Note: A couple of years ago, I experienced something that radically altered my perception of self, namely it seemed abundantly clear that the sense of self we experience is an illusion, that there is no lasting reality to it. This bred in "me" an unwavering desire to dispose of the illusion, to root it out, as it was clear this was the source of most, if not all of "my" suffering. In retrospect, this desire to do so can be seen as an act that only strengthened this sense of self, that the almighty I would conquer this unholy obstacle. But who again is doing what around here? Since this experience I have continually run into the myriad ways in which I keep this illusion afloat with conscious and unconscious thinking and actions. It has been an incredibly humbling time, and not necessarily enjoyable, though quite illuminating.
For so long, I've craved the "divine moments of truth," to visit again, and mostly hoping that they would stay...that I could shed this meat sack body and ride the cosmic waves into oblivion. I feel like I've been waving my white flag at the infinite ness-ness, saying, "I get it! Samsara is a bitch! Get me out of here!" But much to my chagrin, I keep waking up in this subjective experience, with an individual consciousness. Acknowledging the futility of wishing it be any other way than the way it is, it is my job to accept this incarnation as deeply as I am able. To realize the entwined nature of form and emptiness, or to say it another way, to see directly how Costco is inseparable from the void. As part of this process, I've welcomed the opportunity to write about my experience again, in hopes that it might be of some benefit.
For the sake of clarity, please know that all uses of pronouns are for conventional purposes only. The limitations of language are a bitch, but we'll have to deal with them for now.
A quick thanks...To my great relief, these are questions and realizations that so many have encountered, and I am grateful to be learning from so many wise teachers over the years...many of whom I've blindly ignored for most of my life.
When Lauren and I were first falling in love, I remember her saying the most wonderful, kind things about me, and then saying to her repeatedly, "If you think I'm so great, just wait til you meet these people." At the time I was referring to my community, grown largely at Burning Man. I am acutely aware that this collection of high quality human beings has been instrumental to my experience over the years, and if there is any virtue at all in this ol' shit machine, it is thanks to the countless beings I've been lucky enough to learn from. For this reason, I often feel like a fraud accepting compliments, as I know that "I" am an inter-dependent flow beyond comprehension, and to take credit for anything is just fucking preposterous.
For whatever reason, I've had the great fortune of continually meeting incredibly kind people. Brilliant, talented, wise, generous humans, whom I've connected with for either brief moments or sustained relationships over the years. Over and over again, it just keeps happening, and at times it makes me feel like a magnet for exceptional humans. I often wish I could get all of these people together, one big collection of compassionate minds. Or I'll think "man, THIS person should really meet THAT person!" Or, as happened with Lauren, I'll meet someone who sees some attribute in me as "good" or "wise," and I'll wish they could know the person from whom I've learned and copied that behavior.
As time wears on, with greater and greater awareness of the impermanence of all things, I've felt a stronger pull to create, expel or release whatever I possibly can, whatever it is that feels like I must. For a while I've had the idea to write about someone I love each week, and I'm finally going to do it. This is my public proclamation. In 2017, I'll write 52 lovestories about friends, family members, acquaintances or strangers that I've interacted with, and whom have profoundly influenced my world.
What's the intention behind this?
As I think about my own demise, the thing I shall miss the most are the people. (I'm aware that is a funny/impossible thing to conceptualize, as there will be no me to miss anything) But it feels like a real fucking waste to leave things unsaid, or wait til the eulogy to share everything there is to say. So I'm doing it now, while I'm alive with the energy to do it. I feel compelled to share the love that has so generously been given to me. And I'd like you to know about these wonderful humans. They are living saints in my world. So, as James Taylor wisely encouraged us all to do, I'm going to "Shower the people I love with love, show them the way that [I] feel."