10 Oct

My own suffering came through depression. I’ve learned to live with my own internal world in harmony – most of the time. Yesterday and the day before? Not so much. I cannot fully explain how the sister teachings of yoga and buddhism have changed my life. Only to say that working from the inside out is the only way I’ve been able to find peace, to create real transformation within. I sit here and I can feel myself climb out of two days of depression, amazed that it’s ready to move on so quickly. But that is what I’ve learned – almost everything is impermanent. The only steady in life is God. My old definition of God doesn’t resonate for me anymore, and through openness I’m rebuilding my concept of God. Maybe as I learn more, I’ll add to my definition, but so far the only truth I’ve really been able to fully accept is Katie’s: God is reality. Whatever is right in front me – that’s God. How can it be any other way? If God is the only unchanging thing, and God is reality, then I have to look really deep underneath all of the constructs of the mind to find something eternal. And, somewhere at the root of it all, lingering under everything – God is love.

One of my favorite reading combos is to read a section of the Dao, meditate on it, and then read the corresponding section of Byron Katie’s, A Thousand Names For Joy. When I read about those people who have had experiences of losing their ego, finding their true self, the description is always this unique way of looking at the world as LOVE. Love as a noun. Love as a verb. Love as the subject and the object. Love as everything. That resonates with me – I can feel it, I can understand that eternal part of myself as LOVE. Byron Katie gives an interesting interpretation of Dao 63, and a great story. It’s a story I’ve heard over and over by those who have had these experiences or glimpses at enlightenment. I wonder if the Buddha was here in our century, using modern terms, how he would recount his own story? (or would he?)

dao de ching 63

Act without doing;
work without effort
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.

Here’s an excerpt of Katie’s story, part of her chapter on Dao 63

I fell in love with myself one morning in February of 1986. I had checked myself into a halfway house in Los Angeles after years of suicidal depression. A week or so later, as I lay on the floor of my attic room (I felt too unworthy to sleep in a bed), a cockroach crawled over my foot, and I opened my eyes. For the first time in my life, I was seeing without concepts, wihtout thoughts or an internal story. All my rage, all the thoughts that had been troubling me, my whole world, THE whole world, was gone. There was no me. It was as if something else had woken up. IT opened its eyes. IT was looking through Katie’s eyes. And it was crisp, it was bright, it was new, it had never been here before. Everything was unrecognizable. And it was so delighted! Laughter welled up from the depths and just poured out. It breathed and was ecstacy. It was intoxicated with joy: totally greedy for everything. There was nothing separate, nothing unacceptable to it. Everything was its very own self. For the first time ( – it – experienced the love of its own life. I-it-was amazed! -clip-

To say it again: As I was lying there in the awareness, AS the awareness, the thought arose: “It’s a foot.” And immediately I saw that it wasn’t true, and the delight of it. I saw that it was all backward. It’s not a foot; it’s not a cockroach. It wasn’t true, and yet there was a foot, there was a cockroach. But there was no name for any of these things. There were no separate words for wall or ceiling or face or cockroach or foot or any of it. So it was looking at its entire body, looking at itself, with no name. Nothing was separate from it, nothing was outside it, it was all pulsing iwth life and delight, and it was all unbroken experience. To separate that wholeness, to see anything as outside itself, wasn’t true. The foot was there, yet it wasn’t a separte thing, and to call it a foot, or an anything, felt absurd. And the laughter kept pouring out of me. I saw that cockroach and foot are names for joy, that there are a thousand names for joy, and yet thre is no name for what appears as real now. This was the birth of awareness: thoughts reflecting back as itself, seeing itself as everything, surrounded by the vast ocean of its own laughter.

Then it stood up, and that was amazing. There was no thinking, no plan. It just stood up and walked to the bathroom. IT walked to the mirror, and it locked onto the eyes of its own reflection, and it understood. And that was even deeper than the delight it had known before, when it first opened its eyes. It fell in love with that being in the mirror. It was as if the woman and the awareness of the woman had permanently merged. There were only the eyes, and a sense of abosolute vastness, with no knowledge in it. It was as if I – she – had been shot through with electricity. It was like God giving it-self life through the body of the woman – God so loving and bright, so vast-and yet she knew that it was herself. IT made such a deep connection with her eyes. There was no meaning to it, just a nameless recognition that consumed her.

Love was the best word I can find for it. It had been split apart, and now it was joined. There was it moving, and then it in the mirror, and then it joined as quickly as it had separated-it was all eyes. The eyes in the mirror were the eyes of it. And it gave itself back, as it met again. And that gave it its identity, which I call love. As it looked in the mirror, the eyes – the depth of them-were all that was real, all that existed. Prior to that, nothing-no eyes, no anything; even standing there, there was nothing. And then the eyes come out to give it what it is. People name things a wall, a ceiling a foot, a hand. But it had no name for these things, because it’s indivisible. And it’s invisible. Until the eyes. Until the eyes. I remember tears of gratitude pouring down the cheeks as it looked at its own reflection. It stood there staring for I don’t know how long.

These were the first moments after I was born as it, or it as me. There was nothing left of Katie. There was literally not even a shred of memory of her-no past, no future, not even a present. And in that openness, such joy. There’s nothing sweeter than this, I felt; there is nothing but this. If you loved yourself more than anything you could imagine, you would give yourself this. A face. A hand. Breath. But that’s not enough. A wall. A ceiling. A window. A bed. Lightbulbs. Ooh! And this too! And this too! And this too! I felt that if my joy were told, it would blow the roof off the halfway house-off the whole planet. I still feel this way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: