There are awarenesses, resources of great value, that I am unlocking more and more on my Journey.
In seeking to embrace these, I am inspired by the example of my friend, whose startling quality of compassion in action and word has made me strive to understand its source, the better to assimilate and emulate this living spirit of compassion.
I see value in the observation of Acceptance in action. Acceptance requires no reasons, demands no constructs and it can be seen in the healthy balanced operation of every living organism.
I tap into vast reserves of value from the practice of Acceptance. Acceptance smoothly paves over the crevasses of treacherous impulse to blunder and bluff.
I am in confrontation every day.
These are great stirrings, as in coming upon a selfish owner who is letting a dog “worry” swans. Or these may be small, such as a person whose mere approach rouses an aggressive response in me. My negative response stems from my self regard blinkered from and blind to the life I share with people around me.
Acceptance is my confronted self choosing to reach up to a panoramic viewpoint, and consciously remaining where I am, while I offer to the eyes of my eyes the gift of the widest possible perspective at my location.
Once I arrive – and I can arrive in a flash – I am at once reduced to my true size relative to “where I am at”, and I am released to soar up to great peaks of lightness of being and down to lush fertile places of human comfort, warmth and joy.
Acceptance is my loyal friend when I walk hand in hand with my other awareness: Sufficiency.
Whenever I allow myself to come into closest connection with some external event, it can show me clearly and directly a total, utter and complete satisfaction. It is “Sufficiency”.
It is my awareness of sufficiency which links me directly to the sum of all joys.
Any joy piercing the living moment is sufficient.
I can choose to go out and about with a pocketful of forethought, so that, when I encounter a delight, I need not let it enter me only to pass me by. For example, I may be kissed, and as I stop taking breath, all the breaths I have ever breathed are contained in that kiss.
The treasure awaiting my discovery in any experience is made visible by my inborn ability to allow its inherent quality of sufficiency to overtake both it and me.
Sufficiency is the end contained in the beginning.
If I can only stop trying to dream, I can awake to find I am being dreamed by my dream.
The flesh of humility is clothed by the modest completion of Sufficiency.
Gratitude for this infinite store of sufficiencies!
In a foreign country in March, in the Year of my Life, 2013, I and my wife sat down to supper with a long lost friend for the first time in 47 years.
He and his wife had prepared for us a lavish welcome meal. Many years before, my father had arranged I stay with the family of my friend during my school holidays. His father, a decorative wrought iron blacksmith and Rabelasian larger-than-life character, and my father, a conference interpreter, met by chance after the war.
They quickly recognised their mutual admiration for their own idiosyncratic forms of ‘joie de vivre’. On that foundation, they were to become lifelong friends.
After we had toasted each other in a few glasses of fine local wine, my very dear friend began to tell me the Machiavellian story of his childless stepmother, the blacksmith’s second wife. I had known her only as a quiet capable motherly figure all those years ago. She braved out her husband’s alcohol-fuelled storms, she ignored his infidelities, mainly with wives of wealthy clients of his decorative wrought ironwork. She kept shop and did the accounts.
For me those summers were times of acceptance into the family, of joy and pleasure as a young teenager taking my first independent steps in the freedom of another country under the blazing August Sun.
As we enjoyed the meal, I listened with astonishment to hear how she had spent about 70 of the 99 years of her life scheming with great success to disinherit her stepson, almost ruining him and coming close to breaking his spirit, and, after I had come into her house as a guest and virtual second son, scheming to defraud my own father.
The welcome meal, a Cordon Blue affair, progressed with much joy. The setting was in a delightful spacious, three-story pinewood cabin, open fire crackling away, isolated high on the side of a valley with giant panoramic southerly views across a lake to a range of snow capped mountains – the Eiger to the east and Mont Blanc to the west.
My very dear friend advised me to prepare myself, saying all is not as pretty as it seems. Am I ready for a shock? With all this heart warming reconnection with a friend who had been like the elder brother I had never had, and with such fine wine and such food, I said yes. After all, what could disturb this now?
My old friend began to speak. Some four years after my life path diverged from my friend’s, and I had started out on my career teaching English as a Foreign Language in far away London, his step-mother was the first to hear of my failed suicide attempt at age 21. She saw her opportunity to turn the news to her advantage. To help cover up and protect her thieving ways from scrutiny, she made the choice to lie to her family that I had killed myself.
Silence now around the table. For me in that moment of the reveal of this true lie, I suffered a triple shock of pure visceral horror.
