By Kimberlli Joy
When I started reading up on the first insight of the Eightfold Path, I understood it in theory. If we choose to let go of the past, release attachment, we can find ourselves living free from suffering. It seems like an easy formula. Then, I thought of all the places in my life that I was stuck in my story.
I began to think of the heartbreaks, childhood squabbles with a sibling, deaths of my father, and the near-death experience that landed me in a wheelchair (no longer able to call myself a dancer, an athlete or light on my feet). I also reminisce about being called a derogatory name, excluded or denied an opportunity. These are just a few of the moments that I found myself reaching back, grasping, and slam dunking into the present. I used these memories to validate the misery that I was experiencing in the moment. These are the recollections (re-collections) that were used to confirm my attachment to being right and making others wrong. These are the moments I found myself recalling and wishing that each good memory could be relived or regretfully wanting a do-over with the hopes of erasing the wound caused by the ignorance of myself or others.
Good or bad, my inability to let go of my past experiences placated the ego’s hunger for being right about the idea that I am a victim. Being a victim gives me the license to be self-righteous, angered, and miserable about my circumstances. The inflated ego then became the obstacles that I used as my soapbox on which I stood to explain to anyone willing to listen to me vindicate why I am entitled to my misery.
But is it our fault that so many of us are shackled to our past? When I think deeply about this, permanence is what we have been spoon-fed since we were children – “they live happily ever after,” “till the end of time,” “forever and ever amen,” “to infinity and beyond” “Memories of the way we were” -these ideas are celebrated in the songs, fairytales, and fables that shaped our fantasies. Even, as a wise adult, after learning that impermanence is what opens opportunities for evolution and transformation, I sit in boundless grief over a beloved friend moving from Oakland to Fort Bragg – too far away for a 24-hour visit. I sit in shame and regret over the loss of power in my current job, not realizing that there is an opportunity of something of even greater significance, waiting for me to step into.
For this suffering I blame attachment. To this writer, the act of grasping is such an evil villain in the saga of suffering that I will not give it too much more space. I will just say when we free ourselves from attachment and stand mindfully grounded in the now moment – the only truth – is when we become free. Surrender brings clarity, flexibility, and allows us to flow seamlessly into a wise view.
Wise view allows me to be a contributing participant in the celebration of each moment in life. Being stuck in my story was being blinded to the truth of what is. Wise view is the recognition of the impermanence of life. The willingness to stop mourning over my inability to walk and accepting paralysis as my reality opened my eyes to the transformation of my power. With wise view I discovered that my heart has now inherited the power that was once demonstrated through my body – resilience, courage, perseverance and Grace are the qualities by which I define myself.
Yes, I Am Wise View
Kimberlli Joy, January 19, 2020
I am the first living insight.
I am naked and alive,
I bring the peaceful vibration of impermanence and altruism
like the Chinese Zen garden,
I bring clarity
I balance the elements,
I focus purpose,
And serve the greater good.
I elevate the spirit body,
And I ground the soul
I am the radical center
balancing the axil of each moment.
I am the freedom
Inherited by truth.