Sunday, July 18

A letter to my friend

 


Greetings,
 
As most of you know this past year has brought many challenges to my doorstep. Through it all there has been a deeper more internal aspect to this past year that I have struggled with until now to put into words.
 
In this letter I wrote today to my long time friend Dr. Josephine Hauer Ed. D. I think I have been able to reveal something that is both highly personal and insightful. Dr. Hauer has been gracious enough to allow me to send this personal letter to her to all of you.
 
For those of you who have been reading my poetry for a while you will find familiar themes, as well as a more intimate view of the place where my poetry often starts.
 
Enjoy!
William-
 
 
Hi Josie,
 
 
PS.
I know, the PS goes at the end. However I just wanted to say that as the music played on while I wrote this it became clear that this was one of the special moments when the already present connectedness of all that is makes itself an active part of this dance we are in right now.
 

Allowing the present moment to be the unique miracle that it is,  So… I just wanted you to know that throughout this letter you will see how the music winds it way through this writing. To me it is like some 100 year old trellis lilac that has always been there, but only comes into our awareness when its beautiful fragrance reminds, with a gentle, Hello!
 
On to the letter!
 
I am sitting here looking out the window at the grass, struggling to be green in the 90 degree heat. Seems odd that. From my window I can see the Columbia River not more than a half a mile away. It is so wide here that the various grain barges and the far bank form the horizon.
 
There is a fan blowing back and forth on my desk creating a nice, reasonably cool, but artificial summer breeze. The boys are busy with their house cleaning chores for the week. (Only 3 days late this week)
 
Ana is out with her friends on her regular Sunday gathering of like minds. Part girls day out, part spiritual/philosophical discussion group combined with food and/or a movie.
 
Alyssa is over at her best friends house for a birthday party and the compulsory (and thankfully) all day wear-out-somebody-else's-parental units-at-the-swimming-pool day of fun, food and miniature golf.
 
Me? Well, aside from sitting here listening to classic Peter, Paul & Mary (I have all their albums on my hard drive) tunes on the 'puter. Trying not very successfully to work through today's portion of pain that the universe thinks I need. Actually I am doing much better. I have transitioned out of my power wheelchair and am trying to walk more every day.
 
{ Marty Travers just sang the words " The answer is blow'in in the wind"}
 
I have come to realize that my healing process is going to remain a 2 steps forward, 1 step backwards process for quite some time. There is so much that is intertwined. My low thyroid, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain and the fatigue that those four produce can make it impossible to get out of bed for days. I have lived my whole life more on inspiration and spiritual energy than on physical capacity. Now I need to be careful as I still run on some very high (in my opinion) octane energy and this 47 year old body still willingly follows, but now only at great cost.
 
{ Marty Travers just sang the words " All my trials Lord, will soon be over"}
 
You know , it's one thing to talk about spirituality with all the requisite conversations about path, journey, faith, truth, gurus, teachers, messiahs (small "t, g, t, m" on purpose) and all the so called required talismans of a spiritual life. It is another for all that to fall away like a worn out but much treasured pair of jeans. Each hole and tear; each loving stitch of repair a memory of some special moment or person.
 
This is a part of the quiet that I speak of. It is a kind of peaceful place that moves with me.
 
{ Marty Travers just sang the words " It'll shake the windows and rattle your walls for the times they are a 'changin' "}
 
It sort of came on slowly almost, in fact, at the beginning, completely imperceptible and it is now part of my full waking experience. Everything is different. The colors are brighter. The empty spaces are filled in. The contrast between light and shadow are more distinct. When I walk I feel as though I am moving through a fluid of sorts. It does not hinder me in any way, and, in fact, if I pay attention I can feel that I am in a kind of flow. Like a personal river that moves with me. If you have ever swam in a river with a very mild current you will have felt some of what I mean.
 
There is a kind of pulling and pushing at the same time.  
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary just sang with the audience " Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham "}
 
There is a very real, or at least real to me, place that is only a breath away. And even though this place took many breaths, to the point of being out of breath, to get to, I realize now that it has always been there. I am also fully aware of how much more difficult I made it than it ever needed.
 
In this place, all pain is gone. It just flows out of me, like the water evaporating off my back as I get out of the shower. It is at once still, quiet and empty. Only, full of life, oneness, peace and love. Very soon I become aware that there is a process going on that I am fully part of. It is hard to describe this as it is part of a unified wholeness. I can describe the parts separately but that is at best a gross distortion of the experience.
 
Keep in mind that this all happens in one breath, and is repeated with each breath after that.
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary just sang with the audience " there'll be singing in that land, there is freedom in than land, where I am bound"}
 
It is like holding infinite nothingness in your left hand and being aware that you are that infinite nothingness, and holding all that is in your right hand and being aware that you are all that is. This is a place beyond all form and vision. It is both extremely bright and intensely dark at the same time. This sounds strange and impossible I know, but to me it is very real. If I focus on the light there is an amazing clarity and piercing brilliance. If I focus on the dark it is warm and healing as though entering the womb of all life.
 
