Table of Contents


But to what? The best definition of aspiration I've found is steadfast longing for a higher goal, earnest desire for something above one [source]. Aspiration is longing taken seriously, and we get it from Leela. I have been longing for something for as long as I can remember. For me, the key to aspiration has been discovering the right thing to aspire to.

Nature. All my early experiences of that something happened outdoors, in nature. Nature was my temple as a child. And nature turned out to be the right clue. I just had to give up my fixation on going out into nature to hike and camp before I could get it right. Everything is nature, including me. Taken all together that's Leela, everything that is. It took me most of a lifetime to connect with her. In the meantime, I definitely didn't find anything to aspire to in church, though I kinda liked the art. My first experience of something truly magic in church happened in Rome, but I don't think church had anything to do with it. I was even more taken by Rodin's Burghers, standing out in the London drizzle. It wasn't the story about the heroic burghers that did it. I didn't know any of that back then. It was their oversized humanity that transfixed me, the wordless achievement of Auguste Rodin the artist.

Hitting bottom. When we moved to Kenya I left nature behind and turned to poetry in search of that something. For the next forty years of my life I looked for something to aspire to in books and teachings, until I finally hit bottom in 2006. Right after college I thought I had found what I was looking for and joined a tiny new age church, eventually becoming ordained as a minister. When my rather vapid church left me circling the drain I ditched it for a much more robust organization in Boulder that turned into a cult. It pretty quickly became clear this cult wasn't going to take me where I wanted to go but I hung on for more than a decade because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was in a way. I finally ejected myself from the cult, moved to Seattle, got married, and found myself circling the drain again in even worse condition. However, this time, down there at the bottom, I found Leela inside me in the form of my own body and its wisdom.

Look in, not out. For the first fifty-five years of my life I looked for something out there to aspire to. Unbeknownst to me, that whole time Leela was getting me prepared to do an about face and look inside instead. I can't find the way to my own aspiration in someone else's inspiration, someone else's teaching, someone else's path to self realization. I have to find my own. As I get to know it, my own path does not look a bit like any of those others. My body is my teacher. My body is my very own atom of Leela, my one and only place in this vast cosmic game that everything is. I can get the answers to my questions about making progress with love from my body. I can't get them anywhere else.