Archive for the ‘Spiritual Stuff 'n All’ Category

I saw the red flower, a trumpet flower, before it saw me.  It was there for me, only for me.  I knew it, and she knew it.  Just like the one red rose in San Diego over Thanksgiving that coughed self-consciously to get my attention (like the rose in the Little Prince with the baobab tree), this trumpet flower appeared for me against the bare blue sky, calling to me to look up as I limped up the hill, complaining to myself about so very many things.  My body hurt. My head hurt.  My feet hurt.  My brain hurt.  My life hurt.

The depression had been getting bad.  It was moving toward despair and I was pretty sure I didn’t want  it anymore.  I was taking Pat’s direction to exercise and had walked and walked and was sore in body and mind.  Now the red trumpet flower called me and I looked up and when I did a thrill started down at my aching toes and crept up my ankles and legs and goose pimpled straight up my thighs and up to my neck and shocked my scalp wide open and reddened my ears and itched my eyes and suddenly water poured down my face and I thrilled and thrilled and a bird began trilling and I didn’t notice the walk anymore.  I didn’t notice the pain in my body or the heaviness in my heart any longer.

The trumpet flower was there only for me.  She was there just for me. The sidewalk was there just for me.  It was all just for me.

Every time I have needed to have this little thing I call a life saved I walk in nature and this great beneficence appears and reminds me that everything is here for me.  The chair on which I now sit is here just for me.   It is here for my support.  My shoes are here just for my support.  The computer keys are here just for my support.

When I was in college I only wanted to read poetry.  When I could read the poetry of William Butler Yeats or Theodore Roethke or Galway Kinnell I felt safe and knew that all was right in the world.  If I felt off in any way I opened a book and blinded myself with the light of the words before me.  It was the same as when I was a little girl and could climb the oak tree and “see” the things sparkling and  hear celestial choirs in the moss or in the plough mud and conch shells.  It was then I knew I was safe and all was well in the world.  Nothing could harm me.  I had a sense of rightness and I knew – I absolutely knew – there was no other place I was supposed to be.  Carlos Castaneda was to say many years later that everyone has a “right” spot.  They always know it.  Sometimes it is only one or two feet to the right or left from where they are standing, but it is sensed as absolute perfection.  It is the place where everything is as it should be.  It is “right.” Nature, poetry, – this is what brings me to my “rightness.”

And years later I was to have this feeling again – the absolute knowing I was in the perfect place and all was as it should be.  This was with my true teacher, at her feet, on a marble floor, in India.

They say not to quit before the miracle.  It seems to always come; this beneficence, this kindness that reminds me that I am deserving of mystery and sweetness and miracles.

I don’t know why hardship comes.  I don’t know why we are disappointed so many times, why we are betrayed, why people leave us, why those we love die so cruelly, why our animals are hurt and sometimes killed right before our eyes.  I do not know why children starve when some of us have so much food.

But I do know God appears as trumpet flowers sometimes to remind us of His spectacular Presence, and that She calls to us sometimes to look up.  I do know I may place my forehead now at the feet of my teacher today, the Red Trumpet Flower.

I do know I am in a hurry to find answers to the questions I ask.  I have learned to love the questions themselves, as Rilke said.

And as T.S. Eliot said, the choice is either fire or fire.  The fire of ignominy and continued darkness as my shadow is avoided as I walk, eyes cast downward, focused on the often unbearable pain in my feet.  Or the fire of burning as I turn my passion toward the longing, the starvation, the thirst for God that has been driving me without cessation all my life.  It is a thirst that must be quenched.  I am literally starving and will burn for this food – gladly and forever.  I yearn for this fire.

The red trumpet flower called me and I looked up and answered the call.

And my pain fell away…

December 24, 2013

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Time cannot intrude into eternity.  The moments experienced as “time standing still” are moments outside of time, outside the realm of temporality, outside the realm of what we call human experience.

I saw her lips moving.  I saw her eyes blazing forth with light.  I refer often to her eyes as “snapping”.  They were snapping eyes, sharp and bright, snapping like a turtle, bright and intense and shiny, snapping shut and opening like a box of treasure.  I could see the aura and spectrum of light around her head, just like when she was a baby, snuffling and snarfling next to me in her papoose, the  swaddling clothes taught me by the nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital when they dressed my daughter for the taxi ride home.