A cry escaped from my throat. It was the same animal outcry of bereavement when, 38 years before, I was shown by the black clad undertaker into the chapel of rest where my mother lay, with her blue eyes closed. I could not breathe. My wife, very alarmed, jumped up from the table to help me sit up and to comfort me. I said I was ready to hear more.
In that flash, with the pain that had extracted the yell from inside me, I felt for the very first time the intensity of the suffering my parents had endured when they were told while on a holiday abroad about my suicide attempt – an uncomplicated and somewhat half-baked cry for help it had been – at age 21. I had at long last begun my journey of compassion and shame for what I had done to them.
In that flash, I felt the grief and helpless pain my dear old friend must have endured for nearly five decades. My father had told me the news of his father’s fatal stroke in the late 70s.
After that, my own research to trace him for over 20 years had always drawn a blank. I had no way of knowing that he had decided to go ‘off grid’ to shelter from the sick pursuit of his stepmother.
A few days before my wife and I were to fly on holiday, by some miracle of the Internet, we had finally managed to connect. On an emotional long distance phone call, we agreed to rearrange our flights in order to have this extraordinary reunion celebration.
His stepmother had effected repeated attacks designed to ruin his professional career. Several times she had written to his employers, even tracking him to a well paid job in North Africa. She would falsely allege his dishonest, immoral, even depraved conduct. This may have been easy for her, acquainted as she was with casual depraved ways.
At this period, she took on the role of carer for his only daughter by his first marriage. And she devoted herself to fill the little child’s mind with toxic fear of her father. With money and psychological pressure, she gained the co-conspiratorial support of his first wife.
Thus the love and trust of his wife and mother of his only child was corroded away. His daughter, long since grown up, severed all ties with him. He engaged the equivalent of our Queen’s Counsel to fight to restore his reputation and his legal title to his father’s house, which had been constructed largely using my late Father’s funds, both with and without his knowledge and permission.
On hearing this, the woman sold the house at high speed well below market value. All its contents, including documents and photos from his life, we’re lost to him. Among these were photo albums and 8mm colour cine film containing records of my several consecutive blissfully happy summer holidays with the family.
He had gone ex-directory and off grid long ago for self-protection. That is why I had only chanced to trace him from his 1949 school photo. There he was, named and easy to recognise by his cheeky grin under his mop of dark curly hair, even though he was eleven years younger than when I first knew him.
I emailed my contacts to the school’s webmaster saying I had been seeking my lost friend. Then I powered down the PC and we took a bus into town. I got his call on my mobile at a coffee bar in Bournemouth. I was crying and laughing with happiness. I think I even blurted out my story to the barrista! In nearly half a century, he had once visited England. It was in 1979. It never occurred to him to try and look me up. Indeed, why would he? I was long since dead.
After that first phone call to me, it had been difficult for him, now age 80, to come to terms with the reality of my existence. So he had jumped at the chance to invite my wife and I to fly out and spend a few days as his guest. And, in that flash, I physically experienced the coldness and cruelty and above all the black darkness of the evil that his late stepmother had secretly carried and concealed for decades in her heart of hearts.
I have since learned there are some people who have suffered such violent emotional trauma, that their natural impulse to love is rechanneled into a perverted form of acquisition based on self-interest and hatred.
We all can find the right words to say, can’t we? Those socially accepted normal few words of respect and comfort we say, when we are told about a bereavement.
But I bear witness to you reading this here, that I found no gentle words. And I found no safety net to stop me from falling suddenly from a great height when, without any preparation, I was given the news of my own death.
Again and again, it is at the point of contact with the extreme fragility of life that life itself reveals there is only one path of acceptance. I see it in the eyes of the hunted animal looking with a final glance at the hunter before dying. Life clothes us with humility. A humility such as a bride and groom may feel as they arrive at the altar.
May I remember all of my growth. Growth physical and growth in heart’s love.
I want to remain alive to my heart’s ability to grow in heart love.
May I find the courage to draw on the power with which loving with loving kindness regenerates my heart’s expansion into love’s swaying flower fields and forests of kindness.
Every day let my fearful forward-fixed gaze give me a rest, so I pause and take stock.
Every day I will remember when I open my eyes awake, to let my heart take me by the hand, its own little child, wide-eyed in wonder, and lead me to learn new expanding abilities of loving to live.
At night, let me review this amazing journey of breath and blood, tears and sweat, so I remember why my heart is so rightly full of gratitude.
My heart and I have accepted challenges, made discoveries, assimilated life lessons, received and been blessed by growth.
The ebb and flow of heart’s luminosity assists and stands guard over growth and healing in my body.
In this inevitable plurality of beings, my heart drives me to connect.
