“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Thanks to May is for Metta 2012, I have been inspired and committed to posting everyday on the Heart of Awakening. It feels like a strange thought to let a day go by without posting, although I have to admit I have been fantasizing about going a day without writing. But here I am. Writing is a way for me to explore my own experience as well as a way to share with others. A lot emerged for me during the month-long practice. I am excited to be moving forward with creating a May is for Metta Audio Program. This is something I have envisioned for a long time. It feels like now is a time for moving forward with ideas and visions I have been cultivating for some time.
The image that comes to mind is a crossroads. It is as if many of the roads I have traveled on have come together and now I have arrived at a new place, but there is a fork in this new road, too. One path seems to be full of greenery and blooming things. The other is dark and uncertain. Even though it appears that there are two paths to take, I can tell that inside myself both paths exist. They seem to be intertwined. I notice as I choose one path that an aspect of the other emerges. I know that things aren’t always the way they seem. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side and often I find the most light when I enter into the darkness. I guess this is why the shaman’s path is so appealing to me or I could say being a Sufi, too. As I find the willingness to go into what is uncomfortable and to explore the deepest depths of my heart and soul, I understand why I am where I am and how I have become who I am. I know myself and I know my purpose, too.
For whatever reason, my journey has been one of being led into some difficult and uncomfortable places. I had no choice about this for a large part of my life and although I resisted where I was then, now I can see that it created a strong foundation for me to be able to stand in my truth and stay present with what is arising even when it is challenging. This is an incredible gift I have been given and it comes through what I previously would have labeled suffering, but now just call “Life”.
This year’s May is for Metta practice has offered me the opportunity to go deeper within myself and to uncover more of the places where I am still holding myself out of the game of “Life”. I know where my inner work lies and I know where my edges are. I also know how to approach all of this with loving-kindness and compassion. And, it is in that space that suffering transforms into the experience of living as a human being.
On the last day of May is for Metta, this big turtle showed up on my front door. Turtle is a totem that has been present in my life for along time. My mother collected turtles and I feel strongly it is an ancestral totem as well. Turtle speaks of going within, moving slowly and being still. To me, it is the symbol of the heart as those are all requirements for entering into the heart space. It felt so fitting for this very old Turtle to scratch at my door as this part of the journey is ending and the next beginning. When things like this happen, I feel so blessed by the beauty and mystery of life.
I was chatting with a new friend from India who writes a blog, Varungenius. He asked me when I began meditating. I shared that it was when I was 14 years old. My cousin had just returned from some time in India and all he talked about was meditation. He didn’t tell me what is was or how to practice, but something stirred in me. From that point forward, I read, I studied and I practiced. It wasn’t until many years later that I actually had my first teacher, and since have been blessed with teachers from a variety of traditions who have helped me in many ways to grow as a practitioner and as a human being.
Meditation is way to know ourselves on a deeper level and to begin to understand the big picture. It takes us into the self and beyond the self. In the words of one of my teachers, Angeles Arrien, “Meditation is an opportunity to discover, uncover and recover aspects of ourselves .” In many traditions, this is akin to shamanic journey work or other contemplative practices. Regardless of how one practices, the important thing is to practice, to find a way to go within and to learn the landscape of our consciousness. The goal is not to get away from who we are or where we are but to embrace all of ourselves with acceptance and loving-kindness.
Just today, I heard myself say that there must be some reason why things are the way they are right now. When I hear myself speak these words, I know it is true and yet, I can still feel the part of myself that would like things to be different. This is part of human nature; wanting a different experience than the one we have. However, there is so much richness in just being, allowing and embracing what is arising in the moment, whether it is comfortable or uncomfortable. I am reminded of a quote by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,
“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.”
I am laughing as I see how I am still searching for the goal so much of the time instead of just enjoying the ride! Life can seem like a roller coaster in so many ways – up, down, curving, and flying into the unknown. Remembering that the road is the goal is the key to freedom and understanding. It’s easy to say but not always so easy to embody; that is where the journey lies. In Sufism, there is a practice called Remembrance. In other traditions, there are other names, but the concept is the same. Life is a journey of awakening, the road is the goal and the teacher is the path itself with all its twists and turns. When we embrace the beauty and wisdom that is present all around us and within us, anything is possible.
Today, I invite you to let go of the goal and enjoy the road of life!