I am taking an online class on Parenting and The Work. It is wonderful to be a student! I get to spend 6 weeks distilling the constant judgements I have on my kids onto paper, and then sit with these thoughts and do The Work.
When my son gets upset he has a pattern of clamming up into a tight ball of lock down. When this happens to him he sits all squeezed up on the couch, or in bed, and does not move or talk. This has distressed me to no end in the past. My usual reaction has been to try to sit with him and see if he will open up. This tactic sounds ok, but the state of my inner body at times like this is intense turmoil. I get all balled up too, and develop a frantic need for him to tell me what is wrong, to talk to me, to be ok. There is no doubt that my inner state is broadcast to him loud and clear. As such, until recently we would just sort of wait it out, and eventually the mood would pass through him (and me), but nothing would have been revealed or resolved.
One of the instructors in the online class had the beautiful guidance shown to him by grace to GIVE SILENCE to his own son when he was upset.
GIVE SILENCE. Do you feel the transmission there? Do you feel what the words point to? SILENCE becomes a substance, a nectar, that flows through you. There is a palpable tangibility that is evoked by the words GIVE SILENCE, and that material begins to flow through you and into the other.
I immediately understood the instructor's revelation, and took it for my own. The next time my son became upset in this particular way I began to GIVE SILENCE. I just laid there next to him with my hand on his shoulder and gave silence. Peace filled my inner body and the substance flowed out, healing us. We sat like that for maybe 5 minutes.
Quite suddenly there was a blossoming. It was as if I got to watch my son swell and blossom into expression, and words and emotion poured out of his mouth, freed. He told me all of what was troubling him, and it was heartbreakingly sweet. He had been sneaking his iPad onto the school bus and playing violent video games. He couldn't bear the secret of it, and it all came out.
This blossoming and unfolding had never happened before, and he has had this tight balled up pattern for 5 or 6 years. A week later he got upset like this again, and again I gave SILENCE. Again he blossomed forth after about 5 minutes, and he told me everything that was bothering him.
In both of these instances there was full resolve, and a light, clear energy pervaded afterwards. The difference between my method in the past and this new method is that instead of wanting him to be calm and ok, I cultivate the calm and peace in my own body by invoking the silence. Then I GIVE SILENCE to him, but of course the silence totally fills me as I give it to him. I give it to myself, and then it flows to him. Before I would be frantic inside, unconsciously willing him to be peaceful so that I could be ok. That way doesn't work.
How could you GIVE SILENCE? Maybe you can start by giving the trees outside of the window silence. Maybe you can give the tightness in your throat silence. Maybe you can give silence to your painful thoughts and emotions.
This is a non-conceptual exercise. The SILENCE that comes through is a felt substance. This SILENCE that I point to is not a concept in the mind. It is here, real, it does not need your mind to conjure it up. Sit and wait until you feel it, and then give it away. It is a blessing.
The unholy monster. Do you know that one in yourself? Have you seen it in another? I'm pointing to the deep one. The dark one. The monster that wants to hurt another, that wants maim, the one that abuses children and then makes the child lie about it. These ones. The ones that murder.
Last spring I was on retreat with Sharon Landrith and she taught us the Hawaiian practice of Hoʻoponopono. The practice is simple. You invite a person to appear before you, and to that person you say
Please forgive me.
I love you.
That is it. You just say this over and over, directing it to the person's eyes. There is nothing more you have to do, the words themselves open the healing. They open the healing because they are True. The mind will fight this, so don't use it. Just use the words and look into the other's eyes.
I invited a person to appear. Straight away my great-grandfather was there. I never knew him in real life. He stood in the doorway of my grandmother's bedroom, his hand on the doorknob, opening it. He was going in to rape her, as he did every night of her childhood. Rape her and then punish her by taking way the blankets for the night if she did something "wrong". This started when she was 4 or 5 and lasted until the eve of her wedding day, the day she turned 18. The scene stood still.
I looked at his face and began to say the words.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
The mind will scream here and say no. It will say go to the child. In the real life moment I go to the child, I stop the man. In this practice of forgiveness I stay with the man. I trusted my teacher Sharon, so I stayed with this man and said the words.
