Warning: Naughty language ahead!
There was no reason to feel anything less than perfect yesterday.
I had a wonderful night’s sleep, I have a beautiful home on a lovely five acres in the beautiful Sierra Foothills. I am healthy, happy, and I love my life. Meditation, coffee and yoga seemed automatic, instead of deliberate—something was off. But not off like it was when I had a bad sleep or when there was something disturbing me—this was big.
I wanted to sit and cry.
I felt hopeless, like a deep wound had opened up and my entire heart was spilling out. I couldn’t stop the blood, there was just too much—and I knew that it wasn’t mine.
This wasn’t the first time this had happened, in fact, it had happened as long as I could remember. The worst was after 9/11 and I can still feel the hollow spot in my soul that has never quite filled in. There were Tsunamis, plane crashes, mountaineering disasters and several earthquakes that all had the same effect on me—I felt them deeply, subconsciously and viscerally.
And even after all of these years of experience, I find myself focusing on me instead of realizing my deep connection with all life. I slip back into the selfish duality that I have worked for so many years to recognize and overcome. What’s wrong with me? Why do I have to feel this way? I do all of my Spiritual work around this stuff and I always end up on the pity-potty. I curse God, I blame others, I beat myself up because I can’t seem to move past this behavior and then something like yesterday happens. And then it all makes sense—again.
When I heard of the disaster in Nepal, I just went limp. I knew. I knew that something like that had to have happened for me to have felt that way. In a way, a selfish way, I was relieved. I was relieved that there was a reason for my depression and despair. And then I thought about it. How incredibly selfish of me to need to have an answer.
How fucking human am I? How incredibly programmed I am to find relief in knowing? But then think about it. Whenever we feel off, we immediately feel the desperate need to seek the answer to why we are experiencing it. And, when we don’t (been there many times as well), we sink deeper into despair.
And then the epiphany came…I can only speak for myself here but I will go out on a limb and say that we probably all share this on some level, depending on how sensitive (aware) we are.
The realization came in a profound sense of love for all life. I realized again how intimately connected we all are and that the collective consciousness, once we peer through the veil of fear, is compassion and love. And this feeling can also be experienced through grief as was the case with me. But, as the day went on, I realized that hundreds, probably tens of thousands, most likely millions, were experiencing this as well, probably through their own filters and distractions—but we all felt it.
I had an experience a few years ago while hunting. I was high on a mountain waiting for the first light. Suddenly, I felt a sense of panic, as if I was completely disconnected from everything. This panic led to despair and I felt like my chest would collapse—but something else happened. In an instant, I felt the arms of something embrace me.
The forest went from a dark, dead calm, to a chorus of beautiful, brilliant life, and all of a sudden, I was in the center of it all. In an instant, I transitioned from hopeless panic into the most nurtured space I had ever encountered. It was as if all life knew, somehow, that I was upset and distressed, and it embraced me. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I had ever encountered, and it was as real as I could ever imagine.
As I sit here and write, I feel a calmness, a peace and an intimate connection. I have, once again, been transported to a place where I can’t tell the difference between me and everything else. There is a different feel to the air around me and my senses feel heightened. There seems to be a fluidity to this feeling, as if I am floating in some sort of soup where there is no empty space between anything—where my intentions travel through the ether to wherever they’re directed.
I don’t feel the distance from here to Nepal, instead I feel a soft tether connecting us that I can feel the whole way there. It wanders through valleys, over seas, through mountain passageways over the cold skin of men who lost their lives on a high Himalayan mountain. As it moves, it collects intentions of compassion from nature and from men.
From above, it looks like a network of tentacles made of starlight—electrical impulses continually building, spreading out over everything in an embrace of pure love, pure compassion, and pure connection. I smell the smoke of fires where children sit, scared and confused. I feel the coarseness of the crumbled concrete between the fingers of a father looking for his daughter. I hear the desperate cries of brave men cursing the twisted metal that separates them from the cries of a brother, a sister, a friend—a stranger.
I see the chaos, the dust, and the colorful clothing hanging on lines between buildings where simple people look at life through simple eyes. Eyes that somehow will find a way to smile again and be grateful for things I take for granted every second of my life. I inhale their pain and exhale my love. I breath through them, with them, and for them as they would for me.
After my morning routine, I walked out onto my deck and peered out into the openness of the land I am blessed to own. A beautiful butterfly wandered about, floating on an unseen current through the trees and flowers and back up to me. I watched with curiosity as it meandered away and back. It kept coming back to me, as if it acknowledged my contemplation and curiosity.
I had a thought…I wonder what type of butterflies live in Nepal?
I walked through the french doors into my office and went to my computer. The first picture I pulled up from my search of “butterflies of Nepal” was the exact one that had come to visit me, the one that knew I was thinking of the beautiful lives lost in the horrific earthquake.
The same butterfly that knew how helpless I felt that I couldn’t be there to embrace the families who lost children and mothers—the one that knew that my intentions were as pure as the air that held it aloft—intentions of love and compassion, tears of grief, yet a knowing that life is intimately connected and never truly ends…and then I had a sense of hope, again.
A Guided Tonglen Meditation for Nepal.
Author: Rich Wright
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Sarah Tzinieris at Flickr
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