Nepantlero

7 06 2010

Zen and el Arte de Nepantlarissmo:

La Metodología Espiritual de Gloria Anzaldúa

The wind befriended you yesterday, when it stopped you in the street and asked if you knew its true name. “Wind,” you whispered, like you had never uttered the word before, more an expression of awe than a response. In that instant Wind consumed you, moved through you, danced around you, and all awareness rested in Wind.

There is something fundamental to you that exists before (and after) mind, before the thinking of identity-story spins itself into being and takes occupation of your body. You have sensed it on the periphery of experience for a long time; sensed it in the moments in between, that ever-present allowing more intimate than any thing, the space where joy and sorrow come and dance and leave again. Este Conocimiento. “Beneath your desire for knowledge writhes the hunger to understand and love yourself.”

You attend with fierce resolve to this hunger, at times hurling the conditioned mind into the ether with reckless abandon, come what may. (Was it really you who dislodged the mind or Grace, you wonder?) In these moments where the ground of familiarity breaks beneath you and the terror of unbecoming swallows you whole you find yourself suddenly alive, awake on the other side, a free agent. As you learn to traverse the bridge between this world and the other, you find a new movement dancing inside you- not new, perhaps, so much as seen for the first time. The bounds between chooser and choice bypass the discursive mind, blend together, and you are on this side and the other all at once. A familiar impulse arises and the thought comes, “I should document this.” You watch it float by like a distant cloud in the sky of being. Then it disappears and you find yourself once again in nepantla, the in-between space of no becoming, of not yet becoming.

A sense of power, finally divested of the personal, radiates with aliveness- it saturates your bones and muscles. It isn’t the familiar stolen power you looked at from the precipice of no-power, fury coursing through you fire pouring from you mouth, from your fingers, heart erupting in pain and outrage. No- this is a power before all that, yours from the very beginning, which you could only know by surrendering all you know. The sense that the world is available to you, uncreated, and infinitely vast hums around you like an old forgotten song drifting into you from every direction. Suddenly you notice- movement; the unmanifest substance of nepantla twirls you headlong into the world: a phone call from a former lover; the distance that seems to separate; an ache, like sickness digging into your chest faster than you can track. Fear and longing lace your words without your control and you watch with a detached distance at the horrifying unskillfulness of your words-is this really happening?- your heart screaming to be known. You lament the tenuousness of that peace and awareness you knew yourself to be in nepantla. In your periphery, you catch sight of the tiny you trying to control it all, small and blind, limbs and beliefs flailing around in an effort to create a safe story for itself. You see it in its totality and see how central it has been to your interactions with the world; with your lover. Compassion arises mysteriously, slowly making its way back into your body. The line on the other end is silent for a moment and you take the opportunity to jump back into nepantla, defocalizing your mind’s rule. Anything is better than this, you think. With fresh eyes, you see the tumult and the chaos as part of it, part of the whole. It’s present after all, and the mechanism of that familiar you with all of its fear, all of its insufficiencies, mistakes, and personal admonishments, reveals itself to be a fiction. You see it. You returned to nepantla- the place of not knowing- not so much for solace, but for truth. This consideration loosens your grip and you feel the muscles in your stomach unclench, the place where you held back the terror slowly surrenders itself. You let go into the tumult of the unknown and find yourself surprised when peace presents itself there.

You see the great responsibility before you in nepantla, not a personal mandate you possess, but a burgeoning awakeness to the mighty fullness of life. There is nothing you can turn away from here. It does not make you safe from death or pain, but more sensitive, more vulnerable, more open to anything and everything that might arise. Your life no longer belongs to the destiny you had in store for it. You are no longer special or unique or entitled or exempt. You are unmistakably, undeniably, irrevocably present and the magnitude of this presence recognizes you with a sight as terrible and welcoming as only the Divine could be. A shiver of fear sneaks into your subconscious: who am I without my story self? The thought passes with the Wind of nepantla and you sink deeper in, every piece of viscera alive to the movement of the unknown. You make a prayer- you’ve never prayed before- without any words. You offer it, you offer the rest of yourself, whatever it is, to the wisdom of nepantla. You get a response almost immediately: this is just the beginning.


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