What Gets me up?

Photo: ‘Perfection’ by Mircea Ploscar – Pixabay

What gets me up in the morning? Well. I’m glad that something does. It may not be a golden trumpet sounding at the edge of the meadow of sleep, beckoning me into the forest canopy of a new day. But it’s enough to get me to push aside the covers, swing my legs onto the floor, and take those automatic, but irreversible steps into the familiar corridors of dawn. There follow further calls that are not so different in kind from the summons to stand upright on the bedroom floor. I pour water into the back of the coffee maker and grinds into the front; load the dishwasher; put pots and pans in soapy water to soak; then it’s onto exercising, sitting, reading, writing; and on a good morning, a few thoughts and feelings cohere into a stream that carries me along with it.

And isn’t that the hope that laps at the edges of all these activities and routines: that they will assemble into a raft that can carry us a ways out into the current so that we’ll find ourselves, before we know it, on some kind of exploration?

But when my adventures are delivered by streaming videos, detective novels or social media, I miss the calls to action that had the power to challenge me. And I ask myself: Is Pooh’s search for a pot of honey really the gold standard for what I hope to experience in life?

I remember the days when I would head off to work—by bus, subway, bicycle or on foot—and find some project waiting for me to resume or perhaps a supervisor or customer with an agenda not of my own design.

And what about the mind (or is it the self?) who wants an interesting life but isn’t ready to put too much effort into it; who tries to avoid unpleasant perceptions and memories but has never learned to weave better ones out of the materials at hand? And what about that inner being who doesn’t know what to do with those intimations that there isn’t much time left, either for himself or his way of life?

This morning a wind is blowing through the neighborhood, spring cleaning the air with waving Ponderosa boughs, stirring up inklings that an open future has arrived for mind and heart. And I have to ask myself: in this very moment, can I find a single thing that is not perfect?


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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