This week’s photo challenge — share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively.
Many people have reported the experience of lucid dreaming. Like us, these folks are asleep. Like us, they dream. But unlike most of us, these folks are aware they’re dreaming. What an interesting exercise, to imagine where such a seeming contradiction can take us.
“Willing surrender” is another apparent contradiction. My usual image of the will is: a powerful locomotive, propelling people and circumstances toward some form of ego gratification. But when I am thinking, I conceive of the will as faithful awareness of intent. My usual image of surrender is: a slavish lieutenant who abdicates responsibility while enjoying the fruits of power. But when I am thinking, I conceive of surrender as a mighty flowing river of affirmation. So many great teachers seem to have lived a life of willing surrender. Not willfulness, not abdication, but fiercely engaged surrender. I think of Martin Luther King Jr. and of Malcolm X. I think of the poet Rumi and of Joan of Arc.
Yesterday I was driving to a doctor appointment. I was late. Traffic was really really heavy, even though it was already 10am. I felt intense irritation that signalling an intended lane change meant that drivers alongside me would close the gap. I felt clever smugness when any successful lane change produced just a little more speed. In a word, I was having a very unpleasant experience. And then it occurred to me that there were three universes co-existing in a single point of space/time. There was the world of normal congested L.A. traffic, and the roiling whirlpool world of emotions in the driver seat, and the still clear world of awareness of both. It was then that I was free of the two-year-old driving the car.