I never understood the Christian idea of original sin and the concept that we are all sinners until I heard a theology professor interpret sin as simply a pulling away from God. Through our human conditioning, we perceive ourselves as separate individuals and lose touch with our connection to Oneness which causes suffering.
To use the much over-used metaphor of the wave and the ocean, we could say that when we are only aware of being the wave, that could be interpreted as living in sin. When we are aware that we are the entire ocean perceiving ourselves as the wave, we are saved.
For the last few weeks I have not been able to do some of my regular spiritual practices or reading and find that I feel more like an isolated wave than the ocean. Things don’t seem quite right. I’m aware that my thinking is different, my body feels more tense, my mind works overtime and my peace is fading.
Does it take constant vigilance and effort to ride the wave and enjoy the ride? At some point shouldn’t the ride become effortless?
The definition of sin is a transgression or violation of divine law. The story goes that we are all born with original sin, there is no escape unless we receive the holy spirit (or whatever the tide-turning event may be).
As a seeker I guess I have been looking for the holy spirit in one form or another….calling it many names. Maybe the answer is just to accept that the nature of a wave is to appear to be separate from the ocean on the surface….underneath there is no difference.
Sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite. I see myself as a spiritual person, a seeker possessing some clarity and think I have life in perspective. All this is easy and flowing when my life is easy and flowing. It’s when life brings me difficult situations that I pull out all of the tricks in my “awareness/enlightenment bag”.
I’m in a difficult situation now caring for a parent and all thoughts unpleasant are arising from the past. I want to be the spiritual me and see the situation as growth, a challenge, opportunity, practice, learning compassion, staying with the here and now, integrating the past, acceptance, what is. All the words and concepts help when I’m away from the situation but when I am immersed in it….they are not to be found. Emotions are set in the default mode and don’t respond to reason.
During these times I want to whip out my bag of tricks to help get to a place of peace and clarity. I need to meditate, I need to do more yoga, I need to drink alkaline water, I need to eat more organic foods, I need to stay in the here and now, the past does not define me….anything to help.
Maybe the conditionings of the past will never leave…maybe this is who I really am…and the spiritual me is the illusion. These are the thoughts that scare me the most.
This morning there was a broad-winged hawk sitting on the back fence. I kept an eye on him while I was busy in the kitchen and after an hour realized he must be patiently waiting for the little chipmunk that travels back and forth from the shed to the bird feeders.
Yesterday two bloggers I follow had written on the art of waiting, “The Path of Waiting” and “Relaxed Resistance” so I was already contemplating the practice of mindful waiting. Now here I am watching the patience of the hunter in action. The only movement was the turning of his head almost in a complete circle. I noticed there were no birds at the feeders, there were no small critters running around, all probably waiting for him to leave. Two hours went by, he had not moved and continued to wait.
I became interested in what type of hawk this was, so I called up my bird app and stood at the window with binoculars identifying markings, reading about its habits and what it eats. When I glanced down at my tablet, I heard a thump, looked up and saw a red cardinal hit the window. Coming up behind the cardinal was the hawk showing a huge wing span and within two feet of me grabbed it with both feet and flew off. He carried it to the fence, landed for a moment, then took off into the woods.
A two-hour wait would have seemed excessive to me but I’m sure the hawk didn’t have to worry about keeping a clear mind, being anxious with anticipation or have any impatient thoughts about when this would be over ….all he had to do was wait.
I had just watched the master of waiting, the champion of patience and his reward….but my heart went out to the cardinal.
I recently commented to a couple bloggers on the subject of thoughts which made me realize how my own understanding of thoughts has changed over the years. I commented that thoughts are also “That” and when I begin to analyze them or try to control them…I am creating a separation.
The study of thoughts has always been of interest and a large part of my seeking to include analyzing them which is never ending and controlling them which is frustrating. I thought I had it when I discovered that I could be the “witness” observing my thoughts…there it was…I was not my thoughts and didn’t have to take responsibility for them, just watch them go by like clouds in the sky.
Now I am realizing that the notion of “I am not my thoughts” is also separation. I have to admit that seeing the clarity of “thoughts are also That” doesn’t give me a sense of freedom yet but is still a work in progress. However, there is a sense of relief that comes from not always analyzing where thoughts come from and wondering why they can be so annoying….. but that they are just as much a part of me as my breath or my heartbeat.
I’ll probably always be interested in thoughts and will continue to watch and get involved with them but now they are considered to be who I am and I’m not struggling so much with them. Now maybe I can see life through my thoughts rather than perceive life as my thoughts.