I got to the rehearsal studio on Thursday at 10AM, ready to drive to shows in Oregon, and up to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington over three days. We had last weekend off. My life had been still for four days. The outings were walks with and without the pug, and a couple afternoons in the big park reading magazines and watching the sky while the pug kept watch in the soft green grass. Sometimes, on his back.
When I arrived at the practice studio and for the first few hours of the drive up North on Thursday, my mind felt like a clear bell. My heart was so wide. Each of the days off I had walked through the San Francisco mornings for over an hour, breathing the cool ocean air, marveling at the crystal blue skies, gazing with fascination at the gorgeous architecture, and feeling that to live in such a palace would be a weight if it kept me out of these beautiful, simple and still days. I would love to just be able to walk through these places, to see how rooms are laid out, to feel how the air must be to face the Bay with a clear view and lie in your bed with the smell of those fragrant gardens and the salt on your lips and no worry about money, ever.
The streets were joy. My heart is joy. My days were spent reading and writing and being with Henry and meditating. I am happy all the time. My intellectual engagements are like a runaway train from idea to idea. I am reading the words of spiritual teachers and of history and of the beautiful flow of my culture awakening to a collective heart, rising up through the rocky passages of the deep cellars of the wrong ways.
When I got to the weekend, this state of mind lasted for a few hours. Maybe what pulls me out of the heart and back into the head is that playing music has its deep patterns, from the way I grew up loving rock bands and their stories and the ego and identity. It is all so part of a myth, part of the story, part of the pattern. A trigger. I am a rock drummer, and I connect with the field of information that drives me to excess.
Maybe, I jump into the mind because I have to pay attention. Directions and traffic and equipment and hotels and meals and misunderstandings. Set times. New songs. Tickets sold. I force myself to focus, or I cause more problems.
When I find myself in my head, I see how when I’m there I’m sort of extremely there, giving in to impulses willy nilly. It’s as if when I follow my thoughts, nothing is thoughtful, everything feels like grasping, and choices are made out of compulsion. I have so little impulse control. My corporeal body clings to old patterns and drives this need to satiate and trigger chemical patterns of pleasure. I drink Red Bull; I let go of compassion; I yell at drivers; I eat too much and ridiculous food. Not only is this Clem addicted to those sensations, that grasping and poor judgment, but there is also such a deep pleasure and pain of the regret of the actions, the vow to do differently, and then the beautiful days of abstinence and clarity, and the mind a small radio signal in an ocean of silent flow. Then again, the breakdown.
Anyway. We played the show, we loaded out, done. The band was scattered, so I went to the front of the venue, where I opened the door and a band was playing in another room.
They were a great band. The drummer was so groovy and they were playing songs that were beautiful and made everyone in the small venue move. The party was well under way when I stepped inside, and as will happen when I am in a room with a great drummer, the world fell away and here I was in my heart, again. I let it all go, the stresses, the drive, the moments of bliss on stage and the struggle, the fatigue, the regret of the habits, all of it dropped away and I started to look at people in the venue, dancing or laughing or walking by or checking IDs or carrying drinks, and I started to see each one of their true selves.
This is a suggestion by my wonderful mentor. When you are with people, fall into your heart, that still open intelligence, and look at others as if you are seeing their open awareness, the infinite consciousness that animates each human walking the Earth.
My experience is this. A person’s outer aspect, their demeanor, their aura, even sometimes their behavior, is like a little window into this true self, and as I went I started to see each person’s essence in a flash. The tough guy at the door had this delicate joyful child energy that shimmered. The waitress was a shower of soft sparks emanating peace. The pierced undulating dancer was an ancient glow. The out-of-place looking guy watching the dancing was a permeating power, like a lion.
My friend was a silver spiral of bliss energy. There was so much power, so much compassion, so much love, all around me. As each of these impressions fell on me, I started to feel a physical change in myself. I started to merge my energy: with each impression came first sensation, and then I just fell into the overwhelming, expansive feelings of infinite truth and beauty of these souls. I was feeling the strength, the joy, and under everything deep love that was like the very center of a Mother’s love.
I remembered words my mentor had sent me from her teacher:
Humans must learn they can instantly change their energy patterns into patterns of beauty. Humans cling to angles, where really roundness would be more fulfilling and aligned with true nature. Even round furniture, gardens and architecture would help people awaken. It is circular, the flower flowing forth from its center, and light turning back onto light.
Awakening is simplicity.
The day before, I had been in the park and I read these words. I started to think about circles. We were walking home and I thought about breathing in a circle and as I did that it felt that everything started to flow, as if I were walking through a tunnel made up of the clouds rushing overhead, and the ocean air coming across the city and down the street, the street noise and the sound of the trolley tracks and the asphalt and humans and bicycles and all of it circling around. We were in the flow, just floating through, me and Henry.
In the bar, with the band playing and the joyful buoyancy, I remembered to breathe in a circle like this. I felt the blissful light of merging with all of these beautiful beings, and imagined showers of sparks raining into the room and infusing everyone with the infinite state of love at the bottom of all states of being and all energy that has ever been. My heart broke open.
Then, we went to get pizza. The place was hopping and they were playing The Black Keys, which always creates such a party atmosphere, and everyone there felt so young and free and I continued to see each person and the prism of light, or the waves of compassion, or the rainbow of fireflies that they are. It was delight. When I looked at each person I could see a thin veil of judgment when I wanted to. I could see how Clementine assumed things about people based on her past, based on her biases, but the veils fell away so fast once I looked though them to the infinite truth of each person. A thought came in at one point that this too was a bias, to think that each person I saw was holy, was awakened and infinite. I chose to just go with it, what the heck.
The pizza was awesome, too.
You can hear me read this here: https://soundcloud.com/clemthegreat/getting-rid-of-angles