Archive for being

The Simple Being of Words

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2021 by thecrossingchicago

I’ve always been a collector of words.  Quotes, proverbs, definitions, what have you.  But I don’t just regurgitate them into the ether.  When I say them, I mean them.  I have had great teachers that have imparted these words to me.

Browning taught me to reach beyond my grasp because that’s what heaven is for.

Eliot taught me that under red rocks reside things more fearful than shadows and that faith, love, and hope are found in the waiting.

Plato taught me that complacency can only creep in when the dream is dead and Hughes taught me that a dream deferred just might sag like a heavy load.

Oliver taught me to notice the grasshoppers and each blade of grass and asked me what I would do with my one precious life.

Rilke taught me that the questions are more important than the answers and Teilhard de Chardin that if I wait patiently I will live into who God made me to be.

Whyte taught me that if I let go then I’ll see that my True Self resides as near as a reflection in a Himalayan lake or any lake and Eckhart that I can only know truth through erasure and that addition by subtraction is the only way to myself.

O’Donohue taught me that the space between all of us is sacred and that in the solitude and unsayable resides the beauty of interconnected knowing.

Yes, I love words and they sometimes love me back.  But I’m ready to go deeper now.

Osho teaches that intuition is something that goes beyond knowing.  There are things that we think we can grasp intellectually and then there is the unknowable; the mystery that can’t be expressed in words that humans have ever mastered.  This may be closer to what the ancient philosophers called gnosis: almost a divine knowledge reserved for only whose who would practice the awareness to receive it.

I think there’s another layer, though, and that’s where I want to go while taking all the rest with me: being.  I have lived much of my life in my head amassing knowledge and yes, I have also felt.  Sometimes that feeling has been uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful.  Now as I embark on a sabbatical journey of deeper self growth, I want to start to embody the things that I have inherited from my teachers.  I want to live them into my being and become the things that I speak of.

I will keep reaching, Robert and I will be content when I cannot grasp that which my hand has brushed against.  But I will appreciate it nonetheless. 

I will have the courage to look under that red rock, T.S.  That dark place that my shadow has accompanied me to even if it scares the hell out of me.  And when I do, I will carry with me hope that faith and love also accompany me and that on the other side of the darkness is a light that shines in my own being that is so beautiful that even you can’t find the words to express it.

I will not become complacent, Plato.  I will be intentional every step of the way and hold up that dream, Langston so that it doesn’t fester in the sun as you so feared.  In fact, we’ll carry the dream together. 

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do with this one precious life, Mary.  I’m going to love fiercely and bravely like each breath was my last.  I’m going to smell the fresh cut grass and notice the butterfly as she flutters away from the daffodil and feel the warmth of the sun on my face as I speak gratitude for all of it.

Rainer, I’m going to go ahead and rest in those questions and not be too quick to come to any conclusions.  I’m going to learn to appreciate the pauses in between and stay curious along the way.  I will wait, Pierre.  I’m in no hurry, because I’m starting to see that right here and right now is a pretty good place to be.

I’ll look in every lake and pond and puddle that I can find, David.  And even when I can’t see my own reflection, I’ll keep letting go of the unhealthy and the things that I don’t need because I’m going to do it right.  I’m going to erase those false narratives, Meister, and I’m not going to add any more than I need because I know I already have oceans of stardust clasped in my palm.

And yes, John.  Thank you.  The space between us is filled with the laughter of children and burning bushes and the singing of cherubs.  It’s blessed and it’s precious and it’s sacred.  I’ll try not to forget that.  I’ll also remember that even when I’m alone, I’m not.  I’ll keep reminding myself that my soul is intertwined with those that I love and that at the core of all existence, we are all interconnected.

I will embody these truths as I continue to learn, grow, and love.  I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep manifesting: both the things that can be expressed and those that cannot.

Lest I forget you, Osho: I will wear intuition as a garment of indescribable color.  I’ll not become entangled in knowing what it is, but will merely appreciate that it is.  I will breathe and I will be.

Slow Time and the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2018 by thecrossingchicago

I had a chat with a friend the other day about happiness.  She asked me about the pursuit and if it really comes to any meaning.  Perhaps it’s just futile and only leads us on a goose chase that leaves us feeling tired and bitter.  It was a great conversation and it gave me a lot of insights as I pondered it.

I once heard an author say that all of his writing comes from a question.  In other words, he doesn’t write because he thinks he’s an expert about something.  Instead, he is processing out loud as he writes.  That’s exactly what I am doing here.  I’m wondering as a wander, so to speak.

In such a conversation, it seems that we have to start with the semantics.  What is happiness?  Is it really something to be “attained”?  In my own definition, happiness is merely the emotional reaction to what we perceive another is doing to or for us.  While I’m probably just being over-analytical, I would venture that what we are really looking for is joy or contentment.  Or better yet – serenity.

If we stick with the word “happy,”  I have my doubts that it is something that can be pursued and caught up with.  It appears to be a futile chase toward something that is ethereal and can never fully be grasped.  Rather, it would be more like Thoreau’s estimation that it is something akin to a butterfly that will come and land on our shoulder if we would just stop and smell the roses.

Regardless of the right term – happiness, joy, contentment – I find myself more and more seeing it as a state of being rather than a condition to be attained.  In all of its elusiveness, we are shooting at a moving target.  It is nearly impossible to hit something that is constantly changing.  As I was considering this idea, it occurred to me: we are also moving.  If both the target and the source are in motion, then how can we expect to ever make contact!?

What I mean is this: when we aren’t centered and mindful, how do we really even know what we want?  How can we ever come to a place that we can be assured is genuine joy?  It is like hoping that two atoms from opposite sides of the world will eventually make contact.  It’s nearly impossible and only guaranteed to leave us worn out and hopeless.

So what would it look like if we did the inner work to truly know ourselves?  How would it be to slow time and actually live in the moment with complete awareness and intentionality?  Not multitasking, not running, not chasing.  Instead – breathing, sitting, being.

I’m talking to myself as much as anyone, but I would be willing to bet that, if we would stop and smell the roses, we would experience a great shift.  Not only would happiness not seem like an elusive ideal, but we would likely realize that, in that moment, we already have all that we need.  For the first time, we will experience joy and contentment.  Finally, we will have what we ask for in the old prayer: courage, wisdom, and the ultimate peace of mind: serenity.