So what would I offer to anyone who would listen?
Not in the way you might listen to a teacher, but more as you would stop and listen to an old tree creak about its years of standing in the wind. If you should listen that way, I would whisper that each step in being alive-in dreaming, in suffering, in awakening-takes us out of our image of ourselves and tosses us into the very stuff out of which all selves are made. When we can let those moments reach us, aliveness and woundedness become indistinguishable and trepidation drops into wonder.
Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are and listen to
the wind that is singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing and the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
not who you would like to be.
Not the saint you’re striving to become.
But the being right here before you,
inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You’re already more and less than
whatever you can know.
Breathe out, look in, let go.
Image and post courtesy of:
The Path of the Mystic
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
Those who have reached their arms into emptiness
are no longer concerned with lies or truth, with mind or soul,
or which side of the bed they rose.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
Nathan Wheeler Photography (Thank You!)
Lyn Hartley is an independent educator who lives in the wilds of the Yukon. She tells the story of two skiers crossing a frozen lake at night. Sliding through the snow with flashlights, they came upon a moose fallen through the ice. The enormous creature was stuck shoulder high. It was clear the moose couldn’t get out and they alone couldn’t pull it out. The temperature was dropping. So they stayed through the night and, though the moose resisted, they covered it with their tent; settling in to shine their small lights on its face and on the edges of broken ice, to keep the ice from freezing into shards that would cut the moose. In the morning, when the sun reappeared, they went for help. Together they roped the moose and slowly pulled it to the edge till it could find its own way out.
This is a powerful metaphor for how to listen to and be with those who have fallen through: stay close and keep them warm, resisting the urge to prematurely solve the situation. If nothing can be done, sit with them, resisting the urge to abandon those who seem stuck. Offer your tent and stay with them long enough till the way out presents itself, not forcing a rescue. How I need to hear this. For life is long enough that we will have our turn at falling through and being stuck, and at coming upon the fallen not knowing what to do.
I love how we root in the earth and sprout in the world. I love how I learn from others as we find our original face. I admit that I need everyone when I fall through. I confess that I need to hold nothing back when I come upon you struggling in the hole of your own making. How I need the skill of heart that lets love meet truth like small lights on ice. In the truth of each other, there is a way out.
Blog: Three Intentions