I do not accept this
delusion that you dangle
this illusion of separation
views from the wrong angle.
After a few months of dwelling in dukkha, I was able to tune back into the rhythm of life. The Buddha said that awakening exists already as a potential within us all. Having that little glimpse made me aware that this state actually exists. My ego caused my eyes to start closing, suffering made me shut them more – but I never completely shut my eyes. Granted, I was not completely awake, but I was self-aware due to my study of Buddhism. And I was sensitive enough to the situation to know I was getting in my own way.
Maya is the illusion of self. My arrogance was due to the distraction of the cosmic sleight of hand that is maya. The illusion is that we operate in a vacuum – that we don’t need anyone. We are special because of this value or another that we bring to the world. Whether that value is a special skill, talent, or position. But the truth is that not only do we need others, but we are connected or at the very least interconnected. Evidence of this interconnectedness is displayed in nature – from the way the moon affects the tides, to the synergistic relationship between bees and flowers.
We are also interconnected due to our nervous systems being connected via the electromagnetic waves of our heartbeats. Scientists have observed that the nervous system often knows things before the brain. The research of Heartmath Institute demonstrates that our nervous systems communicate on a subconscious level.
The brain also emits electromagnetic waves. Both the electromagnetic waves of the mind and heart dance with the electromagnetic waves of those that are around you. They respond to, influence, and attract one another. There is now even evidence that our universe works in some sort of holographic nature.
Science is pointing more and more to the immutable law of all of the great mystics: We are one.
But the ego does not see it this way. The ego only sees maya and doesn’t recognize interconnectedness. When things don’t go our way, the ego blames and does not see the part it played. When we aren’t feeling great, our ego wants to repress those emotions and make them go away. This is not dancing.
We live in a cause-and-effect world. Each cause has an effect. The only way to change the effect is to change the cause.
Life changed for me when I started dancing with it again. Instead of being stuck in my head grasping and clinging, I took responsibility. Instead of allowing my emotions to get the better of me, I deeply felt them. In doing so, I was able to move past them. Instead of being stuck in resentment, I let go.
The wheel of samsara spins
So I focus on its center
A dance with impermanence begins
It is here that I enter.
Cyclical, this existence of ours is. From the circadian rhythm of night and day, to the alternation of inhalation and exhalation; even the orbit of the planet we live on – we exist in cycles.
The wheel of samsara in Buddhism is a visual representation of impermanence. It is also called the wheel of life because it represents all of the ups and downs of life and everything that can happen – good and bad. As I dwelled in the underworld of dukkha, instead of dancing with the present moment, I was clinging to awakening. The power and confidence I had during the first four to eight months were gone. Instead of being present with the emotions I was currently having, I was holding on to something that had already ended. In the argument with my former business partners and friends, I was grasping being right. As a result of this, the dispute kept popping up in my head, where it would be repeatedly lived out. With each mental reenactment, I became more entangled.
I believe humans have an electromagnetic energy body that is created by our thoughts and heartbeats. When we cling to experiences and ideas, we block energy and samara can not spin. When we are unable to forgive, the energy does not cycle and we poison ourselves.
The alternative to grasping and clinging is dancing. Dancing with emotion is giving it your awareness – truly feeling and not resisting it. When we do this, the energy cycles instead of being stuck.
Zen masters have compared being in the present moment to riding a wave. To me, it is like a dance. There were times during the first four months of my awakening where it seemed like the type of awareness I had towards the present moment was similar to how a dancer pays attention to his partner: a diligent and gentle awareness. When dancing with a partner, you must be in the present moment. Your awareness must be on your partner so that you can lead or respond properly.
Mindfulness is a dance with the present moment.
But it is even more than just diligent gentle awareness – there is a loving affectionate quality to both mindfulness and dancing. Dancing with the present moment is not allowing internal or external events to throw you off balance and put you out of rhythm with the now. The way this translated into everyday life for me was minding my temper during stressful moments, and choosing an attitude of affectionate towards the hidden order and beauty of my life. By doing this I created a new cause, that would have different effects in my life.
By mentally and emotionally not letting go of how right I was in the argument with my former friends and business partners, I was jamming the wheel of samsara from spinning. Now when the argument comes up in my head I refuse to inject more consciousness into it. There were plenty of times that both of them helped me and showed me love in the past. I choose to focus on that and reside in gratitude.
Gratitude opens the heart, so that forgiveness may enter.
These days, I dwell in humility and reverence for this vast network that my consciousness is a part of. I sit in acceptance everyday breathing through what comes up. My mind is disentangled from resentfulness – it has no home here. This is freeing me up to dance. Sometimes I don’t hear the rhythm; other times I do. Some days I dance better than others. Every now and then my mind will boil over to anger, but I do not lash out. Somedays I get my ass kicked by life, but I never stay down.
Karma in Buddhism is not a punishing force, it is a response to your actions. That is why I call this a dance. The universe responds to our consciousness and actions. So the days that I feel like things aren’t going my way, I know I must look within to see what I am doing to affect my dance partner in such a way, for she is a representation of something that is going on inside of me.**
** Credit Alan Watts, Jon Kabat-Zinn and all of the other Buddhist and philosophers who have written about life being a dance and finding the rhythm.