LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
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Emily Dickinson wrote...
Profane it by a search—
It has no home—
Nor we who having once inhaled it—
In An Ache for Union, I used "Here" for the place of no-place. The same "Here" is Nirvana, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Paradise, Heaven, the Father's House with Many Dwelling Places, Eternity, the Promised Land, New Jerusalem, Cosmic Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, Contemplative Awareness, Sat-Chit-Ananda, the Pure Land, the Garden of Eden, Just This, our Original Face, Buddha Nature, Truth, the Real, Non-Local Reality,... And this "Here" is here. So, how can we go anywhere on the Way?
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Seeker: How would you describe your decades walking the Way?
Sage: Traveling to here.
Lawrence Shainberg, in Ambivalent Zen, shares of a meeting with his teacher...
When I tell Kyudo that I am studying to become a monk, a look of incredulity crosses his face. Then he explodes with laughter, "You monk? Larry-san a monk? Ha! Ha! Ha!"
For a moment, I think he'll never again regain control of himself, but then suddenly his laughter stops and he fixes me with a stare. "No, Larry-san, you not monk. You instant monk! Understand? Instant monk! Listen: I monk. Become monk six years old. Four years temple, fifteen years monastery. Why you want to monk?"
Stammering slightly, I tell him I want to "take my practice to a deeper level."
"Deeper level?" He laughs again, "What you mean 'deeper'? Zen practice only one level. No deep, understand? No shallow."
For many years, I was fascinated with the study of theories of spiritual stages; it still interests me, for we do evolve. I find how we develop even mysterious, the same way an acorn becomes a tree and then becomes an acorn that is to be a tree. With all the explanations of development, there remains something amazing about it all.
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I remember the day I learned to ride a bike without training wheels. My dad helped me balance myself on the seat of my blue bike. We considered it safe if I fell, for the road was sandy. I surprised myself, for I biked without falling once. I was elated, and I saw it as quite a feat, an exception for children learning to bike. Decades later, I began on-road distance cycling, first with a hybrid bike and, then, a full-road bike. What I was doing was impossible without training the brain, nervous system, and muscles to coordinate for balance on that blue bike back in the 1960s.
Moreover, on the Way, we grow. So, what does the Sage mean that we travel to here? The Zen teacher says there is not even a deeper. How can that be? I would say everything becomes more intimate, and this is what I mean by deeper. This growing intimacy is possible, for we evolve to relate with the world less through thought and emotion, which distances us from closeness with the world.
Still, to say a "growing intimacy" is imprecise. Can intimacy evolve? Intimacy is. The Way is Intimacy itself, there being nothing not-intimate about it. Progress on the Way is growing more awake to the world about us, both the gross and subtle of Life, seen and unseen, matter and Spirit.
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This presents a developmental lesson on how intimacy can feel not-intimate. As one becomes less intimate emotionally, the sense of intimacy shifts from personal to transpersonal, and transpersonal can feel like impersonal, or unpesonal, to one who is accustomed to emotional closeness. Here, feelings of personal intimacy can arise, then they dissolve back into the transpersonal Presence. So, one adjusts to this non-emotional closeness as the norm, the pure expression of Life.
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Anam Thubten, in Embracing Each Moment, shares that now he rarely uses the word "enlightenment." He prefers "melting."
Melting is the experience of not having any sense of being contracted or shut down in any way. Instead, it is having the feeling that you can trust this world, you can trust this universe, and you can trust this human life.
Intimacy is melting and here, wherein the separation between self and other dissolves. To say "I" is to say the whole environment. And the melting never ceases it seems. We melt and melt and melt, here-the less of that unmelted self, the more closeness. The closeness increases, for intimacy evolves by intimacy. And here becomes Here, or Home. The felt-closeness with particular things decreases, as the panoramic closeness with everything increases.
nowhere to go to get to Home
nowhere means everywhere
everywhere you go is Home
for a place with an address
you weren't born with an address
you were assigned one
one who says
"I'll show you the way" or "I know"
The question is
"Are you awake
to recognize It here and there"
the aim of
is to encourage you to stay asleep
(Walk out Soporific Show, and don't look back!
Do you want to miss the Beauty?)
how could it be otherwise
when they simply have
never seen how lovely Home is
and, if so, quickly forgot
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©️ Brian Wilcox, 2020
*Brian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; his book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, is available through major online booksellers, including Amazon and Books-A-Million, or via the publisher, AuthorHouse.