Become a Follower of the Big Dude!

Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beneath Still Water

Water has always been a symbol of eternal life, of redemption, and of the spiritual flow of things. In quantum physics, the wave is the primordal matter to which all particles belong. Therefore, it shouldn't be too surprising that I find my most "heavenly" moments when I'm floating in water.

Water mutes the sounds of other swimmers. The act of floating on your back means your eyes are on the sky. The silence and the feeling of being suspended in space and time mimic the spiritual state of enlightenment or grace. The normal heaviness and aches of the human body disappear. Ahhhh. Alas, I don't live on a lake or have a pool and so my encounters with this state of bliss are few.

The other day I visited a friend who had just scored an apartment with a 55 foot screened-in porch overlooking a lake. At one point we took her Portuguese Water dog (something like that) into the water. While she threw a tennis ball half way across the lake for the dog to chase, I floated blissfully amidst the lily pads. Granted, I was distracted by feelings of envy that I hadn't found this apartment before she did; still, I managed some moments of sweet serenity.

I know people who don't like the water, whose memories of it are frightening; they can't relax and float and they can't swim. So, water doesn't really work in reality or in metaphor for them.

Clearly, water itself isn't a path to enlightenment although many of us find it a useful metaphor, if not a way of meditating. But, there are other ways to express the experience of enlightenment. Not that I'm enlightened; I'm not. I believe I've had moments of enlightenment though; I hope so.

One such moment occurred in the evening when I was standing at my front door waving to a friend who was leaving. The scene was of big trees backlit by lighting from the park across the street. I felt myself framed in my doorway and then suddenly experienced a softening of the environment. It was as if there was no barrier between me and the evening air. The feeling was one of suspended time and space. Grace.

You can't force that awareness or feeling. It doesn't even help to be receptive as far as I can tell. Such moment "of glad grace" (Yeats) just come and go. If you look for them, they elude you. If you try to hang on to them, they disappear. Clearly, such moments take place outside of our normal ego-based, intelligence-driven life. Thought drives them away as does our sense of self.

Meditation probably trains our receptors to notice this other plane of existence that most likely is always around us but which we can only see "through a glass darkly." Meditation, at least, helps put us in the now, helps diminish the power of our thoughts and feelings, helps empty us of a lifetime's flotsam. Possibly that emptiness allows us to experience the wave reality more and the particle reality less.

I struggle for words. Writing about enlightenment or grace is like practicing scales on the piano or learning to swim. You end up talking about the steps; the steps may or may not allow you to become one with a Beethoven symphony, may or may not allow you to float effortlessly. The experience OF grace or enlightenment defies the language of our intelligence and takes us into poetry, metaphor, psalms.

For me, floating just beneath still water mimics eternal life, for lack of a better term. I don't know what else to say. Roxie