Thursday, July 1, 2010

Falling In Place

Things falling apart was the beginning...of them falling together. For me, at least. Out of a desperate place in which I could not breathe, I realized that breathing was all I could do. Only that. It was not "one day at a time," it was one breath at a time. The pain was so great that I could not bear it, so I stopped trying to. It was in this place that I found peace. Not in knowing what to do, but in not knowing.

A learned man came to a wise master and said, "I think I have a handle on most things, but someone suggested you might add to my knowledge, so what can you teach me?" The wise man said nothing as he began to pour tea into the man's cup. He poured until the cup was full and continued as it overflowed onto the floor. The man said, "Stop! My cup is too full!" At which point the master smiled, and said, "That is right. Like your cup, your mind is too full. Empty your cup, then come back for the teaching."

In "Who Dies," Stephen Levine writes, "Out of the desperation of 'what do I do now?' may come the answer. Because, perhaps, for once there is no quick resolution. At last we don't know. We've known so much for so long that the space in which the truth might spontaneously arise has become too full. There is little room for our true nature...It is in this open, choice-less investigation of the truth that reality presents itself."

I am so relieved that, once again in my life, I don't know. The truth is right in front of me, and it does not consist of a litany of mental processes leading to hard and fast conclusions, opinions, and preferences. The truth is that the truth is not one way or another. I struggle now, but not to get (or to keep) things together. Instead, having allowed things to fall apart, I struggle not to try and get them together again. Trusting they will come, or fall, where they are supposed to… either fall together, or fall apart.

© Cynthia Stewart