Monday, June 21, 2010
Do you remember Robert Fulghum’s wonderful book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?” A list of lots of simple and universal lessons for getting along in life that we were all taught way back in Kindergarten.
Well, I would like to modify the advice a bit for spiritual training.
I remember my first days in school. We could walk to school in those days, even as young as Kindergarten, even in the inner city of Springfield, Massachusetts.
On my way to school, there are two streets to cross. The first one, by my home, is supervised by my Italian grandmother, Nonie, and I am free to walk the rest of the way to the Tapley street school, shadowed by Nonie - though I didn’t know that until later - like a guardian angel in black widow’s dress flitting secretively from tree to tree to make sure I was safe - until I reach the cross-walk just before the school. There is a guard there to help us safely across, and there is also something written on the street in BIG, BOLD, yellow fluorescent block letters. I won’t be able to read what this says until sometime later in the year, and I won’t understand the universal, spiritual profundity of the message until well into my adulthood.
STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!
That’s it. That’s all you need to know in order to get safely across the street as well as safely across the gulf of separation from illusion to the divine union of Reality.
Become still, let go of the endless whirl of thoughts and become present to the here and now. Ease off rushing or wanting to be anywhere other than where you are. Be, here, now.
Notice what you notice. Pay attention to what is really happening in the here and now; not to what you want to happen or to what you think is happening, but to what is actually going on. Don’t interpret what is going on through the usual filters of judgment; just look at it as what it IS. Ignore the separation of tree, gars, car, person, sky, and just see it all as an intricate play of light, shadow, and… energy
Pay attention to what you are hearing. Sounds without interpretation - just listen - allow vibration in through the ears and try to experience it directly as vibration rather than passing it through the usual filters of interpretation (bird singing, bus engine, person shouting, wind rustling leaves, etc). Treat all sound the way you treat a foreign language - no interpretation of the sounds into meaning, just let the sounds in.
Connection, a dissolving of the thin sausage-casing barrier between “I” and “Other.” A melting; an allowing; a letting in and a letting out; a merging; an expansion of my definition of “I” from limited to my body to unlimited, encompassing everything I can see, hear, and FEEL.
Giddy joy, delight, freedom, play, friskiness, and union.
I cannot think of anything I would rather have more. And it is simple. No Gurus, no complicated exercises, no special clothing or equipment required. Darn! What am I going to spend my money on then? Ahhhhhhh - come to Italy to deepen the experience of Stop, Look, Listen.