Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mile Rock Beach

This is a post I wrote on a discussion forum. I thought it would work well here. I have walked labyrinths many times over the years, but just recently started walking them as a formal meditation. I have found them to be very helpful in my practice, and for whatever reason, walking the labyrinth gives me great focus and a much deeper meditation experience. The labyrinth in this post is found at Mile Rock Beach near Land's End, here in SF. Labyrinths can be found all over the world, in multiple cultures and have a several thousand year old history. I highly recommend trying one (my kids love them!).

I took the kids to the labyrinth at Mile Rock Beach, here in San Francisco. You have to work to get there! Maybe a quarter of a mile of steep stair case and some mild rock scrambling. This labyrinth is situated on a cliff overlooking a sea lion and sea bird sanctuary, so as I walked the lab. there were flocks of pelicans flying just at the lip of the cliff (the edge of the labyrinth is only a foot from the edge!) It is made from the stones found around the site. Just off shore to the west is a light house with a fog horn that sounds every minute. To the north, the Marin headlands on the other side of the bay outlet to the Pacific Ocean. To the east, the confluence of Marin and San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge between them and Angel Island in the background. The sky was the most amazing blue with large clouds flying by, leaving shadows on the deep blue ocean. All around, crows and seagulls and pelicans drifting on the breeze. At the base of the cliff, a rock strewn beach with sea weed swaying in the waves.

The kids decided to walk first (my 3 yo kept trying to 'beat' them to the end). They were both so much calmer after. I really need to get them out to do this more often! When they were done, they decided to climb the rocks and off they went. It was my turn.

I have been pondering many things lately, as some here could attest to. I have had a difficult time trying to assimilate some concepts that something in me tells me I need to understand. These ideas we throw around about presence and the now are so much bigger than I had thought them to be. So much more foundation shaking, and frankly, I have been a bit blind sided by them.

Today's journey to the center of the labyrinth held at least some of the answers. I have been resisting the idea of emptiness being the foundation upon which our forms are projected. The idea of life as illusion... uncomfortable. Today I got a glimpse of the joy of this. Without the emptiness, without the foundation of all things, we could not have this incredible experience called life. We may create our realities through the mental projections we put out into the world, but emptiness (formless, presence, God, the Ultimate...) props up that 'illusion' by giving it structure. By giving me structure. While I may return to presence when I die, for now I am here, and I know that is to be in this place, in this time with this body. I know that I am here to experience all that form has to offer, to think all the thoughts that come into my head, to feel all the emotions that swirl around my heart.

There is no need to worry about egos. They are part of the ride. If I identify with mine from time to time, it's ok- it is, after all, mine, and it has been given to me for a purpose beyond over coming it. I know this.

I am solid. I am free.


Bill said...

Form cannot exist without emptyness, but emptyness can exist without form. From this foundation of emptyness (spirituality, god, etc), all life came into form and thus existence...IMV

have a good day, bill

feralkat said...

oh that seems so wonderful! Beautiful writing! XOX

Adrienne Johnson said...

What if when all is said and done, it turns out that all of this we experience, is just the way presence plays dress up? You know, like when you were a kid and played 'Tom Mix'(or for me, Pat Benetar). Would that be a dénouement or just a really good Jewish joke?


Kalsee said...


Logic, which is a fabrication of the mind, made up of various models, doesn’t play a roll in the infinite or spiritual world, in which the mind alone would only see as emptiness…but emptiness is not empty…just heart felt oneness, presence, creativity, love, and joy. This infinite creative presence doesn’t know any boundaries; and thus this creative manifestation of form, is but another expression of wonderment, in this self-observing universe.

love to all, bill