The Tree of Death vs The Tree of Life
I revisit old themes today. That is the nature of switchbacks...
We woke this morning to drippy rain-mist (Pacific Northwesterners know what this means) and chilled air that required a small fire in the kitchen stove to warm. Fall's unmistakable calling cards remind me that the wind-up game "reality" is turning another corner, as the illusion of constant change continues. Summer, while not dead yet, is like a feeble old man. Where once he blazed in the skies like a god, heating the earth and our lives on it, giving life to its seeds and gathering unto himself his devoted worshippers (we in our sunglasses and sunscreen), now his strength has waned and he is hardly able to chew his own food.
Summer, I acknowledge again, has gone the way of all worldly things...
I sipped my coffee and, like I always do, forded, mostly blind, my somewhat weary way through the murky river of thoughts that always seem to challenge me when I wake from sleep. It's like the storm drain has backed up while I slept, and I wake up (in the most mundane sense) to a foot of dirty water and a mildew smell. Clean up is necessary before I start the day, and that is what coffee, quiet, and couch-and-cat time are for.
What I have noticed is that the messy thought river is never made from new detritus. It's always the same old shit. It is a cloudy mix of shadows made from old relationships, old situations, old insecurities, old catch-22-type dilemmas.
It is like an old blanket that will never bring warmth or comfort again. It is worn out and faded and threadbare. Even when the threads are dressed up as "current" "new" forms, just pulling on one slightly shows me quickly they are of the same old fibers of garbage. Any value and insight has been extracted long ago....what's left is colorless, flavorless, like old already-chewed gum. Still they appear to me like old "friends," who down-deep I know have never really loved me, but who return to tempt me into some kind of fruitless external searching yet again. I tangle with them and their twisted logic just long enough to let the caffeine kick in. Before too long, I can get more of a grip on the Holy Spirit's outstretched hand and I drop the lot of them.
Yet what is holding them in the recesses of my sub-conscious where they run amok even while I am not aware of them must be my choice. I know that. This is my dream.
I have been asking for inspired help on this issue of letting go of these projections once and for all. The thought that has come is that there is a need to forgive myself for using this entire so-called life to attack myself and keep myself from Love.
I want to emphasize this. My entire life is an attack. Not in truth (in truth it is neutral), but the ego is a jealous master, and its purpose is to keep me running, running, running, deep into the dream and far, far, away from Love.
This forgiveness prayer above is a slightly tweaked form of a very helpful prayer suggested to me by a teacher, Nouk Sanchez. And yet lately I have been feeling that doing this piece-meal (forgiveness for this, forgiveness for that, etc.) is perhaps the issue I'm invited to consider (again) today. Perhaps it is why new temptations "out there" continually arise for me. Perhaps all the seemingly individual forgiveness lessons are just forms of the same specialness. Perhaps they were like dress rehearsals and small Trust deposits getting me ready to be ready to stop all the silliness and remember to laugh.
Yes, yes, yes, I see all this...with infinite patience for myself I see all this.
This life was made by the ego as a Tree of Death to borrow from a mythological concept. We chase our dreams down its branches and never find fruit. Yes, when used by the Holy Spirit, it can all be used to lead us Home. But it won't teach us how to get Home, because that is not its job. It's job is to keep us feeling lost forever by keeping us looking for the answers in the zillions of mirror reflections we think we see.
These bodies, this earth, this season changing into next season, this job, this goal, this baby growing into adult, this family, this time--it's all a mirage. Even those self and/or other-proclaimed "enlightened" teachers "out there" and their particular techniques or footsteps....they are at best pointers to something within.
Yet, I see how I have been using it all at various times in various ways as a form of external searching that must leave me in a state of not-finding once again.
After the coffee, my husband and I rested in our daily lesson, which was "God is the light in which I see." (#44 in the workbook). I felt it work on me like a balm.
There is no substitute for receiving our own forgiveness so that we can accept the Peace that is always everywhere. But it won't come from anything outside. And being in the Peace that happens naturally as a result of accepting forgiveness doesn't look like anything on the outside either.
Maybe Peace chops onions for the soup or wood for the fire. Maybe Peace seems to stand in front of people moving your mouth. Maybe Peace looks like laying on your bed because your body won't move anymore. It matters not. There's nowhere we need to go to accept the forgiveness waiting for us right now. It's here. Now.
It's waiting for you and me to want it like it wants us.