Stuck in emptiness once again

Cougar in forest


Sometime in late May the ego seemed to dry up and disappear again.  One knows it because the wanting and desiring and craving fades.  At first it felt soooo peaceful and relaxing and wonderful.  Like the peace that passeth all understanding.  Feelings (both positive and negative) came and disappeared.  Thoughts of all kinds arose and fell away.  The space of awareness held everything, all was allowed, welcome all you vagabonds!

A sudden desire to meditate on emptiness appeared.  I usually feel no desire to meditate any more, so this felt surprising.  OK, emptiness, here you are.  The body relaxed deeper, soothed by no-thing-ness.

Suns rose and suns set.  The days meandered by.  Personal will seemed gone.  Emptiness simply moved through the mornings and evenings, occasionally jarred  by sadness, anger, or whatever human emotion the body-mind produced.  Nothing ultimately disturbed.

We split and stacked our wood for next winter.  I ran the wood splitter and we both lugged the firewood into the truck.  Eventually we unloaded the pickup.  It all felt good and flowing.

The body was ill, as well, during that time.  A dull ache permeated from the underarm to beneath the right breast.  The emptiness allowed it all.  In the midst of the discomfort I called the doctor and scheduled mammogram and eventually ultrasound.  An inner thought wondered if this was it–dread disease, come to inhabit and take the body.  I remember fear and then thinking, “OK, yes, if it’s time, that’s OK, too.”

The body breathed and breathed and breathed.  We split wood, I did diagnostic tests, and hurt while feeling peaceful and flowing.  Emptiness surrounded.

Then I noticed another feeling arising. Almost a light depression.  A hollowness.  A feeling of being stuck.  A frustrating sameness to life.  No ups, no downs, no joy, no real fear.  Just this over-arching emptiness at the base of all things.

Suddenly I felt a desire to listen to Adyashanti, one of my favorite spiritual teachers.  So often his teachings truly change things at a deep level for me.

He spoke of fixation and how our point of view can fixate in any state.  We can fixate in emptiness, fullness, oneness, separate self, or divinity.

The minute he spoke I KNEW what had happened.  I was stuck in emptiness once again.  (Not the first time, and probably not the last…)

How subtle–that even a point of view can fixate like that!

As he spoke, the fixation shifted and changed and dissolved.  And now it’s all brand new.

Now the heart feels full once again.

And, joyfully, the body received a diagnosis and the pain seems to be dissolving.  Turns out I have an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage–probably caused from lifting wood too high to throw into the truck.  Now I can remember lifting a log and feeling a pressure under the right arm…before the discomfort spread all around the rib cage.

And life continues to change…empty, full, and who knows where next?






Mambo Number 5



Just wrote this in my journal, even though the thoughts had nothing to say.  The pen, apparently, did.


Another day, another crescent of moon.

Rain poured a half hour ago, soaking travelers.

Now sun reveals itself on showered trees.

Yesterday afternoon–trimming green beans, listening to salsa music–it all illuminated very present.

It’s as if the body tunes as lyre or piano or flute, hearing it all, playing it all.  No longer did eyes simply see. The entire body saw.  The body heard, it smelled, it sheered green beans in half, it hummed.

A living pulsating field.  I couldn’t draw myself away from the immediacy of it.  The fullness.  Thoughts danced as partners, not ousted in some imaginary desire of stillness.

Yes, we’re tuning forks of perception, aren’t we?  More to seeing than the eyes.  More to hearing than those two floppy ears.  More to touching than these fingers, precious though they are.

Yet if you told someone–the body saw/heard/tasted–that doesn’t describe it.  The listener might assume, rightly so, that a body does this.

Here’s what really happened.  I shall try again.  The field of awareness presented itself as alive.

But, no again.  The field was not separate from the bean-trimmer, from the salsa music, from the urge to dance.

It glowed simply as immediacy.

As if the heart and tummy–and, OK, the hurting knee–included it all in a sweeping panorama of constant appearing.

Now, now, now! sang the vortex.

It shined so inclusive and full because all of awareness had joined in, deepened, widened.  Not simply the organs of perception.  All…

Of course by saying this I’ve made it into something special and spiritual and magical when it really was simple and ordinary and everyday.

Woman cutting beans with sharp knife.

Mambo Number 5.

(You can’t run and you can’t hide.  You and me gonna touch the sky.)



Here’s how ideas can lasso you.  I woke up this morning wanting to sing to the tops of snow-covered mountains, to the eagles swooping in blue skies, to the depths of the deepest oceans.  I wanted to say–no, shout–you are enough, you are enough, oh you are enough!

We are enough, we are perfect in our imperfection, we are living song, we are living dance, we are more than our foibles, more than our pain, more than our suffering, more than the way our heart shatters into six thousand splintered shards all bleeding into the cavity of our frustration that the world isn’t exactly what we dream.

I was ready to write a book.  Teach a workshop.  Write ten thousand blogs.  Convince everyone.  We are enough, enough, enough!  I would say it in a new way, a unique way, that pain-laced folks would sit up in their chairs and say, “Yes.  Yes.  I am enough,” and the moon would wink in the inky sky and we’d stir Nirvana into our coffee and drink it as the sun rose.

This fantasy lasted half-way to work.  When, suddenly, the part that was asleep in the fantasy awoke, ever-so-briefly, and saw clearly yet another conceptual trap.  The awake part winked.  (It really did nothing, but perhaps it likes artistic phrases which do & don’t describe it.)

When the awake part awoke it Remembered.  It Remembered that everything was enough/not-enough.  It Remembered beyond duality.  It Remembered a sacred river flow that contains enoughness and not-enoughness.  It Remembered Itself as real, with the enoughness and not-enoughness a distant dream, a cardboard cutout.

Like Rumi said:  Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.

In that field, it’s enough.  It’s more than enough.  The dew on the field sparkle like golden drops of moondust no matter if it contains pollution or purity. 

I keep wanting concepts like “enough” to solve everything.  To be the answer that provides clarity, right action, perfection of the imperfection.

It turns out that our concepts are like moondust.  You can’t capture them.  You can’t make them behave.  You can’t put them in a corner until they cooperate.  Every concept will ultimately prove empty, empty, empty. 

This blog is enough and not-enough.  Knowing that is a beginning.  Dive into the deep waters which hold those concepts together.  Get wet.  Splash.  Splash some more!  Life may caress us underwater for a lifetime, but eventually we’ll emerge to gulp the sweet air, alive.