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Learning to Feel

“The whole world is you, yet you keep thinking there is something else.” -Hsueh-Feng

Lately, I have been taking a class with one of my all-time favorite spiritual teachers, Sally Kempton, about tapping into the pulsing vibration of the universe. She recently shared a story about her teacher, the well-known guru Baba Muktananda, about when he was visited by some Franciscan monks. The monks said to Baba about a talk they were to give, “We should tell them about all the suffering in the world.” And Baba replied,   “…But the suffering is so mundane. What we should tell them about is the bliss.”

I keep coming back to this story… Most days, it feels like circling it from a distance.  The truth of it feels so resonant, that we are here to experience the joy of life, and yet, for most of us, we are lucky to catch a brief glimpse before we are pulled again into our own personal version of suffering.

Every day for me, the route is circuitous, weaving through legal dramas, unmet production timelines, employee issues or the expanding needs of my growing kids. I easily become lost to myself. I am increasingly grateful for the many ways that my meditation practice helps to slow things down enough to see the storyline that overlays, often blocking the light from the stark beauty of having another day. Over and over again, I am learning the same lesson- that the only way back to myself happens through feeling. Each time I wake up enough to not distance myself from the pain or the fear with useless stories, I may not land at courage, but I am in a true, albeit shaky tenderness with life. The moments I manage to see what is happening with an open heart, it doesn’t matter what is “happening” as there is a real connection that transpires with the people I am surrounded by. We can laugh in the face of trouble.

The other day on my way to work I was driving down a tree -lined street awash in spring time blooms. The breeze was lifting loose petals off the trees like spring-time snow.  I was lost in thought of what had yet to be resolved and nearly missed the whole scene. A few errant petals dropped in my way. I had to stop the car to see where I actually was. And there, just like that in that moment, it was bliss.

So this is why the introduction to my book is about learning to feel. Because regardless of what is pulling me outside of myself, it is always only through getting back to feeling and sensing my life that I can find the pathway to bliss. It almost always requires the leap of willingly cracking your heart open to what is, to standing in the bittersweet moments between having and letting go, to leaning into the vulnerable spaces of being loved and rejected, to giving up all the storylines that you have ever invented in favor of what is right in front of you.

And let me just say that it takes a lot of practice, pretty much that is what every day we get is really for… Practicing our way into feeling this vibrating, pulsing blissful now.  It’s OK if you only get it for a second.