Imagine—we’re floating down a gentle river in inner tubes on a blazing July afternoon. Our butts hang in the cool water, the tube surfaces are warm—growing hotter where the water does not splash on them—and the sun beats down on the exposed parts of our bodies.
Then, abruptly, a whirlpool catches your inner tube, and for a little bit, the tube is spun in place in the river, and you are seemingly separated from the main flow—then the whirlpool disperses, and off the ride goes again.
A while later, an eddy pulls my tube into a bend—a quiet nook in the river—and now I appear to be independent of the main flow. Then the eddy gives way, and the tube rocks a bit until the current grabs it and pulls me back into the main body of the river.
We are always one with the river, but seemingly separated at times. What a delicious metaphor for awareness and embodiment. Awareness is the river—always there, always alive and flowing. The whirlpools and eddies are embodiments—where for a little while, we show up on the planet; we look separate, we may feel separate, but we are never separated—or independent—for one instant from the grand flow that we are.
Then the body dissipates just like the eddy back into that from whence it came, and once again, only one awareness, one river.
Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
As a child, I often climbed our neighbor’s fence to get a higher perspective, to see both farther and more deeply.
I was curious about the truth of my experience, although my parents only directed me to consider the so-called outer world. They wanted me to grow into the life they found relatively comfortable, so forays into my inner experience met with their disdain. Fitting into what I saw as their wooden society was not to be, and that remained–until my mother’s death–one of her griefs, and my great reliefs. I knew instinctively that their world would not bring peace.
And so, as humans do, I searched for the root of happiness. For almost four decades I traveled with like-hearted peers, convinced I was on the right track. We walked down sweetly scented paths that were filled with longing and looked outward, into the world of practices and self-improvement. We couldn’t all be mistaken, could we? Threads of the truth were embedded in the teachings, but veiled.
I did not find what I was looking for there.
Like the Sirens in Greek mythology, the root of happiness kept calling until I made the final turn for my inner home. To paraphrase an old Sufi saying: it is nearer than the pulsing of your own heart.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: Panhala Poetry
The invitation is to look, right now. Do not believe what anyone has told you; do not believe what you have read.
Everything depends on your dropping your beliefs about how the world is; you can always pick those beliefs up again, and looking at the heart of your own direct experience in this moment.
- Has there ever been a moment in your life when it was not now?
- Have you noticed that thoughts about the past and thoughts about the future always occur now?
- Can you find a doer, or does life just get done?
- Can you find the origin of a thought or a feeling, or do they arise full-blown, all on their own? And then, boom! they’re gone, just as abruptly as they arrived?
- Do you really have control, or occasionally–do events simply happen to turn out the way you wanted, and then your mind takes ownership?
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
The mind–any mind–wants to make conclusions. It lives for conclusions. That’s what it’s built for: judging–or discerning, if we are blessed with subtlety–supposedly choosing, and making conclusions.
On a hot, sunny day, sweat rises on the skin, we make the conclusion that it’s too hot to be outside. My co-worker frowns at me, I make the assumption that I’ve done something that displeased them. But who knows? Perhaps they don’t feel well, or their child got called into the principal’s office.
If we acknowledge the mind’s activity, but leave it alone and simply remain curious, suffering decreases. We can’t know the outcome–for sure–before it arrives anyway, so the stress-free response is to remain open.
The stakes drop. Life becomes less serious, and more playful.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013