“What gives light must endure burning” Victor Frankl
The latter part of my life has involved ongoing revelations, touching places in my unconscious that have been hidden and blocked in my earlier years. This has most certainly involved moving beyond a rational cerebral perception of existence. In fact a willful rational effort seems to have impeded a more authentic unfolding. I understand better that in the silence that I return to, observing experience more directly prior to dualistic habit, that I am opening in expanded awareness. This enables me to see more clearly what has in the past distracted me. I understand that there is inevitably more that I am not conscious of that blocks and affects experience. What I seek to illuminate emerges from questions that seek something more real than mind-made answers. The silence is a place where what has been hidden can somehow be illuminated. In that illumination there are moments when I must encounter and endure pain that has been buried that I am coming to be more receptive to seeing and moving into. From this unfolding I see light.
I do not know where I am headed. I do not see the road ahead. Nor do I really know myself. I have only an intuition and faith that I am more than what I think. I desire to know what I am but it is not in grasping on to the known in terms of man made answers. I have had to undo some of my earlier understanding of myself and life but in turning to the silence I am led to deeper revelation. I turn to this in faith that it will guide me through my limitations, speech and judgements. And even though I seem to be lost at times it is in this emptying of what I have known that I find my way to love in which I can ultimately trust.
I addictively turned to drugs and drinking in my younger years. I experimented with and indulged in many ways of escaping the stress that seemed to come with the expectation of becoming a conventional person. I eventually realized that what I was doing was not bringing fulfillment, but was more a way of escaping and self-forgetfulness. It is tempting at times to find oneself looking to old, habitual ways of escape. They provide for moments of forgetting of everything that I had learned and been conditioned to think of myself and that I strived to be.
Most everything that life calls us to do seems to promote an emphasis on the “me”. My business, my career, my religion, my leaders and politics, financial and economic situation , my escapes and social activities, my support of one party and rejecting another—all of this is emphasizing and strengthening the sense of “me”.
This past week I kayaked and camped through the rivers and lakes of Algonquin Park. Even surrounded by nature, in the absence of all distractions, there seemed to be looming within an anxiety, somewhat existential I suspect, compelling me to act in ways to pursue a more secure self. In awareness I turn towards an alternative way, not of avoidance or escape. In awareness I “let go” and see through all that I think myself to be, all the desires, urges to escape the moment. I contemplate the possibility that “letting go” is an escape or way of forgetting. But there is something that realizes that what I truly “am” is beyond all thought and effort. Its not through a particular method, technique, philosophy or theory that I re-discover this. It is in awareness arising prior to the conditioned mind that it is realized.
In some ways. Germany is like being at a retreat for me. Its chop wood and carry water and a lot of silence and contemplation. I find that upon my return to Canada , I am once again sharing openly and intimately with others, expressing my experience. In doing so I enter into a place of feeling very vulnerable. In the past I mistakenly thought this experience of vulnerability reflected a sense of self inadequacy; that my experience of life was somehow unimportant or that I couldn’t trust my own perceptions and decisions. I now realize that it was these perceptions and beliefs that were blocking me from deeper realization. How easy it is to turn that sense of vulnerability into a story of inadequacy and something that needs to be fixed. Ive been doing this all my life. Much of my thinking has been about taking steps to validate my experience, as if I had to prove somehow that it was true. My self doubt meant that I was believing more in others perceptions and conventional explanations. Ultimately nothing resulted in me feeling more secure.
In letting go of all this I am now finding life in the vulnerability. My attempt to express my experience with this or any other experience that I have, in an authentic way is not the experience itself. It does involve something of me that is incredibly creative but that expression can take many forms. The truth is discovered here for me in my own direct experience.
In opening to what I authentically am, I grow. Adyashanti writes that grace is something that comes to us when we somehow find ourselves completely available, when we become openhearted and open-minded, and are willing to entertain the possibility that we may not know what we think we know. So much of what I had become in pursuit of knowing distracted me from opening. I paid attention to a lot of outside advice in becoming a creation of what I knew. Our modern culture values this kind of conscious knowing but it is my experience that the over exercising of one area, such as this quality of human thinking , can impair the quality of a more holistic functioning or being. There was little guidance available that would lead me towards something more authentic in those days. Ultimately something from within would illuminate the way of a more complete being.
I eventually began to see the relevance of letting go, through my own experience of running into walls. It became increasingly clear that in that external materialistic focus there was something that I was missing and that there was another kind of knowing that is not something that is separate from what I am. I diverted from it early in life to the point that it became an echo within that I ignored. It wasn’t a complete avoidance. There was a subtle awareness that something authentic was being blocked. Letting go allowed for that something that was more fundamental of my essence of what I am to rush in, that I was not in control of and that cant be known in the way I had come to know other things.
These days I find myself less engaged in spinning in search for something to grasp onto or believe in. The impulse to do so still seems to arise at times but ultimately I realize that to want to believe in something is mostly about seeking self assuredness which is at odds with the reality of life that; all is unfixed and ever changing. As well this constant need for affirmation takes me away from moments of solitude where I am able to see through the endless futility of such habitual tendencies. However much at times I find myself wanting what is validating, familiar and permanent, there is something of me that desires to know truth more than it relishes comfort of deluded knowing. Truth is discovered and realized in freedom. There is something of me that knows that somehow I can find that in spite of this rigid and familiar self that I find to be dragging on behind me. It was somehow a necessary creation for a time but its relevance is less apparent these days. It gets more in the way of seeing clearly than being helpful. I now deeply question its authenticity. All that I am involved in that contributes to self assuredness seems to add on to the baggage and unnecessary load of delusion.
It is in stillness, opening and letting go that I come to see that it is my attachment to this load that interferes with deeper realizations and a more intimate truth of self and being. Grasping on to conventions, culture and habitual ways can be part of that compromise. It is not in a stability found in the embracing if doctrine, convention and structure that I find freedom but in what they shelter me from. It is in those moments of vulnerability when I am able to let go as long as I can bear to, that I am most alive. If I am able to open beyond all of this I seem to “be” in life in a more creative, passionate and authentic way.
An anti-fascist film produced in the wake of the second world war has gone viral in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that culminated in one person being killed and 19 injured this weekend.