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Contemplation – My Guiding Star

By Kumari on Wednesday May 27th, 2020

How are You Doing in These Strange and Turbulent Times?

The weeks of staying home now take tentative steps toward opening doors. I feel the shift in energy as a loosening, a lifting unseen shroud. The fear and anxiety that was easy to be caught in as the unknown tsunami threatened to break against our shores, has rippled and smoothed. 

Here in Australia, we have been deeply fortunate. Perhaps the tragedy of the bush fires were enough for us to bear. 

Returning home, staying home. It took a while for the edges to smooth with two teenagers isolating from their friends when socialisation is a high priority. 

We have slowed, softened and blended together in a soup that will bring lasting memories. Initially, in the early days of our forced retreat, I felt confronted to see certain dynamics, dysfunction, traits within this little family with none of the usual distraction and escape. The time has given us all rest, the chance to unwind and shake off the outside world to the degree we can allow. And time to re-bond, deepen connection, become woven together into a fabric of softer ease. 

Accepting that Which I Cannot Change

My mother is in a care home in the UK. My fierce grief that she might die during this time, alone, struggling to breathe, without a loved one by her side, softened to acceptance. Acceptance that for sure she will die at some time in the next years, given she turns eighty-six next month. I live on the other side of the world. To be removed from my mother at this time of her life, regardless of COVID and the restrictions of travel, brings its own process. 

All the more appreciation for her being here now at the end of a telephone; and the opportunities to tell her that I love her. That she is doing so well. She too has come to appreciate the small things and has befriended a pigeon who she feeds on the windowsill outside her window. Life has become simple and easy she tells me. “How wonderful”, I reply. “How wonderful!” 

Alt text hereAppreciating the small things reminds me of the magic all around. Image: Kalpesh Patel

As we all begin to emerge from the collective cocoon of hibernation I wonder what we will bring with us from this time of self-retreat. Over these weeks I have become adept at the long lost art of contemplation, of doing very little other than appreciate the slant of light through the blue fig tree and the way a curious king parrot clings to a branch of the bougainvillaea, his bright red and green colouring so exotic, his brief presence so pleasing. 

I had to let go. Befriend the voice that nags in my ear … surely you should be doing something? Write a new book, sing a new song. I have been playing the piano, losing myself to the keys that seem to produce such lovely sounds. Re-evaluate the deeper sense of identity, of what does it mean if I have no agenda. 

Meeting My Stripped-Back Self

What pressures have I put on myself to achieve something, be somebody, measured by a world system that as we see now, all around us, has run a rampant race that no one feels like a winner of? And all this with two teenagers at home navigating zoom classes and online learning, and still working part-time. 

The privilege of working with the very elderly who anyway tend to spend long hours alone. With social connections greatly reduced, their porous loneliness soaks me up like a sponge. 

Rest is restorative for the nervous system. We are all tired. Deeply so. Tired of our relentless pursuit of unachievable goals, tired of our critics, our nagging complaining minds, the general disease of a mind that rarely is truly quiet. Rest harbours the tranquil waters of presence. Present to the small miracles occurring all around.

But the undercurrent is there. And when my attention lags, or maybe for no reason at all, a downward pull shrinks me towards clouds of uncertainty, a gnarly fear at what lurks around the darkened corner.

The future we face is utterly unprecedented, an impenetrable obscurity, a vast and dismal cloud of unknowing. – Roy Scranton

Yet the future has always been unknown. We have been living with unrealistic dreams of an elusive utopia, entirely of our making, whilst all around mother Earth weeps. The edge, the tipping point has never been sharper. It is for my kids that I fear the most. What will they encounter, endure?

Rest harbours the tranquil waters of presence. Image: Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho

Yet the sun keeps rising. Painting colours on the dawning horizon. Then departs again with a fanfare in the West. The ocean continues to surge against the sand, rising, falling, providing a carpet for the moon to scatter her pearls as she rises; so huge and luminous on her night of fullness. How miraculous nature is!

There is a scripture called the Hsin Hsin Ming that I have been reading often lately.

Here are a few verses:

The Great Way is not difficult

For those who have no preferences.

If you wish to see the truth

Then hold no opinions for or against anything.

Do not search for the truth

Only cease to cherish opinions.

One thing, all things;

Move among and intermingle,

Without distinction.

To live in this realization

Is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.

To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,

Because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

After endless warm days with the skies so blue and a gracious divinity splashing light all around, the first chill of autumn reaches us. Leaves spiral in the winds and evening gathers early, bringing her quiet invitation to turn again towards home. 

Rest.

We have had practice now for a beckoning winter of hibernation. And as life demands more from us, the opportunity comes to sift through what is essential and what can be left on the back burner (for now at least). How to remain steadfast in this world of Samsara? It is the essence of all spiritual practices. 

As Roshi Joan Sutherland writes:

Every moment, every circumstance, is another chance to experience things as they are, rather than as we wish or fear them to be.

~

What gifts have you uncovered as a result of lockdown? What reflections have come to you upon the inescapable reflection time? We would love to hear in the comments below.

Blessings to you all. 

Hari Om Tat Sat

 

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10 Responses to Contemplation – My Guiding Star

  1. Blessings Beloveds,
    This beautiful heart share shows that indeed Humanity is in a process of grand revelation.
    What has no longer been sustainable, the way We as a whole have been living upon our Mother
    planet. The pace has been relentless and convoluted for so many. Alas, We are coming to a
    full stop.
    What wants to be known, what wants to be shared, is that We are a Evolving Magnificent Species,
    that when We lead with our Hearts in the Perfection of Love, We are ushering in our True Presence,
    that which we have always been and simply forgot for a while.
    The way of our existence is dependent on Us All Remembering this, We will not be going back to
    what is referred to as ” normal “, however Beloveds, We do not want to in our Heart of Hearts,
    We are remember please, intended to live in FREEDOM,, freedom and Grace for every Sentient Being on
    this planet. This is our birth right. No harm to self and no harm to another, respect for All life on this
    magnificent, resilient home planet, we already have evidence how she regenerates when this ” coming
    to a stop ” is being experienced and reported upon. Glorious, let us lead with our Hearts wide open, Implicitely Trusting, We are fully capable and powerful
    Beings when We navigate consciously As Love Embodied in all our beautiful selves.
    I flow Love to All my Sisters and Brothers, All Sentient Beings, We are in the Most Magnicent Unprecedented
    place, We have our opportunity to NOW truly Know where We are in this process and Live Up to our Full Potential
    As Love, Creator Beings, which are limitless and capable of New New New !!!!

  2. Welcome the unknown. The clearing in the unknown allows Creation to come into the consciousness of the planet with the New. For greater understanding of what is happening and why, read Allen Michael’s channelings in the EG (the New World Bible) galacticmessenger.com.

  3. I love this. Thank you for gifting a touchstone.
    I am in what has been a very quiet Oceanside village in Oregon.
    There have been several insights in this much quieter , gentler
    Time here.
    One That came thru clearly early in our quarantine was that
    One piece of the silver lining is the option to choose how I, all of us, will
    Go forward with our new awarenesses.
    The interesting part was that so many people had been aware of the same
    Knowing even if said in a little different wording.
    In the quiet is was so clear.

    • So good to hear the Oceanside quiet village has helped the deeper understanding of all things. We are in a similar place. I am not in physical touch with more than two people weekly. The insights increase daily. Joy increases each time we look at the surrounding beauty. A village of elderly loving folk who smile and wave speaks volumes. We are at peace while in the center of imperfection. The best is yet to come! SJ

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