The devil you know

Rainforest, above Fryman, Los Angeles

Rainforest, above Fryman, Los Angeles

How we romance our afflictions

Am I this? This body that will ultimately fail and die, no matter what I do to contribute to its longevity? 

No, I cannot be just this. My body does miraculous things if I don't severely hamper its mysterious healing powers with my constant emotional cravings and override its superior innate intelligence in the mistaken idea that I "own" it. We, as westerners, insist on making bad choices for ourselves and those around us because we arrogantly feel it is our birthright. This assumption is based on what?

It is based on an idea. We think we are this story that we have constructed around the individual, around the consumer of corporate products, around our job, around our tattoos.

Our tattoos will fade and become unreadable as our skin loses elasticity. We will cease buying Mercedes-Benz automobiles when our reflexes fail and we can no longer safely navigate a freeway. We will even cease having preferences that our precious opinions matter as our fading mobility isolates us. This is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.

We are not youth; it is a stage we pass through. We are not uniforms we wear, or clothes we buy. We put these on and take them off, and no indication we ever wore them remains.

What remains? Only this: the silent witness. The sky that shows no trace of yesterday's clouds. We are the seeing, the experiencing, We could not own it if we tried. It is on loan to us.

Meditation puts us in touch with this experience by clearing away that which we are not. If we enter the subtler realms again and again, we can renew the only thing we have ever had.

This beautiful moment.

Our false sense of ownership robs us of true compassion, of the choice to give to and receive love from others. Time is passing. We can surrender our preference to be selfish, and in doing so to experience the joy of service, of creativity, of love.

Overlooking Northern California

Overlooking Northern California