Today, after a full night of tossing and turning, I felt it… a spark of innocence floating in the air. It seemed very real, yet somehow not of the same universe or substance as the rest. I watched, my inner vision locked in on the hint of the glimmer, as just like the Good Witch’s bubble in The Wizard of Oz, it grew bigger and bigger; there, yet also not touching anything else.
I asked myself, which is the dream? It didn’t feel like an angel I was wrestling with last night, more like the baggage of a thousand lifetimes, but surely I awoke to some kind of gift.. a new opening of mind or sense of liveliness and freedom through which the virtues of life may flow more freely. Or at least, my awareness of them?
I remember when I first began meditating. I met a monk (who was or wasn’t – it doesn’t matter) in a virtual world, who, listening to me babble about the specialness of my experiences and visions, cautioned me not to be too enamored. He said to consider the taste underlying the experiences, and let that taste spread out, permeating into the rest. I felt even more special to be given this guidance, and while I don’t think I missed the point entirely, it would be a long time before I could see that not owning the guidance, not owning the experiences, would be like growing wings.
Something else clicked then however, when the feeling of wanting to own everything fell mostly away. Even to tell a personal story began to seem quite pointless or indulgent, and I’d often feel guilty for doing so. In fact it felt for a while as though I’d undergone a surgery, but the wrong part had been removed, leaving me unsure how to interact with the world at all. Along the way I met other ‘spiritual types’ like this too, who felt themselves as far away.
Then re-appeared insecurities of childhood and fears of adulthood with brand new ferocity, and wow, such deep feelings of regret. I wanted to go back to feeling special. I suppose now that what happened is that I hadn’t had to deal with those fears and inadequacies for a for a while, amidst my new and blissful romance with meditation and spirituality, so perhaps I was caught off guard to find them still there, still un-healed or released.
That sounds similar to what people describe in romantic relationships doesn’t it? So much is initially covered by awe and newness.
At first, I couldn’t see the fears and insecurities as something facing me. It was all too entangled with who I thought myself to be. Guilt I felt over things I did and said as an angry and despairing teenager, mistakes I made that now seemed so obviously avoided, etc., *were* me before — someone I felt I had to renounce and leave behind, which I could do with some idea of a previous self, because I was now ‘special’ (saved, enlightened, etc.).
Which made the ‘special’ a kind of armor very hard to see the need to let go of. In fact it seemed the very thing keeping me alive… except for that inkling of a taste of something clearer beyond credit and blame… except for the promise of underlying clarity taking its place, putting *all* in more open context.
I think that’s what the spark of innocence that greeted me this morning means to say.
And that although the room (and my sleep) may feel full of beasts of doubt and fear at times, I can recognize that they aren’t ‘me’ or ‘mine’, and that there are these muses of clarity, too. Now I want to see and converse with them all, hear the strange and wonderful things they may have to say.
Lately when I write a post here, something comes up on twitter that speaks so closely to it that I find it hard to leave out. Today it was,
“…to arrive at that beautiful ancient innocence which consists of the ability to plunge into dream…”
-Albert Camus, Youthful Writings; “Essay on Music,” , 1932 – quoted by Rubynola82
What comes to mind too:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi