The birth of Spring invites me to think of the death of Winter and over all, the generative process of nature. I consider, what it is that comprises God-ness...this sense of generating, organizing and deconstructing energy that unfolds all organic matter and ideas in a cycle of composition and decomposition? How does this God-ness abide within and without me even as I observe the delicate growth of the violet crocus and the rotting twig in soil, even as I breath in and exhale? Essentially, this contemplation is an exercise in mindfulness observing what life in me and around me requires death. This could be a dying of an old way of being, old emotional responses, unsustainable behavior patterns, and so on in order for my most productive ways of being to emerge.
In our search for survival, we turn toward illusory messages that point us - we hope - toward the direction of security, a sense that predictable enoughness creates predictable survival. This is hope. And hope, in mindfulness, can be viewed differently than the mainstream. In fact, hope can get in the way of being present. "Hopelessness" says Pema Chodron, "means that we no longer have the spirit for holding our trip together. We may still want to hold our trip together. We long to have some reliable, comfortable ground under our feet, but we've tried a thousand ways to hide and a thousand ways to tie up all the loose ends, and the ground just keeps moving under us," (When Things Fall Apart, p.39). Our search for survival means we get a brain geared toward simplifying processes, determining safety, and acting impulsively to ensure avoiding danger. We want seamlessness between lack and enough, between receiving and letting go, between living and dying. We judge ourselves quite harshly for "not having" or "not doing" enough, for things feeling "insecure" and "unpredictable" and become more stressed when we, others, and our environments don't live up to such expectations. We have constructed social norms that define safety as means toward an impossible end - the license to immediacy - to have when we want, understand when we're confused, or be comforted when we're unsteady. And there's nothing inherently wrong with our needs for survival like safety, structure, comfort, and love.
Mindfulness teaches us that suffering is the natural process of living and dying; accepting that we are always in a phase of grief in the cycle of generating and organizing and deconstructing is freeing. Tara Brach teaches that freedom is forgiveness and I think of this in relationship to God-ness - that our freedom lies in the forgiveness, or rather the compassionate acceptance of our survival mind, behaviors, and instincts. There is freedom from fear when we acknowledge our very humanness. Resilience comes alive in the face of challenge, just as contentment comes alive in the presence of acceptance. Resistance invites judgement and hardens the Soul from the Self.
Meditation helps us learn how to acknowledge in place of avoid - not in spite of what is difficult but because difficulty appears. Mindfulness treats difficulty with respect, it considers difficulty as a teacher and therefore all difficult emotions and experiences as evolutionary opportunities. And so I meditate on God-ness as I sit typing. God-ness…my words; God-ness…my thoughts; God-ness….my tidal emotions; God-ness…my tidal breath. Each manifestation a rise and fall, a becoming and a fading away, being and non-being.
“Manic Screaming” by Hafiz in I Heard God Laughing
“We should make all spiritual talk simple today:
God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t’ want to buy.
That is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price.”
How do we use mania to drown out the voice of God-ness within? What perceived benefit do we receive as a result of drowning the voice of God? What is so important that we are willing to drown the voice of God?
Behaviors are the survivor’s guide to the life cycle.
It’s a game-plan, a way of getting through the day, the life-span, and finding connection with source along the path. To think that we can drown the voice of God-ness in us is to avoid our survival nature and our own path towards self-acceptance and grace. We are no better at surviving when we avoid that which we are ready to create and erode in order for our personal evolution. Life requires death. Spring requires Winter. Light requires dark. Soul requires we turn toward the difficult emotions to learn from both the loving and alarming voice within.