Monday, June 8, 2015
The wakeful joy of everyday living
One day, you just wake up.
Everything looks sharper and clearer, everything sounds crisper and crystal, and the smells, from the must of the furniture to the lilac flowers, waft from your nose straight to your brain and embed in your soul, as if they were there all along and freshly created for the moment when you. just. wake. up.
You remember that you have been here before and held on like a drowning man, clutching at wakefulness so as not to let it slip away. Still, you never sensed when it went away, just as you never remember the moment you fell asleep - you only realize that you were sleeping and dreaming and not noticing until the day when you just wake up. Again.
Will this be the day when you stay awake?
It must be something you can practice until you reach a point where you are awake all the time.
It must be a gift from Some One, to appreciate one at a time.
It must be a chemical reaction that occurs when the enzymes and hormones and blood are mixed just so.
It must be a spirit that sails across the field and envelopes you in sharp-eyed wonder.
It must be a seed planted in your heart that germinates and grows until one day your chest bursts with wakefulness - an explosion of awareness so bright it’s almost scary.
“I’m alive!” It feels almost like a supernatural force except it’s completely natural, coaxed out of the air around us by some everyday magic of everyday life.
And that day, you just wake up.
You remember previous rebirths, awakenings that came and went before, and perhaps you realize the awareness is like a smooth stone in the water, slipping from your grasp if you clutch it too tightly.
A deep breath to exhale the poison of the quotidian and drink in the nectar of the now. Tension you forgot was there loosens in your shoulders and in every other muscle you never realized was clenched, settling through a series of little aches and nips of pain into a glorious undoing. The tightened sinews relax and open psychic pores to drink in the day, and it’s full and it’s clear and it’s life.
“Don’t let me forget this feeling,” you cry to no one in particular and everyone. “Don’t let it slip away again.” And in that fear and that anxiety lies the beginning of sinking back into not-life, for fear is the enemy of life. Death comes to us all, but not when we’re awake like this. Even the pain is more vivid in these wakeful moments, which is why some turn away, no doubt.
One day, you just wake up. And the word that bubbles to the surface is gratitude. Thank you for this waking awareness, you whisper softly, not quite knowing whom you thank. You want to believe it is God, but all you know for certain certainty is that you have awakened and see and feel and hear and taste and smell it all, wondering where these five senses have been while you passed this way in dormancy.
Was it waking a few minutes before the alarm that did it? Is the air more full of life those extra minutes before the sun rises? Do the alarms corrupt the natural awakening cycle and should you always asleep until you wake? What, you wonder, causes this special sense of being alive?
And in the questioning and the wondering, the muscles tighten up again, and the feeling begins to fade …
Until you snap back and realize no, the answer to being is simply to be - something that is not simple at all is the simplest answer of all. Be. Don’t think too hard about it, but think just enough, and Be.