My answer to this question last summer was to come here to Pleasant Valley Sanctuary. I left a great job, gave away most of my stuff, and moved across the country to meditate! I’ve been living here for 6 months now, and it feels like time to open it up a little and share some of what I’ve been learning. These posts are mostly clips from my journal I’ve been writing in along the way. As a heads up, a few months in I started using the word God to describe the Divine, Universe, Source, Allah, Beloved, Creator, Divine Mother, Holy Spirit, etc. Please translate it to whatever word(s) works best for you.
Your birthday was yesterday, and you died 5 years ago today. I’ve been thinking about you so much and want to send you a big tribute from my heart. Here goes:
Your life helped ground me. Your death helped transform me.
You’ve always been such a big part of me and still are. Through your strong stable presence when you were alive. Taking care of me, helping me with homework, playing catch, cooking, sunday mornings watching sports and reading the paper, being there. A beautiful soul, you were my sweet and caring Dad. Such a strong presence in my life. One of my strong roots helping me to grow strong and tall.
And 5 years ago, your death helped transform me. I watched you cross over to another world. You didn’t want to leave us, but it was time for your next journey. I watched that other world call to you and open it’s arms fully to bring you in. It opened my eyes.
It opened my eyes in so many ways. Your death showed me that I could live fully. That it was time for me to go deeper and find out what my life’s journey was really about. To stop putting other people before me, and to really explore the journey I was born for. Since then, I got out of an unhealthy relationship, changed genders to help let my full light shine, started a healthy relationship, and moved out to the country to explore the more subtle world you helped introduce me to. This connection to that deeper Source is something I never knew about before. It’s deeper, more beautiful, and more peaceful than anything I knew existed. We’re all One, and I feel you in the air, the butterflies, the clouds, and the wind. I feel your presence as strong as ever before. My heart open and body present, I love you fully.
Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you for being part of mine.
I love you always.
I saw Amma yesterday (Amma is an Indian saint who came to San Francisco on tour, http://www.amma.org) She hugged me, and all her energy was saying God loves me. No need to fret or worry. Everything I do is supported by God. I don’t need to be afraid to put myself out there more. I’d been thinking all day about how to word a question to her along the lines of, “How do I not be afraid of strangers and forgive society’s transphobia?” But Amma went deeper. God loves me. Period. Nothing else matters as much as that. God doesn’t care if I’m transgender or short or anxious or smart or having a good or a bad day. God made this all for us to come back out of it. And through her energy I started to see God in everyone. In the hippies, the anxious people, the dredlocked people, the queer people, the straight ones, everybody. For a moment I saw it all more like she does. That it’s all God and all the little differences between us are just insignificant details.
“Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
But contemplate their return.
Each separate being in the universe
Returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.
If you don’t realize the source,
You stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
You naturally become tolerant,
Kindhearted as a grandmother,
Dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
You can deal with whatever life brings you,
And when death comes, you are ready.”
– Tao te Ching
First day of last 3-day silence here for a while. Really restless mind all day except in meditation. Meditated 4 times today and loved it. Feeling God move through me, in me. I’m letting go of all the thinking all day. There’s so much thinking when I’m not meditating, and it empties when I am. When it gets empty and there’s space inside me, I can feel God. It feels like wind.
Out here there’s nothing to climb. No raises, no material things to buy and keep buying, no promotions, no money being made or saved, no egos being tripped. I’m off that ladder and it’s disorienting. I want to climb something, look forward to something, plan for something. Future thinking and goal-oriented. But the goals of money, nicer things, higher status all had the air knocked out of them here. They’re all meaningless now. Now the goal is happiness and there’s no ladder to climb to it. No set route like if I do X job I’ll earn Y amount of money to pay for Z. There’s no roadmap to happiness!
(picture made by Joanne Fink, found online)
I had one of my recurring dreams about being scored on in soccer because I was too slow and my body was cold and couldn’t move fast. But this time, different from how this dream usually goes, it was just practice and I didn’t care that much.
I got out of my tent and thought about non-attachment.
What if it didn’t matter when I get scored on? What if it didn’t matter when I make mistakes? All my past soccer and academic and popularity and career success and striving for perfection is ego-based. It was right at the time, but now that I know about something bigger than ego, what if I could let that all go? So I could do things, or not do things, from a place of feeling how the world loves me no matter what. And trust the universe to take over.
The Creator made me and the rest of Earth imperfect. I nor the rest of the Earth was intended to be perfect. Our mistakes and words and imperfections are where light can come in. Without them, ego takes over easily. With them, humility is possible and we are much more open to the Universe and God.
From the movie Finding Joe (this is content not direct quotes):
Inside we are all the gold Buddha. But we’re taught to cover it in stone, for armor, to defend us from attack. So we forget that there’s something underneath the stone. Until something cracks it or chips it and we can see the gold underneath. Then we can spend the rest of our life picking off more and more of the stone to unveil more and more of the gold. Once we’ve seen the gold, the stone will never satisfy us again.
(picture found online at http://onepiece.wikia.com/wiki/Hito_Hito_no_Mi,_Model:_Daibutsu)