I walked a large outside labyrinth this weekend. I had never walked an outside labyrinth nor one this large. I was the only one walking so I walked a moderate pace and it took 45 minutes. It was in an open field with a narrow uneven mowed down path in grass and wildflowers that were knee-high. At the beginning I was thinking of the history of the labyrinth dating back to 4500 BC showing up in every culture around the world and the mystery of it all.
Then I started thinking about the correct “procedure” of walking the labyrinth, was I walking too fast, too slow, this is walking meditation, I need to stop thinking so much, how much longer until I reach the center? All the same things that happen during regular meditation. After about ten minutes this mental activity slowed down and I began to notice how many crickets there were on the path, and butterflies and all the different kinds of flowers.
Then I became interested in my destination and started looking ahead trying to see the center but I couldn’t tell where it was because of the tall grass. I could only see about four feet in front of me…I couldn’t look ahead.. all I could do was follow the path because I knew it would lead to the center eventually. When I got to the center I thought maybe there would be something there to symbolize the end of the journey, even just a candle or something….there was nothing. I stood there for a moment but didn’t have the desire to stay for any long length of time contemplating so I headed out on the same path out of the center.
I noticed that the walk out of the center was a little faster pace and easier for some reason. I hadn’t noticed earlier that the walk into the center seemed harder and longer but now noticed that walking in the uneven terrain was much easier. I stopped and looked back at the center a couple of times but again I couldn’t see it when I looked back. Then all of a sudden the path opened up and I was done. That was definitely meditation in motion…..
There is a birdhouse on my patio that contained four baby sparrows. Three left the nest and I missed their exit. Now there is one all alone in the house and I’m determined to witness it leaving the nest.
The only way the loner knows there is something more outside is when it hears “The Call”. This Call is different from any other bird call in the yard and I can recognize it even if I’m away from the patio. The Call from the mother is relentless. She gives the Call and then goes to the opening to feed it and repeats this routine most of the day so that the Call will be associated with something wonderful coming from the outside. When the mother leaves for a while you can hear a faint calling coming from inside the box because now it’s known there is something wonderful outside of the box but the sparrow is not yet brave enough to venture out and find it.
This Call and response routine went on for two days. At one time there was a community of at least ten sparrows flying up to the birdhouse trying to coax it outside. I’m ready to give up myself but have invested so much time now I don’t want to miss the finale.
Today I saw it venture out of the box. The young sparrow poked its head out of the hole and then back in again several times. There were no other sparrows on the patio for guidance …the exit team had taken a break and everything was quiet. It looked out one more time but this time without any hesitation took a final leap, flew across the patio and into a nearby tree. I saw at least twenty sparrows fly out of the tree a few seconds later and together they all flew to the next tree. I couldn’t see the young sparrow in the distance but assume it is now flying in its new world outside the box.
Would the bird have taken the leap of faith without ever hearing the Call? Probably survival instincts would have eventually forced it out into the world but certainly it must be easier if the Call is heard and more importantly….if it is answered.
I had the basic concepts of most seekers on Oneness, Consciousness, Absolute, Awareness and thought I was moving along the Path, slowly but starting to get it. Now I realize that the ideas that formed those concepts of reality are outdated and a new paradigm has begun which is turning everything upside down and creating a shift in perception.
My old paradigm was…I’m here inside this body and the world and others are out there. I accepted that because my belief was that the me inside was a fragment of the Absolute/Awareness/Consciousness and was safely contained in my body/mind and would show up now and then just to remind me where I came from. My search was to find ways to call up that contained Awareness on demand because that was where happiness and peace resided….and that wonderful thing called enlightenment.
The new paradigm (which is still in progress) is …who I am is not contained inside this body/mind. Sounds like a simple statement and I have said that for years but still held the feeling of being a separate fragment or person. In order to accept this new paradigm as Truth, more investigation into what I am “not” is needed…mainly not this person that seems to be contained in this body/mind. Just that simple investigation can turn everything upside down. Better still is rolling around the notion that objects only “seem” to exist outside of awareness and that the observed and observer are one and the same. My mind would like to make sense of that one but probably doesn’t have the capability and keeps trying to figure it out anyway….meanwhile my idea of reality is turning upside down.
This song started playing in my mind a few days ago as if I were singing it to the Absolute itself so I found the lyrics to “Upside Down, You’re Turnin’ Me” which sums up my feelings at this point.
Filed under Absolute, Direct Experience, Direct Inquiry, Enlightenment, Mind, Nonduality, Reality, Seeker, Spirituality, Truth, Zen
Thinking of the word and concept of freedom today. We fight for freedom and lives are lost for the sake of freedom. This holiday is all about our nation’s fight for freedom.
In my daily spiritual practice, the word freedom is used in almost everything I read or hear. Freedom from the bondage of the separate self, freedom from suffering, freedom from nagging useless thoughts.
The meaning of freedom is “not being confined, exempt from external control or release from bondage“. So the battle for freedom can be fought on two levels. What is obvious is the battle for freedom in the external world. Not so obvious is the internal battle that might be going on for many….except for those who are now engaged in or have been engaged in this battle.
I never really thought of it as a battle since spirituality is all about non-violence even though most spiritual writings use the metaphor of a battle to bring home the point. The point being, if you really want freedom be prepared to give it your all and be brave because in the end you realize that the biggest battle of all …..is being able to surrender.
I started this blog when I began the process of retiring from the search and I have to admit that over the last year there has still been more seeking than non-seeking going on. Nonduality has been my focus and naturally coming out of that is a different kind of seeking, the seeking of direct experience or direct inquiry.
I still hold the assumption that there is someone in here experiencing things and people out there. I have accomplished being the witness of thoughts and things (most of the time) but now what is behind the witness has been my question. Direct experience may be what will eventually replace the witness but letting the witness go is difficult and requires a shift in perception.
This shift in perception reminds me of illusionary art called stereograms where a 3D image is hidden within a drawing and you can only see the hidden image if you learn to re-focus your gaze. When you finally see it, it magically appears out of nothing. Most instructions tell you not to focus on the picture but fix your gaze beyond it. I was never good at finding the hidden images.
I recently reintroduced myself to the teachings of Francis Lucille which led me to again consider the Direct Path experiments by Greg Goode. Maybe the timing is right to get down to some serious direct experience investigation so a few days ago I started the experiments which seem to be similar to learning to look through the illusion and see the hidden images.
The first experiment in the Direct Path involves the perception of hearing because it’s supposed to be the easiest. During the experiment of ringing a bell, at first the sound still seems to be coming from the object of the bell and I can’t get past that. Looking closer…since I am to use only the sense of hearing I just hear the sound without the interpreter telling me that the sound is coming from a bell. Maybe that’s it…my direct experience is that hearing is just happening with or without the use of an interpreter.
One experiment down and 39 more to go….This could be intense but I’ll keep you posted. If there is anyone else out there who has already been on this part of journey and the hidden image in the picture has appeared, please let me know.
There’s supposed to be a shark hidden in here somewhere…I can’t see it yet.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia