I had a dream last night in which I relived a situation from my youth. Shame and humiliation caused me to cower and isolate into a fantasy as a way of finding relief from that. It was a not such an unusual experience of those youthful years. I also met with some old friends this past week and it triggered similar emotions and than I heard on CBC that the word nostalgia in Greek literally means “the pain from old wounds” and I realized that I am still functioning from that place at times. There is something of me that has been extremely invested in not confronting or even acknowledging this reality.
I am seeing more clearly that I have been under the influence of this wounded sense of self and I am beginning to realize that I lived so many of those years with a looming sense of immense fear, shame and humiliation. It probably had something to do with my Irish Catholic upbringing. Most of how I acted was a matter of coping with that, in efforts to escape in fantasy at times and/or or in a need of covering it over in some way
I think that those underlying feelings continued to be an unseen influence in how I have acted even into recent times, contributing to a meanness or insensitivity or impatience in my interactions with others. I only hope that my insights can bring some relief and allow me to relate to others from a place not so obsessed with my own woundedness and possibly with more compassion and care.
There is something about seeing more deeply into nostalgic feelings. And coming to acceptance of the wounded reality and this sense of being vulnerable that allows for a more compassionate response to life situations. As well, I feel the urge to apologize to those I have hurt because I feel that most everything I have been and done has been rooted in ignorance. That’s all that I can be sure of.
I am driven at times by a subtle urge to search for something that I am not so clearly aware of. Maybe it is simply an endlessly arising curiosity, without intent to resolve anything specific. But it most certainly seems at times that something is amiss.
In my 65th year, there is something of me that is easily tired, that desires comfort and ease in life more than I used to. But it quickly becomes clear that this does not bring satisfaction and the urge to be engaged in the natural mystery of life calls me back.. The impulse to turn to what nature offers is more influential than ever.
I am more in need of rest and contemplation these days but I utilize those moments to engage in a meditative, contemplative experience and not in resorting to busyness to distract me as I once did. Its not satisfying enough to be complacently engaged in meaningless activity which seems to serve more as a distraction from conscious awareness. The contemplative life that I have nurtured makes complacency difficult. I am constantly brought back to presence. There is as well the increased ongoing awareness of human folly and destructiveness of ego oriented perception, actions and solutions to problems. I am overwhelmingly aware at times of how humans have come to live fragmented lives and the toll it has taken on other species and the planet.
Increasingly I realize that destructive consequences seem to be a result of a separation from self and simultaneously from nature and much of my focus is about reconnecting to what I have forgotten of that. There seems to be a compassion and caring that emanates from fostering that connection however slowly and apprehensively I embrace it. Its the intensification in sensitivity and sense of vulnerability that arises with this that is somewhat unbearable at times. At other times when I allow myself to settle into it I am enabled to realize what it is that has been missing.
I write in a way of generality knowing well that the process of individuation is unique for all.
We are something of both an individual and something deeper that is a part of our essence. It is something not of a concrete quality or easily conceptualized that we have all originated from. We are not so conscious of it in modern times, having somehow become something which has forgotten that deeper truth of what we are; however, much it is part of our being.
Henry Corbin’s writes about the idea of the “angel” that plays a role in the unfolding of our conscious experience. He writes about “Eternal Time” as a personal Figure, a celestial counterpart that completes and grants Eternity to the earthly soul, and appears in epiphanies that are, as he puts it, “each time unique”. “This idea makes possible a simultaneity of divine unity and divine plurality which avoids the simplest dilemma between monotheism and polytheism. The earthly soul meets its Angel on the road in an act of rigorous and irreplaceable individuation of that divine presence. To lose that deeper dimension is to lose an angel.”
At times we realize that something is amiss in our lives. Somehow touching and connecting with something that lay more deeply, an inseparable part of us, that in our fragmented focus and modern and cultural thinking we have lost awareness of, can lead us towards a more comprehensive individuation. We are something of both an individual and that something that is ineffable, that has existed prior to the arrival and ability of words to iilluminate, that is of our collective essence. Henry Corbin refers to that graceful process of reconnecting to our nature as being led by an angel.
