April 19, 2014

On Being Infinite. ~ Nancy Gaeden

Semaphore kite festival

Every day we would practice being infinite.

As if our hearts were the stars, our chest the universe, and compassion—the space between.

There was so much joy, in devotion and faith. So much harmony, in energy, and voices, in song that carried us together, aloft, out of ourselves and into the divine body.

What a blessing to be part of the Sangha.

I have not truly missed it until now. It was eclipsed by personal loss, and shame in not fulfilling expectations. There was so much joy—I remember now. I remember, now, the reason I left home in the first place.

I had found a place of safety, of beauty, of peace, and divinity within me, and I wanted to pursue that path within. Then it was all obscured by forms, life, people, drama, politics, power, fear, guilt. I had forgotten the joy, the reason without reason, the infinite nature of my soul.

Since I left, the words in the sutras have felt so foreign, so distant and sad, because I have been looking at them through the lens of guilt, shame, remorse, loss. I have forgotten the joy, and only remembered the pain.

The bowing, the hundreds, thousands of times I’ve touched my forehead to the ground, each true and intentional. Reverence, humility, seeking for grace, wisdom, compassion—from the Buddhas, but not from me. The voice, the sound from my throat, an almost pure extension of my heart, early morning, one note following another, awakening my slumbering soul, and lighting the way for others. The clarity in my steps, no, I didn’t know much about the world I left behind, but I touched and tasted the infinite parallel universe, and now I miss it.

Cultivation is of my body, speech, and mind; but to be the spirit—here is no comparison. It is like a bird, not bound to the earth. I forgot how I flew that kite, daily, letting it into the sky, lifted by the winds of faith—we can’t see it but it’s there—higher and higher, until it becomes the sky, the sun, the stars, uniting me for a few moments, minutes, hours, before it turns into a kite again, and I gather the strings for the next flight, smiling.

Five years, a full spectrum of human experience. But I have forgotten the joy. Over the years, when confronted with the void of spiritual practice I’ve left behind, I’ve often thought ‘what is the point’?

The point is, joy. For in joy, we can find God. I can, once again, speak to god in my own voice, and it is pure and beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for remembering. It’s been 10 years. It’s about time.


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!


Apprentice Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Alex Coppel, Michael Coghlan

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Nancy Gaeden