At Mosswood Hollow during Dream Teacher Training this past week, Robert Moss gave us a series of questions to ponder that would help us to define and connect to our Personal Truth. One of the questions he posed was, “What would you risk everything to defend?” He drummed as we each journeyed to find our own personal answer to that question.
As he drums, I discover that I am unable to answer the question. In the space where I am looking for answers, I find more questions, like, “What does it mean to defend?” and “What does it mean to risk everything?”
If I risk everything to defend something, am I not also risking the very thing I claim to defend? Am I mincing words? Is it just semantics? Perhaps it is the word “defend” that bothers me, as I have been, in recent years, so focused on letting go and practicing non-attachment. “Defend” sounds like hanging on, to me. It sounds like fighting and posturing and the opposite of allowing. Is it wimpy and ineffective to defend nothing? Does it mean that nothing is important to me? Not at all. There is much of beauty and innocence in this world that I would defend, to some degree, but not at the cost of greater potentials that I cannot see. My own sense of what’s right and important, my own sense of “how things should be,” may be very limited compared to what is possible. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it is that the bleakest of situations, those against which we kick and scream, often carry the biggest gifts if we will only open our hearts and hands enough to let go of whatever we’re holding so tightly.
The question annoys me and leaves me stirred up—and therefore it is an important question. The question holds a paradox—and therefore it is a sacred question.
The question hangs with me through the rest of the day, and on into the next. I begin to see all around me, in this peaceful 40-acre retreat center, how nature’s creatures move quietly through the process of letting go, always on the border of becoming something new, not defending any current forms but spiraling through a constant state of metamorphosis.
Eventually, the following words came through . . .
In this sacred hollow
Where mortars turn to thunder and shrapnel turns to rain
Where pond skaters dance in perfect concentricity
Balanced on the tension between sunlight and water’s deep
Where abundant lilies hang heavy with seed
Their suckling roots digging deep
Where tadpoles lazily dream their tadpole dreams
Never imagining the wonder of the legs to come
Where bees rise, pollen laden, to carry their treasure
Across the green sea of meadow to foreign shores
Where blossoms morph into berries
Which will fatten Bear for winter
Where leaves, just now,
Anticipating their date with Autumn
When they will dance,
The Gatekeeper here,
Becomes the bulwark for that which will,
Even now, her piney juices
Their probing tendrils reach beneath her ancient bark
To harvest her deepest secrets
She is Life swallowed by Life
Life becoming Life
Feeling no fear in her becomingness
Savoring the cool protective verdancy
Not knowing, or caring,
If wings are in the offing
It’s not the risk of everything that bothers me
From what is anything to be defended or protected
When nothing is ever lost, but only transformed?
I’d rather ask,
What am I willing to risk to dream at the edge of becoming?
An antevasin, a border dweller
Defending nothing, savoring everything
With heart and hands open and ready to release
As I continually wake from one marvelous dream
Into the next