Meanderings Five Oh
When it’s time to suffer, you should suffer; when it’s time to cry, you should cry. Cry completely. Cry until there are no more tears and then recognize in your exhaustion that you’re alive. The sun still rises and sets. The seasons come and go. Absolutely nothing remains the same and that includes suffering. When the suffering ends wisdom begins to raise the right questions.
Seido Ray Ronci
The aspects of our being that are most riveting are under our noses. We look past the obvious to the external, the things that add little value - thinking and identifying with those things that are not us. There is nothing magical in making the obvious characterization that too many of us try to lead fake Facebook lives - those definitions of "perfect lives" that are not only imperfect, but disassociated with what is meaningful and fulfilling.
There is a wider, more significant story occurring with or without our input. It is, and continues, irrespective of our spin.
We breathe. Our heart beats. We see and smell, as blood pumps through our veins, as our muscles and tendons expand and contract, as our minds process and sort and characterize the stimuli that surround us. And we wonder. Wonder. Wonder about things that are either worthy of our wonder, or more commonly, that are what they are, regardless of our bewilderment. Why does grass grow? How can I look at a blade of grass, which it looks static and still; yet next week when I look at it again, it is taller?
Nothing stays the same. And so it goes.
The opposite of samsara (the cycle of suffering) is when all the walls fall down, when the cocoon completely disappears and we are totally open to whatever may happen, with no withdrawing, no centralizing into ourselves. That is what we aspire to, the warrior’s journey. That is what stirs us: leaping, being thrown out of the nest, going through the initiation rites, growing up, stepping into something that’s uncertain and unknown.
It's funny how much some things used to matter, and now are hardly even blips on the radar. This past week I turned 50, which I guess is something significant to some. I don't even know why it matters. It's more easily divisible, I suppose, in case I have to divide my life into quadrants for some cosmic board game. Or perhaps it's supposed to signify some apex before decline - in which case, that means I'm on the apex right now, which is awesome. When I climb a mountain, the struggle is going up the steep incline - that part isn't more fun, although there is some merit to the struggle itself. But reaching the summit is so breathtaking, so beautiful, you want to drink in the view, feel it in your senses, admire the magnificence of standing atop such a noble structure. That's the reason we hike a mountain in the first place.
I feel so blessed, on so many levels. I've moved through problems and struggles, I've persevered and came out smiling, happy and satisfied. So many things I imagined to be difficult, were only imaginary, and not living because of an imaginary shadow seems so wasteful. And unnecessary.
I look out over the Parisian landscape, having run over eleven miles through it's curvy, iconic, whimsical streets with la joie de la vie, it fills my soul with passion and inspiration that make me feel happy to be alive.
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
And yet, there is no delusion. No expectation from moment to moment that another tsunami of angst and heartache isn't accumulating over the horizon. It is, undoubtedly happening, in some form or another. The difference is being firmly planted into the soil, letting the rain wash over me, letting it drench me, soak me, and know that there will be cleaner air to breathe, and a richer ground beneath me, for having persevered through it.
It doesn't matter whether I believe this to be true, it is the reality regardless.
The morning sun illuminates the sky and the blanched buildings outside, the dull rumble of trains, honking of horns, the clicking of the dog's feet on the hardwood floor next door, the tapping of my fingers on my keyboard, the crisp, earthy aroma of the coffee dances upon my lips. And this is the experience of being alive. Nothing can penetrate this calmness. This peacefulness.
And so it goes.
"He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden."
"And so it goes."