Easing Up

On another beautiful bike ride this morning, we stopped for a few minutes in this very old cemetery,

and, strangely enough, the phrase ‘easing up’ came to me as I wandered among the old stones. I am easing up in these elder years, partly because I’m retired, but partly also because I’m finally understanding a significant fact about life. I grew up with the belief that the nature of reality was what might be called ‘manyness’, but now I see that it’s much closer to ‘oneness’. From my earliest memory, it was impressed upon me (by family, friends, the media, and the overall culture) that life is basically a struggle among innumerable separate elements. My main task, I learned, is to save myself from harm and try to triumph in as many of the daily contests as possible. Now, however, in my eighth decade of trying to figure things out, I’ve come to understand that the manyness approach to reality is simply inaccurate. Instead of being many, the Universe is just one. It’s not a confused collection of disparate material entities, but rather a single, cohesive, and harmonious expression of Itself. The entire Universe, I see now, is as unified as a single cell. As in a cell, everything that happens in the Universe happens for the good of Itself. What this means for me is that I should give up stressing and struggling, because there’s no other person or other thing that’s out to hurt “me”. In fact, there’s no “other” at alland no separate “me”. There’s just the one shared and always successful Universe, of which I and everyone and all of our so-called problems are a part. We’re all part of a single impressive enterprise called Life (of which death is an integral part), as closely interlaced with each other as the insides of a cell. This realization, to me, calls for a lot more loosening up in life than struggling. As I walked among the gravestones this morning, I felt closely in tune with the oneness of the universe – gravestones, grass, sky, death, bumblebees, bicycles – all endlessly interweaving in easygoing, wonderful ways.

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(about Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)
She shares herself most fully
in the cemetery near her house.
She lends herself as a gift
as she walks among the gravesites,
feely bestowing the steady light
she shares with everything.
Her thoughts in the cemetery
are silent and immense,
as if spread inside her
by all the endless stars.
Visiting the cemetery,
her elderly life looks larger
than a sunlit sea,
and she presents the luster of it
to the stones and sticks and winds.

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