The Empty Promise

. I remember long ago coming across the theme that John Ralston Saul’s “Voltaire’s Bastards” was stressing, that Voltaire made, which was that through the skillful use of words humans can rationalize most anything.

Through the ongoing committment to the direct experience of presence there has arisen the realization that there is more that is the essence of life that can not be captured in rational explanation and especially not through the effort of words and that we can be led astray attempting to find our way through these means ending up in a place of grasping on to the most meaningless of things. The pursuit of that what we perceive and think to be rational and meaningful however logical and practical it may seem to be can be the cause of a separation from something more essential and experienced through other means however ineffable it may be. It has been said that humankind has created a dualism that leads us to betray our authentic self.

There  is no system or way to navigate life authentically other than an awareness that arises out of presence. From this we are empowered to live a life where we learn about ourselves and the relationship to other and to life itself. All other ways are short cuts that separate us from that authentic process often with the promise of happiness, comfort and /or security. This ipromise is an empty one.



3 thoughts on “The Empty Promise

    1. Hariod I am home with Iris now and she is doing better although still recovering. The book arrived. Thank you so much for the lovely letter.
      I feel that I live a good portion of my life feeling vulnerable. When I am in this place of vulnerability I am challenged to find presence. I often turn habitually to turning that vulnerability into something else such as insecurity or unlovability. it takes some humility to admit this to myself. In presence I can see that this is just a sense of the vulnerability of life becoming conscious. Something like that.
      Your book has helped me to better distinguish conceptually between presence and awareness. These can be confusing for people at times. I have experienced the realisation on prior ocassions that awareness can come to presence or it does not at times.


      1. Perhaps it is true to say that we all have an innate sense of vulnerability Gord. Not only would such an ingrained receptivity to our vulnerabilities be justified by what are at times the hard realities of life as experienced, but this would also make sense from an evolutionary point of view of course. You say that you are sometimes challenged to find presence, which again I think is quite natural, not least of all because presence is a refined and rarely articulated condition that most people fail to cultivate, seeing no benefit in it even though it echoes throughout their lived experience at some level and with some frequency.

        What is encouraging though, is that presence may be cultivated and used as a sanctuary – one that never deserts us, because it cannot as it is fundamental to what we are. It is very useful to keep asking the question ‘where am I?’, and to alternate occasionally between that and asking ‘where is awareness?’ Making a commitment to do this at certain trigger points, such as following any change in posture, can be highly effective. Even within any sense of insecurity or when feeling unlovable, presence may in time be learned to be felt as it softly caresses and soothes these otherwise difficult afflictions. I hope it is acceptable to offer these thoughts here; and I do so only as reminders as to what you already know and practice.


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