Here is an article I wrote the other morning, sitting in bed as the day began…
The Day is Ever New
It’s dawn. The birds are just starting to stir. The wind rustles the leaves on the trees outside my bedroom window and I can hear the sounds of the day beginning in the other apartments in the building. A wood pigeon coos; a familiar sound that I seem to notice most places I go. My nose is blocked and sore and I don’t know what I’m going to write next and it really doesn’t matter.
We live in utter mystery, sure only of what is present this very moment. And even the content of this moment can be revealed as completely unknown when we gently question our regular and everyday assumptions. Assumptions like ‘I know what this is. This thought, this experience, this sound, this feeling, this sight, smell, touch or taste.
The greatest assumption and the one that appears to cause so much suffering and confusion is the assumption that I am here as a separate self and that suffering happens to me.
The assumption that this mysterious dance of colour, light, sound, smell and taste is my life and that I own it and must take full responsibility for how it flows. And outward from that core assumption flows the apparently logical train of thought that leads me to wonder what I want from life, what I want my life to be like or why my life is not more pleasing, satisfying, fulfilling, happier, more successful, more peaceful, why I am not healthier, more comfortable… and on and on go the various desires, questions and the restless seeking for something, whatever it may be.
And, if we’re good at getting what we want or achieving our dreams and goals or turning our vision into reality, the whole time we’re expecting it to complete this sense of emptiness, we’re constantly grasping for something that is always just out of reach.
Will we ever get there, we ask ourselves?
And all the time these restless questions are being asked, the assumptions at the root of all those thoughts, questions and desires go unnoticed. The assumption that that I am here as a separate individual and the assumption that there is a separate ‘there’ to get to. Somewhere other than here, something other than this.
How many of us have truly looked with fresh eyes at the most basic assumptions of this mystery we call life? Aren’t most of us hypnotised by the power of language and knowledge, certain that because we have a name or a label for a thing, we know what it is.
Certain that a particular sensation in the body is fear or is happiness, because that’s what we’ve always called it. Certain that some things are possible and others are not, just because that’s the way things are. Certain above all that I have a life, that I make it what it is or that it happens to me.
Jesus is reported to have said: in order to save your life, you must lose it. This is dying to self really and being re-born as the ever new, ever present and eternal life that we are. When I know myself not as a limited, small self, floating through the wide and wild skies, vulnerable and changeable but rather as the sky itself, containing every cloud of experience, every object appearing and disappearing then I am truly free to be as I am. There is no need to pretend not to be a person and there is no need to pretend I need to have it all worked out or that I have somehow achieved some great feat like ‘being enlightened’. Only a small, frightened self, desperate for some grand badge of honour would ever claim to be special or better than.
This is not about being anything other than what you already are. And paradoxically, that is when who you can be, is free to really dance, at last set free from the prison of being separate from what you’ve always wanted and what was never lost; the richness of life happening now.