We do these things in habitual ways. They have become unconscious acts. Meditation is one way to cultivate a deeper awareness of the nature of our existence and our connections and actions.
Krishnamurti talks about how we avoid suffering by cultivating detachment. Being forewarned that attachment sooner or later entails sorrow, we want to become detached. Attachment is gratifying, but perceiving the pain in it, we want to be gratified in another manner, through detachment. Detachment is the same as attachment as long as it yields gratification. So what we are really seeking is gratification, we crave to be satisfied by whatever means.
We are dependent or attached because it gives us pleasure, security, power, a sense of wellbeing, though in it there is sorrow and fear. We seek detachment also for pleasure, in order not to be hurt, not to be inwardly wounded. Our search is for pleasure, gratification. Without condemning or justifying we must try to understand this process, for unless we understand it there is no way out of our confusion and contradiction. Can craving ever be satisfied, or is it a bottomless pit? Whether we crave for the low or for the high, craving is always craving, a burning fire, and what can be consumed by it soon becomes ashes; but craving for gratification still remains, ever burning, ever consuming, and there is no end to it. Attachment and detachment are equally binding, and both must be transcended.
Speech is not of the tongue, but of the heart. The tongue is merely the instrument with which one speaks. He who is dumb is dumb in his heart, not in his tongue … As you speak, so is your heart. –Paracelsus
Im reading a book “All The World is an Icon,”about Henry Corbin by “Tom Cheetham.”He writes about the the tendency towards separation of philosophy and revelation that began around the time of the Enlightenment and that it set the stage for a very common tendency these days in terms of how we use language. The norm is to rationalize or analyze our experience often involving a focus and language that is disconnected from the direct experience and more about conceptual and cognitive ways isof perception, learned and conditioned in us. In general there seems to be reduced value in that direct experience or deeper revelation. In this process we create a perception of reality that is very dependent on these perceptions and that is quite separated from the experience.
Where is the security in the mystery that is life?
I have faith that there is something to be gained by opening to life and to change and to the mystery that is life. To arrive at this place of faith has involved a lifelong search to differentiate from what is real and what is not. I have come to see that what is not real has served to insulate me from directly dealing with my fear and sense of vulnerability. In modern life attachment to ideas, concepts and beliefs that provide a superficial sense of security come easy. Our dualistic ways allow for a diversion from having to experience what is perceived to be undesirable and unpleasant. I now see a consequence of that is that it separates us from what is authentic of ourselves and of life and death and from a more intuitive being.
At some level I understand that faith is somehow connected to the same place that involves presence to our vulnerability. That is not so rationally reached or justified. Here discovered is a force intuitively realized that seeks to take us to a higher level, above our own groveling self-interest and that is rooted in being with this mystery despite that it is seen as a type of madness by many.
I now know that everything around me points to the fact that the struggle for justice and what is true that I have been involved in for my entire life may well have been futile. How can I know for sure that I have transcended what has caused me to be blind that contributes so much to our problems? So I contemplate on how I can come to be free, to open to what is constantly changing and evolving of myself and the world.
It is not a cerebral process itself that enables me to open although to refrain from thinking is not helpful. Perhaps it is the separation of intellect and revelation that prevents this. There is growth in coming to realize the limitations and traps of depending on our thinking as a way to understand self and life. The word is not the truth and language and concepts are tools and abstractions that help us to see pieces within a specific context. In my attachment to thinking that my concepts are reality I am distracted from openness and the realization that there are many ways of seeing. In that attachment I am also distracted from my direct unfolding relationship with everything else that is authentic of self and life.
Toss aside your map of the world,
All your beliefs and constructs.
Dare the wild unknown.
Here in this terrifying freedom,
Naked before the universe,
Commune with the One
Who knows everything from the inside:
Invisible power pervading everywhere.
Divine Presence permeating everything.
Breathe tenderly as
The lover of all beings.