If I let go of this focus then the two seeming opposites merge. It is like taking the left hand holding the infinite nothingness and the right hand holding all that is and bringing the two together. At first there is a process happening, that I am aware that I am not separate from, of all that is flowing into infinite nothingness and out of infinite nothingness flows all that is. (I feel challenged by the sentence structure here)(not used to writing to an Ed. D. audience [ this is me poking you in the ribs and snickering] )
 
It is here where it all changes. In the example of bringing the left and right hands together it is as if the cosmos it self is about to collide. But it doesn’t. Well sort of. There is a rush of energy and I do mean R-U-S-H but it is one of calmness, a gentleness of love both embracing and expanding. It’s like being the witness to a conception of sorts and being the conception at the same time.
 
For me, the first time this happened, I refused to believe it. My mind just could not wrap itself around the idea that such extreme opposites could live in the same space. This is where the hammer dropped. The always expected “other shoe”, so to speak.
 
It is possible to go beyond this point, and even beyond that. This is the space I now live in; that is so much a part of my waking experience that I spoke of earlier. This place is where infinite nothingness and all that is merge and become inseparable.
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary are singing If I were Free, in French! }
 
tears flowing, sorry… brb …
 
… I’m back, sorry.
 
It is here that for the first time (about a year ago) I realized some things:
 

All that is and infinite nothingness has not and do not exist separately.
That, you, me and everyone else has never been separated from this place.
That you, me and everyone have always been in complete oneness at a place beyond this point; and all that we are, together, flows from this place.
 
In my experience, in this place, that I can only call a union of infinite uniqueness and expressive eternal expansion, that everything stops. And everything begins. There is intense quiet here. Even the word stillness expresses more movement than exists here. I should note here that I am fully conscious of myself being me sitting in my room and I am free to focus on what I wish. I can stay in this union or I can focus on other things. It was strange at first to be in this place of immense intense experience and yet have the complete freedom to be or do what I wish. The freedom was a shock at first. But it is here where I felt that I could breathe for the first time.
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary are singing " Well, well, well who’s that calling, spirit is a moving all over the land "}
 
It’s not really like being in two places at once, but rather awareness that there is consciousness everywhere and in everything and that it is all inside of me. Inside all of us. Sitting in my room or outside or riding the bus does not seem to change my awareness of this place. Does it sound weird to say that, to me, it is like it travels with me and at the same time I travel with it. If I choose to be still for a moment I can feel the curve of the earth under me. Stiller yet and can sense the energy of the planet and everything on it. I have sensed butterflies in the Amazon, whales in the pacific, and, yes, sadly, death, killing, rape and murder all at once or individually. In my experience Jung’s collective unconscious is just a road sign here on a much deeper and thankfully, happier journey.
 
After writing this last bit I am concerned that I have said things that scare you. Please don’t be scared as there is no power thing going on here. Given the years of love we have shared together, I feel it would be a disservice to you not to share what is happening with me.
 
In this place of union there is no fear. There is only gentleness. It is here that the struggle for power becomes laughable. It is here that our oneness lives in the cells of all of us. Real. Palatable.
 
 
{ Peter Yarrow is singing The Great Mandela(the wheel) " I will never kill another… he is fasting until the killing is over"}
 
In this place there is completeness. Beyond the state of just not wanting, is a place where wanting never existed. Like I said though there is a place beyond even this.
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary are singing I dig Rock & Roll Music " I think I could say something, if you know what I mean, but if I really say it the radio won’t play it. Unless I lay it between the lines"}
 
 
The union of infinite nothingness and all that is, when they appear as one there is a doorway of sorts that is opened. Remember, this is already a place beyond form, so I do not see a door. With that said, in this place where these two incredible extremes breathe together the grand universal breath there is more. I sat at this door too bewildered to go in for over a year. I was really not sure what would happen! Also as I discovered it is not a place one enters by choice. At this point any thought of doing or accomplishing only takes you backwards.
 
I knew there was a deeper place I sensed that there was a grand courtyard, so to speak, (no forms remember!) waiting for me. The reality here is that I need to allow all the extremes of duality to merge inside me. This is what it means to jump into the river of life. To merge into the flow of the cosmic sacred and juicy dance of ATI/IN. (all that is / infinite nothingness, I just got tired of typing it over and over) A swirling, multi-versal, cosmic Maytag washing machine, mother of all vortexes. (great images don’t you think for a place beyond form huh!)
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary are singing The Marvelous Toy " I never knew just what it was I guess I never will."}
 
 
 
 At a certain point my comfort level with this idea of being nothing at all and all that is had increased to where it seemed normal, to me at least. I emerged on the other side, so to speak. It is hard to describe something you experience as infinite as having sides, but it is easier to talk about this change and expansion of consciousness.
 
Love lives here. Expansive and personal. There is no separation here. Duality ended at the last exit.
 
{ Peter Paul & Mary are singing Because All Men are Brothers Mary sings here "My brothers are all others forever hand in hand. Where chimes the bell of freedom there is my native land… My brothers tears are my tears the whole world around… Let slavery’s chains be broken the whole wide world around"}
 
 
 
 The love here is not part of everything it is the all of everything. Love here just is. Not unlike air, universal, multi-versal, and interconnected in such a way that the thought of it any other way does not exist. Love here needs no response.
 
