A Case of Contradictories
A case of contradictories, both of them true.
There is a God. There is no God.
Where is the problem? I am quite sure that
there is a God in the sense that I am
sure my love is no illusion. I am quite sure
there is no God, in the sense that I am sure
there is nothing which resembles what
I can conceive when I say that word.
by Simone Weil
When Roy Dopson came to our Mountain Valley Retreat to lead his meditation retreat called The One Step Path, I, for the first time, had a glimpse into the feeling that is created when I step behind my thoughts into the perception of the one who is thinking. If ever there is a paradox, it is speaking the unspeakable and teaching the unteachable. Roy did a masterful job.
Here I am, attempting to write about that which has no words.
When the words stop and stillness has not yet arrived, what arises are images and sensations. The images have labels but the sensations can be left nameless and simply experienced. It is in these sensations that I perceive what I call Source.
I have written about “Wild”, that state of my being that existed before I was “domesticated”, and that which I am attempting to return to. As I contemplate this experience of Source through the sensations of my body, I recognize that they are one and the same. Wild is Source. Source is Wild.
I have been thinking-talking-writing about “Wild” for months. I first wrote about “Connecting to My Wild” on August 5, 2013. So here I am, over a year later, reflecting on where my exploration into “Wild” has brought me…and more importantly, where it is taking me.
Stepping into Wild, the undomesticated nature I was born into, isn’t something that happened suddenly. In fact, it didn’t happen at all! It is an evolution. As layer after layer of domestication slip away, bits of my Wildness are revealed.
Wild surfaces most apparently when I am creating. She speaks the words when I am teaching. She comes through my touch when I am treating. She chooses the herbs when I am cooking. She sneaks into my writing, showing up between the lines of words that slide out onto the page. She hides in the bottles of dye and paint and is revealed when my brush crosses the silk or canvas. And most recently, she is in the keys of my piano and the chords of my voice waiting for the cage door to open so she can sound herself into the room. Wild always gets into my bare feet when they move to music across the floor…and when the moment is right, she comes bursting forth in the spins and leaps and bounds of ecstatic dance.
I am the blessed one to have opened the door to Wild. She is Joy expressed without inhibition. She gives life to living. She is the magic that is manifesting when I have the courage to release her and let me be Wild.
This is my prayer, “Let Me Be Wild.”
‘Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’
‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’
‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis Carroll
I have been believing the impossible all my life. It seemed like such a bore to stick to only believing the things everyone else did. What are beliefs anyway? Just a thought…just a feeling…and we know those change as quickly as the weather. Everything is relatively impossible until it is done! I would rather attempt the “impossible” and fail, than fail through not trying because I accepted another person’s idea of what is possible. Life is either about risking the impossible or it is no life at all.
I have been practicing meditation. One of the methods I use is to simply watch my thoughts as if they were a ticker tape running across the field of my mind. As I watched my hyper-active thoughts yesterday, I noticed the ticker tape turning colors. As I paid attention and looked for a pattern between the thoughts and colors I discovered an interesting curiosity.
When the thought incites the emotions of frustration or anger, it is red.
If the thought is melancholy evoking sadness or grief, it is blue.
Happy thoughts are yellow. Thoughts of contentment are green.
As I pondered this discovery with great curiosity it occurred to me that perhaps this phenomenon is a two-way street.
I have been practicing changing my emotional weather by thinking of a field of the color that represents the feeling I want to invoke.
My favorite color is green. The color of my contentment. So when I notice I am feeling frustrated or angry, I bring to mind a scene of green. A lush valley of green vegetation is what comes easily…and I immediately notice my anger dissipating as a feeling of contentment washes over me.
It’s not easy to hear the whispers.
It takes quiet.
I have to stop moving and my mind must be still.
But then, dropping in, ever so closely, I hear them.
The whispers of my body are not heard with my ears.
They are felt sensations coming from the deep recesses of my inner landscape.
They speak to me of my heart longings.
They tell the stories of neglect.
I listen in awe, with high regard for what I hear.
I honor the wisdom of this voice.
I have learned to follow this guidance.
For when I don’t, the whispers become primal howling cries.
It feels like my life is a series of practice sessions. I practice painting. I practice playing the piano and singing. I practice meditation and yoga. I practice right relationship with nature. I practice inner, inter and extra-human communication. I practice bodywork. I practice gardening and nutritious food preparation. I practice movement and dance. I practice self-care. I practice self-love. Right now I am practicing writing…
What is all this practice about? Will I practice until I die or will I at some point master something? What is mastery? How does one recognize the moment the practice ends and mastery begins? Does it matter if I ever become a master of anything?
As I hear my questions the feeling that wells up inside is one of relief as I accept the idea of practice as a life-long way of being. I am a “Renaissance Woman.” I don’t just practice these things for a living. I do them for a life—a life that I love.
A woman I met recently when she attended a yoga class I was teaching stayed after class and we visited for a couple of hours sharing ourselves with one another. As we walked around my little retreat center looking at the tipis I had painted she said to me, “Chery, you are eclectic!”
I thought about that for a moment and said, ” Thank you. That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.”
I am a Renaissance Woman. I am coming to accept and appreciate that I’ve always been a seeker. Seeking is my thing, and it’s served me quite well.
One of my favorite Steve Jobs’ quotes is this: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”