Here I am.
Sitting in Paradise
Breathing the tide of clarity – in it comes
crystal-clear, out it goes,
often muddied by mind –
and I smile as this lifestream flows on
saturating each sensation, yet
paying no heed;
never cocking an eyebrow or casting a vote,
only ever reminding me:
Here I am
here and now
as This, and This and This.
The current version of Paradise finds me staying in a place of great beauty, beside a large lake. This entire year has unfolded as a series of deep retreats. It is a time for, and of, integration. Health issues are being lovingly tended and their emotional causality explored. It’s both harrowing and heart-swelling: Grace delivers whatever is needed, reminding me I signed up for the Full Monty.
Apropos of nothing (I never go fishing) these three small poems landed in my net:
breathing with the lake
Monet-mind beside the Seine
black swans glide by, curious:
pounding the lakeside path
fog hiding the lake
one solitary oarsman
rows through melting space
Photograph taken from my zafu.
the seeing of It:
the ripples and reflections
the surface and the cool depth
the sun-snatching edges and the calm continuo
the tones, textures, colours
the watching of It:
the naming and the recalling
the emotional embroidery, the visceral memories
(pain and pleasure both flushed my cheeks
on that windswept isle in the Canaries)
the knowing of It:
all that unfolds before, behind, within and throughout me
as this world I call ‘mine’
shimmers fluidly in a center-less, owner-less
I am Not,
but the Universe is my Self.
– Shih-T’ou, A.D. 700-790
Image – swimming pool reflections captured on a long-ago vacation; Lanzarote, Canary Islands
‘I’ is the eye of existence.
‘Me’ is the figment of fantasy that imagines itself owner of that eye. ‘Me’ is the way ‘I’ refers to itself, yet neither an ‘I’ nor a ‘me’ can ever be located.
The I-eye of clear Awakeness is owned by nothing – no circumstance, no person/entity, no thing whatsoever.
It is never born, although the body- mind organism it saturates and substantiates appears to be born.
It never dies, although its ‘host’ will appear to do so.
It can never be found, for it is always inseparable from that which seeks.
‘I’ is nothing to do with me, or any other personal pronoun.
That’s all that can be known – or said – about It.
And even that’s two words too many.
this soundly sleeping body was the scene of a mozzie-massacre in the night:
today an insect screen will be mended!
sleep or no sleep
comfort or discomfort
peace or irritation –
it’s all the same to I
sob and bitch and moan
laugh and giggle and grin
gossip and lies and satsang –
it’s all the same to I
I is simply I:
no conditions affect It
no purpose distracts It
no preference confuses It
no definition contains It
I is YES! to everything
without even being asked
Tiny toads hop on moistly gleaming terracotta. There was a shower in the night, and for the first time in two sweltering weeks the airstream flowing into the sanctuary is cool. Well, it’s cooler than skin temperature and that feels heavenly.
‘I’ soothes itself with fresh breezes,
delights itself with the golden dappled dawn,
amuses itself with bird-gossip and highjinks,
scribbles its way across a blank page…
‘I’ is Awareness incarnate,
‘I’ is the eye through which we see the world
and at the same time It is the world appearing.
What else can be said?
awakening is neither difficult nor easy
it happens when it’s ready,
and it’s impartial re time or space
something like this appears to happen:
first you STOP
and you stay stopped
then you SIT
and you stay seated
then you SHUT UP
and you stay silent
having stopped, sat down,
and shut up, what next?
(if that’s your question
you haven’t yet shut up)
eventually the stopper
and the sitter and the mute one
only unknowable Knowingness remains
wideawake and aware
as IT has always been
the notion that one is a dreamer within a dream
can be a subtle refuge for a self still seeking spiritual identification
self-as-dreamer is no different from self-as-‘real’-person:
self-remembering . . .
the entertainment never ends!
self is an infinitely mutating mental virus
but it’s also IT, and ‘I’ is IT to a T
(they don’t call this wisdom ‘crazy’ without good reason . . .)