Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Transient Nature of Sorrow

                                    A recent picture of Noah running along the beach of our town's lake.

I've achieved a new record for my blog. One that I'm not very keen on achieving. The month is nearly over and this is my first post and maybe last post for August. It's been a busy summer and I'm looking forward to settling down into a steady routine this fall as the kids get used to their new teachers and classes. My daughter will be going into third grade and my son will be entering his last year of preschool.

Though I believe I've made some spiritual progress lately in terms of my practices and understanding I have been struggling with some personal things. We all have them. As a result, in those off moments when I am not centered, a sense of unease and restlessness, of despair even, creeps into my consciousness. I have to remind myself of the transient nature of sorrow. The impermanence of our feelings and even our situations in life. Everything rises up and eventually fades away. Happiness, peace as well as pain are all temporary conditions.

The Bhagavad Gita tells  us that one who is fixed on God should remain steadfast and centered, devoted to Him, in all situations and conditions.

"They are dear to me who run not after the pleasant,
Or away from the painful, grieve not over the past, lust not today,
But let things come and go as they happen...
Alike in heat and cold, pleasure and pain,
free from selfish attachments and self will,

Ever full in harmony everywhere,
Firm in faith-such as those who are dear to me.
But dearest to me are those who seek me

in faith and love as life's eternal goal."

 (Bhagavad Gita 12:17-19)

That is a fine philosophy to accept and I do accept it. However, when the storm's waves break upon the shores of our own lives it can be an easy reality to momentarily forget or put into active practice . My mantram has been instrumental during these times when I have had enough resolve to utter it, either inwardly or vocally. As soon as I reach out to it, as soon as I begin uttering the names of God, like an anchor it draws my consciousness beneath the turbulant waves of its surface down towards the still waters of its center. Slowing everything down.  One of Eknath Easwaran's eight points of spiritual practice is to slow things down. And the mantram certainly helps to do just that. And as a result greater clarity is achieved and oftentimes a tangible sense of peace.

This morning I woke with a heavy heart. My mind was everywhere other than where it should be-fixed in the present moment. Instead, not following my own advice, I let it be pulled this way and that; down the dark corridors of the past and up the shady paths of the future where eerie winds whistle through creaky pine trees that tower overhead, taunting me with their malevolent poise. They whisper to me. Daring me to go forward into the unknown which seems so dark and foreboding. 

Like my mind, my actions drifted; perusing this website and then another, half reading articles, half listening to songs on youtube. Knowing that I should get my japa mala beads out and chant or perhaps sit still and practice passage meditation. Instead, I waved aside my spiritual disciplines and settled into the mediocre. Waving aside the only medicine that could take away the problematic symptoms that fester within and begin to bring healing ointment to the very roots of the problems that cause them.  I began to wonder if I am some kind of emotional masochist. Why feel such feelings when one doesn't have to? Why dwell when you can overcome your condition? Perhaps the reason is because sometimes we all just lack strength to pick up the medicine and drink it down when it is before us. It's much easier to just lay there and look at it. Maybe we could call it spiritual inertia.

And then my son came wandering downstairs. When I saw his small frame drifting down the staircase and eventually his big blue eyes peeping around the corner of the banister it was like all despair was scraped clean from my consciousness. I held out my arms and it was as if I embraced love itself. I held him close and inhaled the scent of his sandy blond hair while feeling the strong body of a boy that four years ago sprang forth from my own body kicking and screaming.

All ten pounds of him were placed in my arms and I remember feeling a sense of relief for I was never quite sure how he was going to come out. He was conceived during a dark time in our family's history; a time of stress, a time one wouldn't consider very compatible to that of nurturing a baby in one's womb. Mother's are supposed to happy when expecting but I was anything but and feared how the child growing within me was going to come out. If he'd be a reflection of our external circumstances at the time. If he'd come out frail and small. No, not our Noah. He came out like a viking and has been thriving and conquering all that is before him ever since. Charming and sweet, spontaneous and passionate, intelligent and agile. Walking at nine months he masters everything he endeavors. If I had to describe him in one word I would choose the word: driven. 

Now holding my son in my arms this morning I felt peace, hope and pride. And a deep, deep sense of gratitude. And gratitude, like a hammer, has a way of smashing through the illusions of the material that bind us to suffering, allowing a holy light to filter through to our awareness.

I had another post I had been working on and thought of publishing today but instead wrote a poem about this morning's moment I had with Noah and thought I'd share that instead. The intro to this poem is almost a post all of its own. That was not my intention but just sort of happened.  The poem isn't edited but I figure if I don't share it now I won't share it and I felt like sharing...So it is as it is...simple as that. I already caught that I repeated the same word twice in the first stanza, which annoys me. More important than the form, I think, is the poem's sentiment.

Hope you enjoy! 

~ Namaste ~


Hopeless as I rise

until I look into your eyes
it's like a million suns rise
drowning all my heart's cries.

Wrapped up in gentle bliss,
What can be more pure than this?
Innocence at dawn's first kiss,
A love my heart cannot dismiss

Brings my soul to its knees,
to the Author of mysteries.
May my heart never be blind to see
Each moment pregnant with Love that frees.

Thoughts? Please share them in the comments section. Thank you!