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  • Writer's pictureTrisha Lord

Cultivating courage

I adore this poem by Tara Mohr. It answers one of my perennial questions: how can I make peace with the turbulent swirl that is being human – from spacious bliss on the one hand (when I am aware that I am awareness being aware of itself!) to those moments when I am experiencing things as life’s wrenching intolerable attack on me! How can I be both these beings in one – serenity and torment? As my kids would say “what’s up with that?”

When I write about my meditation practice I feel the need to make it abundantly clear that I am no expert! My return to meditation practice happened 4 years ago. I was ushered there by my commitment to the Component of Ease. So I’m barely out of nappies, just to place me on the development curve here! And there are many times when my meditation experience borders on something like a shopping or to-do list.

I take comfort from the myriad teachers who have said, repeatedly, that what matters is that you turn up on the cushion or chair or mat – you turn up, find a posture that is upright and open-hearted but not rigid, and that you practice returning yourself to your anchor (be it breath, or sound, or guidance or candle or……) over and over, each time you notice that you have logged in to your thoughts as opposed to watching them drift by like clouds in the sky.

In this way life’s wrenching and intolerable attack on me becomes mere clouds, drifting in the infinite expanse of sky, and I am the sky, “merging with what is”.

Even more extraordinary, perhaps what Tara Mohr refers to as “resting at the floor of the well within…… the sage-self and the surrendered heart alive” is when I connect with the boundaryless silence behind the awareness of awareness itself. Those moments are ineffable, words will fail.

But what is keeping me on a knife-edge of exploration is how to bring that experience with me into my days, my beautiful, challenging, wondrous, exciting, demanding days.

Again, Tara’s poem opens a door for me into this question. If I knew that it is all love, the spacious, gracious, blissful peace and the squeezed, teetering on the borders of rush and urgency (oh lordy!) headless chicken days – it’s all love, and that actually the part of me that clenches, and feels infantile, incompetent, fraudulent and inadequate is actually a doorway: an opportunity to surrender to refinement by sitting in the fire of that experience, what then? Who would I be towards myself in those moments?

Anyone can hum with life, like the moss, when they are sitting by a stream in the forest surrounded by birdsong and silence in between.

Maybe if I stop clutching at the door frame of those multitudinous moments of dis-ease, and see them as much as grace as the expansive twinkling of no-time-points-in-time during meditation (occasionally!), then I could start to lay down wholeness in my otherwise fractured bones.

How can I be both these beings in one? I am both these beings in one!

As I become friendly with the threshold of merging with what is instead of resisting it and blaming myself or life, I find grace and beauty, compassion and forgiveness. And that is, indeed, more beautiful. I hope you will join me, and if you find me screaming at the door frame, remind me to surrender, and I promise I’ll do the same for you.

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