Bhutan 2013

A new voice is emerging from within. The space from where it’s emerging has appeared before me a handful of times over the past nine years, but now this space seems to be expanding. The Voice, rising amidst the clamor, is now distinctly audible. Actually, it’s not the space which expands or contracts, but the quality of my own presence – my Being. What does this mean?

Who or what is this Voice? I know it’s not the voice of reason which, despite its weak energy source remains a prominent speaker inside the head constantly analyzing and questioning: Who? What? When? Where? But by far the most mystifying question is “Why oh Why!?”

It’s also not the voice of emotionalism which tends to erupt with great ferocity in the span of a single moment – a historically triggered movement of violence, the reaction of some deeply embedded festering volcano within, now fiercely active. (What made you come to life?)

The fact is that this new Voice is leading me through unknown territory – a kind of directionless direction. Don’t ask me to explain this because I can’t seem to draw even the haziest outline of the creative potential of this unknown. All I know is that from this moment on, the Lone Sheep is led by this new Voice (no doubt occasionally accompanied by the voice of reason and emotion, part of a crew I’ve previously referred to as ‘The Others” or “The Legion”).

This is the Voice of genuine exploration. It’s a Voice in the head, but not the mechanical voice of history repeating itself, chattering away regurgitating the “past” as a means of understanding the present. It’s not one of the many selves within trying to manipulate the “future” using the stale old data’s known to it since it materialized. It’s a Voice of challenge, the Voice of a Warrior confronting her own projected image. (Projected image, I also wonder what this means. Don’t I know who I am? Doesn’t the reflection in the mirror paint an accurate portrait of “Lone Sheep”? Here the Voice remarks, “You reflect what you project my dear.”)

Bhutan Trip - July 2013

Bhutan Trip – July 2013

The Lone Sheep’s renewed vigor is a result of experiencing glimpses of this omni-enlightened path which needs no lamp posts. In the Light of these glimpses a subtle kind of Knowing emerges from an unknown source:

“Nothing that isn’t here is needed because nothing exists apart from Now.”

Evolution of consciousness doesn’t seem to be a matter of time, but a matter of quality of presence. The evolving voice isn’t the continuation of the old, but the emergence of the new. The Lone Sheep is in the process of renewing – a caterpillar metamorphosing from within its cocoon. She remains inside until the transformation is complete – the molecular structure itself must break down before it is restructured. The winged creature which emerges from the cocoon is nothing like its past, the caterpillar; nor does the butterfly identify with the wings as a new beginning. She simply flies.

(Photo Credit: Sid Mosdell)

(Photo Credit: Sid Mosdell)

The Lone Sheep is now dedicated to exploring the caterpillar’s daily evolution from moment to moment as she battles to transcend the pitfalls of the known terrain. What are these pitfalls if not her cyclical reactions bound to the illusion of time? The enemy’s mission is to uphold the mind’s identification with, simply put, thought.

Yes dear friends, the battleground is the realm of mind and the enemy is whoever happens to be in command of the Legion of relentless selves at any given moment. Each self is brought forth by the association with which it identifies. So I paraphrase the words attributed to Jesus and ask myself “Who is Master of the House?” You might be asking yourself, “What on earth is she talking about? What selves? What Legion? What “known terrain”? What battlefield? What’s wrong with identifying with my own thoughts? How else can I identify and be identified?”

I only know that no matter where I go or what I do, I always have a sense that something isn’t right. There is always a conflict inside me. It’s as if I’m not just ONE, but many selves. Maybe I’m like a coin or a die with 100 different sides and how I react at any given moment depends solely on which face the die lands. (Who or what is rolling? Do you ever question? I do question, I must! How can I wear today the face which I condemned yesterday? How can I be the self who loves in this moment, and the self who hates in the very next?)

Together we must chip away at these questions, not by answering, but by realizing that no Truth can ever be known through the mind of a being which is so fragmented and conflicted inside. It’s these different faces of one die, it’s these different selves which I refer to as the “Legion”, and each member of the legion is attached to its own long history of associations and conditioned thoughts. There is only one self which can take a stand against these “others”, the false masters, and that is the Intending Self.

(Photo Credit: Johan Sisno)

(Photo Credit: Johan Sisno)

The Intending Self (The Voice) is the only one who can confront this Legion often referred to as the ego. But do we leave the Intending Self in the hands of some random law of probability? Do we sit around and wait for the face of the Intending Self to appear once in a million throws of the dice? Or do we do something about it NOW? So, what to do friends? The only answer is that the Intending Self must simply be present.

Can we etch out a piece of time and dedicate it to meditating cross-legged in a room surrounded by candles only to walk back into the hands of time the moment we walk back out of the room? Can a meditation which itself is divided between ‘this time’ and ‘that time’ ever realize BEING as a WHOLE, as ONE? How can meditation which seeks to perceive the Now, play out as an act fragmented in time? Meditation is not a construction which ADDS to the inflation of the ego. Rather, it must be a deconstruction of all the divisions, of all the faces of the dice. Therefore, meditation is LIVING in the Now. Life and Now cannot be separated, so Meditation cannot BE but LIFE itself.

(Photo Credit: Joel Olives)

(Photo Credit: Joel Olives)

So friends, only when we succeed in perceiving with a superbly still mind will caterpillar emerge as butterfly. Only a still mind, free of conflicting selves, can break free from the chains of psychological conditioning and all its consequent suffering. The wings of freedom can never be used as a means of escaping the present moment with all its perceived “problems” and “challenges”. The flight is not a means to an end but simply an end – the end of attachment to self image, to past and future, to the idea of “caterpillar”, and even to the idea of “butterfly”.

The metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly is symbolic of a process which must lead to the end of living second hand through symbols. The New Voice, a Gentle Warrior, emerges from the realm between symbols, the space between two thoughts. The fate of any Lone Sheep lies in the birth of a New Voice – freedom from the herd is NOW – beyond the hands of time.