Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: The Gates of Hell in My Own Backyard

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Gates of Hell in My Own Backyard

Sometimes life here in N. New Mexico can be so peaceful and dreamy it feels like you're in a steady-state of altered consciousness (might also have something to do with sadhana :). But sometimes it can be so hellish that it shocks you with the full force of it.

I was awakened last night at 1am to my dog barking and barking and barking. He's not typically of that ilk so I went out back to check it out. A ferrel cat that I've seen around the neighborhood before--even in my garage once--was in the backyard fighting my huge chow chow dog! And this cat was NOT backing down. I tried spraying them both with water to stop the fight--nothing. Meanwhile this cat is scratching and clawing and hanging on to Vinnie's head as he spins around and around trying to shake it off. It was such a surreal and traumatic scene--apocalyptic even.

When I realized there was nothing I could do but wait for the fight to end, I went inside and watched TV. They finally quieted down around 3 am. I decided to just go directly to sadhana. So, these musings fall on the heels of no sleep--please take them with a grain of salt as I know you always do.

As I reflected on the scene, I had to ask: What the hell? Was I witnessing the last gasp of my own beast being played out in front of my eyes? My own inner demons come to life in this scrawny cat that didn't even react to water, or screaming or stones or anything! I realized my own attachment to my dog's safety (would he get rabies from this ferrel thing) and then somehow compassion awakened in me. I thought of my own inner darkness, my own inner demons, and softened a bit. How wild, how fearful, how intensely full of life this cat was, even in the face of starvation, abuse, and neglect. How my own demons must be terrified of being cut off, set free. Their entire existence wrapped up in my old identity, my old patterns and habits.

I sit here writing and realize that demons or not, I am whole. Everything is a part of me; I'm not pushing anything away nor am I clinging to anything that's ready to move along. I'm breathing. I'm witnessing it all. And I'm no longer afraid to look. I'm no longer terrified of what I might find. My own strength to create, to sustain and to destroy gives me courage--even if I couldn't watch the spectacle last night--too terrifying--I can watch my own mind. I'm not afraid of those dark corners--they are my gift: my desire to live--and one hopes, my readiness for death.

May you recognize yourself
in all things
May you live
without fear
without revenge
letting everything in

And in that mirror
that is life, in all its complexity,
may you see your Self
and may compassion be awakened in you
that you may know fullness
and integrity

May you allow
all that is--
hell and heaven
good and bad--
and greet the inexhaustible,
ever-forward push
of life
with a resounding


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