I always choose the quietest path. I follow behind Luka, single file, it is just our way. Besides, she always knows where the trail is, always, without a map, without ever having been there, she knows. I cannot be lost when I am with her, which is good, because I am not always paying attention.
I walk on these trails to lose my self in other ways. I sort through my thoughts, littering the path behind me, knowing that the wind and wilds will carry them off. I walk to forget..and to remember..to find community. Sometimes I will have talks with God and feel His presence in everything around me; other times I will ask if God is even possible. I don’t dare ask for a sign, I have never believed it was in anyone’s interest to ask God for a sign.
Sometimes, I think Luka must be God; she is the smartest, kindest, most loyal, and honest being I know.
When we walk, I am reminded how small I am and how much a part of all this I am. Sometimes in corners of my home, it is easy to feel alone and apart from the world. Inside my walls, I am a collection of the things I own and surround myself with. In the woods behind my walls, I am vulnerable and open, wholly who I am in that moment. I have nothing, I am nothing..but my presence.
Life has offered up a banquet of experiences this past year or more that I can say has given me an opportunity to discover what is most important to me. I have noticed much..and in doing soI have rediscovered the beauty of the simplest things.
If I had to define my spiritual practice these days, it might be easier first to point out what it is not.
It is not..
full of rules
What I would say that it is..is quiet, simple, honest, appreciation of the moment. In the moment, being in the moment is my path to equanimity. As one prone to flights of imagination and melancholy, it is not always easy to be in the moment. But when I catch myself being otherwise, I can return. The present moment is the only
“I can negate everything of that part of me that lives on vague nostalgias, except this desire for unity, this longing to solve, this need for clarity and cohesion. I can refute everything in this world surrounding me that offends or enraptures me, except this chaos, this sovereign chance and this divine equivalence which springs from anarchy. I don’t know whether this world has meaning that transcends it. But I know that I do not know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms.” Albert Camus
It is comforting to know that we’ve been trying to answer the unanswerable for such a long time. I guess I can only only manage my life…manage my happiness. Or as a friend once said, “we can only effect the quality of our waiting.”
Waiting that is for those moments of ultimate settledness.
Right now, I must be settled in the fact that I am due for a printmaking critique and must be off.
My belief about God’s existence is…well mixed. What I know is nothing really. What I speculate is much. What I feel is whole other thing.
I was making my bed today and the thought just rose up in me that we as a God believing people are pretty arrogant to think that there is a God up in heaven judging our every action. It’s a scary thought on one hand if this is true. And I have lived with this being the truth for most of my life..so much so that I have lived in an almost constant state of fear and anxiety, acutely aware that I was being watched. I have wondered too much what God would think of me in this moment and the next. Wondering if what I was doing was good enough and waiting for some reward or punishment as the answer. Not a good way to live, and certainly not an authentic way of being. Every action done out of fear. Ughh. It makes me queasy thinking of this.
Why do we buy into this? I think it is because we like to be judged. Really. We want to know where we stand at any moment We want to believe that good begets good and bad begets bad…and by God, literally, we want to be told we’re doing well. We want it in school…working more for the grade than the actual understanding of a subject. We judge and our judged by our peers and strangers alike, as well as by those we work with and for. It would be nice to believe that we are not a judgmental people, but we are. I am. I compare myself to other women all the time…most I see as more successful than I am. But often I judge myself as better than others. It’s ugly but it’s true. I catch myself comparing myself to others all the time. How is this not judgment? Pay attention one day to your inner thoughts. I think you’d be surprised. I was. I had always thought of myself to be a fair and decent person; but the truth is I am pretty insecure and often judgmental. One has to look in the mirror sometimes and face the truth.
Just the other day I heard Obama praising the firing of an entire high school’s teaching staff in Maryland. Former and current students of that school spoke up last week criticizing Obama for making an such a statement when he didn’t have the facts. “He doesn’t even know us,” they complained, “how can he make a fair judgment.” Don’t we do this all the time? We see someone arrested for a crime and we assume guilt. If the person is found innocent, that story often doesn’t make the news.
It makes sense that as a judgmental people we would believe God to be this way too. The Bible even tells us there will be a judgment day. Enough already. Look at the universe…in the scheme of things we are a pretty insignificant part. To believe that God is out there somewhere watching our every action is too much for me to believe and seems incredibly arrogant. I think I have chosen to believe this in the past mostly out of fear, a tradition of fear that was passed down to me. What I have come to believe about God now is very simple.
God is Love. There is no fear or judgment in this Love…it is Love only and immensely. Our task on this earth is to accept it.