Pressing Down and Allowing to Rise

The hand is a wonder.  It can contract and force, putting pressure on your world, making things happen.  Or it can open, palm up, letting a small bird light upon it.

And so goes energy.  Do I really want one without the other?  If I kept the fist tight throughout my life, or if my hands always reached to the sky, is that true to life?  I think not.  There is a time for action and a time for contemplation.  The two need each other, I believe.

There was a time in my life when doing dominated me.  I wanted to be an accountant, a social worker, an artist, a real estate agent, a life insurance agent and a teacher.  I strove for excellence.  I studied.  I stretched.  I pushed.  I made noise.

More recently, I’ve allowed myself to open to a vastness that falls around me, like a gentle rain.  I’ve let myself not know.  I’ve turned to the quiet.

There is indeed a place for both.  Right now, as I reread all the e-mails and blog posts I’ve written about Jody over the last year, Spirit opens me and love flows out beside the tears.  There is space around the words, helping me see how deeply I’m connected to you.  But the yang of that yin is my need to create a result … called a book which I hope will reach people near and far, a book which will show love and be a bridge to more love in the world.  I need to know about font styles, font sizes, line spacing, paper quality, the use of blank space, per unit cost, timelines and shipping realities.

I need to both focus and blossom, because that is the way of life.  To be in this world but not of this world, engaged and floating free, of the furrowed brow and the radiant heart.  It’s all me.

Somewhere Between One and Zero

Another unknown human being out there in the world, in the present or in the past, has this to say:

We can think of ourselves spiritually as being somewhere on a continuum between one and zero.  One is the full embodiment of the “I” separate from all things, and zero is emptiness and the unconditioned.  Spiritual practice is supposed to move us from one to zero, but it often moves us in precisely the opposite direction, back toward one.  We cannot use the strategies of one to get to zero.  The movement toward either zero or one is within every thought and action of body, speech and mind.  We are continually solidifying the hold that “I” has on reality, or we are loosening it.

Perhaps the most difficult transition is to abide within zero and leave the world and ourselves alone.  We have practiced for so long that with lightning reflexes we intervene on our behalf, observing, examining and understanding whatever resistance arises.  The energy behind this intervention suggests that something is wrong when these states of mind, thoughts or attitudes occur.  The final understanding is that there is nothing wrong with anything because it all holds the same essence.

 As we move toward zero, we will never know what the next step will look like, except that it will be quieter than the previous one.

I wonder what zero would feel like.  I guess all of the things that happen to me, the “conditions”, would not be important any more.  That sounds like a pale life from one vantage point but possibly great freedom from another. Perhaps there would be nothing or no one I’d feel separate from.  Perhaps I’d be just as engaged with life as ever but without the need to have any particular result show up.  I could do what I do, as an expression of my essence, without worrying.

It’s 11:54 am.  Linda, one of Jody’s personal support workers, shows up at noon for her 8-hour shift.  No PSW comes in for the other sixteen hours. Thirty minutes ago, I looked at the kitchen and the laundry area and thought “not good enough”.  Dishes in the sink, clean dishes sitting in the dishwasher, food stains on the counter, drier full of stuff to be folded or hung.  So I’ve scurried around, quite mindlessly, to get the jobs done.  And now they are.  But what was that all about?  Not very quiet.  Definitely holding on to something being wrong.

Strange.  The PSW’s job is to clean and cook and generally support Jody.  But I wanted the house to look good for her.  And, in line with our mystery author, there’s nothing wrong with that.  And there’s nothing wrong with me being so uptight about it.  In the spirit of quietness, though, I could just do the cleaning within a context of Being, with no strings attached.  That would be nice.  Think I’ll give it a go.

Linda’s arrived.  House looks good.

It could be that I’m at 0.8, or maybe 0.3.  But really … how silly to be even thinking numbers.  Still, I wouldn’t mind being .007.  Kerr’s the name – Bruce Kerr.