It’s becoming clearer to me that any growth that I experience in terms of my unfolding human spirit, very much depends upon letting go of many of the signature behaviours that I had been taught to think of as essential to being seen as a “manly man”. I think that they did more to take me away from what was authentic about myself than anything else. As a person, small in stature, I spent much of my time trying to become essentially “male”, taking on learned behaviors, and not paying attention to innate characteristics of my being.
Joan Chittister writes “The sorry truth is that the world bequeaths standards to us that are ancient and unproven, hostile and exclusive, unfriendly but determinative. What has “always been” takes on the aura of truth and requires us to commit ourselves to maintaining the system that spawned them”
To step outside that system and to explore a deeper truth requires courage and willingness to experience vulnerability. So taking a step back I ask, Who am I? Attempting to look beyond reductionist notions of tribe and clan and nationality and any other conditioning that might block me from seeing the truth of that I contemplate what it is to be human.
From Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings” by Tom Cheetham
I think that it is time to realize that the “destruction of the world” is a result of our unlimited and continual attempts to control a world that exceeds our understanding and our abilities to predict.Cheetham writes that”It is the subversive and difficult work of the Creative Imagination to continually outrun the destruction of the world”
He further writes about the poet Leslie Scalapino Her friend and fellow poet Lyn Hejinian wrote that “her work was a manifestation of what she termed “continual conceptual rebellion.” “Continual conceptual rebellion” is a means of outrunning the forces that would re-form (conventionalize) one. If you stay in one place too long, you’ll be taken over—either by your own fixating ideas or by those of others. To survive one must always be outrunning what she called “the destruction of the world.”
Please don’t talk to me about pure awareness.
Dwelling in the Absolute.’
I want to see how you treat your partner,
your kids, your parents, your precious body.
Please, don’t lecture me about ‘the illusion of the separate self’ or how you achieved permanent bliss in just seven days.
I want to feel a genuine warmth radiating from your heart.
I want to hear how well you listen,
take in information that doesn’t fit your personal philosophy.
I want to see how you deal with people who disagreewith you.
Don’t tell me how awakened you are, how free you are from ego.
I want to know you beneath the words.
I want to know what you’re like when troubles befall you.
If you can fully allow your pain and not pretend to be invulnerable.
If you can feel your anger yet not step into violence.
If you can grant safe passage to your sorrow yet not be its slave.If you can feel your shame and not shame others:
If you can fuck up, and admit it.
If you can say ‘sorry’, and really mean it.
If you can be fully human in your glorious divinity.
Don’t talk to me about your spirituality, friend.
I’m really not that interested.
I only want to meet YOU.
Know your precious heart.
Know the beautiful human struggling for the light.
Before ‘the spiritual one’.
Before all the clever words.
There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves. What we suppress in the light emerges clearly in the dusk. It’s then, in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld. – Anne Lamont
In my aging, diminished physicality there is an increased realization of the futility of taking refuge in a personal and familiar, yet limited, sense of identity. In that realization I am left wandering and wondering at times as to how I should entertain my self. So much of my time before was spent in propping and bolstering that identity. As a result of the journey of self discovery that I have embraced I am inspired to turn my focus towards inner realizations rather than towards my past preoccupation with external phenomenon. Although at times I find myself in darkness, accepting that I don’t know what I will discover, something more is inevitably revealed in that shift. There is a more intimate seeing of those parts of me that have been broken, as a result of my obsessive striving to survive in the ways of a surface existence. My spirit came into this world within the narrow confines of the world with which it found itself. Given that, more than half of the life I have lived, has been with the belief that there was no other perceived resource in terms of a choice of how I should exist in the living of life. I lived in a practical way from that, but, now I seem to be outgrowing it seeing that life is more than what I knew it to be and in the lifting of that old filter, a revelation of the consequences for having attached to that particular creation seem to be increasingly apparent.
I am broken and incomplete as is our planet. How I have lived my life has contributed to that. There is fear encountered at the same time as there is the stirring of the soul, in letting go of that familiar shell and it’s ways and any perceived crisis can enable it’s quick return although, something more adapted to a more authentic existence appears at moments that I am aware enough to relax habitual impulses. In that awareness I permit myself to settle into a more natural, authentic and encompassing way of being aware that there is the other side of death.