when snowflakes, rain and leaves are lost in the fall, there is no fear – no hesitation, no clinging. there is only rejoicing, for when they return to the earth they are found once again.
when i was seven i became lost in a neighboring town.
i was following my friend’s older brother as he went off to fetch her but, somewhere along the way, i became distracted and he disappeared.
when i turned to go back, i realized that i was so focused on following him that i hadn’t paid attention to the turns and street signs of the neighborhood and houses we passed along the way. i didn’t know how to get back home.
i was lost.
well, eventually i was discovered by a young boy, tearful and fearful at the foot of a giant oak. he was kind and brought me home to his family who called the police, gave me two packs of wrigley’s juicy fruit gum, and fed me vanilla bean ice cream while i waited for them to arrive.
i was found.
i don’t remember their names, not even their faces, but, still fresh is the loving, safe space that found me when i wandered off and wasn’t paying attention.
as human beings, we wander – this is our nature – and we get lost in all sorts of ways.
we get lost in the stories of our emotions and in the convictions of our ideologies – in the desire of our passions and in the concentrated attention of an ego desperately clinging to identity.
we get lost in a virtual reality of fake news – our attention highjacked by the glowing yama monster in our hand.
and, we get lost in the dark room of ignorance, unaware that there’s a light switch, right over there … next to the door. inside the darkness, some of us are curiously feeling our way around while others are terrified of what lies beyond and dare not move. and, then, there are those who have adapted – are perfectly content in the dark – and are unwilling to put effort toward finding the switch.
either way, we are unaware of space and form – of color – of direction and boundary. we are unaware of the patterns and choices that have pushed our limits and pulled into motion the cyclonic samsara of our collective fear. we are unaware of our vicinity to each other.
no wonder we’re feeling disoriented, disconnected and in disagreement. we’re unable to sync our body with our mind – unable to harmonize with the instrument of our one sound – unable to ground ourselves.
and, this has left us lost and deeply longing to be found – to return home.
so, we search and we search and we search – in the words of books and in the faces of our teachers – in our experiences and in the meaning that we ascribe to, well, everything.
we keep searching for ourselves in the same ol’ places – out there … in the pre-conditioned landmarks of our personal and collective identity and in the streets of our judgments. and, we expect to find something else – something different – something better than the actualized consequence of our reality.
we get stuck repeating and retracing our steps when what we have been searching for all along has been here, inside the darkness of fear. when we shift our gaze, we recognize that it is in our fear that we must first search and through our fear that we will be found. we recognize that in order to find awakening, we have to look into the intensity and immediacy of our experience as it is.
this means returning to charel ground – turning back to reclaim our experience and turning in to find the home of our fear – the precipice of our suffering — not automatically following the story of our emotion (our fear) at the exclusion of the process (our suffering).
this shared cosmic pain is part and parcel of our human experience. this is our wisdom! pain helps us grow. pain wakes us up. and, once we accept that pain is nothing to be fearful of, then we are home.
but it ain’t easy!
it’s hard to remember this when we are in the panic of confusion.
it’s hard to remember that we are all experiencing pain, even though it sure doesn’t look that way.
it’s hard to remember that we all have the capacity for darkness and that we all hold the asshole gene.
and, it’s hard to take responsibility for this life – this society – this world.
but we have what it takes to wake up and to be free from the fear of fear – we are soulful inter-beings.
we were born with the memory of who we really are.
and, as we wander in the reverie of this memory, something begins to feel familiar – solid – and we remember.
we remember and we gather and we take safety under the mighty oak. we rest and get to the root.
this is how we begin.
no fear – no hesitation – no clinging.
for centuries the greatest teachers in the world have carried the truth of contemplative practice. their words are shared by love and compassion with the intention of awakening all sentient beings from the cycle of suffering. as a student of life, i am inspired by their discipline and homage for the art of mindfulness – i am filled and emptied by their words.
for more information on the wheel of life, read the path of individual liberation, by buddhist teacher, chogyam trungpa rinpoche and judith leif and visit: https://shambhala.org/teachers/chogyam-trungpa/