I'm not fooling anyone. And certainly not myself. We got naked? In the ultimate strip poker game called life, I've got a laughable ways to go as I hug onto my parka and pantyhose.
I once wrote about cultivating bodhichitta. Cultivation seems inane to me now.
Naked is simply as you are. Cotton and Pradas are cultivated.
"We tend to wear suits of armor, one over the other. This hypocrisy is dense and multi-leveled that as soon as we remove one layer of our suit of armor, we find another beneath it. We hope we will not have to completely undress. We hope that stripping off only a few layers will make us presentable. Then we appear in our new suit of armor with such an ingratiating face, but our spiritual friend does not wear any armor at all; he is a naked person. Compared with his nakedness, we are wearing cement." - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
Maybe you've met her. That person in whose presence a canyon collapses into a galaxy. Your thoughts still and intensify and questions dissolve into resolution. You're mysteriously wiser before them. There might be a sense of destiny in the meeting.
You may realize they're not special - they're just all there. What they say is so obvious you are sure you knew that all along. If it's even anything they utter. The example is stark, is enough. This is what Trungpa refers to a spiritual friend: the truly naked person stripped to their essence. When they do chose to don their personality and preferences and opinions a singular breeze can undo the ensemble.
Bodhi here means "completely awake". The meaning is "given up, completely unmasked, naked, completely open." - Chogyam Trungpa
I was hemming and hawing over how to explain what I'm doing next to a friend last Thursday at NewCommForum. I said something that might have come straight from a press release because I was preoccupied about sounding...
You know, like woo woo.
In between the gobbledygook, I blurted some fanciful crap about the progression from financial capital to social capital to spiritual capital. I was so flustered I didn't even remember to drop in the abundance gap in the equation.
"Spirituality?" my friend looks peaked. "I like what you write. But spiritual? That makes me think of...of Marin."
Holy shit. Hot tubs, incense, crystals, Tarot cards, trance dances, Pleibian sisters, Atlantean brothers, tie-dye purple crepe skirts. That's not what I mean although I've done the scene.
I wrestle with 'mindfulness'.
"Awareness?" he offers.
After grappliing with words I allow the conversation thread to drop. When you don't know what to say, say nothing. Perhaps then from that silence words arise.
China and GYM crop up next. He says: "Ethics is what you do when no one is looking."
Without blinking I blurt: "Okay, spirituality is what you are when no one is looking."
(BTW, It pays to talk to people that you intend to reach who balk at your ideas. Talk to even more of them than your fans.)
I guess it's time to strike the word spiritual from my lexicon. (Or at least explain things in plain language with spiritual as the very last resort.)
The most naked people I know aren't necessarily spiritual. My favorite line in Bryon Katie's classic Loving What Is: "Forget being spiritual - be honest instead." My second favorite: "If self-realization didn't make things lighter, who would want it?" And from the intro the third: "[People often] asked her if she was "enlightened." She would answer, "I'm just someone who knows the difference between what hurts and what doesn't.""
Funny I didn't realize until I read Trungpa's words that's the answer to the title question (there's tons more Q) What's Next? also ties to nakedness.
What's next is all about basic fundamental nakedness. Or, a fresh dynamic unabashed innocence.
One blog in the network is a hyperlocal guide (starting in SF Bay Area) to the big E. (That's E. Enlightenment, although from the title of this post I can imagine the spam comments I'll be getting).
Another's on themes of spontaneity, discovery, and "authentic" travel inspired by the design and culture of the tea and spice countries like Kenya, Ceylon, China, Formosa. Maybe another on journeys and journaling. I hope to incorporate products and services arising from microfinance and microenterprise development too. (Plus there's more.)
All cascading and moving towards umbrella themes of unknown, unlearnt, undone, unadorned, undressed: sheer simple nakedness.
So that's the word I was looking for all along Thursday: (not mindfulness, not awarenesss) yep, nakedness.
p.s. "Q: How do you take off your suit of armor? How do you open yourself?
A: It is not a question of how do you do it. There is no ritual or ceremony or formula for opening. The first obstacle is the question itself: How? If you don't question yourself, don't watch yourself, then you just do it." - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
spiritual meditation pond at a spiritual peace center in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.