Archive for Spirituality (the force)

Sequence XLVII

{Writer’s Note} a few months back, around the start of the new year, I started a new writing project, one that had tied to it, some of my highest aspirations. That project is not the focus of this piece, but some backstory is required in order to fully understand how this piece starts. This new year project is being written in a journal that was given to me as a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law, adding to the special meaning behind it. I will be divulging more about this project shortly, but for now, I want to share a secondary project, one that came to me amidst my on-and-off writing of the new year project.

 

It has been several days since I last contributed any written thoughts to this project {see writer’s note}. In that time I have discovered a new thought, a plan, a project, a roadmap for the unroadmapable, a way to take singular, yet significant steps towards betterment. Sequence XLVII.

So what is Sequence XLVII? The Sequence is a combination of forty-seven different iterations of actions, projects, activities, and experiences, each specifically selected to better myself, to bring me closer to being a more enlightened and positive being. These forty-seven items, or iterations, called iterations because while they are all unique events, each is bonded as a piece, a segment, that when combined makeup an existence for myself of awareness, and hopefully, just that much closer to enlightenment.

I do not necessarily refer to enlightenment as Buddhahood, or biblical revelation; rather, I use enlightenment simply to refer to an (re)evolution (awakedness) of myself to be a more closely aligned version of myself to a positive and impactful true-being. I acknowledge that it would be grandiose and ego-driven to believe I had any idea on how to realize enlightenment; this is not that, this is betterment, achieving a greater me.

The iterations were intentionally selected and given an initial ordering by myself to act as a roadmap of directional force, propelling me forward in this endeavor. This is a needed experience for me now; I have grown weary, beat-up, so often consumed by terrible feelings of dissatisfaction, muted emotion, lack of meaning and life satisfaction, despair, anger, and regret. I often feel as if I have lost my ability to truly live a happy life. I know I lost it, because I had it, I have had segments of my life that were fulfilled, that left me with overall life satisfaction, joy and wonderment. I have had it, so I can realize now when I do not. This is not a result or fault of anyone outside of myself, no one decision, no one experience did this, it is not about my career, my family, my home, my friends, my experiences around me, it is about me, my self (or non-self) realization, my being, my vision and approach to life. It is on me, and because it is on me, it is open for me to change, to make better, and to regain that spark. I need to and will do this. And for this, I have created the Sequence, Sequence XLVII, within which I have embedded forty-seven iterations of specific actions for me to complete.

Iteration 01, daily appreciation for life, is ready to begin.

 

{Writer’s Note} Iteration 01 and all future iterations will be discussed in detail as the subject of future writings. Each iteration will have its own written piece(s). There is an undertone of darkness and bleakness in the latter portion of this piece as I describe why I need this. That is not the full scope of my feelings on this, and especially on life in general, it is simply how I was feeling in that moment, at that time; it is an honest and naked look at me at a moment in time. Much like each one of us, I am a yin and yang of emotions, outlooks and feelings. Some days light, some days dark. It was my realization that the dark days were outweighing the light days, so the Sequence was created as a sort of spiritual to-do list to rebalance the scales and tip them in the favor of the light. I hope that as the reader you can find some commonalty and inspiration in my journey with the Sequence.

The Student and Spilled Tea

{A modern-day take on a traditional inspired zen koan story}

Each night when the student would dream, he found himself trying to control his dreams, attempts (in vein) to force resolution, to find that which is missing within the dream world. This phenomenon would occur across various settings and elements of his dreams. The student would even begin to wake, realize he was dreaming and before he had completely lost the dream state, he would continue on, determined to force resolution within the dream. On one such occasion, the student was deep in a dream in which he was wandering through a large retail store in search of a missing item, his frustration levels rose and rose, not just in the dream, but in his real-world sleeping self. The student would not let himself move on from this dream, even in a state of fluidity between sleep and awake, his need for control and an orderly logical dream (life) had taken over. In another instance, he dreamed he was on vacation and had become separated from his friends and family. So determined to control the situation, ensure everyone was together, on-time and staying according to plan, he consciously choose to remain in this dream state and force and orderly completion to what he wakenly acknowledged was a dream and had no bearing on his real-life.

How sad the masters thought, this student of the way is so caught up in his idea of self and the illusion of control, that he not only attempts to control his waking-self, but also control the infinitely uncontrollable planes of the dream-world. How far he had to go in order to let go and begin to see truth and realize enlightenment.

One morning, the student woke up from another set of dreams in which he continued to impose his faulty ideas of control and structure on the ethereal plane. But on this morning, the student had a new thought- he realized what he was doing in his dreams, saw the futility of his attempts to exercise any amount of control and intentional direction over  them. He then pondered his real-life awake state and also realized that this same attempts at control and understanding were just as futile in the awaken-state as in the dream-state. The student for the first time saw that the dream world and the world he inhabited while awake we really one and the same, and control and forced resolution were an illusion in both, he realized that control, decision and logically structured outcomes were non-existent and he lived in clouded vision as long as he held on to these notions.

The student thought to himself, “control is an illusion, no matter in the dream world or in an awakened state, and it is my crutch and barrier to true-sight to hold on to this.” In that moment, the student achieved enlightenment.

 

{The same story written in a more traditional context}

A student dreamed of himself hosting a great master for dinner and tea. On this occasion, the student would sit down to eat with the master and realize that he had misplaced a key accompaniment to the meal, rendering the tea unusable. Sure that this would upset his guest, the student attempted in vein to recover his tea, even though the master ensured him it was no problem. The student began to awake from this dream and realized what was happening, so focused on control he dove back into the dream and continued to demonstrate failure in front of the master. The master stood up, intentionally spilled food on his robe, turned to the student, smiled, and thanked him for a perfect evening. The student awoke from his dream pondered what the master had done in his dream, stood up from his bed, spilled tea on himself, and smiled. In that moment, the student achieved enlightenment.