Monday, April 17, 2006

Stumbling

The World is Illusory;
Brahman alone is real;
Brahman is the world.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi


In my stumbling towards ecstasy I often stop in the midst of my confused thinking and take a few deep breaths, close my eyes and remember I am in the same world, occupying the same space as a mystical mountain creek bordered with sweet smelling laurel blooms in the North Carolina Mountains.

I go to Laurel Creek often in meditation and sit in the middle of the running stream on a gigantic boulder and let the mantra sound of the white- water along with the purifying scent of the clean mountain air wash through me.

My plans were to spend Easter weekend with my family near Laurel Creek, but as often happens with the best of plans it didn’t materialize and we stayed in the Low country.

My wife and I have lived in the upstate of South Carolina, the Low country, back upstate, and have been here, near Hilton Head Island and the marshy bluff by the May River for almost 10 years now. When we first moved to the island in 93 we fell in love with the sand and ocean, the tides and gentle lee breezes. We didn’t stay long and with the birth of our son came back to the upstate a few years later. There, in the tall pine woods and rolling mossy hills of the Piedmont I would often meditate on the vastness of the ocean, imagining the spray of salty air and what life would be like had we stayed.

Before that, in my late teens and early 20’s it was California that held my thoughts and dreams. I was sure Southern California was where I was meant to be. My music was fresh and my thoughts were of “one day.” I felt as if I would burst if I didn't make my way out to California. I eventually found myself in Hollywood, but the experience and thrill was short lived. Maybe San Francisco was where I was supposed to be.

Now, on the verge of turning 40 years old, I’m just beginning to understand how the years, places, faces, loves, and experiences have shaped me into who I am. I am fortunate my time here sofar has led me to a conviction that all things are always in divine order. I trust that with time to come I will learn even more about this me; this beginner destined to always have his head in the clouds, sometimes dreaming there is some place more perfect that here, now.

I often chuckle now at that part of me that still doesn’t get it, that still feels the need to look someplace other than inside for stillness and comfort. It’s OK thought- perhaps I’ll always need to nurture the little voice telling me… “It’s out there, somewhere.” I don’t mind loving the scared, little me that calls out for reassurance. I believe we must learn to love every part of our being, especially those parts that make us uncomfortable with questions and nagging little idiosyncrasies. These questions and quirks are our master teacher. Perhaps it’s a little like dreaming of the mountains when at the beach, or dreaming of California when we’re 2,300 miles away- our dreaming we aren’t complete, as we are, here and now.

The process of growing in wisdom, of becoming more transparent to the soul is going on with us and all around us. This is not usually a graceful or a deliberate process. We stumble forward, often in the dark, using everything to become more of who we are. It is an effort worthy of our patience, our support, our compassion, and our attention.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, from “Becoming a Blessing”

11 Comments:

Blogger Mitch said...

Very cool -- very spiritual. I really like the counter at the bottom of the page! You might find my blog worth looking at, especially if you are interested in music and/or technology. Just click on my name or icon. :)

3:48 PM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

I echo your thoughts, Tommy, although mine has less to do with physical location and more to do with vocation or hobbies or whatever. We always think "that thing over there" will be "it" but it never will be - it can't be. That being said, however (as you mentioned), all those wild journeys to the alleged "ITs" have their place as well, and make us who we are.

In other words, all is right with the world, all the time, all the time. :) Glad you're posting again.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Isaiah,

I am glad to see this post. I have spent a great amount of time in SC- childhood vacations in Myrtle, HHlton Head and many trips to Charleston. I especially enjoyed Beaufort and frogmore (sp?) stew.

I rsonate with you on many levels and I appreciate the spirit from which you write. Thanks for being here. Having you, Trev, Jon, & Meredith in this world brings much light. I am very grateful.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Buford said...

Isaiah,

I was on Laurel creek this past weekend and missed you very much. Although the people I was with enjoy the Laurel’s lullaby, they do not internalize its power nor do they wonder on that power. I looked up at the royal blue sky that day and said, “I wish you were here Tommy” Maybe that thought drifted across the Carolinas and down to you, leaving you with a sense of longing. (Stranger things have happened).

Tom, here is my take on my life; I do not presume this will work for anyone else and I truly believe everyone has a right and must live within their own ramifications.(Hell, if we were all the same, life would be #$@%&*^ boring.)

I do not wonder on the “getting it” I simply react to life. I feel that if I truly understood life, it would not be near as fun as it is. There is only the “here and now.” Of course, the future does come it’s as unstoppable as the tides or the Laurel Creek. But it’s the “here and now” that determines the future. For example, if it rains in the high country there may be a flood in the low country or when oceans’ temperatures change, it changes weather patterns all over the world. Again there is no need to “get it” only a need to be a part of it.

