Enough of Everything is Plenty
My personality tends to pass through periods when my sense of the present, and the future, is glum. This week was one, for transient reasons, where I felt that my present was unsustainably bleak, and by extension no realistic positive futures were within grasp. Whatever, it wasn’t that interesting to go through, messy yes but even less interesting to recount. I was dry and austere all week, not super fun, but the messiness was a reminder of something, something humbling, and that's almost always ok.
What is interesting is the quality of my prayers this week, which today blossomed gently like the single purple crocus I saw this morning, herald to the changing of summer into fall. It was just there, pop, this thought, as I gazed out of the window of the bus to the pool.
What thought came to mind and consciousness was this: I know everything. Remembering that single truth allowed me to remember that my confusion and apprehension all week was not Reality itself (everything!), but was rather my cloudy inability to see. Everything hasn’t changed, and remembering that, and remembering that I’ve experienced this Everything many times in many forms was enough. And this remembering too, that I (and we) come from Love, and that Love is the substance of the universe, so I, and we, are ok.
"All things are connected like the blood that unites us. We do not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves."
— Chief Seattle
Perhaps some terminology would help me feel that I’m being as clear as I can. I find myself to be a being living in what we call the present moment. That much I know. I am having experiences, and some of those involve memories, and some involve anticipations of what might be. Some are something else.
This on-going experience of “living” is intense, most of the time at least. It’s rad and ugly and beautiful and sometimes it hurts like smashing my head yet again on something hard unmoved by my plight.
This so called living has what appear to be boundaries—my ego, the sheer timeline of it all, bodies, the range of our thoughts, the perceived limits of my perception—each of these I can understand as a boundary, a fourth wall.
What I remembered as single truth as noted above is not this. Rather, it’s more than this. What I remembered is Everything. I’ve known Everything, many times actually. I have experienced myself not as a linear, confined being, but as a fully present, infinite one, a being without boundaries, a being at One with all of Creation, literally… all of it.
I was thinking to imagine a Seussian ocean creature, spawn of imaginative genius, one that floats atop the sea when it rains and collects freshwater in a specialized sac. This sea creature floats atop the sea in all kinds of stormy weather awaiting the drenching of squalls and storms, monsoons that bathe the loving surface of the fully wet ocean.
This dear creature takes in that water like a woman takes in her man. It will embrace each drop and bring close in this mythic story, and will create a little cocoon for that water, a bubble of collagen and slippery stuff, and this fresh water will live safe its first years on earth this time as child to this parental creature of the sea.
Time will pass and this fresh water child will slosh about, feel held, wonder about its place in the universe, will grow to know the edges of its world as the bubble that surrounds it and keeps it from the sea.
This little aqua-blob grows, let’s say, thinks and starts to wonder what might be out there beyond these edges that sometimes seem cloying and close. What more might there be?
And so, one day this young creature pinpricks its own edge, and everything starts seeping in. There is a moment here, of choice and superstition; one can fear the outside and believe that whole vast ocean is malign; one can retreat and clench back in fear. Or, one can also imagine that the seas and all that hold them are from good, something truly loving and kind. One can even split the two and decide there’s neither good nor bad, there’s just Is’ness. It all just Is, and that’s what we have.
Whichever way you want to interpret all this while the rest of you is hard at work perceiving, there becomes less and less doubt that those boundaries that to our younger selves seemed so stout were in fact flimsy as tissue walls in a flood.
We step off that branch away from the only nest we’ve known and behold and lo we can fly. We can swim, and breathe, and stand tall in miraculous way and so we do, and so we join with what is going on right now. This is the key thing, this “joining in”; it only takes place in the present tense. That’s the ride.
The barriers that seemed so resolute between our dear little blob selves and everyone else now seem almost fictitious, certainly temporary. They dissolve as natural as a child becomes an adult.
As we choose to let this passage happen to us, we have the first chance to realize that we are indeed not only all connected, we are of One, are in fact One. This Life, it’s all we get; we are all made of the same one thing, and that thing is everything, just as that little blob came to be not a walled off lil’ thing, but something merged with and indiscernible from the rest of the oceans. Oneness. And yet lil’ blob remains. We can have it both ways.
So in my week here of cloudy bullshit (and some stellar moments of self-love and quiet ease) I came this Friday on the bus to remember that I too have known Everything.
When I was five I made havens and habitats for snails and plants and captive green lizards, b/c I wanted them to feel safe and home.
At ten I thought in the same kind of words one of the Each Amazing Breath kids in England said, about how if everyone did this breathing practices, we could ‘stop all the bad things, like pollutions and all that’ and when I listen to her I am so deeply grateful for her absolute earnestness. She knows without any doubt at all that if we all took time and care to breathe, we’d all come back to remembering that being kind, deeply kind to each other not only matters intensely, but it’s the only logical thing to do. And she’s absolutely right! In fact, I decided years ago that the ideal president or prime minister would be a ten year old girl. War would stop within days, and there would never be war again, ever, as long as the earnest ten year olds were in charge.
When I was sixteen I volunteered to shepherd young poor Mexican kids from downtown skid row to the beach, museum, and park. I was privileged then to be the escort and not the one made poor by circumstance, but nonetheless we found joy together, me and those kids bouncing together in the waves of the Pacific.
When I was 19 and scared shitless, I taught people how to be street-level medics at the free clinic in Berkeley. Bless them for taking me in.
And so on, and all I’m saying is that today I remembered that, all those times I knew Everything. I knew it when I was five and wanted to make creatures feel safe, and I knew it five years later when I realized that there never ever ever should be the “need” for any war ever. I knew at 13 that we could stop using petroleum to make smog in my lifetime and instead rely on the sun and winds to provide for us.
Everything is obvious, once you behold it. It’s a one way trip with all kinds of going back, but going back forever changed.
I knew Everything nibbling mushrooms in the redwoods w/ beloved friends north of San Francisco when I was 21. I knew it weeks months later in a spate of resounding 4am’s in the New Mexico heavens watching night hand off to day with a grace that was as old as this dear Earth. I knew it all.
I knew everything when kids I taught breathed and popped awake and said oh my god that’s amazing! I knew everything last week watching that one boy look out for his terrified friend.
Everything is everywhere, literally. It’s just we who fail to perceive it. And that’s ok, for real. We’re meant to cocoon for a time, just as we’re meant to burst free and be one with everything. That’s why we dance, and have our practice, why we play and raise flowers and children with smiles and love.
There was a day I crossed over, where my forays into Everything had become so voluminous that I could no longer deny that my previous perceptions of “me” and “self” and even ego were vastly underestimating the extent of what Is. That was the day I stepped irrevocably into the Light. My actions nor perceptions have been perfect, but I now know myself, and where I, and we reside in all of this. I know Everything.
PS, and know this. We are Loved, eternally and right now. We are okay.