well-being & being well

 

Agnes Martin - Gratitude, 2001

 

There’s a mindset that runs a mythical story asserting that one’s “accomplishment” of awakening, and the attendant ease of well-being, is negated or compromised by any experience of being unwell. Beware of these myths!

Awakening is never “accomplished” or attained. It is simply a system-restore to the Natural State.

The Natural State – I call it wild wideawakeness – has no preference whatsoever for what might be being experienced by the body or the mind. It remains the essential experience, enabling and infusing all others. Its impartiality – and re-cognition of this – is what dissolves suffering and enables well-being – regardless of the passing play of one’s life.

Well-being does not depend upon being well.

It’s true that the more unshakeable one’s well-being, the more sensitive the organism becomes, bringing understanding and prompting changes that may lead to less physical and mental dysfunction. But well-being remains unaffected. Period.

I have been with frail, aged folk in heart-wrenching discomfort and pain and fully aware of the approach of their end days, who were aglow with well-being.

I have been with a close friend when she received a diagnosis that would strike terror into the heart of most people; she exuded such well-being that her surgeons and friends were at once amazed and relieved. (She has now fully recovered.)

I have been with myself during debilitating illness, pain, grief. At these times the litmus test for the extent of my freedom is a little inquiry: am I suffering?

And I have to say no; I can no longer find a solid-state ‘person’ here who could own a story about suffering.

If there is illness, no problem – I’ll seek help, I’ll take the medicine, but I won’t suffer.

Well-being is unaffected.
Well-being is the Natural State.
The Natural State is what one is.

Because the Natural State is ever-present and inescapable, accepting the entire array of experience without question, I’ve come to know it as Love. Love Divine. 

Whatever you call it – God, Divine Presence, Love, Suchness, The Great Perfection, Beloved – you are naming yourself and the entirety of your experience.

Along with everyone and everything else…

 


Painting by Agnes Martin, Gratitude, 2001. Courtesy of the Tate Gallery, London.


wild wideawakeness and radical creativity

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Here are some classic strategies for ‘unblocking creativity’:

receive nurturance
respond
be wild
begin
protect your time
stay with it
protect your creative life
craft your real work
lay out nourishment for the creative life*

I used to hold hope in such strategies. It was great fun exploring them as I busily built a creative self. But now it’s different. I found out that there’s a screamingly simple way to open the door to creativity.

The two obstacles to creativity are thinking one knows what it is, and wanting it. Wanting to ‘be creative’ is the safest strategy I know to ensure you will never be creative. Just like wanting to be wideawake will ensure dreaminess.

Wild wideawakeness and creativity both lie beyond the reach of belief and believer.

My strategy is too simple to sell. It wouldn’t fill a ‘how-to’ book:

I simply stop, I sit down, and I shut up.

Great silence never fails to reset its own natural state:  radical creativity.

~

*From Clarissa Pinkola Estes wonderful book, Women who Run with the Wolves