.  Earth grants us a bed to lay on, a foundation to build from, a home to keep us safe and warm.

Next, I would like to acknowledge fire.  (I did this in a much more in-depth fashion several months ago.) Fire is the joy, the life, the spark, that animates us.  It is what inspires us to act, to assert, to risk, to love, to reach for the glory of heaven.  It is fire which keeps us expanding, while never looking back, always seeking a purer and more passionate expression.

Next, let us bathe in water.  Ah, cool, cleansing water. . . Water which quenches our thirst, which heals our wounds, which coaxes us in into the deepest and sweetest states of surrender. . . Without water, we would slowly harden, crystallize, into statues of stone or patches of thorny briars.

And last, but not least, let us acknowledge air: the wind that plays with us, tickling our minds and whistling in our ears.  The wind is always moving here and there, never still or stagnant, never locked down into one fixed position.  Without the movement of air, we would truly be lonely and solitary creatures, chained down with dead weight--and thoroughly bored. 

And so, I am grateful to the elements, the purest and most sustaining of all archetypes (well--one could argue that yin/yang is the most basic archetypal distinction, but even that underlies the elements!).  And most of all, I am grateful for the ways that these elements manifest and play in my life: In relationship, in spirituality, in work, in play, in dance and creation--in all these ways, I see the elements, I feel them; I understand that there is a Divine and purposeful order in the way that these blessings flow. 

Truly, truly, I am blessed.  I am so blessed to have friends and family whom I love, and who love me.  I am so blessed to have enough money to pay my bills every month and to put food in my mouth.  I am so blessed to have a body that supports me and to have practices that support my body.  I am so blessed to have a keen and sharp mind that is always learning and growing, and to never have a shortage of mental-experiential material which which to tinker.  I am so blessed, that the closer I align myself to my Divine and individual soul purpose, the more I allow myself to live and breathe Oneness into the core of my being, the more I am nourished.  It only gets better.  The experience only becomes deeper, and calmer, and more expansive and more loving.  This is my calling; I align in perfect knowledge and in absolute and loving submission.

As I've moved into more and more metaphysical territory with my thanks, I would now like to wrap things up, to move more deeply into my own inner silence.  But first, I would like to share a poem that I wrote several months ago.  It is one of several poems that reflects my journey inward to find absolute stillness.  As I wrote it, I moved from a state of agitation into a state of increasingly clarity and finally into a state of rest.  It has been my deepest aspiration, of late, to make this place of rest into my permanent inner abode, and I feel now that I am coming closer (perhaps it is now my vacation home, rather than an exotic retreat only visited at very rare intervals).  At any rate, I hope you enjoy it.  Love and blessings to you on this Thanksgiving holiday.  And, as always. . .



And maybe, if I soaked in silence long enough--
hours? days? weeks?--
maybe I would FINALLY emerge fully saturated:
drenched in the stillness of a meditation that had seeped
down, down, down:
down into the crevices of my bones,
down into the tender meat of my heart,
down into the twisted nooks and crannies of my habit-riddled brain,
down into the DNA loops that replay my karma
over and over and over again, like a broken record.

Maybe then I could rest, truly, permanently:
no longer riddling myself and others with my endless highs and lows,
my tos and fros, my visions and sorrows.

Oh, how I long for that day.
Oh how I yearn to be free from this prison of ambivalence.
Oh, how I long for rest of the deepest kind.

None of these cheap substitutes will do now:
not flattery,
not greed,
not high regard,
nor speed,
nor lust,
or fantasy--
not even love (of the cheapest, clinging kind).

No! I am no longer fooled!
For you servants of Mara:
You never fill me up.
You always leave me weak in hunger,
shoveling more, more, more, down my throat,
but never am I sated.

And so—your game is up!
No more will you substitute
ignorance for repose,
lust for pleasure,
pride for satisfaction,
pity for compassion.
I feel each twist of the karmic knife
as it wrenches my heart,
clenches my gut,
poisons my mind--
I will give you control no longer.

For I know what I need.
And from here on out,
I demand love of the TRUEST kind,
rest of the DEEPEST kind,
joy of the FREEST kind.
This I deserve and I will settle for no less.

And so, knowing this to be true,
I can now surrender.
I release all thought, all hope and let go,
collapsing, sinking effortlessly into the deepest and
clearest of watery beds:
the calm waters of the deep self.
Here I wait, in love, and in purity.
Here, all thought disappears and all is revealed.

I sink deeper and deeper.
I soak more and more.
I become lighter and freer.
Watch me as I disappear fully, and then emerge.