This morning, far before dawn, there was a presence on my land. Some unknown, indescribable other stirred the branches of the trees and moved on the shadowed hill. After the regular morning rituals, I hurried to go and sit outside with it before the dawn drove away such mystery.
The birds that chirp in the darkness hours, the cat that shuffles her feet as she walks through the rotted leaves. The occasional car arising and subsiding in the chilled air. These were in me, as all things are in us, but the presence dissolved just along with myself as I sat out in the darkness. Because, inevitably, the presence that strode in the land was me, just as the rippling thoughts are me, just as the bird-song and crunching leaves are me… and not me, too, because all these arise and subside within us.
Stop, and pause, and note these clouds that tumble and cascade in the sky of consciousness. Even the stopping and pausing are clouds, are they not?
We imagine that we are creatures that sit in the land, but really are we not a space – a land – more than anything else? Just as, in the daylight hours, the land is illuminated by dripping sun, are we not lands illuminated by dripping awareness? What presence of individuality here is not a haunting? When we imagine that we are any role or any small mind, we manifest the haunted self.
Your thoughts, dear heart, are the whispering of a phantom in that inner space. Sensations, bodily and otherwise, arise and subside like the sighing of a graveyard specter in this illuminated space of consciousness. So long as we believe that our egos are real, we believe in ghosts. The most pragmatic scientist is one who has become wholly possessed.
No burning of sage or sprinkling of holy water is needed to purge the haunted self. Blessedly, the unknown and indescribable other does not need to be driven away. Let the shadowed hill ripple, just as you let the bird-songs and passing vehicles tumble and cascade within you. Merely sensing that all things we perceive exist for us by virtue of the illumination of our awareness, fear cannot possess us any more than clouds may possess the sky.
Where does the haunted self go when it is acknowledged and accepted? Why does the presence on the land dissipate when it is granted full access and permission to the garden? All the lands of mind and spirit become tranquil and serene under the light of awareness. There is no difference between the spirits that haunt the land and the egos that haunt the self… both are the manifestations by which we perceive our own refusal and fear.