My focus has turned away from external engagements and activities to a more internal process directed to the remainder of life. Entering into a new intimacy with approaching mortality has been partly imposed by COVID which took precedence over collapse, catastrophe and all things future. But the underlying condition remains. As such, I have an uncertain future—or at least, I don’t know which future I may hang my hat on. I have a past, but I’m accelerating away from it and I certainly can’t live in it. I have this moment and I’m not entertaining life much beyond this moment. As Lama Keith Dowman said in an online meditation session, “Time has nothing to offer us” except as a reason to continue grasping for the trappings of achievement. The only refuge is the timeless present.
Here the framework of Deep Adaptation facilitates the more immediate issues of my personal situation. I didn’t have to do that a year ago when I was entering the field of Deep Adaptation because I thought I was recovering. Now, I hang in a limbo whose next move is shrouded in mystery; the illness is becoming more complex and limiting my activity. I’m not cowering in fear, but I’m noticing what I’ll call my constellation of avoidance behaviors. I am noticing all of them almost immediately and deciding to let them dissolve into a background of expanding patience.
I could be pushing myself into ‘activism,’ associating with others who hold a longer timeline and objectives for the collective, reaching out to interact in a larger process or to articulate a view of what is important, communicating with others and formulating strategies, a timeline of objectives. But all of that is falling away. Instead, I’m reaching inward in a different form of activism, retreating into a space between collapse and recovery.
Every outward extension of interest, all associations and intellectual activity, every step backward into a rational or linear frame of mind feels not only like an overextension of my limited resources, but a misdirection, an exhaustion of formerly predominant and unquestioned ideologies of modernity and the typical responses to the collapse happening all around us. I am reverting to holding myself in my own lap as I would a newborn and feeling slightly helpless in that way as if I have to be exceedingly careful about everything I do—not too fast, not too hard, not focusing on a distant future. Just staying here, listening intently, taking refuge in the expanse, resting slightly beyond discursive mind in a space not defined by any boundary whatsoever. The bardo of ever moment. Therein lies its appeal.
I do not regard or accept any of this as denial. What I’m doing now is an imperative. No other choice seems possible, or for that matter, healthy. My intention is to live at the marrow level and follow its dictates. Unfortunately, at least at the biological level, not much is happening there. For all practical purposes, it’s dead space. At the same time, the framework of Deep Adaptation and particularly the list of the associated R-words (Restoration, Relinquishing, Resilience, Reconciliation) combined with a few I’ve added (Revelation, Rage, Recovery), do offer a way into this territory to explore how I can Reconcile myself to the many issues and questions arising at this crossroads.
Justice stands blindfolded, implying a balance. It’s a slippery deal, begging the question, “Whose justice?” It’s uncertain, but the elusive definitions of justice don’t stop us from pursuing its appeal. How I (or any of us) navigate and comprehend the imperatives of the moment, happiness, fulfillment, relationship, intimacy, community, death and especially the accumulation or discard of beliefs are all in the balance now. How I interpret and meet (or not) the imperatives of the world around me, reconciling them with the world within, defining the lodge pole supporting my abode while attending to what is emerging, making decisions among the many competing realities demanding bandwidth is the topic here.