A few things have been with me lately. Here they are…
I went into a place of business last week. It’s a place I go often. There is a guy that works there. I would often look for him, to say hello, to chat about whatever. He is always content, always happy, always very peaceful. Very unassuming. He is the kind of guy where if you suddenly needed someone to watch your kids while you took care of something, you’d know it was fine. I went in and everyone seemed a bit off. I asked someone what was going on. She told me that this friendly and relatively young man had died the previous evening. Just like that… I realized when she told me what I’d be missing. Such a great guy. There are so few people, in my experience, that are not all caught up trying to be a somebody. This guy was somebody because he wasn’t trying to be anyone except himself. It made him a pleasure to be around. I will definitely miss our conversations in the aisles Steve…take care.
This abrupt departure came in the same week that my 99 year old grandmother ran into some complications. She is doing better already. They make us Morris’ out of pretty strong stuff. But between her and Steve, it definitely had my mortality candle feeling shorter.
Then a very close local friend got a job offer and looks like he will be moving across the country. This guy is pretty much the only person I really spend much time with. I have friends, but honestly don’t enjoy socializing that much. I prefer my own company or that of someone who mysteriously I enjoy spending time with. But I am definitely not someone who goes out and just makes friends. So, it is interesting to have him moving. My kids grow up more and do more with friends at an increasing rate. The primary person I hang out with is moving. So, I’ve spent a lot of time just being with the changes.
Ironically, amidst loneliness, I look forward to even more alone time. Strange though it seems even to me…I love being with others for short periods of time, but I love being alone. What do I do while alone or in my own space? Listen. Love. It is like being in school 24 hours a day. It is spending time in a space of endlessly unfolding scenes and downloads of what we do with love while we are here. Patterns and forms in nature open up like books and say “read this”. I just sit with it all. And when I am not, I love hanging out with people so very much…or meeting with clients.
Besides all that, it is the last week of school. We made it through another school year. I have had some of the loveliest barefoot trail runs ever lately. And been paddling SUP a lot. Yoga in parks…just life.
I have seen this funny thing about when I work with people. Always what comes forth is whatever is most hidden in the other. So, what I end up being called to say almost always contradicts what the “client” thinks is the truth for them.
Client says: “I am fully awakened” or “I am a spiritual teacher” or “I have resolved that issue completely”.
Charlie says: “No, that isn’t so.” And we end up working with just how far away they are from the truth of those statements in a loving way.
Client says:”I am totally asleep” or “I am not a spiritual teacher” or “I am not getting anywhere with this issue.”
Charlie says: “No, that isn’t so.” And we end up working with how they are closer than they would ever believe in a loving way.
This is not a strategy on my part. I am just sharing that I love how what is hidden the deepest is what usually arises first. It is the first place that asks for support. As if the person I am with is saying “please see what I cannot yet see…show it to me so that it can be loved.”
And telling someone that they are not as wise as they believe or want to believe they are is a very kind thing to do. Just as much as telling someone how wise they are when they feel they are blind is a kind thing to do. Both are the truth at different times.
I will just say that the following paragraph isn’t in opposition to Nonduality and Nondual thought. But I really want to name it like I see it. Nonduality is a starting point. That’s it. That’s all. Don’t stay there. Don’t presume the seed is the full flower. Nondual thought is like mathematics and measurements to create a building. But numbers on a page do not build cathedrals. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes craftswomen and craftswomen who love their craft to turn measurement and numbers into something beautiful. Love that works through hardship… not love that works around hardship. It takes sweat and tears. Someone will fall from the ladder. Everyone will learn in a slow way whether they believe it or not. To me, Nondual thought…however valuable I know it can be along the path…feels like sawdust for me now. It is a stage I watch people go through and I see them learn something crucial that can’t be learned unless they subsume something else crucial. Most people who go down the nondual path for a time, and then emerge, look back and see that they left behind the personal…the emotion…the heart. They are vague about where they have been. And they are glad to take what they learned from Nonduality…and move on into something full. Nonduality is a wonderful reminder about the true nature of reality. But understanding it is usually mistaken as actually experiencing it. Thus someone terrifically ungrounded in their heart, can appear very loving and kind…but personally, they are not. They are in love with the safety of the impersonal aspects of existence.
I bring this up because of Steve. And because of how much I cherish working with clients who are integrating the lessons from feeling lost in Nonduality land. I bring it up because we are people, human beings. I’ve never seen anyone happier than a person who knew nothing about Nonduality. And that wasn’t ignorance being bliss. It was the absence of posturing. We are each unique. Unfathomably unique and special. It is undividedly personal…this humanness. When you are here, no one can have the impact that you have, upon the people in your life. If you draw lines connecting you to everyone that you know and meet, no one else has those lines. No one will ever have your childhood just the way you had it. No one carries what is inside of you in just the way that you carry it. No one can take your place and “be” who you are. Everyone connected to you would be a different person without you in their life. You will never exist again just like this and everyone you’ve met will never exist like this again, because they met you.
My teacher always said “It is the love that heals.” I believed her then, from practice. I accepted it but because accepting it saved me from feeling lost. That was in 1993. But I still hear those words everyday. They feel to me the same as I feel when I hear the word “moksha”. I used to see it as the love that we share with others is what healed them. That is how it was taught to me by her. But over time it became about how Love is teaching all of us, moving through each of us, propelling us towards itself. Look closely enough at anyone’s life and you will see Love as the undercurrent. It is always trying to dissolve what is unloved inside. It is always working on us to open our heart. Why? Because love is our true nature. And healing what is in our heart’s that we do not love, is how love becomes a direct experience and not just an idea. It takes a heart that is literally opened, to be open hearted.