It’s 4 PM on December 31, 2011. Eight hours to go, and it’s 2012.
The aliens will be landing, the tidal waves will be crashing in, even in our little town in the foothills of the mountains, the supermarkets will have no food, money won’t be worth anything anymore, and solar flares will make your electronic devices inoperable. (This means you’re not reading this anyway. Which makes me wonder why I’m writing it.)
Very spiritual people, with names like “Orgasmic Butterfly,” and “Joyous Rainbow Child,” will take to the streets in all their tie-dyed, chakra-opened, interconnected glory, and shout out Hallelujiah! Crop Circles will appear on the White House Lawn. Grumpiness, discord, irritability, and people with more than 12 items at the express lane at the supermarket will magically disappear from the planet forever, and we will be living in a homogenous Golden Soup of Luuurrrv….
None of the above.
Anyway, whatever the New Year brings, this is my last blog post for 2011. And I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling some performance anxiety now, to make it absolutely, incredibly, incomparably awesome. Wish me luck.
So I posted a little competition on my Facebook page. This turned out to be a really smart idea, and something I plan to do again. I asked my friends what they thought would be the best topic for my last blog post of 2011. And here are the top ten most interesting answers:
- Robert Lyons said: On allowing the causeless joy that is in us to have its way.
- Mari Heart said: Be infinite happiness and Love. The choice is yours:)
- Cassandra Eve said:Living timelessly…… what does that mean to you?
- Julie Fatemian said: Fulfillment in a time of crisis
- Julie Hall said: The end is the beginning. (or is that too obvious? ; )
- Anton Larson said: Giving up spirituality.
- Matthew Blom said: Awesome.
- Cathrine Løvaas said: Why we need “new beginnings” and “time outs” like new years can be, to change, breathe, take an overview and start something new.
- Jane Cassidy said: Why does spirirual awakening have to be such a struggle. Why did it leave me so many times lost alone frightened and depressed to the point were i was lucky to have made it through. I know to a degree that was a choice but it does seem to be a popular one. Why does awakening have to hurt?
- Patricia Saferite said: If I could tell the whole world this one thing about awakening, it would be . . .
I really wanted to try and write a post that included all of them. Now don’t try this at home kids, it could cause serious injury, death, or even worse, making a terrible fool of yourself. But here we go:
If I could tell the whole world this one thing about awakening, it would be . . .
This one very simple thing, illustrated in this one very fine story, told to me by my teacher in India, who was not only the wisest and most awake man I have ever known, but also the naughtiest, and the funniest.
A long long time ago, when things were slow and simple and generally smelled better than they do now, there was a family living together. A husband, his wife, and two young boys. The husband’s business took him all around the land, you could say he was perhaps the medieval equivalent of the traveling salesman.
One day, after he’d been gone for several weeks, a messenger arrived on horseback, with terrible news. The husband had gotten terribly sick in a faraway place and he had died. Of course the widow and her children were grief stricken. They were devastated. Not only had they lost their father, their partner, but they had also lost the only breadwinner for the house. They were very distraught.
After a week or two had passed, the young widow managed to find herself a simple sewing machine, she set it up in the middle of the kitchen, and she took in mending, altering, and other jobs from the neighbors. In this way she raised her two sons in dire poverty for many years. Somehow they just scraped by with enough to eat, somehow they had a shirt on their backs, one old pair of shoes each, but every day seemed like it could be their last.
And then a visitor came, an old friend of the father’s, who they had not seen for a long time. “I’m sorry to surprise you like this,” he said, “I haven’t been through this area many years, and I so much wanted to visit the family.” But then he looked around at the house, so run down, he looked at the faces of the mother and the two boys, both teenagers now, looking so stressed and unhappy. He saw that the kitchen was bare, almost no cups or plates, and no signs of any food. And he felt confused. “I don’t understand, he said, “What happened to you? Your husband, your father, left you well provided for, why are you living in this way?”
Now was the widows turn, and the sons’ turn, to feel confused. What did he mean well provided for? They had been left with nothing.
“Didn’t he tell you?” said the stranger. “He’d collected gold and silver and very many other precious things, and he hid them in a chest under a board in the middle of the kitchen. I was so sure that he had told you where it was all hidden.” And so between them they lifted up the sewing machine from the middle of the kitchen. They scraped away, and there was the board. They lifted the board, and there was the treasure.
As you can imagine, they never needed to desire for anything again. They could be at peace, they had everything. And of course, they had everything all along, but they just didn’t know.
So this is the one thing that we need to know about awakening. In the midst of all our frantic activity, and stress, and worry, and anxiety, and doing, and feeling alone and abandoned and isolated, there is hidden treasure. The treasure is hidden underneath the busyness of our activity. Instead of doing more, we just need to move to the side our business as usual, long enough to look deeper. And then we realize it was all in vain, it was all unnecessary. We were already rich for life.
That’s the one thing I’d like to share with you to take with us into 2012.
Like the son of a rich man, begging door to door,
Like a fish in the sea, crying out I’m thirsty
So we go on seeking for an end to trouble, without realizing that all our activity is standing on the foundation of that for which we are seeking.
This is not a process, or something you have to get good at. Jane, this does not need to be a struggle, there’s nothing to make it through. This is just a matter of seeing once and for all, who you are and what is ultimately real. Thoughts and reactive feelings all move outward, away from the thinker in endless complexity. Inquiry, sanity, awakening, move in the other direction. They move from activity to awareness.
If we see this today, tonight, on the last day of 2011, then we can start the New Year with our pockets full of treasures, and from a place of generosity rather than grasping. This just takes a finger snap, of coming to our senses, and waking up to what is real.
That’s it. That’s the one thing.
Now let the party begin…