“You pass through life like early morning…”


Sakura Blossom

Dreaming, not waking 

Early morning breezes tickle,

Dandelions dance.


       Amidst many changes in my life I am called to write. There is a certain kind of feeling experienced when you leave everything behind for a completely new path. It’s a feeling like floating on a wave – not quite awake, not quite asleep, dreaming, not waking. Every moment is full of endless potential. But, then again, isn’t it anyway? It is in these times of transition that we find ourselves – our real, true, unbiased, no-illusions, self. We tend to find that the Self is completely unlimited. That, in fact, there isn’t a Self, definable as such, but a series of comings-and-goings. A kind of desperate plea for uncertainty. At first, it feels liberating. You have no responsibilities, nothing in your name, no job to get to, no school, or family, or friends calling for your attention. Everything is just space. Everything is limitless. Driving over the mountains, clearly endless blue skies above us, we felt as though we were on top of the world. We had 14 hours of homelessness, in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. The air is so much fresher all these miles above the busy cities and refineries. It’s almost too easy to forget all of this modern world.

       Forgetting is what our minds want to do. It is the easy way out of responsibility. Caring is difficult. Caring takes time and attention and energy, none of which are easily replenished as every action takes time to see the result. Caring can be overwhelming. Up here, on top of the world, there is nothing to care about. It is here where I experience true release, true happiness. You see children smiling for no reason at all, smiling at the smell of the flowers and the songs of the birds and the feel of the air against their skin. It is up here that I can truly say I understand what they are smiling for. The sun feels so close and so warm, and time slows down.

       It has been one full week since we experienced that. It didn’t take long for the 14 hours to pass and for us to take the seemingly short descent into the valley that we now call home. You see the city before you see the ocean, all lights and busy people. It is like waking from an existential dream of non-duality. The experience is much like taking that first step out of a retreat hall and onto a busy street. It’s a bit overwhelming, but you’re lucky, because you have all this stored up happy energy from the experience of release. This stored-up energy allows you to see the new landscape with fresh eyes, non-judging and compassionate. You make it through the busy city, as your new home lies on the far side, only blocks away from the vast, free ocean. You get here unscathed, still holding that happy, light energy close to your heart. This energy had permeated your whole body, and it lifted you to a lightness that was like you had become a cloud. The flowing and pulsing dance of wind and life-energy still coursed through you, with you, as you.

       As you enter your new home and proceed with all the formalities, you take a deep breath, and feel suddenly dizzy with realization. The search you have been on for your whole life, this search to be happy and free like you feel on top of the mountains, you feel it now too. It hasn’t left. The only thing that changed is your perception. Rather than seeing it for what it is, always present, you see it as something only attainable in certain environments. You close your eyes, letting your other senses experience the moment, and you feel this dreamlike happiness. Opening your eyes, it’s still there. You take a step, and still, it’s with you. A smile spreads on your soft lips and your eyes brim with tears. Regardless of what life calls on you for, you are there, completely present, and it is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay because inherently, you are free. You are expansive and huge, infinite. You are potential. Everything is potential.

       Cherry blossoms line the streets, mingling with flowers you don’t recognize. You can pick up probably a dozen different bird songs. You tell yourself that the steady thrum and vibration is the sound of the nearby ocean, though you’re probably kidding yourself. The tides pull at you as the pulse closer and further, grasping and releasing. Even the concrete buildings squished into city-blocks pulse and vibrate with life. Everything exists in meditation. Everything meditates.

       Abandoning your few possessions, the first stop is the bay, the soft sand squishing between your toes, the smell of salt-water and fish a welcome reminder that you are home, and you are safe.

Photo Copyright (c) April 2014, Chraeloos

“Organizing in the Natural World” by Michael Stone


The following is an excerpt from an article written by Michael Stone, found in his book “Awake in the World”. Find it on the Centre of Gravity website, along with his other books.

“Organizing in the Natural World” by Michael Stone

“For life in the present there is no death. Death is not an event in life. It is not a fact in the world. Our life is endless, in just the same way that our field of vision has no boundaries.”
-Wittgenstein, Tractus Logico-Philosophicus
What does it mean that our field of vision has no boundaries? I look into a river and see fish and stones and there is nothing other than everything. It’s a cold winter day, and my son wanted to have a long bath before school this morning. He said the water was just “really hot snow.” Before it can put an end to its own elaborations, the mind creates the world out of boundarylessness. Such union is the basis for the mind-body-world to begin with. These words are just the words of winter. Winter writes itself on the branches and grasses. but when I am in stillness, I can’t find the line between those branches and the limbs of my body.
Although a person is not exactly water and earth and air and fire, we are also not separate from those elements either. We are not separate or identical to the elements. If we search for any one thing we can pinpoint as objectively real – one thing we really depend on for our existence – we will fail. We can’t land on one defining characteristic.
The yoga that precedes “this” and “that,” “mind” and “body,” is percolating through your every movement today – every thought, word, and deed. Everything you think and feel and do is temporary. Everything you see and hear is passing away. This reminder of death in life is following each and every one of us. A simple and gentle reminder but relentless nevertheless: don’t drift. Don’t squander your life. Mind is not just a human function or organ but the natural condition of living systems. Wherever there is life there is mind. Biological systems, from embryos to social insects, get tremendous mileage by using vast numbers of easy-to-find, unreliable components to achieve complex evolutions reliably. One year after a forest fire, the land is itself on fire- teeming with insects and other breathing creatures.
Mind is always organizing. We humans classify the raw data of our experience by giving it name and form. Mind is what puts name and form together. When we can see that our mind is a kind of synthesizer, we can step back and watch the choices that our minds make moment to moment. The greatest freedom we have is being able to clearly see that in any given context, we have choice. We can decide what kind of attentions and attitude we bring to the object showing up here and now. And it can change. This life and death cycle of thoughts and attitudes reminds us that choice is always present. There is immense freedom in choice. How we pay attention is a liberating resource.