Many people have asked “why do you paint, create art and poetry and write.” I say I don’t know why. It has something to do with expressing the mystery and changing beauty of existence and at times the injustice, destruction and savageness and all that changes with that and my relation to that. It seems to me that my state of being is collectively affected with all that arises and that I am not in a static state or strive to reach one. Discomfort is an aspect of change but all the sublime qualities are as well and what I am is changing in an ongoing way. I open and move through it all and I celebrate what is beautiful and I grieve and move through what is not. I find that there is beauty in what others express and in relating to what others have experienced in their journey and the intimate sharing of that. It isn’t about searching for a god or religious utopia. It is enough for me to live in a way that embraces the essence of what arises.
Intimate expression and communication can be enhanced as we come to know ourselves. This involves seeing beyond the limits of the knower as the “experiencer” who wants to capture the moving energy of living in a fixed way. We can become enabled in this way that we’re not used to functioning within our current world—our speaking, our living, our expression can have an energetic component that is more alined with our words.There is the information in the words you speak and there is also an unknowable energetic component. If as you speak, the energetic quality is aligned, then there is a total meaning in the communication. If our words are an extension of our fragmented existence and attempt to grasp on to the world in a “fixed knowledge” then we are often separated from that flow of energy. In that separation information that goes into the brain is packaged in a way that is limited in speaking.
The energy I am writing about is of a quality that we realize as we go beyond the surfaces of our conditioning. It involves knowing ourselves and the world in a more complete and connected way. It is this energy that is beyond knowing in a factual way that fuels creativity in living and in artful expression.
It seems to me that all the fears, wounds and secrets that we can not let go of serve to reinforce and defend a rigid sense of identity. Life is constantly recreating itself and so do we if we allow that unfolding. What is creative and new seems to arise out of the death of the old. Spiritual practice of watching is a part of that but it is not a passive observing that I have often seen it to he. Insight arises out of seeing how old patterns are perpetuated and how cultural and traditional pressure might be keeping us trapped while the world by its nature is continually changing. Suffering seems to arise out of that dynamic of resisting change and a lot of our institutions encourage a fixed way of identifying. I definitely wonder how love and compassion can manage to exist and manifest in rigid adherence to old patterns.
If you know me you know that far from being complacent I live a disciplined spiritual life. I know that I can be intense and that is apparent in my sharing of emails and reflecting with others. I sense that most can’t comprehend what is involved in the very different contemplative life that I live, and the embracing of change and striving to understand and express that, and that’s okay. For a long time I wanted to be able to connect with others around these things, hopeful that they might understand me.
These days I am more accepting of my aloneness and it is in acceptance of my subjective world that I am most alive. I am finding that there is no way that others can realize what I realize in that place. As opposed to living life in ways that resist change I work to welcome it even if it is uncomfortable. I know I unfold from what is discovered in that subjective experience. That involves letting go of things that are meant to be let go of, that trap me in deluded promises, including ego serving relationships. With some individuals I work a little harder to be open and clear in my sharing with them, especially if I see that they do so as well and I am grateful for that although ultimately I am not convinced that we can really know each other even with intimate sharing, contemplation and reflection. We can perhaps know each other’s ego patterns and habitual ways but how is it that we can know that which is constantly changing.
It has been an ongoing, life long journey to open to a greater truth of which my social and cultural conditioning has blurred the ability to see and comprehend. That conventional framing of life and self has in turn been influenced by the lure of questionable promises of happiness and other metaphysical questions. It has been a cycle not easy to escape.
A grace fuelled stepping back has allowed for an opening into being and related understanding of the ways of the self. As a result of a slow unfolding of looking in another way I have come to realize how that cycle of conditioning has perpetuated confining ego centred boundaries and patterns and how identification with these have served as an insulation from something more fundamental, real and creative of what I am.
Turning inward I have embraced spending time in silence and in contemplation that has allowed for a more direct experiencing of life and for increased self insight. It is not a life of pure bliss as more idealistic impressions may suggest. The need to learn to endure loneliness and other hardships as they arise are inevitably encountered.
However it is in that enduring; to an obedience to attention to what is encountered in silence and presence that a wholeness and passion for life emerges. In that a curiosity, creativity and desire and urge to explore and realize what is new and what is true is unleashed.