Reaching for the Light


"Student: I’m reaching for the light. Please help me.  

Teacher: Forget about the light. Give me the reaching.”

So often when you sit with a Koan for a long period of time you discover things that rest more deeply below the surface. So as you sit with this Koan over the next days and weeks, see where it takes you.

One question that arose for me with this Koan was:

What does reaching actually look like?

I was recently aware of my reaching for a kind of “rightness” – My struggle with actually being wrong and how that brought up the fear of what that might mean. Does it mean I am worried that I am not a good or a lovable, smart, caring, worthy person etc?

I was also aware of the sense of “This is it!” Most of my life, I realized, I have been reaching for what I might consider “a real life.” Thinking again and again that the life I wanted was out there somewhere. But, at this point in my life, I am aware that I am no longer doing that. I see that this is it – this is my life.

So as I am sitting with “reaching” I can ask myself what that looks like? I think I am more interested in knowing myself more authentically and reaching for the ability, deep within my being, to allow my vulnerability, my fear, my anxiety etc., to have its place – to have its expression – so the reaching is more of an allowing.

What do you notice?

Another question that arose with this Koan was:

What is the light that I am reaching for these days?

The light feels more like self awareness and the allowing of an authentic expression of myself without my unconscious censorship. Or, if there is censorship, then a willingness to be with that and allow curiosity and kindness around my conscious and unconscious censorship. In other words, there is no need for self-improvement.

There is a wonderful opportunity to witness yourself and all the querks, and imperfections without a need to change or improve a thing. This is it – and if I reject THIS, I actually miss my life. What good is that?

How about you?

Myself and My Person

By Anna Swir (1909 - 1984)

English version by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan

There are moments

when I feel more clearly than ever

that I am in the company

of my own person.

This comforts and reassures me,

this heartens me,

just as my tridimensional body

is heartened by my own authentic shadow.

There are moments

when I really feel more clearly than ever

that I am in the company of my own person.

I stop at a street corner to turn left

and I wonder what would happen if my own person walked to the right.

Until now that has not happened

but it does not settle the question.

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