A Human, Being

The fog is a gift. All night sweating and rolling around on damp sheets. When San Francisco reaches over 75 degrees it is unbearable. Why is that? I guess the dream of endless Springtime gets shattered, and I quietly panic in the possibility that the heat will never abate, that this is the new normal. Here is that struggle again, the wanting what was once there, the desire for the future to mold itself to my vision. The source of all pain, the enlightened say, is wishing for the fog to come again.

Or something like that. Air conditioning might help too.

The dog sits in the window and surveys his garden. He barks now and then at the fluttering leaves or flashes of light between the trees. I don’t see anybody down there, although a mourning dove just flew by the window and the dog seemed startled to see its wings spreading and fluttering. Now the bluejay is flying toward us. The jays must have a perch in this old building, in the wall or roof, and they start free-falling into the fig tree below. The dog doesn’t bark at the birds. He allows them their rituals.

I drop into my heart center and expand beyond the borders of my skin. The body breathes, and I feel the air blow out of my pores. As it leaves the body it carries cells with it, until the skin is a thin porous membrane that the breath travels through. When a thought arises, as they do involuntarily, sometimes a tension drags through the chest or the stomach or the thighs, a clutching sensation that denotes dread or fear or shame or any number of unnamed emotional patterns that contract the body. I invite these feelings in; I don’t fight. I let myself feel the power of the emotions, the power of the tension. These patterns of stress are so powerful that for my whole life I have imagined there is nothing else, that they are my whole identity. Now, I feel something underneath these emotions, something still and unchanging and expansive. This is a different power. It stretches out and fills me, and those other emotions ripple like water at the surface. I feel them, and watch as they pass through. I see there is a trap door in front of me, and I breathe open the door and the tensions blow out of the body, out of the self, through the door. And I shut it.

You get to an age and you want some concise phrase to say, well, that was the point of this life. All the scrambling and the worry and the wracking pain of decisions made. Purpose is easier to see: to rear children, to create a body of work to stand as legacy, to achieve wisdom, self-knowledge, to move further along the karmic cycle toward enlightenment. But the point of all the little moments that make up our history, the point seems so random and needing a point seems in some way silly, especially when I see this life from a distance, from the edges of space and time.

The air is heavenly here, and I feel myself breathed by Consciousness. I hear a siren outside streaming through the beautiful blue day like a banner of sound that presents itself, stays for a while, and then unwinds into the wind. The white moths flutter in the broad sails of the fig tree, and hang beside the mandarins for contrast. I don’t see the bluejays. Maybe they’re sleeping or hunting elsewhere. The neighbor has hung silver from the bush in the yard and I hope that doesn’t keep my jays away. Typical earth-bound humans, with no regard for the magic bluejays might bring.

I wonder what the moths are doing out there among the trees. They seem to spend their days dancing on wisps of air currents, and drawing outlines of branches and leaves. My life seems mirrored in their movements. I lie in the window seat drawing outlines of what I see, with less activity, but maybe my timeline is just different. Perhaps if my life were sped up to the timeline of a moth’s life I would be just as a-flutter, just as randomly tracing patterns unseen.

The afternoon rests still and peaceful deep within me, with the dog at my feet and my skin kissed with breezes through the old window sill. I well up with thankfulness for this reality. What a wonderful creation, what a spectacular hologram, with so much detail and beauty. The trolley bell dings and the wooden chimes clatter. It is a fantastic illusion. My eyes are open and I can feel the air move through the pores as I spread beyond the limits of my skin and body.

I am thinking about the dream I had this morning that I barely remember. I think it had something to do with realizing the power that I’m feeling now. Just Being seems to be all I want to do today. I remember when the weight of those words, Human BEING fell on me. I had never once, in my whole life, heard Being to mean anything other than the noun and not the verb.  Lying here, I feel it all letting go, the constant worry of the physical self, the worry about achievement, the stress about the future. Now, I am here, a human, being. There is no past to call up and the future unveils itself moment to moment. The point darts away like the tip of the hummingbird, tracing invisible spirals on the breath of the day.

8 thoughts on “A Human, Being”

  1. Lovely – it’s wonderful to really see nature and to enjoy the quiet with time for reflection and just plain “being” in the moment. How often do we actually do that? We do need to stop and smell the roses, or watch the birds, and just “be”. It can be totally refreshing and calming. I need to do it more often. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. We love the blue jays too! We feed them peanuts (unsalted of course). They will be your friend forever!! Ask your mom, she knows about our spoiled Blue Jays. Love reading your blog xoxo

  3. I think sometimes your blog is as much a revelation to you as it is to us, thanks for another great read!
    Have I told you that I think this blog is good enough to be used to teach a lit class? You have a real gift.

  4. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thank you

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