Reaching the Great Water

I have been influenced by a way of looking at life—my life, all of life—that hovers beyond words and concepts, even while it nourishes me.

Perhaps I’ve already lost anyone who wandered in looking for a pick-me-up or an open window. But stay a spell. I’m just talking about what allows me to breathe, to feel that I’m part of the global circulation of water and air, without which I could not be alive and without which Planet Earth, with her winds and rain showers, would be a dying ember.

Have you ever noticed that stress, anxiety and unhappiness tend to isolate us, while reassurance, connection and affection tend to join us with others and our shared well-being? Why is that? Does this suggest that the fundamental source of our sustenance is the very realm in which we have been born and in whose rivers and breezes we are being borne along?

Our familiar understanding offers so many hints that we are not living in a mechanical universe where everything is rolling along on its separate trajectory. We know that our bodies are composed of the water and minerals that also compose Planet Earth and that those minerals, now scattered throughout the cosmos from Super Nova explosions, have gathered together in each of us, so that we can walk and talk, grieve and love.

What I study is nothing special. It is just a way of looking at our strange situation: that when we breathe in the passing breezes our bodies are mingling with the atmosphere of our planetary home; when we take a step we are moving in bodies that carry the earliest remnants of the universe; when we look about us we see a landscape woven from all of time; and when we take a sip of tea we are commingling the great waters of life with our own.

Is there not a great longing in each of us to return to the greater waters from whence we come? Our anxiety is as if we believe ourselves to be a water balloon in constant danger of being punctured, so that our very essence would spill out upon some stony ground in which nothing can grow. Our loneliness is that of an isolated being striving to steal one more breath from a stingy atmosphere. But could this way of looking be a simple misunderstanding, which keeps persuading us to hold onto our anxiety and loneliness as if we would cease to exist without them?

Could it be that the waters of infinite, eternal Being lap on the shore of our own being; the winds of time blow into us and lift us above all that seems to define and confine us; and that we are rooted in the field of a great beyond that is our true home?

The Time, Space, Knowledge vision is nothing special. It’s just a more open way of looking at the unfenced pastures in which we are wandering, aspiring, hoping and dreaming. It is just a way of looking at the spaciousness which leaves room for all that ever arises, a way of engaging the rolling waves of time, which allow us to organize and plan in the midst of time’s ever turning face; it’s just a way of appreciating the gift of understanding and awareness, of realization and aspiration, which are at the root of every facet of our lives.

When the sage says “come and sit, share some tea, take a breath, relax . . .” is she just pointing out that we are already being

About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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