Tuesday, 28 July 2009
People are really struggling! They are in anguish. Yet society does not allow honesty and openness about it.
Have you ever visited some friends and found them strangely happy and bubbly but felt a strong sadness? As they talk and joke, your sense of grief and inner discord deepens, which you may feel is yours at first but begin to suspect may be part of the company.
Then you see striking discrepancies in what they are saying, contradictory messages, swings this way and that. They seem to be covering up, very well on the surface but unmistakably beneath it.
Then, when they get drunk or the party shifts or settles, they start to be more real, sharing how they are really feeling, which is not good at all.
Their torment cannot be concealed and their pretending just intensifies it, giving it another layer of dissonance. You feel the grief and the rage and the effects of their feigning, which is draining and disturbing, and they feel worse than they would if they were just forthright with themselves and the world.
But then, hung-over, regretful and insistently forgetful the next day, they pop a pill, try to pull it all together, put on their happy face and do it all over again.
If you are uprooted, you may be doing exactly this yourself.
If you are shaky, you may have moments of peace contrasted with times of turmoil in which you get swept by the prevailing fears and energies of friends and others. Your periphery will be tugged on and troubled and you may find yourself identified with it again, desperately in need of some solitude and centring.
The way to that is through the anguish, not running from it. The way back to the now is in seeing that you have left it and sitting with yourself.
If you are rooted, you will feel all the turbulence and stormy pressure to join the unhappy party, but you will sit with it and stay with yourself. A great compassion will arise from understanding.
It may be difficult to prevent yourself from pretending as the current tries to sweep you, and people may actually lash out at your reluctance to participate in patching up the pain.
Your centeredness will be a mirror to them and they may take it out on you. And then they will swing and say how much they need what you have.
Stay true and keep looking out for the propensity for pretending.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
I have just returned from a month in London and Paris, where I saw eight live concerts by some of my favourite and some of the greatest artists in living memory.
In London I also spent time with family, enjoyed a sweltering summer, cruised the best shops, and lived the high life.
In Paris, even more so. I stayed in super hotels, ate in superb restaurants, saw the sights, shopped, and was showered with gifts. There is no place like home, and now I am enjoying that.
Yet there is a ceiling to where all this worldly wonder can take you, and that ceiling isn’t very high. But you have to reach it to realise it.
I had a beautiful, growth-filled and blessed time travelling, and I am happy to be home, but I am feeling disillusioned. Somehow all the stuff out there doesn’t reach in here.
I can relish it but it cannot nourish me like I really need to be fed. So I am reaching deeper.
Disillusionment is a good thing! It is the end of illusion, a beginning. I am not hopeless, negative or pessimistic, I am relaxed, rich and happy, but I am seeing a distinction between two levels of living.
The first is the familiar where most of us subsist and struggle most of the time, essentially in emptiness. The second is our destiny.
The world can only take you so far. We are in it but not of it, so we can enjoy it but should not mistake ourselves for it. We are passing through. It is a waiting room, a preparation time for returning home, a way to know ourselves better.
Who we bring and who we leave with, or more precisely, who we really are, is who we are here to realise. What we have forgotten is what we are heading towards remembering.
The first level of existence is the one where we change. We are seeds then babies then children then young adults then older and older people. We gain and lose, live and die. We want pleasure and reject pain but have to settle for both or numbness.
The deeper level is the one where we watch. Our bodies were small and now they are different but something inside us has been consistent. Life goes up and life goes down yet part of us is unaffected. That is our home, who we really are, the truth.
One of the doorways into this truth is disillusionment. It can come through despair or wealth, or it can emerge as a gentle floating above all the noise, but it has an inevitability about it.
On one level there is the illusion and deeper down there is simple truth. To find the truth, we have to shift our emphasis from the dream out there to the life force in here.
When we find the truth, which we all carry, we have to follow it. As our roots grow, we bring new fruits into being, as the outer responds with great joy to the awakening of our inner.
When you begin to find yourself, the world opens up.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
I have woken up with the birds, here next to the common. My window is open and the air seeping in is giving form to freshness.
I am floating on it along with the songs of silence and the chipper chirps of winged first light. Summer’s in the air, everywhere I look around.
Now it is late afternoon with midday sunshine shafting through the trees and bushes as the train clicks, clacks and hisses, tossing from side to side.
I have picturesque people around me and the world on my shoulders, if I let it be. Or I am as light as air, floating freely. It depends on me, on my choices, on my now.
It depends on what part of me I choose to engage. Is everything troubled, unsolvable and exhausting? Am I choosing fear? Or is everything the way it’s meant to be, and am I just me?
Are the London rooftops derelict and dirty or quaint and character-filled? Is everyone odd or are we all even?
The leaves and clouds are beautiful. I have nothing to worry about, resist or feel separate from. I can just flow. I can allow. I can be a leaf on tranquil, moving water. I can be a cloud in a clear sky, consistent in transformation.
I can define myself not by pain induced by struggle but by non definition. I am nothingness, anonymous, invisible and silent, yet here. I am just a witness.
Now it is nightfall on the summer solstice. The day has stretched all the way and lingered a little longer. The sky is insistently blue. The night air is about to settle. Everything is suspended.
Are you breathing?