Monday, December 7, 2009

Feelings like the wind

My cellphone battery died in the car yesterday, so I had it off and charging in the kitchen for most of the day, and didn't get the message from my friend that she wouldn't be able to join me at the Advent service last night.

So I arrived early, saved her a seat, and waited, alone in my row, for the service to begin, watching others arrive in pairs and groups, smiling at friends...

I was still carrying the thoughts from yesterday's blog as the service began, and so the empty row became a symbol of the sense of isolation I was feeling.

And though I listened as the beautiful music poured over me, sang when it was time to do so (harmony when I knew it -- especially on Lo How a Rose), listened also to magnificent poetry (I forgot to bring home the name of the poet but I'll share it with you as soon as I get it) and was warmed by a wonderful simple sermon on the sense of "Oh!" -- the awe and wonder that came long before religions and rituals complicated our response to the Divine; the awe we still can feel in our hearts if we just stop a moment and breathe -- through it all there were feelings brushing through me, like the wind through these grasses -- feelings of sadness and loss, feelings of longing, feelings of grace and wonder, what-ifs and whys -- and I did my best to just watch and let them flow; to stay present in the cool grace of the evening and allow it to heal whatever flowed by that needed healing.

(Okay, yes, that may have been the longest sentence ever written in a blog -- or at least, this blog!)

So it was amusing this morning, both to see today's post in the Gospel of Thomas (a heron, drifting on a log, bathed in light and whining as if he's forgotten he can fly) and my readings for today in David Richo, which were, oddly enough, about feelings:

"Fear of feelings bottlenecks us. We fear that a feeling may possess us and never calm down. Actually, a feeling wants to be over and done with. Feelings, like everything else in life, are ever-changing and impermanent. Like attraction and repulsion, feeling flow over a bell-shaped curve...Once we let the cycle begin, it keep flowing to a resolution and repose. All we have to do is merge with it...The variance and movement of a feeling shows us why we use the word emotion, which literally means "move out." True feelings or emotions move us and we move through them...A mindful yes to our feelings means that we simply allow them to happen and notice ourselves feeling them. We do not fall prey to the dangers of attachment or aversion. Real feelings help us do this work because they want to come and they want to go."

He then goes on to explain that it is we who slow down the curve, by denying, intellectualizing, excusing, stuffing it down, dramatizing, or clinging. If we can give ourselves what he calls "the five A's" -- attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing -- the feelings can move through at their own pace -- like wind through these grasses -- without getting stuck.

I find this confluence of events -- the service, the loneliness, the Thomas poem, the Richo readings -- enormously reassuring. It makes it all seem right, somehow, as if I am being held in a delicate and divine embrace, comforted and encouraged and invited to explore the feelings that arise, allowed to wonder, to be open, and yet reassured that I am safe. It is a rich blessing, and, I think, a reminder of the freedom that can carry over into life from a daily meditation practice.

I'm still left with piles of questions and concerns. But unlike the heron, I can feel the light, and I'm beginning to remember that I do know how to fly.


Maureen said...

I think you soar a lot of the time.

KimQuiltz said...

I'm still here, I'm still listening and learning and I REALLY needed to hear this one this morning. Thank you.


This post is just what I needed to hear this a.m. Bloggers are prophets sometimes, aren'they/we?