Part I: Beauty
Water running from the faucet.
It is met by stillness and joy.
Nothing missing, no question left to ask.
One sole desire remains: To be of help.
In the darkness of the depths of my belly, low down somewhere in front of the sacrum, is a place of complete peace as vast as the universe. I am not sure that is is the correct term, nor can I say that I feel it, though I notice it very clearly. It is the absence of sensation that makes it so palpable, strange as this may sound. And although I can clearly locate it in a relatively small place, it does not have boundaries but permeates throughout.
It is always there and easily accessible. I discovered this “place” last summer during a healing session that set me off to an inner journey in which I re-experienced a recurring childhood nightmare. It was one of two nightmares I would have when ill and lying in bed with a high fever. In this dream I always saw a field of upside down plastic cones, very brightly colored, similar to the figures of a board game we used to play in our family. In the dream they were upside down and their rims were incredibly sharp to the eye. It hurt to just look at them and I was always terrified by their sight. Without ever touching them I could feel how dangerously sharp they were and I always tried to escape, which I did by waking up, frightened to the core.
Now, in this session last summer, I suddenly saw and felt one of these cones very clearly as I had not since childhood. My first response was to break the spell by opening my eyes, but then curiosity got the better of me. Instead of turning away I approached the huge and brightly yellow cone. I peeked over the rim and saw that its narrowing bottom opened to an immense darkness. Horrified, I wanted to turn away. It seemed that this darkness was pure evil and needed to be avoided by any means possible.
But, again, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to dive if into that terrifying black to see what I would find. I tumbled into a vast universe of darkness and nothingness and immediately knew that there was nothing to fear, no trace of evil. Instead, I found myself floating in a realm of complete beauty, safety, and love, with no trace of fear left. Words cannot do justice to the peace I experienced.
The inner journey went on in interesting ways but I won’t go into that now. What I was given then has never left me and is always there in the depths of my belly, though it really does not have a place. I can hear it right now in the tolling of the nearby church bell, I can see it in the slight movements of the branches of the Sugar Maple in front of my office window. And when I am really ready I can sometimes feel it in the pain in my left shoulder. It is then that I know that peace is already there, that all I have longed for has always been present.
The experience inspired me to explore with students in my classes if we could find places in ourselves that are already at peace. This turned out to be surprisingly easy for everybody, considering that it is noticed so rarely. Beauty does not shout and is easily overlooked. So often when we practice, we notice and focus on what is in need of improvement, what hurts, what needs to be achieved. And so we do not notice the peace that is already there.
Don’t just let this be an inspiring read. It is not to think about either but to be experienced. Try it out for yourself. How is your pinky? Feel it, or rather notice the sensations already there. Chances are your pinky is just fine. It has no need, it does not lack anything, it is perfectly happy. Not a single thought resides in your little finger, no doubts or unanswered questions. But it clearly lives and though you may not at first notice it as such, the experience in your finger might well be one of deep peace and even joy, very subtle at first but becoming clearer as you are being concentrated by this exploration. Of course, the pinky might not be where it is at for you in this moment, and maybe not the belly either. But it is there and you might discover it in the most unexpected of places.
Don’t believe me. Find out for yourself. Exploring in this way you may, as I have, discover that there is much more peace in and around you right now than you might ever have thought possible. By that I do not mean there is no pain, that all suffering magically disappears forever. In this moment what we experience may indeed be the much heard about “traceless fading away” of suffering, and it may even be for good – but only in this moment. Nor does the suffering in the world vanish. But it appears that even within the most painful situation peace awaits to be unlocked. If we only dare turn to it.
Beautiful when we are able to.
Part 2: Fluoxetine
Come back soon to read about the beast rearing its head.