I have been spending a lot of time here in being with and emailing a very dear 80 year old friend who is increasingly finding herself lost in dementia and forgetfulness. Her husband Dennis lovingly cares for her but she is increasingly succumbing to her fear and loss of independence. It all seems to be part of a pattern that she has lived. She creates stories of being victimized disregarding any attempt at correction and she possesses a fierce striving and desire for independence. It seems that this way of seeing herself in the world is something deeply imbedded beyond conventional reality and has a major influence on her perceptions.
I listen to her stories and her fear but then she can turn to find herself in the most loving compassionate space radiating a wonderful poetic flowing energy. The reality of her is not exhausted by this outer face of fear although it is more than what I can understand through my reductionist ways. She is part of an existence in which she and I are all members of a universe of ceaseless creativity in which life, agency, meaning, value, consciousness, and the full richness of human action emerge. I sense that this part is shining through the other more conditioned part. She is dancing with this all in a way. Maybe there is fear in letting go of that familiar, surface way however much it perpetuates pain within her.
I love to be with her. It is a vulnerable yet very intimate and pure, compassionate and loving relating at times. It touches something more real within me. Maybe we are all dancing in the same way that Misty seems to be.
I often prefer being alone. I love intimate moments with others but I find being with people difficult. Those intimate moments are not always possible. Being myself with some people does not always work out well. Not everyone can tolerate my way. Communication just does not work with everyone and I am learning to take responsibility for that. I feel in my heart that my growing comfort with my own vulnerability; my awareness of my own insecurity and human limitations can be difficult for some.
Often and more than ever I need space to be with myself and to turn to silence and nature. Here I come to know myself and to settle into and embrace my vulnerability and I come to realize what the next step in life is, not always with great clarity. More than often it is just a hunch or a spontaneous action.
When being with another involves intimate sharing it is amazingly invigorating and freeing although there is most often always work involved at some point along the way. With intimates it can be a free flowing and natural rapport but those kinds of relationships take time. I encounter my blockages in that intimate unfolding.
I do not expect that relationships will develop into deeper friendships and at times it is quite disappointing that things do not work out. I sometimes assume that it is the fault of others or that I am unlikeable but in the end I come to realize the challenge of relating to others. It involves a lot of work just to find a place of honesty and to be able to recognize and accept my fear and to see how it interferes with relating even with myself. Trust does not come easy for me; self doubt does. That’s where most of my judgement, prejudice and distorted perceptions originate from.
When relating to another is grounded in a faith in authenticity and in openness it seems to avoid becoming rigid and static and destructive. I expand emotionally in a vibrating reciprocal exchange, surging and reclining and gra“cognitive function of sympathy” that is necessary for the elevation of the soul to a mode of being that transcends the literalisms and dogmas in which we so easily become trapped and entangled.vitating towards openness, honesty and embracing the mystery and change that is part of this whole production. There is an unfolding with an increased capacity for love and compassion becoming more apparent and accessible in this.
Etsy Hilessum wrote in her book ” An Interrupted Life” that “the greatest cause of suffering in so many of our people is their utter lack of inner preparation “. In my own preparation, contemplation plays a big part. It helps me to face myself and my own intellect and as well to examine the world. There is no guarantee that I will see what I need to see in order to open to deeper truth. If I do remain blind to truth, as I age and my ability to survive decreases, “how I will die” will inevitably show me who I am.
Inward contemplation has enabled me to realize that I encounter difficulty in relationship with others in my reliance on conventional and habitual ways and the denial and ignorance that they promote. In a reliance on these ways, one never moves past the superficial veneer of self and the complacency that arises in this. They filter our experience in a way that we no longer experience life directly, from a place of passion and sensuality. Assumptions dominate in this insulated way of being becomes and distort my reality. In the blindness I project fault and insecurity onto the world and other.
In awareness I realize the separation and disconnection from what is more authentic and the self conscious sensitivity and fragmented perception that emerges from that disconnection.
In meditation I realize that the imagination is essential to my experience as a human. In my habitual, conditioned way I am frozen and not in a place of flowing. In preparing myself I am free in feeling and action, even amidst great pain and hurt. I learn to live with a hurting heart rather than a closed one, learning that with spontaneous skill and love we can stay present to the wound of pain and that there is a flow through the suffering .
These days I live quite an unconventional life. On many a day tears fall for the most ineffable of reasons, but its not sadness that brings that on, but more something emerging from within. Its something new, original, and profound, where language fails and the mind is humbled and neutralized by the lack of a concept available to explain it. There is something more real of me that arises as treasures, which can come in the form of spiritual revelations of breathtaking beauty and grandeur in awareness. They are revealed along with the tearful realization that I have been lost and I am only now finding my way home.
I also experience hardship and difficulty as most anyone does, although, I now know to enter into those moments that I once avoided. There is wonder in things that I once saw to be banal, painful and empty and now see them to disclose something forgotten. Its more of a newer understanding or dawning; that reality can be seen for what it truly is: metaphor for the truly Real. All is to be embraced even those experiences we once perceived as being undesirable.
It is the the measure to which it furnishes the means of going beyond all conformisms, all servitudes to the letter, all opinions ready-made.…a procedure that engages a more entire me. Perhaps it is “soul” because it brings into play the most secret sources of energy.
I reduce my self to a mechanical functioning in my reliance on use of analysis, psychology and/or reference to external, rational or literal ways of being in the world. Being raised as a child in this way began at an early age. Consequences of this is that constructs a boundary of separation from a deeper truth of personhood.
Its not easy to grasp what Corbin is saying from this brief description but from a larger context it seems to be that he is indicating that an emphasis on the direct experience of self is something that is often lost in our conditioning. Conventional reflection and expression of our experience is most often a reduction of that experience and is limited in capturing the essence of being human. Art and poetry can be a more reflective way of expression that seem to be better suited to amplify what is in our inner depths, however; not all of us have the power or had the experience of grace to step beyond our cultural, historical constraints and to connect with what is within and to allow that to become the creative source of realization, self discovery and the intimate expression of what is authentic of us. But we always have the opportunity to return to a more natural and authentic place of relating to the world where we can again experience a sense of revitalization that we have not known from ego dominated existence but perhaps that we have known in childhood.
Corbin use of the symbol of the angel is not meant to be literally interpreted here.
From ” All the World an Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings” by Tom Cheetham.
“For Corbin, the Person is the first and final reality. This is not idealism, nor realism, nor materialism, and certainly not historicism, but rather “personalism.” The person “can neither be deduced nor explained.” He writes, “Hermeneutics as science of the individual stands in opposition to historical dialectics as alienation of the person.” But the person, the human individual, must then not be reducible to history or sociology, genetics or physiology, or”indeed any subsidiary aspect of reality. The individual can only be amplified, not reduced, and the locus of the amplification toward which the person is to be raised is the celestial, eternal counterpart, the partner in heaven, the archetype of each of us that guarantees the possibility of our eternal individuality—the locus, the telos of that spiritual motion is the Angel.