The silent cry of the snow lion…
Writing a daily journal is an interesting exercise, in the case where it is anticipated that many eyes might come across its page.
I suppose if I were just writing for myself, a little litany of the days activities with a couple short notes on feeling or thought might suffice.
As I begin to explore this context here, where my eyes and yours might wander these words, I find myself wondering, why not? Am I making a false distinction? Is there something better about sharing a wandering inquiry than sharing a plain and simple narrative?
Maybe it was the temporal nature of the recollection that was giving me the hook… Thinking about 4 AM today, and contemplating starting the story from there made the process feel a little redundant, or maybe rhythmic is a better word?
In the end, it is about what happened, as much as anything. 4 AM today, what happened, was me feeling the natural panic of the grasping mind as I struggled in my semi-conscience projections to plot a course of comfort and certainty, where there almost certainly is none. Feeling these psycho emotional stressors is really quite a phenomenal experience in a paralyzed body. The opportunities to fidget, to exercise the flesh, or to walk away are all quite limited.
It’s like soup in the skin, it just warms there on the stove, boiling away with just a hint of steam coming out the ears.
If you’ve been following along, you can guess my 4 AM response – meditation of course. It’s a nice fidget. It’s nice because it’s productive. In the practice of meditation it’s true that grasping for an outcome is contrary to the effort, yet nonetheless – returning with discipline to the practice itself has a purpose and when executed properly, with discipline, and over time (and into the timeless) produces a result. For that I am fortunate.
When I, in my paralyzed body, have nowhere to run from that overwhelming sense of discomfort, not run, but I can turn, turn to the generative and priceless practice of meditation.
I break my stride here to wonder if the value of this entry is to narrate some process of meditation that I undertook, and the experiences that arose with that, but they feel in the sense private.
At first I sat up, in the dark and silence, and practiced the preliminary meditations to orient my mind to a clarity of purpose, of the community of practice, of the skills that would need to be refined, and the sense of self I would need to step beyond.
Next I approached the lecture on purpose, nature, and particularities of the phase of practice with which I am engaged. Listening and practicing in one breath.
Then the Q&A, listening to a recording of others responding to the practice in a group setting. During this phase I reclined again to practice resting, listening, and meditating, as one. This generally produces a positive outcome in terms of a certain kind of late morning stillness, wakefulness, and ground of practice for the day. Basically the idea is that if I can do the practice while resting lightly, I may have a better chance of being able to do the practice while active in the day.
Today, while Saturday, was a workday like any other. When life itself is your medium of art, the brush and canvas never rest. Easing into the morning through a few email and news stories, a review of voter pamphlet information, and conversation with Greg about the general mad state of the world and what might be done about it. I do have some ideas on that, now just to find the mechanics of translating them from mental exercise to real-world prototypes, more on that as it arises no doubt…
And then to the meat of the day – one of those loving interventions of care for the world, MettaCare – a project underway for many years now, only just pushing its way through the husk of seed and few inches of topsoil towards the light. This effort constituted, again, combing rich threads of email from a variety of really remarkable partners with profound insight, depth of experience, and heart for the inquiry. Translating these dialogue into an outline in search of a concise and coherent introduction and invitation to others, was the task of the day and I was happy to make some headway in that journey.
I stopped midway through to reach out to my dad. I was glad to hear him taking lunch in the garden, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air in spite of feeling weakened by a recent bout with the flu, and the residual trailing’s of choices made many years ago to smoke cigarettes. The conversation was a mix of melancholy, natural appreciation, some laughter, and much love. Life, like its container force, evolution, truly is a process of creative prototype bound to blend persistent reliability and self undoing. With a little wakefulness, we have the gift of learning.
I gave most of the day to MettaCare today, but turned in the afternoon to efforts developing a foundation to launch the formal project of Life as Art that has been growing in me for a quarter-century. I’m optimistic to have something to share in that unveiling before the end of the month.
My sweet friend Preet came by with her son Rahm to help record an introductory video for that project, late in the day. After 90 minutes of work, the product we had was only passable as draft material, but as such, like life, like evolution, with a little wakefulness brought with it the gift of learning. We will try again next Saturday, with much anticipation to apply the lessons to the next swim.
I thought for a moment I might be done writing, but I realized that I cried a little over lunch today. Caitlin came around, in loving service, and warmed three courses of leftovers for the midday meal. Somewhere in the conversation I mentioned a film I had loved nearly 15 years ago. Thinking about it led me to look it up and find with delight that the whole thing is now free on YouTube. So munching my way through the salad, we took a moment to watch the opening scenes of “Tibet, Cry of the Snow Lion.”
It took me less than four minutes to start crying, how about you?
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…