Today I want to write about something uncomfortable for me.
It’s uncomfortable because I am asking questions in what I am about to write – not trying to answer them. So there is a lot of room for misunderstanding here.
But one thing I have discovered for myself is this: life is risky. There is no guarantee of safety. And the fullness of life seems to be found in the willingness to be exposed and wrong.
So here goes.
I’ve been contemplating something lately. And that is dangerous. Because when I contemplate things, I often get plunged into them directly, experientially, without any protection.
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This was no exception.
What I’ve been contemplating is this: is there a kind of movement, of activity, that is not about right and wrong, good and bad?
I’ve been contemplating this very much since the incident that inspired my recent book, Wake Up Dream On.
If you haven’t yet read it, here’s a very, very short summary: I became suddenly extremely sick. I believed it likely that I would die momentarily. I survived. I mean, the animal survived. It is still animated. The idea of myself didn’t survive because it never was.
But I digress.
Point being, out of that came a new emphasis. Like a kind of dawning of something that I was faintly aware of, but now it is brighter.
And that is what I term “outer freedom” in the book.
This “outer freedom” is not separate from “inner freedom”. It is the same. But it is an aspect as both sides of a coin are aspects of the same coin.
And the realization is that “inner freedom” without “outer freedom” is a lie that eventually reveals a kind of bondage to an idea rather than the fullness of the vulnerability of being.
So my contemplation has been what is the nature of “outer freedom”. And we could call “outer freedom” by other names. We could call it spontaneous, nondual activity. We could call it, dare I say, happiness. Not the happiness of acquisition and protection. Rather, the happiness of – and here I’m going to say something really vulnerable and dangerous – the happiness of being, the happiness of open heartedness.
What is the nature of this kind of activity?
I don’t have the answer to that question. Not as something I can possess or formulate. But I do believe that I can now hint at it, talk around it, and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse.
As you may know – since I sent out an email to almost everybody on my email lists yesterday about this – yesterday I found a dog lying in the median of Interstate 25. Cars were zipping by at 80 miles per hour, and he was sitting there calmly, regally, as though nothing was happening.
I stopped, got out of my car, and crossed into the median to find out what was going on.
Long story, short, his leg was broken and he seemed to be asking for help. I managed – through the assistance of somebody I waved down – to get him in my car and drive him to the nearest animal hospital with emergency care (since it was a Sunday).
The surgery to help his leg heal is $2000 – something I don’t feel that my family can spare right now. So I set up a fundraiser online and sent an email.
Within 12 hours, people have contributed over $2800. Incredible. Thank you. Thank you.
I’ve paid for the surgery, and the vet will do it later on today.
Did I do a good deed?
I don’t know. I can’t know.
But I did do what my heart spoke.
Not what my mind said to do.
Because my mind said, “This is a mess. You can’t take this dog. Nobody wants this dog. This dog has almost certainly been abandoned here to die. You can’t afford to help this dog. It’s complicated. And you’re supposed to be in Colorado in an hour. You can’t do this. Just turn away. Just leave him. We all die. This may just be his time. You can’t save everybody.”
All true, perhaps. Or part true.
A good deed? Maybe not. How can I know? I don’t have enough information to know that. Maybe for him to survive, billions of beings have to die. The metal for the pin that will go in his leg is at the cost of environmental harm (mining). The drugs he is being given cause untold harm in their production process and disposal.
It’s all too complicated. I can’t know what is right. I can’t know what is good.
But right and good are in time. They are in thought.
Does that make them bad and wrong? I doubt it.
But they are insoluble (by me) because I don’t exist in time and thought. And I cannot possess enough time and thought to figure it all out.
What is clear, however, is the heart. It is timeless and thoughtless. It is yes. It is now.
But wait! Before I latch on to a new thought: “Thought and time are bad and wrong. Mind is bad. Only heart is good.” Let me pause.
That’s too rigid. The heart doesn’t exclude mind, thought, and time. It says yes.
See? I told you I wouldn’t have answers. I told you this would be questions.
And it opens me up. If you are willing, maybe it opens you up to what is happening. The fullness and murkiness of it.
Still, I explore this. Because I am curious. And because it seems so real in its impermanence. There is nothing to grasp. Grasp as I might, I am left empty handed and open hearted.
This play continues. And more and more it seems like a play. Not just play. But a play. The the thoughts and time aren’t bad. They are the play. Somehow they seem to open something up to a greater experience of itself – the fullness and richness of itself. The sadness, the anger, the fear all part of the happiness of the heart.
And here is something that is amazing to me – something that I cannot really put into words, but again, my heart is pouring forth, this uncontrollable deluge of ‘yes’ that seems to be related to this: through connection, through communication, through the willingness to be vulnerable and say yes, somehow not just me, but 78+ people came together through the heart.
I don’t know what that means. I don’t know, but it has had a major impact on me. And it causes me to wonder what is possible.
The world of mind – which we seem to see a lot of in the news and on social media and at work – creates a timebound spell of destiny and doom and hope and gloom.
But there seems to be something we all-too-often overlook. The possibility of tuning into the heart, which is now, which is yes. And this is connection and vulnerability and intimacy and tears and outpouring of unknowing.
Thank you. Thank you for everything.