Becoming A Compassionate Ancestor
There is a longing that echos from the infinite depths of our innermost being, from Gaia, from existence itself. Although we may not know what we long for, we are continuously moved by its presence. It inspires us to question, seek, explore, create. Although longing feels personal, it is also transpersonal. It is like an endless koan deconstructing the false to reveal the essence of the true. It is like a spirit guiding us from beyond.
Longing often brings with it a sense of aloneness or separation where there exists a seemingly endless sea between what is and what wants to be. Rilke observes in his poem below that in our humility, the presence of the sacred reveals itself to us. In the presence of the ‘wise ones’ and in our aloneness we become available to receive the blessing of something larger than ourselves. In the empty chamber of the heart within the heart, the longing within the longing guides us in the way that a clear stream flows home to the wide open sea.
Longing lives and moves in emptiness.
Emptiness flows though form and formlessness alike, pulsing with life in the space between molecules, atoms, breaths, heartbeats, planets, galaxies, self, and other revealing that nothing is solid or what it appears to be, and all forms are in a dance of relationship and inter-being. Empty space is a living tissue, an invisible potency that enlivens and connects all things. When we come to inhabit and abide in this emptiness of which we are made, we touch the wholeness that unites all things. The ten thousand things return to source.
As seed becomes sprout, becomes plant, becomes medicine, becomes seed, becomes compost, the emptiness within which it moves and exists calls it to its wholeness over and again. In each phase of the seed’s development it is whole just as it is, even when it returns to earth as mulch.
Whether seed or human or other than human, each miraculous unfolding begins with an exquisitely beautiful and sometimes painful unimpeachable calling forth. To ensure our unfolding, longing is stitched like a golden thread into the fabric of our being like a homing instinct that we can follow. This thread of our belonging is woven into a larger tapestry that has no perceivable end or beginning.
In this way, we are always enough.
The chaos of spring can bring surges of clear vision, inspired energy, exuberant movement toward manifesting our vision, impatience, frustration, overwhelm, or fatigue. As the great wheel moves into spring, notice how longing moves you. What is unfolding and what wants to unfold? Notice where you are true and where you are false. Are there ways you hold yourself closed, shrink back, or try to force growth? Tune into your body’s felt sense for what is needed or what it might have to say about what you are experiencing.
Notice the constancy of the emptiness between your in and out breaths, between your heartbeats, cells and molecules. You can rely on this constancy. It is always there. Notice if there is anything blocking your free and easy movement and listen for what it might need. No coercing, judging, or editing. Offer your awareness, breath, and heart—presence. Gently listen with your whole being without trying too hard.
Through sincerity, honest inquiry into self, humbly opening to the heart of our longing and moving with it, frustration is transformed into compassion. This is the medicine of the wood element and spring.
In this way, over time we become compassionate ancestors.
What if we could enjoy—truly, wholeheartedly, unabashedly enjoy the spirit of longing and not knowing through the full range of raging waters and easy sailing, honoring all the ways longing carries us like a steady ship between the known and unknowable? We are already ourself as we become ourself. There are no mistakes or wrong moves. Just what is. Perfection lies in imperfection. Each moment is an opportunity to recognize the presence of the holy in the longing “like a thing just as it is.” We are enough no matter where we are in our dance.
I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough
to make each hour holy
I’m too small in the world, yet not small enough
to be simply in your presence, like a thing—
just as it is.
I want to know my own will
and to move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
to be among the wise ones—
I want to mirror your immensity.
I want never to be too weak or too old
to bear the heavy lurching image of you.
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.
I want to stay clear in your sight.
at length, in detail;
like a word I’m coming to understand;
like a pitcher I pour from at mealtimes;
like my mother’s face;
like a ship that carried me
when the waters raged.
RAINER MARIA RILKE, FROM THE BOOK OF HOURS
TRANSLATED BY ANITA BARROWS & JOANNA MACY
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ‘Re-membering Wholeness, Belonging and Kinship Through Changing Times’.