My heart breaks watching the scene in my mind as I write. He rippled instantly from an adult body down into a little boy body, maybe 6 years old. I kept saying the words. He couldn't look at me. I said the words and as I did I looked at him. My heart could see. He was a little boy, with the devastatingly undefended heart of a young child. You know this heart if you take a moment to open to it.
This little boy knew everything that he had done to his daughter, knew it with the pure heart of a little boy. It shattered me. I cried and cried, somehow experiencing this burning ground through and with my grandfather. The pain of opening to every moment of the transgression, the years of it. The violence of it. He experienced it all, his heart relived it all from the position of utter feeling and zero defense.
It is the way of it, it is what must happen.
I witnessed perpetrators grief. The burning grief, the burning ground that every perpetrator will go through on the soul's journey. I cannot describe the depth of the gift I received in experiencing this utter burning grief through him.
By the end of that day with my grandfather he would sit with me, but he did not belief that he was worth the food I offered him. He had kept himself from entering life. Somehow I knew that he had kept himself out of reincarnation since he died because he could not risk that he would hurt again. He would keep himself from creation for eternity rather than risk hurting someone again.
I sat with him throughout that summer. In the fall I was on another retreat, this time with Adyashanti. A woman who had been sexually abused by her father stood up one evening, shaking and almost unable to bear being in her skin. She stood in front of Adayahsnti and spoke her story, how it impacted her every day of her life.
Adyashinti honored her courage the next day with a gift. As I watched him give her this gift something broke free in me and I cried. I understood something beyond words, beyond concept. I went to my little boy grandfather (by now he was 12 or 13) and told him that he could go back in. Go back into life. I knew that he was the exact person to go back into life, because now he is the stopper. What he lived though, what he did, and the absolute seeing of what he did equipped him to go back into life and stop the pattern. Stop the transmission of abuse.
I barely told him this and he jumped into the world. I cry writing this. I watched him completely grasp the truth of what I told him. And then NOTHING could stop him from going in and stopping it. He jumped without a backward look and no hesitation. Like a marine jumping from a plane into an utterly unknown jungle. Every cell of his being was ready for ANYTHING that he incarnated into. I wish I could put this experience directly into you so you could feel the power.
A bodhisattva was born. My heart shakes with the power and beauty.
That same night my mother was in her garden. He came to her, whole. She had never seen him whole before. He smiled at her with peace. She had only seen horrible smiles from him in life. Then he was gone.
I share this with you because I saw it. Because it makes my heart shake. And because I think we turn away from the unholy monsters too much.
They Owe Me.
Oooh, ouch. THEY OWE ME!!!
Can you find it in yourself? Can you find where you have held that thought? Or maybe it is alive in you this morning. Boy it was alive in me the other day, and when I believe it, do I ever believe it, and it hurts!
I was on a walk. High high on a dirt road where the grassy hillside plunges away over such a precipice you could leap and wish and be airborne, soaring over the shinning green.
I was thinking about people in my past, obsessing. Bitterness filling me as they paraded across my mind. THEY OWE ME!! I could feel the root of anger and hate shoved down deep, anchoring me in a sludge of sullen rage. I wanted to scream at each and everyone of them, grinding their faces into all I did for them until they got it. Got how I had sacrificed everything for them and got how they needed to repay me.
I looked at the blades of grass. Thousands, millions of them, swaying, gleaming silver in the sun. In not a single one of them could I find that they felt they were owed anything. I looked and looked, breathing in their multitudes, all of their All pushed up without hesitation to the eternity of sky.
I tried to make the thought stick to them. I tried to inject them with the belief They Owe Me. I couldn't do it. They Owe Me rolled off the grass like oil to water.
The grass IS. The grass IS, each second shed from the last. They Owe Me is an insult to the AM of the grass. How could they be owed anything thing when they ARE? To be owed anything would diminish them.
I looked further. The sumac, bare branches stark to the sky. The telephone pole, proud, study. The freshet of water bubbling over the road bank. No where could I find it. Nothing I saw held the thought They Owe Me.
