Tonight, I took part in a reading at Sisters Consignment Couture in Sonoma, California. We read short sections of memoir about sisters, or people close enough that we consider them our sisters. David shared how his father turned malevolent when he drank, and thrashed his wife–frightening him and his three sisters. Catherine’s sister died five years ago of lung cancer, and she so clearly depicted walking with her sister towards her death, and the loss she still feels today. Joelle wrote about the night she was taken home abruptly from a slumber party because her sister, Wendy, had died in a car accident. Laura described unreasonable and thoughtless behavior of a Mother Superior when she and her sister were little. I read a short piece where my best friend and I spontaneously created a ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford Hospital to honorably dispose of my wedding ring from a previous marriage.
The common thread that expresses oneness amidst the seeming disparity of experience and stories was so obvious–our compassion and love for family and friends, the exquisite rawness of our shared human experience. The mind notices differences, a skill that we require for many activities. We can make use of the able mind and know it is not the largest truth. The deeper heart recognizes with undeniable clarity that life is not-two.
©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
Opinions, what are they?
When I look, I see that they are simply thoughts. In my direct experience, thoughts arise unbidden–I have no control over them, other than I can leave them alone. Let the thought train shoot on by.
There are useful thoughts that help organize life, or get us to a meeting on time. I’m not writing about that variety. I have discovered that the thoughts or opinions flavored by emotion or preference that come to this body-mind are fundamentally unreliable. Thoughts cannot “think” about this moment except in hindsight, because thinking is always late–it comes after the moment. Thoughts judge, tell stories, make distinctions, and divide oneness into the multiplicity we apparently experience. They are small–like a crumb–rather than the whole aromatic, warm loaf of bread. As Nirmala says, “a small truth.”
So when thoughts are practical and not filled with emotion, I’m happy to attend to the common sense that is there. Emotion is the clue that a thought is highly suspect, and that I’ve slipped into believing a small truth again.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo from 123RF