Sunday, August 12, 2012


An earwig landed on my baking stone today while I was making cookies. I was making the cookies for my friends up at Targhee who have been working their tails off all weekend to make the Bluegrass Festival unforgettable. Great job, guys! I have no idea where the earwig came from - maybe the spatula? Maybe the pot holder? Maybe my hair! But seeing him writhe around on a burning hot baking stone immediately triggered my empathic self which eventually led me to one of my favorite Buddhist sayings of all times, “May we know the equality of all that lives.”

All the creation stories I’ve heard vary greatly in their details and are absolutely consistent in their source: all things were created out of pure love. The world as we know it (and Lord knows it’s different through each and every one of our eyes) was created from Love. What we choose to do with ourselves and the things we perceive after our initial separation from that Great Love is largely up to us; and the one and only thing that Love actually wants us to do, actually craves and pines and breathlessly waits for us to do, is to see ourselves as we truly are: Gorgeous, Full, and Perfect expressions of Love.

This is why I love Jerry García so much. This is also why I cry at the Olympics, the Bob Marley movie, and when I see people smash ants and spiders. It’s also why I’ll chase a runaway coffee bean around my kitchen floor, rinse it off, dry it, and then turn it into a delicious cup of Joe - because inherent in that coffee bean is a delicious treat that makes some of us remember and recognize Love on the physical level. Each and every thing out there has a purpose and I would like to do whatever I can to facilitate its highest, fullest, most scintillating expression. And so it is with coffee. 

With Jerry García, it’s the same thing. I never met Jerry or saw him on the Earth. I do know that he experienced real connection and re-connection to his source through music and psychadellics until the two became quite intermeshed. The point I offer is not that everyone should necessarily love The Grateful Dead or have pure love experiences while listening to Jerry play or experiment with psychadellics, but rather to recognize the effect of one person’s ability to connect to love on the greater whole. It’s not just “the music” (because we all know it just ain’t the same when Bobby sings a Jerry song), it’s the beam of connection. Pure love coming through Jerry into the world and touching me.

And then the projection happens. That hit of connectedness, whether our own or a vicarious experience through someone else’s music, art, or dance; whether through nature or drugs or physical effort; that hit gets us hooked. So often the framework for how and why and where the connection came from is distorted so that an addiction is born! When I ponder why so many folks experience so much mental torture and the various ramifications thereof, what I discern is this: All any of us truly want is connection. We want to love and be loved. Touching the source either through the creation of beauty or the experience of someone else’s created beauty gives us that sense of complete fullness - the lack we felt in our everyday grind disappears and we feel Real.

And then, when the song is over or the vacation done, we walk back into our dusty and dirty daily lives and there the chasm between us and that ultimate connection reappears. Addiction comes in trying, trying, and wanting to get back to that place of Real-ness. Sometimes we’ll visit the same spot in nature. We’ll listen to the song over and over and over again. We'll take drugs, eat too much sugar, oversleep, try to control our diet, yell, numb our minds with hours of TV. We’ll shirk our human duties to ski powder, surf waves, climb rock and mountains, or run for hours and miles, not sure if we’re trying to make one thing go away or begging the other to come back. It gets very confusing and tailspinning. 

And this is the self-inquiry I would like to suggest: When did you feel most truly connected? Where did you feel it in your body? What ways do you try to recreate that feeling? Can you recreate that feeling in this moment? When you do, dissolve the person, place, or thing associated with it and just feel the feeling in your body. Close your eyes if you want and breathe into the places in your body that most fully feel it. 

People ask me all the time to teach them to meditate simply. Well, this is it. Re-experience any kind of love you've ever felt, dissolve the grippy mental attachments to who or what or where seemingly inspired it, and just feel the love. Close your eyes and softly breathe into it and, like a breeze on a small spark, it will glow and grow. 

If you've never experienced true love or connectedness, then close your eyes right now. Invisibly hovering over top your head is a portal that looks like a beautiful flower. The center of the flower is an opening where all the grace, beauty, and unconditional love you could ever imagine constantly flows. Imagine the limitless quality of love bubbling up out of the flower center and flowing over all its petals, gathering the extra sweetness that lies on a flower petal, then raining gently down all over you from its place above your head. It's a shower full of love always waiting for you. Some also call if Life Prana. Soak it up and know that it available at all times. 

And then, so that we truly can recognize the equality of all that lives, flow that Life Prana to all. Flow it to the cats catching birds and the birds that are caught, to the earwigs on your counters, the bossy lady at the grocery store, the screaming kid on the bus, the guy kicking his dog and the sweet, sweet dog, the hippies dancing, the rainbows shining, the bill in the mailbox, the thistle growing upward toward the sun. We are all yearning, looking, and waiting for that one thing that will change our world. That one thing, my friends, is Love. It’s looking for you.

“Nothing left to do but smile, smile smile.”

a P.S. about the earwig - I took him outside and put him in some cool dirt with a small piece of grass. I gave him a blessing and stood quietly for a moment. I bowed to him as I left. I don't know if he is alive or not. I used to think those kinds of actions were insane (saving single coffee beans and blessing earwigs) until I had the courage to do the things that spontaneously came out of my heart. Most of the time, no one knows what I'm doing or that I did it anyway (unless, of course, I post it on an internet blog). And that is a great way to start. Do the things your true heart asks of you in secret if you must at first. Do it even just in your imagination if the actual actions are too scary at first. When your confidence in the truth that your heart holds grows, you will be able to shout at the top of your lungs that you bless earwigs. Or not. Either way, follow your heart.