Once again it has been a while since I wrote. Life has been very busy, sometimes wonderfully busy, sometimes overwhelming, but always busy.
I went to the Art of Dying Conference last week in the Catskills. Oh my, the beauty of the retreat center where it was held was breath taking, inspiring and just plain cool. I loved the setting and did not what to leave... ever. The conference was excellent. Frank Ostaeski, Robert Thurman and Marianne Williamson were some of the presenters. I signed up for workshops with them and I was wowed by the depth of their knowledge and the care they gave to their presentations. Marianne Williamson was good, she seemed tired to me.
My favorite was Frank Ostaeski. He has such presence and compassion, it flows from him freely. He really inspired me. During the course of his talk he said something that has stayed with ever since. It was:
"The sacred is hidden in the ordinary."
The sacred is hidden in the ordinary. Slicing a tomato, petting your dog, a plastic water bottle laying in the street, a dying child, a dirty rag. It is all sacred. Everything we see, do touch, taste, hear feel is sacred. Everything is sacred.
This week I have tried to hold that thought in my head as move throughout my day... "the sacred is hidden in the ordinary." As I approached events, people, creatures, and objects I held the thought of their sacredness in my consciousness. Life became sacred. Interactions became sacred. It was an amazing practice and one that I will continue. It has made a big difference.
Another thing that Frank Ostaeski did was tell a story which I will retell here.
A few years back there was a man that started a new job with the phone company. He went to work placing telephone poles along a long stretch of road in Arizona. He was paired up working with a veteran at laying telephone poles. They were working together for a while and the new man on the job said, "I've been thinking- if this pole falls over it could kill me; if it starts to go, I'm gonna run like hell that way," and he pointed over his shoulder. The veteran just smiled and said, "Then you'd be dead." The new man asked him what he meant and the veteran said, "The safest place to be is right up at the pole. You place your hands on the pole and ride it out."
The safest place to be is right up against the dangerous thing! Isn't that something to think about.
We all want to be healed of our suffering. We want to be whole and complete. It turns out that the safest place to be is sitting with your suffering; tasting it getting to know it- finding its source. It is in the knowing that you can let it go... riding it out like a falling telephone pole.
I have found that to be true in my life. Through self knowledge and accepting responsibility, I have found much peace. It has only happened when I didn't run away in fear, but I faced my problems head on, accepted the truth of my dilemma, surrendered to it and it is only then that obstacles fall away.