A busy mind
“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”
― Saint John of the Cross
Just for a change, I slept well: I only got up once and I didn't stay awake with my mind wrecked by all that's happening now.
So, here we are again — another Sunday.
It only feels like yesterday that...well, I was thinking about all the things I was going to, all the places I wanted to go and all the people I wanted to see. But isolation, as crass as it may sound, is doing me a power of good given (especially) that I'm again reconnecting with the feeling I first had in early 2010 in reading Hardcore Zen and the few lines from the Heart Sutra:
emptiness is form
form is emptiness
I don't know what they mean to you, but at the time they blew my mind and woke me from my narcissistic torpor that I was suffering under by dint of a maniacal approach to work (law) and life, more generally.
More than anything else, though, these lines made me think.
And not the left-brain, problem-solving type that had squeezed out any joy that I might have experienced in doing something creative (as an example) or less demanding of my wholeness.
Recovering from a subarachnoid haemorrhage at home, I sat and sat — a form of meditation if you will — and ruminated how a form could be empty, and somehow I knew, right there, was the unfolding of my old life.
It's not been an easy journey but over the following decade, I've questioned everything — and I mean EVERYTHING. Nothing has been off the agenda, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit to there being a good deal of rancour and disharmony in my marriage and my relationships. It would be indecorous of me to go into any detail but all I'll say is that when you come out of your head and you're touched by love — the highest form of expression (not relational love I hasten to add) — it's hard then to navigate through a world hell-bent on its own destruction, creating a narrative that serves nothing more than the ego.
Now I realise that that's a very, very broad and possibly ill-judged statement, but it's how it's felt to me. If you need me to amplify it then (prior to Covid19) you only need realise that the earth and everything about it is shorn in the image of all of us; and that, ipso facto, is a product of our thinking.
Imagine then a world where unitary love was our guiding hand in our thinking, our decision-making and our actions? I know, it's almost impossible to perceive let alone write the 7-step manual(!) but the most obvious part of that statement is how we change and that means doing some serious inner work. It's to get back to how we were absent our dualistic thinking.
It was Ramana Maharshi who said that the greatest service we can do is Self-realisation. And that's not, for the avoidance of doubt, the same message that has dominated the airwaves for the last millennia, namely be all you can be?
How that's worked out?
To be clear, I accept that I'm writing these few words from a privileged, condescending position and if you're living close to the very edge of life with nothing to your name, pontificating about enlightenment and all that looks more than a little out of whack with reality. But, to my mind, the world could help itself a great deal if (even right now) it would turn any introspection not on changing the outer world but journeying within by first questioning who or what is it that thinks your thoughts?; who or what bears witness to those thoughts?; and going further still, what is there when there is no thinking in a world that is forever changing?
You might say, and I wouldn't be offended, I don't give a shit given my current parlous and/or unprecedented position. And that's fine. Not that, frankly, it's any of my business but then again, all I know is that freedom, real freedom is infinite, everlasting and unconditional love, and, from my nascent experience, if we journey within, we'll go no further than the next project, plan, experience or whatever it is that draws you on.
One last thing. I've been watching (as you might have guessed) the wonderful videos of John Butler. His timbre, cadence and spiritual presence always makes me reflect deeply on my life and the choices I've made. One thing he comes back to over and over is to invite us to distinguish between a closed hand (ego) and an open, flat palm (unconditional love). I think that's a beautiful, mesmeric way of seeing the world. We know when we're out of sync with true self because everything feels wretchedly tight whereas once we're one with everything, we feel (or at least I do) happy. I don't mean a smiley-face type happy. No, a transcendent, deep, radiant happiness.
right now, I feel the need
to be silent
not in my own world
but a world
i'm not looking
i just need clear
all the rubbish
out the way
Blessings and much love ❤️,