It’s good to be welcomed back home again
— where all the stress that you brought with you is instantly dissipated by the first few steps of immersion in the stillness of the forest where the leaves are turning orange
— where all the energy that the trees have accumulated in your absence is seemingly showered on you in the falling of a single leaf
— as if you had walked into the ocean whose waves instantly wet every corner of your body – no matter how long you might have been away
— the ocean and the forest does not ask – where have you been? What did you accomplish there? Why have you been gone so long? How come you never wrote or called?
Maybe the ocean or the forest don’t ask these questions because of their state of being. Or maybe they won’t ask those questions because those answers would be from knowledge – whereas they are immersed in their own knowing.
Their own awareness, and their existence is not really influenced by our comings and goings — to them, all our knowledge is of no matter. Our knowing? That is a different matter.
I had been gone for six months. The fisherman’s trail off of the entrance path into the forest was welcoming as always, with the murmuring of the river inviting me to go left or right – or maybe straight down the middle to the bank where the trees overhang the water in suspended animation amid the stillness, and the mosquitoes immediately find you unless you find a spot with the slightest of breezes, whence they will leave you alone.
The crushed rock of millennia still holds the bank in place for those days when the river will rage – but not today, certainly not today. Today, the invitation is to walk into the middle of the river as the invisible force guides me with one hand and holds the flowing waters at bay with the other . And so, I accept the stillness and the gentility and the whisperings and the noontime birds speaking sweet nothings, stepping gently on one flat rock at a time, some of them barely big enough to hold all of my toes — and as soon as I can go no further into the river, the breeze that comes around the huge bend upstream greets me with an embrace that turns my heart into the wings of the monarch that has long gone South.
And yet, no matter all of that. You are here, You are home, in the center — maybe slightly left or right of it, but the center holds you— and you stand still. And then, an unprecedented invitation, to sit on the dry part of the river bed beneath your feet. You hesitate, but then you decide, that this is the moment for you to surrender to knowing.
So, you sit on the rock in the middle of the stream and absorb all the energy flowing upwards into you from the earth, flowing downwards into you from the overcast sky, from the waters flowing on either side of you, a bit faster on your left because it is devoid of the cluster of rocks that form eddies and lagoons on your right — so much peace, feeling the universe holding you in its knowing — and all you had to do was to accept the invitation.
In his book on Zen, Osho talked about the difference between knowledge and knowing. They are both limitless, and yet, knowledge binds us and knowing frees us. Knowledge creates desire to know even more, whereas knowing releases us from desire. The wave that surges from the ocean to touch the sky of knowledge, falls back into the ocean and is home again — in the ocean’s acceptance is the wave’s knowing of peace, love, joy, serenity, tranquility, silence, stillness, truth and kindness.
I am sure that you have all felt the light and lightness of this knowing in your experience with certain people, places and practices. I hope that you choose to accept their invitation, visit with them, and sit with them for a while in the days ahead.
P.S. Join us Sunday, October 11 at 9amET / 630pm India as we gather on twitter for our weekly #SpiritChat in the knowing that we will partake of tea and cookies 🙂 Namaste – @AjmaniK
Author’s note: ‘stream of thought’ written while walking the Rocky River Reservation, October 6 2020.