Knowing

“Master,” said the student, “I come to you with a troubled mind.”

“Good,” replied the Master, a calm smile on her face.

The student continued. “I am suffering,” she said. “My mind just doesn’t seem to work. I can’t remember things properly. I can’t think things through.”

“Good,” said the Master, nodding her head.

Confused, the student nevertheless continued. “It’s not just my mental performance,” she said. “I can’t seem to think happy thoughts. Or if I do, it requires a lot of effort. Most of the time, I am terribly sad. Sometimes I think about very frightening things.”

“Good,” said the Master, her smile broadening.

The student gave her Master a wounded look. “Master,” she said, “I am opening my heart to you. These things have been troubling me for some time. I am suffering terribly. Why do you only smile and say ‘Good’?”

The Master regarded her student with clear, steady eyes. “Because,” she replied, “Relying on your mind, you have grown weak. It is my hope that with the dysfunction of your mind, you will grow strong again.”

“How can that be possible?” exclaimed the frustrated student.

The Master tapped the center of her chest. Automatically, the student followed suit.

“Here,” said the Master. “Here is the source of strength you have forgotten. Here is what you need to survive.”

“But I can’t think with that! How will I survive?”

“You don’t need to think. You don’t even need to feel. It is beyond thought and emotion. You simply have to Know.”

“And how will I…know?”

“Take a deep breath.” The student did, and her Master nodded. “Feel it. Be still. This is your Knowing. You can’t describe it. There are no words for it. But in your Knowing lies your power. And you will find that with your Knowing, you will move without needing to think at all.”

The student took a deep, still breath, and smiled.

beyond happiness

maybe it’s a relief to be unhappy
because trying to be happy all the time is exhausting.

maybe there’s a place beyond happiness and unhappiness.

not between.

not in the middle.

BEYOND.

BEYOND = accepting both happiness and unhappiness.

they are part of every day.

expect them.

you don’t have to welcome them.

you don’t have to be glad to see your old friend unhappiness.

but if you’re upset, be upset.

if you need to cry, cry.

maybe if you allow them to be there
your tears will dissolve.

remember, your tears won’t dissolve into happiness.

don’t fall into that trap—
doing your spiritual work and still waiting for perfect happiness.

my hope for you is that you come to a place where you’re unhappy—
and THAT’S OKAY.

you haven’t done anything wrong
unless being human is wrong.

do not mistake peace for happiness.

peace is not a utopian state of ecstasy, pleasure or even comfort.

peace “goes beyond understanding.”

i can tell you this much—you know it when you feel it.

your heart settles
and your body is lighter.

gravity is less of a burden.

and even if things aren’t good, they’re still alright.

no matter what, my hope for you
is that you find a place inside yourself
BEYOND yourself
where you can finally rest.

pain/remedy

the truth is contained in your weeping.
you will be in some form of discomfort every moment of your life
of that you may be certain.
 & sometimes discomfort gives way to pain & pain to grief
& you will pray because other than death
there is no place to go for relief.
but notice as you weep how sweet 
is the sound of a loved one’s voice
or the vision of their memory
in your heart.
feel the sweetness when the right music 
matches the cadence of your sorrow
or the delight in your bones
when a single word offers comfort.
yes
of pain you may be certain
but be certain also
of the remedy of Spirit.
they go hand in hand
it cannot be otherwise.

medicine

you may find one day you have a bruise or a sore or a rough patch somewhere. & you touch it with feather fingertips & oh, does it sting! but you breathe & you keep fingers against aching skin & you ask your body is this medicine to you? & you hear your body say yes & so you breathe into your fingertips until moments later the stinging is only a faint whisper.

again & again

it seems to me that all these books
contain again & again
a single truth
each breath
each page
an iteration never-ending
we seek it
in each new
book
taste
lover
until one day
if we're lucky
we see we've held it
in our hands all along.
even the wisest among us
so long as they draw breath
are fated to repeat
the lesson over and over.
the only difference
between the enlightened & you & I
is that the masters do not read doom
in each new trial.
instead they welcome with open arms 
the certainty of loss & the uncertainty
of what is yet to come.
where we see a curse they see a blessing
& even in their weeping
they smile with all the radiance of youth.

dissonance

healing
requires humility.
it’s not about finding
the right friend
lover
or therapist
who perfectly validates
your story of suffering—
it’s about finding people
who challenge you
& tell you things you
don’t want to hear because
they love you.
love sometimes requires
going against the grain
of comfort.
cognitive dissonance
is a prerequisite.
have the utmost respect
& compassion for yourself
yet
refuse to cast yourself
in a tragedy
in which you are a victim
alone
unique
& misunderstood.
above all 
know that no matter how much it hurts
you have a choice.
your life
is in your
own hands.
there will always be things 
beyond your control.
your mind will always be
tempted to cast itself
in the perfect drama.
stay rooted in the belief
that you can be well
even if
(especially if)
you don’t feel like it now.
you must face your greatest fear: 
accepting your power to become
who you truly are.