{ Noel Paul Stookey is singing The Wedding Song " As it was in the beginning it is now until the end… There is love… something you have never seen before, all is love"}
 
(Wow PP&M never disappoint!)
 
There is no response asked for and none given. Like settling into a most comfortable chair nothing to prove or any requirement or questing for worthiness. Divine simplicity, everyone is here and there is only one person in the room. There are no great plans or dispensations or ways here. It is very simply the place we have never left. All paths lead here because no paths depart from here.
 
To be in the embrace here is know only union. I cannot describe the joy reaching this place. I cannot describe the assuredness in my heart that all of us are already here. Our various and seeming coming and goings from this place are, in my experience, imaginary flights of whimsy and fantasy.
 
We are, and have always been perfectly safe. We are not lacking, but are in full command of our abundant love nature. For it never leaves us. We cannot loose it, but we can choose to forget it.
 
Throughout these last 10 years I have been consistently amazed at the divine simplicity of it all. When ever things got difficult or the way seemed to be obscured I was blessed to hear a gentle calling in my heart. You are safe. Be calm. Keep it simple.
 
Sure enough each time I let go of some “great and important” complexity I would see that I was always standing in just the right spot. Now I see that this “right spot-ness” lives at the core of the very nature of who we are.
 
{ Noel Paul Stookey is singing Right Field "it’s easy you know, you can be awkward and you can be slow. That’s why I’m in right field just watching the dandelions grow. They point to the sky… and a baseball falls into my glove! "}
 
Together always, simply means that we have never been apart. You are not lost. I am not lost.
 
{ PP & M are singing Don’t Let the Light Go Out "Freedom and justice will prevail… This is the burning, this is the promise that we will not fail, Don’t let the light go out, let it shine through our love and our tears"}
 
…Sorry tears again… this song always gets me weeping !
 
There is a real bliss in this kind of simplicity. If we wanted we could allow it to transform how we see each other and our world.
 
I have in these last pages tried to do my best to describe what my personal experience in living my life the way I have. I know many of the choices I have and will continue to make will cause those with already itchy heads to find more to scratch about. Some will attempt to attach their own system of values to what I have written, either to prove a point about me or about themselves. Some will try to find meaning, hidden or otherwise in what I have written.
 
{ PP & M are singing “it ain’t me babe.. that your looking for" }
 
{ PP & M are singing “ we come with the dust, and leave with the wind… because our pastures of plenty must always be free” }
 
 
There is no meaning here. Period. It is simply my experience. I have no commitment to proving myself right or to prove others wrong. I have provided an accurate description of what my own personal inner landscape looks like. I have gained access to this most private of places through simplicity of practice and these three steps.
 
{ PP & M are singing “ Inch by inch row by row someone bless these seeds I sow, someone bless them from below until the rains come a tumbling down” }
 
 

Breathe, and discover the universal breath that connects us all.
 

In all instances allow the free flow of the energy of what is to flow unrestricted and expansive through all that I know myself to be.
 

Continue to ask these same three simple questions and listen without restriction patiently for what shows up. (Notice I did not say answer) 
 


What do I see?
 


What do I want to see?
 


Who am I being?
 
 
I will close now with a poem that I think you will like.
 
6-30-04 – 1
 
To experience this world
You have acquired a body
Through this body
You can experience the
Essential nature of this
Illusion called physicality
 
Ah! Life in duality
 
            Up
            Down
            Female (not male)
            Male (not female)
 
Do you require more examples?
 
            However,
 
The real question
—    IS —
 
Can you be comfortable (doubtful!)
Can you keep in your skin (barely!)
 
            When you realize that
                        To become the whole
                        You must become the merge
Allow yourself to become
The union of extremes
 
How extreme can you be?
 
            Will you even dare?
                        To touch this line
                       
Or will you jump in
And blown the line away
 
            Between
                        The not you
                        And you
 
What will you feel when
You let all the opposing forces
Do the holy rock and roll
Down deep in your soul
 
Just like a big ‘ol car battery
The sparks fly and the juice flows
 
When the universal “plus”
And the great cosmic “minus“
Merge inside you
 
Can ‘ya dig it?
 
 
Copyright © 2004 William A. York.
All rights reserved.
 
 
Love & Blessings,William-
 
Concealed yet presentThe common ground we search forRight beneath our feet! How Marvelous! 
 

The last grain of rice

The Same wisdom

That causes the

Excitement and grandeur
Of the great turning

Of each individual leaf
In its own right time
 
Can also be found
In that last grain
Of rice from your bowl
Sticking so beautifully
Excitingly— to the end
Of your chopstick
 
Choose not to be fooled
See clearly not
The outward distractions
Of brilliant color
Or the seeming
Ordinary mundane-ness
 
Choose to be
In harmony with
the inner wisdom
Of life itself
By becoming both
The turning leaf: and
The last grain of rice
 
 
Copyright © 2004 William A. York.
All rights reserved.