“Living is not breathing. Breathing is only the possession of a possibility. Or of all possibilities.” Antonio Gala, La soledad sonora
You can find me on a solitary journey somewhere between the great metropolitan city and the coast, a long and winding highway that passes through perfectly distributed olive trees that dot the swooping orange and pale brown Jaén mountains; passing through the tunnel of honey, and discovering the oh so sweet Sierra Nevada valleys. I’m arriving briefly at some obscure town I’ll call heat and humidity and I know just then that I am winding down. Winding down this road and this scenery, this winding road inside me, and all I can think of is that, perhaps, it’s time to say, yes. Yes, to myself and then to others. What does this mean?
There is a time and place for meditation, traveling and solitude. And there is a time and place for relationship and establishing community. Learning when to say yes to yourself and when to say yes to others, learning when it’s time to come inside and connect, is not always easy. When we hide in meditation, when we rest in solitude for too long, or stay in our sameness– we are attached to the illusion that enlightenment can be found in one state or another and this is not the case. My sense is enlightenment is fluidity and accepting the ephemeral nature of all things. I am on that trip now, it’s enormous, this understanding. I want to cower in the darkness but light is already bursting out of me. This is the gift. Will I run away?
Say yes to the truth that we are born alone and we die alone, but don’t grow old and die before it’s time. Stay aboard your wandering ship; pursue that capricious gift even it means you must work in communion with others. I am comfortable in my aloneness or not, the world seems to pull me this way and that, and enlightenment is allowing the pull, accepting the struggle and opening myself to readiness, one way or another.
Say yes to the sea and unrest; to know when to hunker down in a storm. Say yes to seeing and touching that sacred moon; to recognizing an opportunity, that wayward passage forward. Say yes to yourself first, then embrace what you least expect. Say yes to yourself but answer the calling. Come down from your mountain and speak. Come out of your cave and greet the humility of people, for why are you here? Dance if there is music playing. Make love when you can. Open your hands wide, reap the reward of your journey.
Sit up with dignity, but then dare to bare your chest. Allow yourself to be small after such greatness, allow yourself to get wet. Let the struggle of uncertainty and breathlessness reside inside you, let the smell of strangeness enter your comfort; wander quietly into their hearts and homes and see how light is shared. Say yes, yes! Say yes to yourself first and then to others.
Throw down your anchor and yank at their chains. Allow yourself to be held in stillness, to observe the change. There is a beginning and an end to each display, so watch your ship approach the shore, watch how it collides and breaks apart as it nears the rocks. Stay the course without delay; don’t let time stand in your way. You are the captain of your ship and the waters are taking you somewhere. Let it take you.
Say yes to yourself and then to others. That is the way.