Just outside my front door, there are three objects that don’t belong. They have been there for quite some time.
One is a coat hanger laying on the outside table. Another is a bathroom rug set to dry on the deck fence. The last is a ball sitting in a planter.
They’re annoying when I’m caught up in myself. They’re happy when I’m emotional. They’re spiritual when I’m mindful. They’re me, as all things are you.
Things In Their Place
Everything has a place it should be. When things are tidy, everything is put away in their places. And things should be tidy, and the fact that they’re not is irritating. When I’m caught up in a dream of the future, doing the busy bee thing, I make a mental note every time I see the objects. I need to pick them up and put them away.
But mostly, when I’m in that state I don’t see them at all. Since they’re not in my house, I only see them when I’m coming or going – when I’ve got places to be, things to do, and people to see. So all I perceive at those times are the focus of those actions. The coat hanger, rug, and ball are just landscaping then. Part of the terrain that I’m passing in a moment, nothing more.
This is the level of ego. Objects and circumstances of safety and security, ideals of perfection and negativity that drives change and inspires action. Blindness and irritation are not happy feelings, but they’ll drive me to pick these things up and put them away eventually. There’s no heart or spirit action at this level of perception: merely confusions of identity, use, and purpose.
At a more peaceful level, each of the three objects has a happy history – they are symbols of those who have been here, of good times and glad intentions.
My mother-in-law did laundry, and one coat hanger got left behind. But she was here, and she was happy, and she wanted to help out. The coat hanger wouldn’t be there without the blessing of my mother-in-law.
My wife hung the rug outside after cleaning it. It’s drooped over two fence posts, and happens to look just like a heart in the way that it’s hung. Except for the left side, which is folded over… it’s a heart with a cuddled, blankety side. She didn’t do that on purpose, but we’ve got a furry emblem of love drying for weeks in the rain.
I myself put the ball in the planter. I was outside kicking the ball with my son and his shoes started hurting him. So I picked him up and carried him inside, leaving the ball in the planter because we were going to come right back out. But we didn’t, so the ball stayed there, and it’s been raining a lot lately, so we haven’t played ball outside since.
This is the level of emotion and symbols. Those three objects glow with the incidentals of family life. They carry the happy, heart energy of home. They glow and make me smile, when I forget about the future and can just rest in the charming sweetness of a good life.
Aspects Of The One
But the truth of the objects doesn’t lie in the irritation of my ego-driven self or in the sentimental stories of my mortal wave.
The truth of the objects, as is the truth of all things, is the One – spirit, Brahman, the divine presence. The objects themselves are embodiments of memory and objects of use, but those characterizations are in me, not the objects. The essence of the objects is simply themselves.
They are not physical constructs, mental constructs, or emotional constructs except through a framework of interpretation. They simply are – without characteristics, without labels or defining potentialities. This is a difficult thing to express, because the truth of the objects lies beyond the handles of expression.
The sun is rising. It glows on the horizon, a mere sliver of light unfolding.
The dog is barking. He’s making himself hoarse to clear the land of the night creatures.
The bird sings. The plants glisten with dew. The air is poised between inhalation and exhalation.
The coat hanger, the rug, and the ball sit and watch this dawn, listen to the dog and bird, and breath the hush of the air hanging over the wet plants. The spirit is in all things, and it is aware. The three objects simply are, existing just as you and I simply exist.
Things exist as ripples here, in this unfoldment – this wave of manifestation – as a rising of the One from all possibility into the duality of expression. To think about moving or using them is to miss them. To get lost in the stories we tell ourselves is also to miss them. To grab hold of the truth of objects is to recognize that there is no difference at all among them.
This is the level of spirit. To simply hold companionship with all things is to be spiritual, to have bliss. Whether it’s a rock on the sidewalk or a passing car, there is arising and subsiding all about us. The One’s perception undulates as a breath.
I hope that you rise this day and move with the breath.