Even when we strive toward the horizon, our goal is to be present right where we are standing now.
In some ways, it might be easier to retreat to a monastery or ashram and have less in the way of our search for the infinite now. But that is not really balance. Or it is achieving balance in a very limited spectrum of human experience. It seems to me that the path of the shaman is one of reaching for balance within an ever growing portion of the human spectrum – and then stretching the limits of that as well. Rather than a retreat from the everyday world, it is an engagement and celebration of the whole. It includes everything from changing diapers and washing dishes to regular exercise and sitting meditation. It challenges the mind to open to the soul and stirs the soul to awaken within the mind.
With no goal in sight, beyond the journey itself, the challenge is to remain in the moment – to feel what draws you/me away from this sacred/mundane point in time and space – to turn and face the hunger and the fear – to own it and embrace it, while holding to the balance of the whole. Like juggling on a tightrope, its not so much the one thing or the other, but how they react to one another within and around you that make it so . . . interesting.
This is the challenge I find in pretty much every day now. When I am about to go into Temple for my 30 minutes of sitting meditation and I hear my daughter in the monitor start to wake up from her nap, and I know that she will be heart-meltingly adorable . . . for about ten minutes. Do I postpone my sitting, and possibly miss sitting at all that day, or do I pass up a chance to spend some quality time watching my daughter – time that can never be recaptured? Talk about shenpa! And so I recognize that this is another moment in which I am torn into balance. It seems I can release the thing that is important to my self in this lifetime or I can postpone the thing that is important to my infinite Self – and then I realize: There is no difference. It is not the release of one or the other, but the embrace of BOTH that stirs and awakens the deeper Self. This is the practice. Unhidden. Unveiled. Constantly revealing itself in plain sight. Mindful choice. Stepping outside of karma. Entering heaven with a smile.