Stillness is an unattainable goal, life, like our world, is kinetic. Of course, there are times of calm where we can relax and reflect, (just as there is in nature), but these times will always be limited. Eventually, things have to change. (Again just as they do in nature)

I know many people will disagree with me, but there is nothing “out there” to find; it’s all right in front us. Life is the “here and now.” Also, I understand that my views flow from the belief that there is no divine anything, that in life, we are simply on a conveyer belt that we’re half sunk into headed for oblivion. To some this may sound morbid. On the contrary, for me, it makes life that much more precious, fun, exciting, valuable, enlightening etc., etc.

Maybe I am different. Maybe I am wrong. But, my belief system allows me to be free of the bonds of wanting more. If more comes then so be it. If things are taken away I’ll fight to keep them.

Finally, when on the rare occasions, that I find myself wanting I always refer to this poem by Wendell Berry.

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives my be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests

in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into peace of the wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind star

waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world,

and I am free.

Remember Nature Has No Remorse or Love. It is indifferent. And, within that neutrality there is the greatest potential for enlightenment. (What ever that may be)

PS I want you to live in the Piedmont closer to us. Sooooo……… maybe it is better up here!! :)

2:35 PM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

Isaiah/Tommy,

I'm glad to see another post here. I wonder often about that side, the uncertain one. What it is - a shameful weakness to be overcome, a proverbial thorn in the side, just the way things are. What to do - whether it should be shut down, or shut up - or loved, understood, and lived with. And whether that side, too, can be quiet and content.

The last couple of days have been illuminated for no apparent reason. Be at peace with it. Don't worry about what to do about. Carry on nonetheless, accept that sometimes I'll fall short or miss the mark, it is part of learning and part of being human... who I am is reflected not in how often I fail or miss or falter because I am human, but in how I respond when it happens.

(Maybe, I muse, as an aside to myself, maybe that is what the Resurrection is really about...)

8:33 PM  
Blogger gratefulbear said...

Welcome back! A wonderfully meditative post. I really like the "Being a Blessing" quote at the end.

~ Darrell

10:47 PM  
Blogger "Kev" said...

To hear your inner beauty of perception is as refreshing as a flowing stream of consciousness. I submurse myself in you thoughts and remember a time when we sat upon rocks in rivers and floated mindlessly down them. I miss those days when the sound of one guitar plucked gently made the whole world stop for a while and listen; waiting for that next resinating string of beauty and expression. It seems that no one listens anymore and that our efforts to exhist go un-noticed. I miss those days. We need to plan an outing for my sanity and healing. I know it's hard to make plans and keep them. I do it all the time. Please keep me in mind for your next trip.

1:17 PM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Mitch-
Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoy the cost of the war in Iraq counter...it needs to stop ticking.

Trev,
I still have my "what do I want to do when I grow up" days and weeks as well." It's the Gemini in me and the Taurus in you :) Yes, all is right, all the time!

Rick,
South Carolina is a beautiful place...and the charm of Beaufort along with Frogmore Stew, (sans the beef sausage for me)will sure make a memory for you. I agree about our unique little bond we share here in our digital sanctuary- I'm blessed to know you all.

Buford,
I agree- I celebrate diversity in all its peaceful forms with respect for both the self and for others. When we are certain our way is the only way, our energies aren’t able to sustain us at healthy levels…and we become diseased with thoughts of superiority. I say if it works for you, brings you true happiness and causes you to be considerate of other’s well being…. then believe AND act away (let your actions speak for you in how you live your life- talk is cheap!)

Julie,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Like you say, sometimes things are "just the way they are" because...they are. I like what you say about not letting your 'failings' define you, rather letting your response speak louder.,

Darrell,
Good to be back...read much Rachel Naomi Remen? She's a great writer.

Kev,
Thanks dear friend...we go back to the beginning almost and have shared many a song and story. I love you for who you are, for the way our voices harmonize as one, and for being my friend all these years. Let's go to Hot Springs!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Rejoice and be glad!

My blogfriend, who verily wandered far from his keyboard, now posteth again!

Hallelujah!

Thanks for coming back. I like the tenderness you show to your little self. Reminds me to be tender too.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

"...here and now." You point this out to us again and again. This is a blessing, radiant and warm.

Thank you.

Aki

12:08 AM  
Blogger "James" said...

Water and air and very beautiful and powerful symbols and elements.

1:57 PM  

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