Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Grace of Fierceness

As I navigate the deeper waters of meditation lately, there's a lot I don't know.  Acknowledging that while I'm practicing helps me to pry the ridiculously tenacious fingers of the controller OFF my meditation.

About half-hour or so into my meditation this afternoon (guessing here), I realized I was just treading water, so-to-speak.  I was working with my mantra, allowing thoughts to catch my attention, and just generally feeling like I was in an all-too-familiar holding pattern.  Ironically I've been feeling the same way out of meditation over the last several days.  Actually, it's not really ironic at all.  It's pretty much a "duh" type realization.  No real rocket-science.

While at this seeming impasse, a type of active seemingly impersonal fire of anger-like energy starts to focus itself in my awareness.  It's not anger in the sense of being mad about my experience and pouting about it.  More like a focused, clear, and take-no-prisoners "Enough is enough" sentiment.

In the moment, I had the sense that this uprising of will could easily just pass on by and I'd be back in the malaise of sitting rather aimlessly.  Grasping this fire and basically ingesting it into every cell of my body and awareness, I sharpened the intention to harness and focus this force through the Heart, to churn as much visceral self-love as I could possibly conjure, mix it into this fire, and PIERCE the stuckness -- not just once, continuously.

If it's true that God, Guru, and Self are all One, then all of it dwells within me.  Waiting hopefully for someone outside to show up on a white horse and make all the differences in my life that need making is pointless.  Until I make the shift deeply within, my life will continue to mirror exactly the places my attention is rooted consciously and unconsciously inside myself.

I've been feeling for some time that it's now time to take my life deeper, and I've been experiencing a lot of frustration about not seeing the kinds of support from places I feel like I've given so much support to over the years...the exact kind of support that my ego was convincing me would make all the difference for me in expanding the quality and experience of my world.

In this meditation, I just basically said, "Fuck it.  If it is to be, it is up to me."  I don't mean the little me that would go off like Chicken Little to do all the work of making the bread herself just to be right about how great she is and what a jerk all the other animals were for not helping her out.  That paradigm is called Victim clothed in arrogance.  I've danced that dance so many times it makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

This impulse of it being up to me, is pointing at a deeper aspect of self, a quality of will that I'm discovering has great power within it.  In the Tantras there's the description of Iccha Shakti, the energy of will, and in that context, it's a very pure form of will with little ego around it, if any.  I'm sensing, and hoping that what's dawning is the opportunity to sense, tune to, and work with that type of will.  If it isn't it certainly feels like it's on the road to that zip code.

Regardless of the official truth on all of this, whatever that might mean, something turned today in meditation.  The awareness that sitting isn't meant to be passive if it's going to lead to a deeper realization.  Nor is it to be forceful.  Both those are flip sides of the same hand, the same energy.  Some how what got sensed and tapped today seems to run right up the middle.  We'll see.

ADDENDUM ~  In re-reading this piece, I realized I left out a crucial piece from the meditation and the ardent (thank you Zaven for that word) firing up of intent.   At the beginning of the shift in this meditation from the malaise to focused will, I had a vision of my Guru's feet.  In the Tantric understanding, the feet are said to be an access point to the Guru's shakti or spiritual force.  It's also understood that the outer Guru is a mirror for the truth of the Guru within.

At this moment of glimpsing his feet, I reached out and grasped them firmly in my hands, determined not to let go, and lowered my head to place it squarely on them, as my body flooded with goosebumps and my awareness felt like this giant bellows-like fantastically alive pulsation.

This firing up of will was not conjured by me alone.  It was and is inspired by Grace.  It has all the hallmarks of True Support.  May I never forget.  May I always remember.

Copyright 2011 Scott Patrick Schwenk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. In explaining Right Mindfulness, one of the Brahma Viharas or "divine abodes", the Buddha used the words we translate to "ardent, aware, and mindful" to describe the state that one should cultivate. I like this word "ardent" and it has helped in my practice. Sounds similar to the experience you describe. From the dictionary:

    - characterized by intense emotion; "ardent love"; "an ardent lover"; "a fervent desire to change society"; "a fervent admirer"; "fiery oratory"; "an impassioned appeal"; "a torrid love affair"

    -- characterized by strong enthusiasm; "ardent revolutionaries"; "warm support"

    -- glowing or shining like fire; "from rank to rank she darts her ardent eyes"- Alexander Pope