October 21, 2014

Before we Get Out of Bed, we Create our World.

Kasia Raj/Flickr

We wake up in the morning and the world is unshaped, waiting to be molded by us, by you and me.

As we wake up, the world, both the inner and outer ones, is for an instant a blank canvas—an emptiness of infinite potential.

The unshaped world will take shape according to our state of being, our state of consciousness, our state of awareness.

I’m sure we know this intellectually. But have we seen that timeless instant with our own eyes? Are we even aware of this? Are we aware that as our consciousness moves from deep sleep and dreaming to waking, the world is not yet formed?

It is waiting for us.

We might awaken and immediately leap from bed, being pushed into action by today’s already written to-do list. Perhaps the world is being filled with some random anxiety, or some other emotional state, about what we think the day might hold. Perhaps we turn on the radio or TV, to let in the morning news. In this case, our world is being shaped by others.

Terminus a quo is a Latin phrase meaning “a starting point, or origin.” As we awaken, what is the starting point from which we create the world? From where does the world, as yet unformed, originate? Is the morning of pure potential overwhelmed with the chaotic noise of our thoughtstream; is this our starting point?

In the same way that the world is unformed and waiting to be shaped by us, so is our path through the day, so are our words and actions and choices and responses. So, too, are we. With the opening eyes, we and the world await.

From where in consciousness and with what awareness are these created?

At some point in my youth, I spent a season as a mountain guide in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I lived for many months in the high mountains, from early spring through to the first snow. I remember camping by a glacial lake, alone, for two weeks. I was already accustomed to life in the high mountains, speaking little, senses growing acute, merging with the stillness of nature in its pristine state. But these two weeks deepened those experiences into a profound quietude, a supreme stillness. Pure silence in all the minutes of all the hours of those two weeks.

That silence of mind and attention within awareness became my terminus a quo, the starting point, the origin of my world-building.

I live now in Los Angeles. There are no glacial lakes nearby. I do not have the support of the high mountains. But the world into which I awaken each day is as unformed and waiting as the world of those days long ago.

As I emerge from sleep to the waking state, I am aware of this transition. I immediately become alert and attentive to the sound and feeling of my breath. I live with my breath for a while. Then I open my eyes, still breathing. I can sense my thoughtstream begin to awaken, too, just as I am awakening.

My awareness is with my breathing, not my thoughts. Consciously aware of my breathing brings me into the silence that is always awake. Even in my apartment in Los Angeles, I awake each morning next to a glacial lake, some nine thousand feet above sea level, above the tree line, in the high mountains. Stillness. Silence. Connection. Beauty.

I begin to shape and build my world and the trails I shall walk with these.

Each day, the world is waiting for us to shape and form it, to give it life and meaning and purpose. What is our starting point for this creative exercise? Is today an automatic, almost unconscious, sequel to yesterday? Is it a new canvas, waiting for brilliant colors and unprecedented brushstrokes? Do we let our backstory determine the narrative of today?

Or, can each day buzz with new possibilities, new paths, new achievements, new insights, new revelations—all untouched and unconditioned by a remembered past, by a fixed identity, by unyielding beliefs?

This morning, blue deer came to drink at a lake of pentagrams and stars.

I didn’t know this would happen last night.





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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Kasia Raj/Flickr

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