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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

Not Knowing Is The Most Intimate

A note from Carl:

Happy Holidays!

Greeting from a cozy seat next to a fire at Erin’s mom’s Blue Moon Ranch. We had a beautiful holiday, and were gifted with a visitation from two bald eagles during the snowy Christmas Day.

Not Knowing Is The Most IntimateLook at those wings, those eyes!

I notice, in moments like this, that it feels like a spontaneous Mary Oliver poem is emerging in my inner life…can you imagine it? How she would bow, how she would praise? I am so grateful for the teachers and teachings I have had the good fortune to come across in my life, and I hold Mary Oliver right up there in the inner circle in the ways her poetry teaches me how to attend, how to be touched, how to bow to this wild and precious life.

One favorite line from “Mysteries Yes!”

“Let me keep my distance, always,
from those who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
Look! and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.”

After the first 17 years of my school education leaned heavily in the direction of accumulating knowledge and of coming up with the right answers, I am grateful that the past 20 years have leaned more toward not knowing – a not knowing that opens to receiving life freshly. Another line from Mary from “Bone.”

Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
softly,
through the pale-pink morning light

One of the powerful, early dharma books I read was “Open and Innocent-The Gentle and Passionate Art of Not Knowing.” by Scott Morrison. Just the title is a great teaching. Gently and passionately not knowing. Doesn’t that seems a good way to go about one’s day?

when I think I know Mesa…
when I think I know Erin…
when I think I know what will come with the next breath on the meditation cushion…
when I think I know how my spine moves…
when I think I know my connection with the earth…
when I think I know my habits…
when I think I know what comes next…

I can easily miss what is unknown.

Often, when I think I know something about a person, a situation, I relate to what is already known. Of course, knowing can lead to not knowing, as in
Gabriel Garcia Marquez speaking of his wife:

“I know her so well that she is completely and utterly unknown to me.”

All of this is stated most essentially by a powerful line from the Zen tradition:

Not knowing is the most intimate.

Yes.

Not Knowing Is The Most Intimate

Wishing you the intimacy of not knowing as we head to the end of this year.

We are currently working on our teaching schedule for 2015 which we will have out soon…

And in case you missed it last week, Erin offered some wonderful resources below for year-end reflection.

Much love,

Carl

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