My own growth towards recognition, understanding and peaceful acceptance of who I am comes from unconditional, non-judgemental relationships.
Deep maternal love, which is one form of non-attached friendship, released my tiny child into the grassy flower-meadows of my very first summers.
Later on, my heart, strengthened and emboldened by the unmistakable benevolence of the Big Green, began to receive and to give non-judgemental friendship.
Stagnation dissolves and energetic growth returns when my inner child makes itself known to me again. It may be from hints, signs, clues to my senses, to my awareness, that my inner child’s presence peers past the curtains of my darkness, always dancing, always smiling, always beckoning me out to play and to laugh!
It may be my indirect sensation of its presence through my perception of its absence and the terrible pain of that lonely emptiness. Mercifully, this pain is pure illusion.
My inner child wants to be found, it never hides! And so, with a little concentration, I can come to my inner child, playmate, best friend.
Then my inner child holds my hand once more, I am filled up, my heart is filled and my being is refreshed with the giggles of childhood.
My original child’s state of grace, let me remember it!
Let me know it again. You and I are still filled up to the tip-top with the very same innocence and automatic acceptance of our natural and original condition, which is pure love, seen or not, felt or not, understood or misunderstood.
This acceptance is the elixir!
With this we can live in the perfumed fields of happiness exactly as it was, as it always was and will be, for us and for all sentient life to the end of all things
I accept, with all that I am, all of my gifts, whether they are naturally occurring, or come out of my own striving.
I accept my Acceptance above all.
I value and accept my ACCEPTANCE, because this LIFE, which is superabundance of JOY and LOVE, has found an acceptance in my identity, and has assumed a proportion of my identity without my volition and with an attachment that never did nor ever will depend on my acceptance of it.
This life allows me to glimpse with understanding, humility, unending gratitude and AWE the common condition of conscious sentience that I share with every particle, subatomic particle and energy wave that ever was, is and will be!
Miraculously, beyond crude casuistry or intense interrogatory, out of non-existence I am born.
Into the selfsame, unanswerable, miraculous non-existence I am to return.
This crucial instant in which the stasis of my sentience pivots, which never begins and never ends, sways and rocks me with tender reasurance, like I’m in a womb, suspended in bliss between my two non-existences.
Virtually undifferentiated and all but indistinguishable from the continuum, except for the miracle of life, “I Am Love”
How differently would we behave towards each other, if every one of us could directly experience seeing our Earth from space? If we lived on a planet with PERMANENTLY CLEAR STARRY SKIES, how would we behave towards one another? Don’t reply! Behave as if you did
I, five-pointed star creature, am a creature of thoughts. I think because I think. I am amused and bemused by the thoughts I listen to.
I receive parental and peer suggestion that encourage me to rely on my “powers of thought”.
I am later informed of the pointlessness of over-thinking, and later still I am warned about giving credence to the chattering “monkey” mind.
I am in truth another creature of the gardens of Eden, alike unto the sentient beings who share my air, earth, and water.
I am naturally attuned to the rhythms of light and dark, hunger and thirst.
I am another seeker after warmth and the supportive companionship of others like myself.
The time I spend in awareness of my own awareness is self absorbing and attractive.
Think! How much time do I devote to my physical comfort, to awareness of my bodily condition?
Stop! What feedback is my muscular framework giving me?
Ask! What if any noteworthy messages am I receiving from my soma, my joints and tendons, my fascia, the involuntary state of my breathwork?
I can do myself a simple and all-too-rare an honour by listening to myself, by conversing with my soma.
I, as five-pointed star creature, breathe and beat time to a clock of blood.
The form of this timepiece is as far from the assumed reality of my bird-like thought patterns as the ocean depths are from the jetstream.
Pause and see all these are interconnected.
It is when I am injured or unwell that I can see examples of the ungraspable timescales on which my body clock operates.
As I begin to recover, to recuperate, I cannot see any needle on a dial that moves towards wholeness or wellness. It becomes apparent with hindsight, and then only by an effort of will, that I can compare yesterday with today and observe minor changes for the better.
Happiness depends so much more than I have been led to believe on living, on carrying out the routines that sustain my bodily functions.
To tell myself I depend on one part or other of who I am – whether it is mind, body or spirit – is to miss the wood for the trees.
I am inclined to grasp at fleeting satisfactions, pleasures, successes, drownings. Howsoever tangible they are, they are passing moments in the greater flow.
When the flow is seen to be where and what and who I am part of, that is when I can rest, take my ease, find comfort and be for the most part at peace with myself and with my fellows.