I live to walk in the forest
In silence and loosened intention
Of turning all that is Impermanent; permanent
Exposed and open
In awareness I encounter “being”
The ecstatic nature of life
Synchronicity and interconnection
Realization that all things of the earth are perishable
That all things of the earth are filled with soul,
That I myself am something of the earth
Not of the the soul that is human made
I think of “soul”as a metaphor for a subjective experience, as opposed to something with concrete boundaries or objectively conceived and the spiritual journey is about the private relationship involving the reconnection to the mystery of being alive. At points in my life it has very much involved rebellion, with suffering. . .often connected with resistance to the public self. Even attachments to the subjective experience can be misleading taking one astray if grasped as an ultimate indication.
James Hillman envisioned “seeing through” as a psychological process of “deepening, interiorizing … the apparent,” a “moving from the surface of visibilities to the less visible.” Hillman also insists that this process never stops because, as Heraclitus—whom archetypal psychology regards as the first depth psychologist of the Western world—has said: “You could not discover the limits of the soul, even if you traveled every road to do so; such is the depth of its meaning”
We are admonished to see not more but better—to see that which we already know and always did know but which has been obfuscated by our subjectivistic attitudes, by lack of attention.
Martin Heidegger wrote that man as a subject derives the meaning of the world from himself and his own meaning from the extent to which he conquers the world. In the Nietzsche quote that “there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man—and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz” he as well realized the limitations of human longing.
Through the work of awareness there is a possibility that we can come to realize the limitations of our past ways of thinking and to see through the fog of our conditioning. To arrive at a place where we can realize what it is that impedes us from clear seeing is not something to be acquired and held as one’s possession. It is not a thing but an event, an occurrence and is more a matter of riding oneself of something that impedes it from being itself. It is more a matter of setting something free to be what it is. In learning to let go, in coming to think in a way that is non-conceptual and nonsystematic, is not to think without rigor and strictness. James Hillman says, “there is no necessary opposition between clarity and imagination, no need to believe … that deep ideas must be dim, while clearness is founded on shallowness.”
“To say that this is something “in the soul,” however, does not mean that we escape from the world into soul. As we saw, the soul, in addition to being “my” soul, is also the soul of the world. “Salvational knowledge, therefore, is concerned with re-souling the world as well. It is a recollection, a remembering of a worldly soul and of an ensouled world. So-what are we to do? Nothing. We have to let the soul be. We have to let the world be. We have to let Being be.” – Robert Avens
The soul lives contented by listening
If it wants to change
Into the beauty of terrifying shapes
It tries to speak
– David Whyte
…And something ignited in my soul,
fever or I remembered wings,
and I went my own way,
that burning fire
and I wrote the first bare line,
bare, without substance, pure
of one who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
Gaston Bachelard was a poet, philosopher who sought a more intimate revelation and expression of human experience. He wrote about the “Imaginal” a creative energy that is an integral part of our nature but due to the influence of what we have come to collectively value we have lost touch with it. It can be once again revealed to be fundamental to our human sense of being. Poetry is a way to unravel what blocks our deeper awareness and when the “Imaginal” is no longer ignored we are freed from aimless wandering and a sense of incompleteness. It is related to “knowing” of a different quality than we have been taught to think of it. Henri Corbin referred to it as being essential to “gnosis”, which he wrote about it being a salvational, redemptive knowledge, because it has the virtue of bringing about an inner transformation. In contrast to all theoretical learning, it is “knowledge that changes and transforms the knowing subject”. He explores the idea that gnosis points our awareness to a place that has been missed between the traditional categories of “belief” and “reason.” Belief (or faith) is usually associated with the emotional function, and reason means ordinary reason or the thinking function. In Corbin’s view, what is overlooked here is that “between believing and knowing there is something that we can refer to other than these two conventional processes connoting “inner vision.” Corbin suggests that in awareness we can become conscious of something of our being that “cosmologically corresponds to an “intermediate and mediating world forgotten by the official philosophy and theology of our times: the mundus imaginalis, the imaginal world. Corbin’s mundus imaginalis is the necessary mediatrix (theologically conceived as Deus revelatus, revealed God) between the hidden God (Deus absconditus) and man’s world. It is the world of the soul or psyche.”
When the chattering of my mind resides, a space opens up. One might refer to this opening as a “peeling away” where something other than what I have come to know is revealed and something other awakened. As I arrive at a place that I can step beyond the limitation of habitual and conditioned mind and it’s influence on perception; that it separates and reduces phenomenon to a degree that much of what is perceived is absent of its essence, I am moved to once again embrace the mystery and wonder of life.
In this “opening” a revived life seems to turn back to enlighten darkened areas of ignorance that have been forged in the chatter. In the lifting of these impediments a remembering of what is authentic, interconnected and awe inspiring of existence is rediscovered. All that seems to have been blocked in the minds fixation is freed, initiating a return to a more natural expansion of being.
It can be said to be a sense of transcendence that is experienced; a more complete envisioning dissolving the boundaries that have been more rigid protecting the fragmented self. A greater realization of the individual experience is revitalized in a deeper awareness now seen as a shared participation in the perpetual discovery and expansion of the regions of universal imagination. In attending to what is within, a rich, organic inquiry is ignited and a revitalized as I learn to trust in following my own way, led by synchronistic emerging interests. A sense of curiosity is resumed and/or enhanced; the mystery once again seeking itself.
According to the gnostic Book of the Contender, “he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the Depth of the All.”
I really appreciate. how the author molds this very relevant, often taboo issue and dilemma of sexual abuse in a closed (Mennonite) secretive society and turns it into a “Me Too” coming out, quite believable story. There is a growing sense of realistic drama, interest and engagement with some very interesting and authentic and diverse characters. Toews as well has a wonderful and deeply explored sense of humanity and how the human spirit manifests, or not, in so many different ways and in the end “how” in recognizing and allowing our vulnerability to be experienced consciously we can discover through the pain our inherent capacity for love and compassion to emerge and lead us forward.