I awaken to the mourning dove’s appeal for the sound of another, and find the passing dream state, like many before, was spent wandering through a petrified forest unlike any created by the ancient uniting of Gaea, Mother Earth, and Uranus, Father Heaven. It was filled with a longing, a seeking; it was a series of moments of futile endeavors.
As I walked upon moonlit pathways, edged by shadows of hidden yesterdays as well as shrouded by entangled memories, I encountered afterimages, echoes, phantoms, fragmented sequels, refrains, and vague specters. Now and then, it felt as though I had stepped on a “mind-trap” and suddenly became entangled inside an invisible emotional net that swirled me around and around from one apparition to another. Each apparition messaged that I have gone around and around in discursive circles once, twice, a thousand times throughout my lifetime of nights. I say to myself, “I’ve been here before. I’ve re-imaged, revisited, and reviewed past dreams as if I were an author rewriting a long ago discarded novel about an outcast.” Within this uncertainty a voice urges compassionate reflection.
Within stilled and silent reflection is an awareness of the emergence of a cluster of physical sensations from my stream of experiential consciousness. Together with the awareness of this particular cluster of physical sensations is the identification of a feeling I have labeled as “homesickness for a place, person, or time” and the creation of a story about an “I” who is an outcast.
From this point, I ask of myself, “What are the defining characteristics of a person who is an outcast?” I inquire if I have had these characteristics since the moment of my conception. I then discern if my relationship with all living beings, from my spouse to the robin outside my house, is limited to and defined by these characteristics. In other words, have I always been an outcast, and does every living being relate to me as an outcast?
I come to the conclusion that the answer to both of these questions is no. I now hear an encouragement to release the story line that arises from a false identification with “I am an outcast.” In conjunction with the release of this story line is the subsequent letting go of the construct of an unknown person, place, or time. Within the emptiness that accompanies this release arises a consciousness of feeling – sadness intertwined with loneliness. To find that to simply acknowledge this particular cluster of physical sensations with “sadness and loneliness is arising” and to resist the urge to identify with these feelings releases me from the wellspring of suffering within the label of “outcast.”
I am now free to concentrate on that discernment of myself as being freed from this metaphysical search, and to focus on this inferential understanding and to concentrate on discerning the impermanence of sadness and loneliness. This is the discriminating awareness that arises from meditating.
Thus you must train yourself: “In the seen there will just be the seen; in the heard, just the heard; in the reflected, just the reflected; in the cognized, just the cognized.” . . . when in the seen there will be to you just the seen; . . . just the heard; . . . just the reflected; . . . just the cognized, then . . . you will not identify yourself with it, you will not locate yourself therein. When you do not locate yourself therein, it follows . . . this will be the end of suffering.
~ The Buddha