My Brother

I thought you did a wonderful job as usual orating the funeral. It was nice to see the extended family come together however briefly. Maybe it reflects my role with Dougie but I’m a little bit feeling unseen in my intention and hope to be as supportive as possible of Dougie and mom and Donna over the past few years.

I am aware that I take a risk being open and reflective about my feelings as always, at the same time I don’t shy away in fear of that.

This goes deeper than Dougie. I perceive you to be a very good person and I have no doubt that that is shared by people who know you.

I find it all a bit of a challenge trying to fit into a world that I left behind. My family is the most challenging part of that. The fundamental differences between you and I seems to serve to insulate us from one another more than brings us together and that is just how life goes, wether one is in family or not. I have no bad feelings just a sense of huge difference.

I suspect that one difference is that I chose to explore more the inner depths and to actively open to new experiences in doing that. That continues to be my life and my priority even over family and friends. I leave no stone unturned in speculation and contemplation. Iris is similar and we walk this path together. The funny thing about it is that it seems to have peeled a lot of layers away and I have come to live with my own vulnerability not needing to cover that over. That includes an honesty with myself and others however maybe without the mean overtones. I don’t think Dougie had that one worked out. The poor guy had a huge layer of insulation.

Anyway I want to say that I know that we choose to live in different ways and we may not have much more to say to each other outside of reflecting about the Maple Leafs or Donald Trump. Hopefully there is no bitterness between us. You may think where is all this coming from as is often the response to my openness. Now you know that it comes from within.

Getting Out of the Way

Change is inevitable and it is endless. Knowing this does not soften the difficulty that change brings at times. Resistance to change brings suffering and these days I am more prepared to accept change and deal with that suffering in a more direct, authentic way than I have done in the past. That involves removing of the mask that I have spent so much of my life creating. Ultimately that effects the rapport that I have come to have with many, at times making it more difficult to find common ground. Ultimately these days I attend more to what guides me from within. As an artist I have spent more recent years of my life attempting to develop and perfect a form of expression. I am only now realizing that being authentic has more to do with removing what form I have come to rely on in that expression. It is more about getting out of the way, which involves awareness of the constant work required to move beyond the power of the ego to contract on itself. In that awareness there is the removal of ideas, words and behaviour that block an expression that is inherent.

I, Me and My

Talking about my own experience at times can seem like a self absorbed fixation. The reality is that all we know of the mind, body and world is our experience of them, and experience is utterly dependent on the presence of our self, whatever that may be. Nobody has ever or could ever experience a mind, body or world without their own self first being present. The only real reference that I have to life is my own direct experience.

If nothing else, I have embraced “looking within”; a way of questioning and doubting what has come to me as external truth. I have no way to express that experience accept to use the reference of “I” and “My” aware of the limitation of those conventional concepts.

Essence as a Guide

I seek connection, intimacy and an ability to relate in my friendships. It is not those things in themselves but a sense of “essence” that they enable that is relevant. That is when I intuitively know that I have a friend.

There are so many things in our contemporary lives that distract us from knowing ourselves and in turn our essence. Conventional patterns and habits replace aspects of relating to life and others that allow for a sense of essence in our lives. When our relationships are not of that quality than we are better off looking to silence for that essence, rather than losing something essential of what we are.

A Light of Grace Penetrates the Darkness

It’s has been no easy task to find what is real of existence and to discern what, of what I have been taught and become, is grounded in truth. I now know that I have for so long relied on a contracted sense of self that guided my perceived choices about who and what to attend to and follow. My history of grasping onto things that were quite superficial was fuelled by the reality that I wasn’t ready to be more honest with myself, although there was a subtle awareness that I was lost and that suffering was brought on in that. I was not in a place where I could accurately discern where to turn to find something more dynamic and essential of myself.

The reality of what lay deep within the cave of my heart, that belonged to me alone, would remain illusive until in my fumbling a graceful gradual accumulation of courage, that I did not realize I was capable of allowed for penetration into the depths and enabled a movement towards a more complete embodiment of self than I until than had known.

David Whyte writes that there is sometimes a crisis arising where something essential of us is discovered when and where “it is making itself felt, where the touchable rawness of life becomes part of the fabric of the everyday and a robust luminous vulnerability becomes shot through with the necessary, imminent and inevitable prospect of loss, that has been described for centuries as the dark night of the soul.”

For some as it was for me it was revealed as a rush of feeling and intuition, breaking through the filters and assumed perceptions and falsities of “self”. That embodiment was not of willful choice. There seemed to be no option but to leave the folly I had known and attend more honestly to what I was realizing.

Further Reflection About Vulnerability

Throughout my life I experienced stretches of time when I felt overwhelmed with life, feeling intensely vulnerable and exposed. These occurred more frequently and lasted longer as time went on. The things that I was taught to pursue in bringing stability to life only seemed to perpetuate insecurity.

At one point I was introduced to sitting in silence and in being with whatever arose in that. I sat through the chaos and disorder that I earlier learned to fear and avoid and I began to realize that they were not something to be eliminated as I had been instructed they were; that there was advantage in attending to and embracing sensitivity snd the vulnerability that comes with it. Arriving at this realization involved a process of change “conversion”: an unlearning of old habits that blocked the light of a new reality and a turning of the mind and heart in grace, inwards. It involves an understanding that nature shows us that life is not meant to be nice, neat, and controlled but lived on the edge between order and disorder.

These days I am not inclined to hold rigidly to perceptions, beliefs and concepts or to strive for security. Learning how to be with the void of emptiness and impermanence comes with the awareness that being open to what is new involves a willingness to experience the death of the old. Ideas serve us but in opening to what is ever changing we must have that flexibility and openness to let go of what is old.

I often receive suggestions and advice from others about how I might eliminate, remedy or fix my increased sensitivity and experience of vulnerability. In my desire to know and be open in a more direct authentic way, sensitivity and openness are desirable qualities. Repeating the same old story and patterns doesn’t involve being creative and sensitivity to what is arising in presence. It can only block it and in turn what is conducive to living and unfolding in life.

These days I see more clearly that there is something to be realized in coping in a new way; in being with what is revealed in tune with what is arising from within as opposed to escaping and denying the sense of insecurity they may bring.

In aloneness we are permitted to shed the outer skin as the body is inhabited in a different way than we have known; as a question as opposed to a statement. In inhabiting the aloneness, we listen in our own particular and direct way. We must first go through the doors of realization, towards acceptance of nothingness beyond the familiar.