pain and blessings

water dropsI’m filled with gratefulness: that I am alive and can feel, even if it’s the sensation of pain, for my sweet partner who cares for me, my son who calls to say he loves me, a dentist who responds on the weekend, antibiotics, medication to reduce the pain, and a soft bed to lie down.

And the luscious rain that fell on our parched land today.

So many blessings.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: the beautiful Barnstorming blog

patterns, again

I write therefore I rewriteFor months, I’ve been wrestling with wanting more dedicated time for writing. Awaken earlier by alarm, which is not the native inclination of this body? Take a break mid-day to try and concentrate amid bustle? Write in the early evening, forsaking precious time with my sweetheart?

I took a clear look at my daily patterns and noticed that we go to bed around ten, but I rarely sleep between ten and twelve. I lie awake wondering why sleep doesn’t come. I watch the mind-train and listen to B’s peaceful breathing.

I chuckled. Why not use the time to write?

We turn down the heat to fifty-eight at bedtime, so I layered into warm pajamas, my new Christmas bathrobe, socks and slippers, and trundled into my office. It’s a quiet room with a door—very important—at the back of the house. Even the inquisitive squirrel who uses the fence outside the window as a highway can’t distract me at this time of night. She’s probably asleep in her nest. Best of all, no phone interruptions.

I had skimmed over what was right-in-front-of-me-obvious to fuss about missing sleep and not finding time for wordplay. Once again, I had been resisting the natural unfolding of life.

These patterns are so deeply ingrained; we have practiced them for decades. But when a chunk of resistance falls away, ease fills that spot like an old friend returning home.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: buy this great mug here

start right here

laughing horse and girlStart right here, fresh. As often as you can. This moment is unique, unrepeatable, and gone in a flash. Enjoy it now! We could be dead tomorrow.

Your mind will grab you away–I guarantee it; that’s the mind’s nature. Not to worry. Each time you notice, simply come back here where life actually happens.

The texture of the steering wheel while driving, the pressure of my foot on the pedals. When I’m swinging, the breeze whishing from the back of my head past my ears to the front when I swing backward; the air kissing my face and my ears as I swing backward. I surely do not want to miss those sensations.

Anything in the imagined future can wait. All that happened in the past is gone. This precious moment–quiet house, computer hum, after midnight, ears ringing, keyboard clicking, eyelids heavy.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

effort and effortlessness, take three

Maggie and me restingThis is a time–purchasing and remodeling a home–that would seem to require a lot of effort. Certainly there are lists to write and check off, there are many details to keep track of, and apparent decisions to be made. Not to mention eventually packing…

But I’ve been discovering if I remain here, right now, there is only one task to attend at a time. The mind wants to whine about the hundreds of tasks to follow, but that’s its job; I don’t have to listen. All that is required is that I attend now. And now.

I’m perfectly capable of falling into effort and overwhelm. But lately–as soon as I notice the strain–I remember that effort and overwhelm are not required. They are layered over the simplicity of the moment. One clean breath, and I’m back here.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

touchstone

touchstone 1A touchstone is something that reminds me that I’m always home. It might be the particular shape of a rock, blossom’s scent, feeling-response, my husband’s touch, a chance comment, or an animal’s glance–and a recognition spontaneously opens.

Each touchstone–always an unexpected gift–brings a flush of gratitude, and often I find my hand makes its way to my heart. Apparent time and space fall away.

Grace!

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

unbridled joy

chalk art streamI’m staying at Mercy Center, a Catholic retreat in Burlingame, California. They are very ecumenical and host all kinds of groups. I just sat for three hours in a spacious room filled with like-hearted apparent others.

Rupert, in his own pristine and precise style, led us directly into the heart of direct experience.

We dissected the direct experience of thoughts, objects, time, and space to discover at the root only knowing–which has no objective qualities–and is hence both undeniable and unfindable.

I am filled with unbridled joy that I get to rest in this field of love, with radiance shining everywhere.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: chalk art–drawn on a FLAT SURFACE. That’s how real illusion can seem.

radiance

wild dark sunsetWe can see nothing on this planet without the sun’s radiance. The sun announces itself* first, before seeing happens–whether we notice that or not. It is the same with consciousness–no thought or object or perception can arise without the radiance of consciousness preceding them.

Today, we spent the day with Rupert Spira. He gave a short talk as an introduction to those who have not been with him before, and then answered questions with endless patience for the other four-and-a-half hours. His talk, his answers, his presence with each person shone with the radiance that pours through him with seeming unending abundance. He just arrived from England, so must be experiencing some jet-lag. There was no sign of it at all…

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit thanks to Jeffrey Foltice

*thanks to Rupert for the expression “announces itself”

is it a barren nothing?

black eye galaxyIs it a barren nothing? So fun when deconstruction has to begin with the first five words: “It” is not an it, but we call it that in order to use words at all. Otherwise, it would be necessary to remain silent.

Both my husband and I went through a period we now call “the bardos.” In 2008, meaning in our lives fell away, and life felt very flat. Barren. Even unappealing. I no longer understood how to live, and was afraid that life would be boring, or uninteresting.

Ha! Not the case, and the bardos turned out to be a phase that lasted a couple of months. Life’s vitality returned–on its own terms! Now life lives–and it’s engaging, challenging–all that it was before, except it has no meaning, and I’m absolutely clear that I have no control at all. It’s all one big life unfolding–beautifully, horribly, confusingly, touchingly.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: NASA’s incredible archives

relative truths

undivided-1Relative truths are like small maps–you see the neighborhood, but not the limitless universe it is part of. We need these little truths. They help us navigate life, prevent us from careening our car into the one in the next lane.

But small maps cannot open us to deep beauty, or dissolve suffering. For that, we need a truth so huge, it is undivided.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

image credit: Julia Hennock