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Archive for January 5th, 2012

“Repeated loss accumulates in the reservoir of sorrow.

It is the repository of all we have ever lost, all that died despite our love,

all we ever hoped to be, all the disappointment and despair buried over a lifetime.

Those places within ourselves that have been dug away by loss,

those parts lost, worn away, and excavated by a gradually

increasing helplessness and apathy, slowly begin to fill with sorrow.”

~~Stephen Levine

I haven’t posted in a few days because I haven’t taken time for myself, to settle in with the quiet and pause. . . I find it’s only when I “lose” myself in silence that all of the dust that is kicked up can settle at the bottom of the water, leaving clean, clear water for me to look through, to see what might be uncovered at the bottom of the container.

And when I can look down to the bottom, in the clear depth of silence and stillness, I realize that in losing myself, I find a self greater than I can imagine, a self that is our greater Sangha.

I love this passage from Stephen’s book Unattended Sorrow. There is such richness here that you could spend time discussing line by line the way one does as they study poetry. I would like to suggest that maybe you sit with this passage in your meditation. Slow your breathing, put away your to-do list and attend to Stephen’s words.. .. ..

It doesn’t matter how old we are, we hold a life time’s pain within us. . . Within our lungs that breathe so shallowly hoping that we don’t take in any more pain.  Within our hearts that feel as though a falling feather could mortally wound us because of that raw achiness that is always there.

Within the maze of our mind where memories are held of our deepest shame, regret, fear, and loss.  Not just the loss of our grandparent, our first pet, our sibling, etc. but the losses that went by, hardly noticed by our conscious mind or the losses that we deflected because seeing them in their totality would bring us unfathomable pain.

That is the kind of grief that we can touch with the gentle awareness of mindfulness.  We do this with no great desire to change ourselves but to acknowledge these places.  We do this with nothing to do but allowing a little light and kindheartedness to wash over these warn places within us.

Can you practice sitting and just being?

Sometimes the thought of this is way too much.  We think, there is so much pain in those dark places where I’ve let fill with cobwebs, there isn’t a light strong enough.

And you know, that’s okay.

That’s why we start with the breath.  Just learning to stay with the breath.  Or we learn to put our attention on a candle flame, or our hands in the hot soapy water while we do the dishes.

Or my favorite, we allow ourselves to simply eat an orange (the topic of tomorrow’s post).

Take gentle care.

*Photo taken of the Rock River sometime last year.

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