Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid. - Dorothea Brande
I did not intend to write a post for today because "I'm way too busy preparing materials for the retreat this weekend." Small group, friends of friends of friends, up in the Los Altos hills in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend on donation basis; I posted a while back, email me or comment today if you're interested.
Anyhow, getting back, I've been contemplating the myths we tell ourselves.
Driving on the way to the office this morning (the local coffee shop), I spot a shiny new quarter against the black leather stick shift cover. Hmmm, that's odd, where did that come from?
I pick it up. It's a North Carolina quarter commemorating the first airplane flight of the Wright brothers. Right there, on a silver background, against an open horizon an aviator on the ground looks up at the legendary winged craft as it soars in the sky.
"First Flight" is embossed right above the image.
First as in first because everyone in the world knew human flight was impossible.
Nearly everyone in the world knew human flight was impossible. It was a certainty. They didn't think it was impossible, they knew it wasn't possible. A few broad-minded adventurers, experimenters and inventors thought flight was possible, but they had no idea how it could be done. Seven men witnessed the "impossible" with their own eyes, and two more men with spyglasses watched from their posts at lifesaving stations down the beach. Two men on the planet knew precisely how to leave the surface of the planet, and they intended to do it again and again. - excerpt from Soar to Success: The Wright Way Book
There was a message in that quarter for me, maybe you too since I'm writing this. I put the quarter away and enter the cafe and get into gear revising last year's materials. I start:
I have confined Silence to time alone, solo hikes, away time, retreats. Yet silence is not confinable. It is everywhere. The essence of everywhere and everytime. Sometimes when you are sure you are in chaos, going to a place of silence offers opportunity to stop long enough to acknowledge: Oh, yeah, it is right here. One day you know it's right here.
Not five minutes later, an email shows up from friend about being too busy and bills to pay next week and they're not sure they can make it. I'm sure there's taxes in there too. (Silver lining: They're not due tomorrow but Mon midnight!)
I reply. I sensed money was one, not necessarily the primary, concern so among the rest of the note I mention that it's a $5 parking fee, and not to worry about the rest.
There have been many times I didn't have $5 or $4 or even a single shiny First Flight quarter, so I understand.
My friend replies that it's not just the money:
"Yes, if I could find that day. Where is it when I am in a midst of sheer chaos…everyone is asking and wants a peace of me. 'Give me this.' 'Do that for me.' 'Drive me there.' 'Make that' etc. ENOUGH OF IT ALL."
"Do you ever sense something underneath the sheer chaos that's always been still and gentle? When you realize it's always there, that's when the stress crumbles once and for all even in the noise of the world.
I can't answer that for you. Do the best you can. I'm only inviting you to question and also to come. It's no problem either way."
The question unravels further after I hit "Send." Do you ever sense something that's free, open and pure potential presence? That's peace?
Don't know if you noticed, but a "peace of me" is the definitive Freudian slip. In the first email there is a list of reasons why it's not possible and then: "That is my story for not taking off with myself and spending time in nature." Hmmm, I didn't intend to have us escape from life or others. Quite the opposite.
This all reminds me. Earlier this week I was noodling on a workshop idea. I ask a friend for their feedback.
"I thinking "Freedom to Have It All." So what do think of that title?"
"Freedom to Have It All?" My friend looks blanched. "You meant that in the spiritual sense don't you?"
"Less than All, wrote William Blake, cannot satisfy Man," I reply.
"I mean all as in all."
I've always loved the beginning of the poem Augaries of Innocence where Blake writes:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
In that same poem he drops in:
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro' the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light. - Auguries of Innocence, William Blake
We'll be writing poetry this weekend among other stuff. (Heck, maybe throw in hang-gliding next year). But it's not about the poetry. Like Bokomon, a 19th century mystic poet born in Tobago, said "Let your life be the poem you write."