What did I see? What I saw made my heart tremble with the naked vulnerability of it all. Right here. Everything is right here, complete, held up, nothing hid or apologized for or tucked away. The new leaves, silent, still, alive in the morning, open to the the breeze, the sun, the bird droppings. Open to the insects, the lighting, the dust. Here, holding nothing back. Ever.
Again I see if I can weave in They Owe Me into what I see. The dirt road winding off below, darkened black by the recent rain shower. Can I find it there? No. What a bitter road it would be if it held onto that thought! All those cars for all those years, decades of trash thrown out the window, all the scraping of the snow plow, the salt. It's possible that the road has never been thanked for its service.
And yet, I cannot find anywhere in its cracked surface, worn and crumbled by years of use the thought They Owe Me. Instead. Oh instead, instead is the place our hearts fall open, humbled, broken, cracked with a love so fearsome it fillets everything we thought we knew.
I'm pointing to something. You have to find it for yourself. It is everywhere. Look into the being of things around you. A curtain, a telephone wire swooping to the house, a piece of junk mail laying in the mailbox. Look at these things and let them tell you about being owed. Let them show you the hell you enter when you think you are owed, and the heaven laid before you when its gone.
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky."
The trill of a Redwind blackbird outside the window. The slow spread of the clouds, high, white, moving at the erotic speed of a snail, drawing across the sky their delicious parade of slowness.
The amaryllis sits extended and spread in absolute stillness quiet quiet quiet, everything is so incredibly quiet. The fresh viburnum tips green, sun shining though their translucent skin, the same quiet turned towards the air and sweep of sky. Listening, being.
The window sash locks, poised, at attention, transfixed by the sky. All the same. Sitting. Listening. Brimming.
What is devotion? Does devotion have a self? A future? A past? A concept to which it gives itself?
No. I think not. I look, and that is not what I see. The clouds, the amaryllis, the window sash locks, the viburnum, they show something else.
I see stillness. I see glory. I see hearts rend open forever, here. I see devotion with no self, no future, no concept to give itself to.
By their grace, their example, by them I move into a sweeter understanding of myself. By their lead I am shown, I am ushered.
I am that. You are too. Find it.
I am the voice in my head.
I am the voice asking this, yes? Is that true?
Pointing inward, the voice coalesces, solidifying unto itself.
The voice is mute, and I listen beyond.
I am the spread of spring under the morning frost.
the curve of grapevine shimmering in ecstatic worship
the joy boom of stillness behind it all
the molten drops of sun dripping though viburnum petals,
branches strewn in glory
I am the spread of heart, entwined in the morning.
Am I this voice, here, asking this question?
The voice is mute and I listen beyond.
So good. Did you ever open up your ears to the night sounds and tap into a joy so vast that only the fringe of it could be taken in? Try it, wherever you are. Perk up your ears as though you are listening to something very far away, something you almost can't hear.
Does source want to speak though me? Night sounds. Quiet sounds. Sounds echoed from the edge of joy in childhood, or was it a dream? Into something so indescribably joyful and alive that a brush with it is enough to fuel a lifetime.
Sink into it. Open to it. Perk your ears up in the quiet night and listen. Stay there. Listen. Listen to the furthest away noises, and then listen beyond them. What is there? Listen. Don't stop.
Suddenly a melting happens and the night becomes you. You are child of the Ancient. You are of it. Listen. Do not be afraid. Listen. The buzz of the night bugs becomes sacred. The trucks passing in the dark tremor you with love.
Perk up the flesh of your ears, listen. Listen to the the darkest distant where thrills of life call you home. Listen. To the overreaching call of God. A chasm opens thoughout your being and a joy terrible and wild sweeps by.
The deepest longing of your heart is met and compounded and added a thousandfold. It's true. The glimpses in dreams, the wafting remembrances of childhood are real, so real.
Listen. Do it again. Perk up your ears and invite them out out out.
Do you speak absolute? I am the boom beneath it all. Quieter than quiet.
Do you speak absolute?
Sweetheart, my heart, rest now.