coming back to me

coming back to me
The Mississippi River.

I can tend toward extremism and perfectionism in all things and in my spiritual practice. I can review the day and see all the times I seemed caught in distraction, even the small escapes of rest and play (TV, games, music, reading for pleasure) that weren't, say, chanting psalms and walking prayerfully in the woods. Hearing about James Finley's experience in the monastery set this off for me–for him, no TV, no radio, no idle chatter with his monastic brothers. I received that as the gold standard I was failing to achieve.

But I was both convicted and liberated by a conversation between Mike Petrow, James Finley, and Carmen Acevedo Butcher. This bit: how without the practice, enlightenment would not have come but at the same time the seeker did not achieve enlightenment by their practice.

Mike quoted an old Sufi saying, "No one catches the wild horse by running, but no one who isn't running can catch the wild horse."

An awakening came for me years ago, by way of the experimentation and genuine sincerity Mike, Jim, and Carmen spoke of. And I see now how I slipped into arrogance about that. As if I did it by my technique or discipline. Which in the present manifests as extremism and perfectionism in daily life, critiquing and belittling my current practice.

I'm not the victim! I'm the perpetrator! How marvelous.

I can soften to myself now by coming down from my high horse about back then. And the softness returns me to earnest self-forgetfulness, which is the way or the inner stance that offers the least resistance to awakening or seeing again.

What a humbling relief.

I shared this light with those who are on this Living School journey with me, and Katie Chiaramonte responded by sharing wisdom that Gigi Ross shared with her:

"We are not fully human if we do not cast a shadow."