Having fallen in love, the heart asks us to dance…
Today I find myself in no short supply of the rich and perplexing human experience we so barbarically label pain. However, it no longer leaves in it’s wake the obsessive internal ramblings of a mad man so discontented with life he is willing to set ablaze the world just to avoid the texture of the present moment. Pain today seems to be more of a death and resurrection; a baffling mixture of insight, love, and sorrow.
It is often said that we grow a great deal during difficult times. I don’t doubt that we “grow” through these times, but I do wonder whether or not the times themselves are difficult. All of my difficulty with time seems to emerge from the fact that I refuse to let go of my treasured self image, which the present moment has challenged. In other words, I have fallen on hard times when I fail to realize that my contrived self-image has reached it’s expiration date! So from an ego-centric point of view (a barbaric point of view) it is seen as painful, because with insight comes death- that is the death of the ego.
Life has a way of deconstructing the static images I project, and in those moments of insight everything that I think I am- positive and negative alike- is revealed to be little more than speculative fantasy. Being totally empty and insubstantial this self-conscious image provides no resistance to the flow of life, which tears through my ego-fashioned garments to illuminate the heart. Illuminate is perhaps to technical a term—it is as if life has reached out and quite literally touched the heart. In Buddhism this “touching of the heart” is described as faith.
It is like being called into being or “a flash of lightning in the dark sky.”
Thought only accepts what it recognizes, or that which conforms to its preconceived ideals. As a result, freedom is stripped from me, as all about me that does not conform to the pre-fabricated ego-centric ideal is rejected; left feeling oppressed and ignored.
Truth accepts nor rejects anything; it simply touches all that is real. As I mentioned earlier, in Buddhism “being touched by truth” is described as faith, but in more romantic terms this basic experience of Truth is called love. When we are touched by truth we fall in Love! In Love, I discover that I am born of this world and not born into it. To quote Alan Watts, “We do not come into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean waves, the universe peoples. Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.” In other words, the truth that is “printed upon the heart” screams out in silence that the belief that I am a solid-separate self, an alien spectator in the drama of life, is nothing more than a great big misunderstanding. In truth, we are a manifestation of life! Having fallen in love, the heart asks us to dance…
Sorrow is the intuitive response to the imprisonment and suppression of true freedom. It is the feeling that emerged when, in 8th grade you were asked to dance, but because of fear chose to stand idly against the wall sipping watered down punch! In its most basic form, sorrow is a heartfelt recognition of the undeniable fact that we do not posses freedom, but we are freedom—that we exist above and beyond the tyrannical dictates of constructed ideas, concepts, thoughts, habitual patterns, or emotional impulses that are afraid to let go and move with the music.
Sadness is an organic gratitude; the deepest appreciation for the human condition in its most fundamental state—Free!
The whole experience is remarkably intimate, compassionate in fact. Pain is sensitivity… sensitivity not to the self-conscious sense of existence, but to the direct experience of being. It is to this intuition that I pray, and as Thomas Merton suggests, this prayer “looks primarily at a transformation of consciousness—a transformation and liberation of the Truth imprisoned in man by ignorance and error.” Spontaneous prayer is an internal plea from humanity to humanity, welcoming itself home in a silent embrace. This home—the ground of being—is pure energy, of which “you” and “I” are mere reflections.
There is no need to control or try to dominate life. It only leads to me being suppressed or dominated because, I am life. I am truly praying when I observe and embrace this energy- when I listen to my heart.