just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Mother’s Day Story (take 2)

Our desire for another’s attention.

 I’ll never forget the time when my mother was close to death and I felt angry about it. She could sense my anger and I’ll always remember a bluish yellow green halo around her body when this question penetrated my very soul, “Randy, what are you holding onto?“. And now many decades later, I can reflect on this and more accurately answer that I was holding on to her unconditional attention to who I thought I was. She was my greatest cheerleader. She had so much pride in who she thought I was. She invested everything into having her hopes fulfilled through my successes. Some would call this a mother’s unconditional love. Yet, because of her tremendous support I developed a great need to have her audience and approval. I’ll never forget 10 years after her death, still wanting to go to her when I felt I did something well. I am now 70 years old and I realize my joy and happiness must not depend upon another’s approval or attention. As a leader in running my speech pathology clinics, a business leader, trumpet player and a father, there were those who felt somewhat obligated to give me attention. Yet, the real work is how we hold our integrity without audience. The real work is to hold equanimity, balance, alignment and a deep commitment to not cause harm… even when there is no audience. Reflecting on my mother’s question, I can now say my deepest desire, that which I continue to hold onto, is to not cause harm. I will hold on to the desire to steward health and well-being as best I can. I will hold on to those practices that nurture and nourish, committing to letting go those thoughts, actions and speech that cause harm. In effect, my mother was asking me to hold on to love, to the freedom and the desire to foster freedom for others.

Mother’s Day Story

When my mother asked me “What are you holding onto, Randy?“ I was stunned. The question ripped the floor from under my feet. She was in the process of shedding her body, only three weeks to go. I had expressed some anger that she was leaving so soon, 55 years old. I recall a bluish/green halo around her body when she pierced my heart with that question. I know now what I’m holding onto. I’m holding onto curiosity, to a sense of wonder, to a dedicated work for smashing the illusion of separateness and returning always to love and connection and belonging.

So much of what we’re holding onto will ultimately need to be let go. Certainly, our biggest challenge is to let go of those things that failed to nurture us, those things that poison us with fear and greed. A good test for me on how well and hard I should hold onto something is the test of time. When we were 20 years old Jane and I let go of eating red meat. We found great freedom in this. 50 years later, we have not let go of each other, I have not let go of my yoga or meditation practice, I have not let go of my favorite instrument, the trumpet. I have not let go the dedication to care for this body through activity. Yes, it’s true, I eventually will let go of everything. I’ll let go of the desire to eat, the capacity to move, the wonders that come from my senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, all the glorious senses of wonder. I will let go of the illusion of immortality for this body. I will surrender to the remembrances that it’s of human nature to age, to face disease, to say goodbye to this body that has served me so well, to say goodbye to all the things I cherish, all the people I cherish… everything. As I travel the current of life, floating in the stream to the big ocean, I realize I’ve always been water, always have been water and always will be water. I resonate with the wisdom that we are all connected, not separate, not two. The older I get, with each breath I take, I find a deeper gratitude for the opportunity to just be, to just be in awareness of this precious gift of the next breath. I can think and fantasize about the future and what may come when I say goodbye to the body. I simply don’t know and have not seen any evidence that would substantiate what happens. Yet, I know deep in my heart that there is a continuation. I know I didn’t make me. I know Grace is bestowed upon me daily, moment by moment. I know my purpose is to not hurt another, to carry a light footprint, and to know thoroughly that the results of my action live on beyond my time in this body. So when my mother asks, “Randy, what are you holding onto?“ it can also be framed in the question, “Randy, what are you unwilling to let go?“ And this so closely relates to the First Noble Truth of the Buddha. He came to the awareness that that to which we are attached to is the source of our suffering. And our spiritual directive is to forever examine this and let go.

Your Greatest Investment

When you’re prepared to meet the present moment you’re prepared to meet anything.

A strong present moment practice can be seen as a spiritual security investment. The more we invest in cultivating presence, balance and equanimity the less likely we are to make a mess of things when the inevitable rug is pulled from beneath us. Awareness practices aimed at ‘this moment’ are ways to keep one foot on the floor of the ocean when the surface is very turbulent, an investment to finding ground in the unknown.

More Entries