The recent suicide of Robin Williams got me thinking about how hard it is to live a human life. I see the despair in his act as an extreme example of the kind of everyday despair lots of people are dealing with all the time. How many people do you know who take anti-depressants, anti-anxieties, sleeping pills or suffer in their emotional bodies in other ways? How many people do you know who have a glass of wine or more or other recreational substances to shift state and “relax” every night? How many face chronic dissatisfaction in their relationships? Lets face it, life is not easy. Navigating the everyday cycling of experience can be difficult. For a long time I have wondered why we don’t really talk about this. Like somewhere around the next bend in the road life is going to be different or we’ll just wake up one day and it will all be easier.
As much education as we have access to in our culture, the training in understanding ourselves and our fellow humans still seems so insufficient. We are making progress in understanding how to deal with the physical body, but we still see it as separate from the heart/mind/spirit and so a holistic approach where we look at the totality of our being still lags. We know we are a stressed out culture and that high stress levels underlie the breakdown of our immune system but we don’t have very sophisticated ways of addressing the underlying experiencing of life as stressful or worse and we don’t have the tools in which to deal with our experience.
What has helped me is developing my capacity to be present: more capacity to be here with myself and with another – to touch into my own experience and that of another more deeply and without judgement. I benefit a lot from being in conscious communities – places where we can see and hear each other as well as be seen and heard – places where we can know and give voice to the rest of the story. I benefit from wisdom teachings – teachings that give me road maps to help navigate my experience and spiritual practice – practice focusing this heart/mind and also practice in seeing what gets in the way of my resting into my experience as it is. The more I have engaged these practices and these communities, the more I have seen that we are sharing a human experience, and in the presence of this shared experience, I find understanding, compassion and love and a deep willingness to be here. Towards that end, I will be offering a woman’s yoga and ayurveda circle this fall. More about that in the following weeks. Until then, I offer these words from Rumi:
From The Question: God’s presence is there in front of me, a fire on the left, a lovely stream on the right. One group walks toward the fire, into the fire, another toward the sweet flowing water. No one knows which are blessed and which not. Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream. A head goes under on the water surface, that head pokes out of the fire. Most people guard against going into the fire, and so end up in it. Those who love the water of pleasure, and make it their devotion, are cheated with this reversal. The trickery goes further. The voice of the fire tells the truth, saying, “I am not fire. I am fountainhead. Come into me and don’t mind the sparks.”
If you are a friend of God, fire is your water. You should wish to have a hundred thousand sets of mothwings, so you could burn them away, one set a night. The moth sees light and goes into fire. You should see fire and go toward light. Fire is what of God is world-consuming. Water, world-protecting. Somehow each gives the appearance of the other. To these eyes you have now what looks like water burns. What looks like fire is a great relief to be inside.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]