In response to a friend who texted me this morning regarding a very difficult part of life which was being experienced, and the mixed feelings that arose, unbidden, and seemingly deep and simultaneously weird and shallow and practical; I wrote the following italicized text. I’m not a good texter, yet the format sometimes forces a clarity with a deep sense that there is more arising in me, that I need to look carefully with open heart and eyes. We teach each other and ourselves in so many ways, some sudden and unexpected. Below is what I wrote and then a further reflection on texting exchange.
“I wept a bit last night while eating raspberry pie that the monks had given me. I wept because I was grateful and because I felt no one really knew me or actually cared. Despite all the good people in my life. Yes, it was just a feeling but it felt real. That’s the problem with feelings. The actuality of them is; they are real and they never last. They just point to some thing deeper.
We are just soft mushy things that don’t quite see that in true vulnerability there has to be pain that is almost too much at times. Not a cause for despair, but gratitude. With love.”
The arising of unexpected feelings or thoughts are akin to lightning in the night.
The flash appears and we have a momentary clarity about where we are and the view around us. Then dark again. Our regular view was presented in a completely different context. Our mental/emotional landscape is familiar most of the time, until an unbidden feeling arises and we aren’t really ready for it. So we are surprised and react instantly, and the feeling itself takes on a reality to which we assign an astounding amount of meaning and import. Right away!
Like lightning, the feeling is the product of a weather pattern, one that’s within us. Our internal weather depends on the climate of our Selves; that Being, we live in.
The climate of the Self, is naturally subject to change and we can influence those changes by how we respond to the world around us. When we’re able to influence our climate and therefore the weather (feelings and thoughts), we may see our personal “lightning” as a one-time disturbing event, which we need not worry about, or perseverate within.
The feelings are real. And, they are temporary, i.e. subject to the law of change. They are as “real” as lightning and the feeling itself just lights up an aspect of our inner/outer life that probably needs some careful looking at, or tending too. So, feelings even when they seem to insist on permanence, are merely a lightning event in our own ecosphere. They exist temporarily, therefore must be useful for our own better purposes (spiritual).
My personal lightning flash last night while eating a slice of raspberry pie was not a problem, it gave illumination and context to that moment, in my time. And came in handy the next morning.
Up to me how I look at it. My choices create my climate and all my weather.
So you should view this fleeting world
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.