The Sufficiency of Life

. . .  and am reminded that when we die nothing really happens: the whole loveliness of the world continues, the whole sufficiency of life – of us, together, one within the other – continues. Our subjective experience of life ends, yes, but nothing is contingent on our subjective experience – it is merely awareness in a particular form, and the particular is always folding back into the general, the ultimate, the absolute, forever subsumed in the whole . . .

Dust to dust, flowers into the earth (bluets leaving to reappear), waves into sea . . . there are little brooks I pass on my walk that eventually trickle into Bronson Brook, which in turn reaches the Westfield River, which in turn flows into the long blue ribbon of the Connecticut River, which in turn reaches Long Island Sound, a tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, opening at last into the broad Atlantic Ocean . . .

No matter how we think of it, we cannot undo truth. Reason doesn’t change anything – it merely observes what is. Or rigorously observes what is. Death is built in – it is inherent. We know how to die, in the sense that we don’t have to teach our bodies what to do. They understand entropy perfectly! It is clear and natural, like rivers or flowers. Our cells are not lamenting endings or celebrating beginnings. It’s all just movement. It’s all just flowing.

We confuse our subjective awareness of the whole – of the flow – with the whole and with the flow – and this confusion is what A Course in Miracles calls “ego.” It is the idea that we are separate from each other in a real and substantive way, and that this separateness matters, matters deeply, so that what we are in truth – our self, our being – is thereby contingent on this separation, these apparent differences. And that’s okay – it’s one way to do it, one way to see it – but it’s not the only way. All A Course in Miracles is saying is that maybe there’s another way to look at it. That’s all. All a student of A Course in Miracles really does in the end is say yes, okay, I’ll give attention to this other way and see what happens. I don’t know what will happen but I am ready – with you I am ready – to find out.

Life is hardly so concerned with separation – with separate selves living separate lives, forging disparate meanings, clinging to ideas and ideals and so on and so forth. Life takes nothing personally – cancer, volcano eruptions, famine, pestilence. Life does not behold these events/objects differently than it does roses, orgasms, sunsets and chocolate. It’s all the same.

You can see it that way if you are willing. You don’t have to accept it – you can always go back – but still. You can see how simple life is, and how perfectly it takes care, how sustaining it is. It is not hard to do this at the level of the intellect. Attention reveals it to us: life is, and it is not contingent on us or our ideas. It contains them – enfolds them – effortlessly, perfectly. Our subjective experience is okay – life is not trying to wrestle it away from us – but it is merely what passes, not unlike the chickadee, not unlike the chickadee’s shadow on the snow as it flies into the pines. What passes is not the problem: but our attachment to what passes, which is a kind of resistance to flow, is a problem, simply because it hurts so much. Simply because it begets so much sorrow and grief. We can live that way if we want but really: seeing the truth of it, why would we?

Getting to this intellectually matters because then we can begin to bring it into application. The level of intellect is like a seed that the loam of experience turns into flowers. That is the function of reason! If we understand a truth is true, then even if it’s hard, even if it’s confusing, even if it is contrary to what we have long believed, then we will accept it. We will align with it. The fruit of this alignment may take time to emerge, but it will emerge. We are never truly in error. Once we perceive the whole, the fragments – the reflections – inevitably restore to awareness the grace of source.

I say it and I say it in order to remember it: you already know it. But you are kind to listen to me, whose wordiness is yet a step on the path-that-is-not-a-path to the home that is home because nobody ever left it. You are patient and kind: and my gratitude bounds forth on the grass accordingly.


  1. The Teacher Archetype is dominant for you.
    You call it wordiness …
    I see it as a gift that must be given.
    No doubt it has its challenges.
    Blessed are those who have ears to hear.
    Giving and Receiving, a spiral that will lift us back into the right mind.
    Let the words spill out –
    I love when you paint with words all that you see and feel.
    And I especially love when you add a picture or two.
    Would that be your son studying the Connecticut River?
    I suspect his thoughts have traveled the length of the Bronson Brook to the great Atlantic. Lucky Boy to have a guide like you!
    And we too, who connect to the www and chose this brook to wade in have found a pristine water source to drink from. Gratitude abounds!

    1. Thank you so much, Annie . . . that was lovely & buttressing, both . . . yeah, that’s Jeremiah pondering God-knows-what during a break in one of our canoe trips . . . water brings out the contemplative in so many of us, doesn’t it, like we are staring at ourselves perhaps . . . Thank you so much for being here so kindly & thoughtfully & gracefully. . .

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