Madhuri reminds us not to ignore those “wordless, blossomed peace-places” when they pop up in us.
In daily life, when I become aware of an uncomfortable feeling occurring in me, I try to be with it – patient, watching, allowing… vigilant. The sensation will occur, intensify to the point where I understand why I’ve avoided it so far – then it will release; crumble away like the rain-sodden banks of a stream. And then, energy will rise suddenly, up through me.
It is very important that I do nothing to the sensation – neither intensify it nor dodge it – or it will linger like a bit of bone deep down in a dental surgery site.
This is serious business – one’s inner eye must be hawk-like, to see a thing not usually conscious; and to not interfere, as habit would lead me to do. It requires minute attention.
But there is another kind of avoidance too. It goes like this: I’ve been reading Isaac Asimov’s wonderful two-volume autobiography, each volume fat as a house-stone. He’s engaging, humble, candid, funny, frank, detailed, and full of self-proclaimed immodesty and braggadocio. He’s great – sane, vast, humane, and cackling with glee. On page 163 of vol. 2 he’s talking about…how he misses his typewriter after a brief holiday in the mountains with his kids. I’m in a plane, coming back from a brief misty lovely holiday myself, hiking with my sweetie in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia; and I too like the idea of typing in my pc again. Something in that paragraph of Asimov’s triggers something happy in me – as some other para in some book or other might trigger unease – and I watch as my mind prepares to do a thing that for some reason it habitually does; it tells me a reason why not to feel good at this particular moment: “It’s just about some old writer you’ve never met, it’s just print in an old book, for chrissakes – why should that make you feel good?” opines the mind, and then concludes, flatly, “It shouldn’t make you feel good. That would be silly.”
All of this of course takes place in a tiny flicker of time, but today I catch it, and I try an experiment I’ve sometimes been able to do lately. I close my eyes and apprehend the wave of random happiness and let it take me.
Bliss rises from my belly and catches at my heart – pausing there for an interminable time – and I’m resting in it, on it, here…What is its goodness? I don’t know – but it feels natural, and its cause is now completely not in my mind anymore, there’s just the perception of this natural bliss, regularly denied. Here it is….
The sweetness goes on being, and it’s here, and it expands now – out, out from my heart, and it’s still mounting from my belly in little streams – and after a long, long silent-but-empty-but-streaming time the joy crashes upwards and opens out all over and around my head. I rest in the quietness of it in this airplane with people packed all around, and there’s just the opening stillness and goodness like a cave I am sitting in just because I love to, cool and dim on the side of a cliff somewhere in the desert.
I’m surprised at how long it’s lasting, this roomy wholeness… and lasting, and lasting.
Finally it feels like time to open my eyes. We’re landing, and I’m being reminded to kick my bag further under the seat in front of me, and I oblige.
What have I forgotten? Only this – a thousand thousand moments when I could have had this wordless, blossomed peace-place – and I ignored it, shunted the offer away. To regard discomfort, after all, is virtually necessary – in order to grow – but to observe bliss – simple bliss, and pleasure – well, it washes up and away the mind, the cares; the sense of ‘me’, the ‘ego’, as it is glibly known – just in the passing…leaving a lush cushiony gap between the ears.
And this opening-wide mystery feels like chocolate.