Thursday, May 15, 2008

Down and In...

Over the past few months of great transformation and a settling into my own skin, I have reached a place of awakening. I have attempted to find the words for my experience, but most of what I've read has been from a male perspective of enlightenment. Teachers like Tolle and the Buddha have their brand of awakening, but I was hard pressed to find women teachers I could relate to. I came across something today that has finally given me some words for my experience.

The article entitled "The Feminine Face of Awakening" , by Rita Marie Robinson, M.A., makes these comments:

"The feminine is characterized by a natural movement towards down-and-in, in contrast to the masculine orientation of up-and-out. The masculine movement could be called transcendence; the feminine, embodiment. I want to emphasize that this distinction is not about men and women because there are notable male teachers like Adyashanti who embrace the feminine movement of embodiment, and female teachers who lean towards transcendence. But in general, I have found that women teachers have a natural understanding of the human journey. They are not afraid to talk about divorce, sex, illness, fear, anger, all the ups-and-downs of ordinary life."

YES!!! It dawned on me a few weeks ago that my experience of going "down and in" was perfectly natural for me. This concept of embodiment resonates so deeply. I like going deep into my feelings, into my sensations, into all the muck that resides in my soul. The awakening is the beauty of being able to embody and also to transcend; to be able to get down into the muck and detach from the muck all at the same time. To be one with all that is, without being defined by all that is. Language, finally language. I've been waiting a very long time to be able to express this in words. Wow. Very wow.

The article then goes on to share the experiences of various women and their sense of awakening.

"Sharon sees no separation between the spiritual and the mundane. “How does it work as you’re doing dishes, being with a friend, driving, as you’re cleaning your house? It’s the Mystery, the revealing, the liberation, the love—all of that is totally present in the most ordinary events.”"

I recall reading so many books by self-help gurus and spiritual teachers, as well as attending workshops in the past with different people seeking self, seeking enlightenment and wondering where the humanity was in everything. How did these people practice their mantras on a daily basis? Had it made them better people? Often they seemed like cardboard cutouts, parroting the latest teachings of someone else. What did they think? Who were they really? Didn't they get depressed, angry, jealous, fearful? How did they deal with that? I wondered.

I didn't want to be like those people. I still don't. I don't want to be anyone's disciple. I don't want to be anyone's teacher. I just want to be me, being me. If you want to come hang out with me being me, that's cool. Just be you being you with me being me and it'll all be good. :)

And then there's this incredible example of awakening in the face of illness. I had once thought that as long as I was still ill physically, as long as there was still pain in this body, that there was still junk in me that needed to be fixed. We have these concepts of enlightenment and awakening and what that's supposed to look like, just like we have these ideas of what life is supposed to look like. We make these unspoken demands of life and of ourselves and we wonder why we're miserable.

"Dorothy Hunt (who was also asked by Adyashanti to teach) described her experience as she faced the fact that she had breast cancer. “We apparently want a human experience, right? We often say we are humans looking for the divine, but the divine is here having a human experience, not just for the good part but the whole of it.” As she lay waiting for the surgery to begin, she described how there was no fear, just a complete curiosity. “This is the Mystery having a human experience and everything is OK and everything is present.” Afterwards, when it’s time for her check-ups, she explains “that there is anxiety at times waiting for results of the tests, but the freedom is in not wanting the anxiety to be different.”"

Yes, yes and yes again. The great mystery that is life is always unfolding, doing its life thing. This is the human experience. Why try to be anything but a human having a human experience? Why not surrender to the beauty of the human experience as it is? It's crazy, ugly and entirely beautiful. How can we be anything other than what we are? So simple. Why'd it take me so damn long to figure it out?! :)

These are women having a woman's experience of awakening, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it. These are real women. Women who feel anger and anxiety and joy and bliss; who make love and care for their kids and careers and live life. These are not some far-removed yogis sitting in caves. I can relate to these women. I am these women. And dammit, it's pretty fucking cool.

tall penguin


zensim said...

The women I 'hang out' with all love her book Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wisdom. Haven't read it personally but we all recognise the importance of keeping 'good company' :)

tall penguin said...

Ya, I'm going to order some copies today when I head into work. I think it will be of great benefit to many women.