This is a multi medium creation. I’ve used oil pastels and acrylic paint and inks in this one. I’ve tried to create the sense of illumination and less than ideal forms of birch trees. I love painting birch trees; something about the contrasting affect. My paintings never turn out how I envision them to but I am happy with this one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am in the middle of the Alan Watts book “The Wisdom of Insecurity” after first reading it thirty five years ago. The thing I appreciate most about it that first attracted me is the theme that reflects the title. The major realization that has come through meditation over the years is that sensitivity and a sense of insecurity and vulnerability comes with being more aware. The difference comes in how we respond to that sensitivity and vulnerability. The ego would continue to be protective and defensive. In embracing that sensitivity and vulnerability it is something the ego has great difficulty with, consciousness reveals something other of our nature that has laid hidden.
We are all unique in what we experience or at least in what we focus on and in turn how we might express it. It’s not easy putting words together that capture that experience and it seems to be more of a matter of pointing to rather than capturing that experience. Poetry can be a most effective way to do that. For me intimate expression in writing is a challenge somewhat similar to the creation of a painting. Words are symbols and I am drawn to those words that others write that reveal a truth to me as a painting does in its own way. In my own attempts I am most interested in the arrangement and formation of words to express my own truth rather than relying on others words to reflect that truth although I realize the limitation of words. They are always fixed in time and limited in their abstraction. Most of all no combination or amount of words can mean something to those who have not had a similar direct experience.