Striving for security and some ideal of a safe place where I am not affected by life takes me away from my humanity and being. At the same time there is something about coming fully into my heart that is not so easy. Coping with the emotion, honesty and responsibility involved in realizing reality and the pain and suffering in life that I create for myself and others in my ignorance takes some getting use to. Apprehensively at times I open in awareness. It seems to be a much more real and alive way; so I forge on with this.
I know a family who has created a beautiful refuge in the Dresden area of Germany. They have been through the First World War and bombing of Dresden and as non party citizens in the East Germany GDR . Now they have a lovely large landscaped piece of land and plenty of income security; something they have strived for all of their lives. With all of this their lives remain deeply unsettled and anxious and they continue to worry about their security.
We are quite normally raised to think that when we close the windows and doors of our house and stay inside, we can feel very secure, safe and unmolested. But life is not like that. Life is constantly knocking at our door, trying to push open our windows that we may see more; and if out of fear we lock the doors, bolt all the windows, the knocking only grows louder. It seems from my own experience that the closer we cling to security in any form, the more life comes and pushes us. The more we are afraid and enclose ourselves, the greater is our suffering, because life won’t leave us alone. We want to be secure but life says we cannot be; and so our struggle .
Iris and I spend three days a week in Eschersleben, a small town two hundred kilometres west of Dresden where she performs eye surgery in Magdeburg and does clinics in a couple of little villages. I escort her and support her, as well I take my watercolours and pencils and create while I am there. The leaves are still hanging on and its quite lovely in a more rural area.
These days I feel at home wherever I am. Iris and I are headed to Myanmar, for a month, in January where Iris will volunteer her time working with local surgeons, training them in procedures that have not been learned in Myanmar. Its our sixth visit there. We have come to have good connections and appreciate the simplicity and basic way of life there.
We were discussing the issue of home amidst our planning and we agreed that neither of us have one particular place that we feel is our home. Both of us have traveled extensively and lived in various countries and places over the past twenty years. Although there have been good memories and periods when we have longed for the “good times” of the past we both agree that these are creations of thought and as our relationship to thought has changed we have both moved through the emotions that seemed to be attached to them.
This “letting go” is not something that I have strived to attain. What has occurred is that I realize that to focus on an image is to think about it. I cannot escape this because the very use of an image is from the field of mental concepts. Much of longing and desire are a product of this focus. For me meditation and a contemplative life is about a connection to eternity and has nothing to do with time or getting lost in the stories, thoughts or concepts of the mind. A concern for past and future begins to fade as the real meditative state of silence grounds awareness in the now. Habits, tendencies, and identification with conditioned belief systems have subsided in a practice focused on rediscovering this original nature realized in presence. It has nothing to do with becoming more successful than others, self improvement, success or to change myself outside of coming to know myself. Change is a given for all things in existence and I am aware that I unfold and evolve when I am more attuned to my nature. If there is faith involved it is in that process and connection to something unknown.