I could not speak.  I deliberately allowed what some could call the ‘mind’ to close against the experience so that I was only Heart.  The center of my chest began to grow warm and to swell.  I experienced a warmth in my throat which grew steadily from my chest through my throat to my face and through the top of my head, all the while aware that I experienced No Mind, No Body, No Being.

She was speaking.  She was speaking rapidly, her mouth forming sounds and her eyes snapping.  How could she not see or experience the waves and swells of indigo and blue and green coming toward “her” from “me?”

I have had this kind of experience several times. Once I knew that if I allowed the experience to continue I could cause what I called “myself” to combust – to burst into flames.  The other time I had the experience James Wright speaks of in his poem “A Blessing”.  He says:  “Suddenly I realized, if I stepped out of my body, I would break into blossom.”  This time, I was carried away on a wave of inexorable love which lasted beyond what we call “time.”

So, I just sat.  I sat for one lifetime – or was it two? – Or twelve? – And listened.  I listened with all my being.  I listened with all my love.  I swelled with love until I burst open and the flame that was my heart consumed us both and I heard the words without hearing one word at all.  And I saw the eyes snapping open and shut, without moving at all.  I saw the aura around her head fill the entire room while she kept completely still, unaware of her own magnificence.

I knew – and have known – that the nature of God – of all of us, is Love.  Love extends. It extends and extends and extends and then extends some more.

I am very grateful to have been given this experience, unbidden, in a Sushi restaurant in Los Angeles, on Easter Sunday, with my 22 year old daughter.  I am filled with gratitude beyond reckoning.  We carry on in the dream because, I think, we do get these experiences, sometimes vast, sometimes tiny, and we are never sure when and if they will come.  All of it, all of the disappointments, the tiny troubles, the so called ‘problems’, are consumed and swallowed in this moment in eternity, when all is well, and when all is known.

In the wholeness of the experience described above, everyone was present whom I have ever loved – not as bodies, not as separate beings, but in my awareness as perfect oneness.  Nothing and no one was left out.  My parents, my friends, every relative, ‘enemy’, lover, every animal I had ever cared for and loved, were all there, for we were one.

I truly understand that love extends through eternity.  It is totally unlimited, and the joy of this recognition exceeds every expectation I have had in the past.  In the all-encompassing wonder of God there is never a need to think, only to be love, only to be what one really is.

After this timeless experience, I was once again sitting on the banquette in the restaurant, seemingly as a body, sated with food.  And each day that has passed since Easter has been more than a resurrection of Spirit, it has been recognition of this Love, this ease and serenity and heart swelling, this ability to forgive and melt all karmas in the dream.

It has been a Homecoming.

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I am a fool for love.  I have been in love with God for a long, long time.  This is a most mixed and confusing blessing, it seems.

I don’t recommend this love.  It is coupled with a grief quite profound.  If truly examined, who in their right mind would want the Divine?   No one would want to go the distance, never knowing what the “distance” meant.  It would be insane to want to be the Beloved.   It could mean we would have to give up our right to whine.   It might also mean we might have to give up our cherished right to play the victim.  Another traitor to collective misery. 

I am told I burn through everyone’s “story” and defenses and for that, I am hated.  After all, who likes to be called out?  Who likes to be, as they indelicately say, “called on their shit?”  And I am certainly not one who does this on purpose, but I am one who detests dishonesty.  I also detest phoniness and people pleasing.  Who has the time for it? 

To find a clear ‘yes’ and a clear ‘no’ is the very definition of integrity.  How few have this integrity!  It is not conditional.  It is not negotiable.  It is not for sale.  And it makes our friends and family feel very safe since they know where they begin and where we end.  They know who we are and where they stand with us.  And if they have the capacity to be honest, they know they are loved.   And we are free to express the essence of Who We Are, which is Love.

It is never enough to put together a few days of facile forgiveness, where the heart sails high and the breath comes effortlessly like the breeze.  But couple the days with a string of open days, vulnerable moments and hours, when the very mystery of life leaves one speechless and dumbfounded in its wonder, unable to conjure in pictures or words the awe inspiring enlivenment of one breath breathed in this way….These moments transform and alchemize; they are the face of Love.

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