Monday, September 28, 2009

in the midst of life

I haven't contributed to the blog for quite some time now. Possibly the longest since I began nearly 3 years ago. I have written so much--in some cases too much-- and I grow weary of the effort. Compounding the situation is the fact that a great deal of what I am working on right now is worked on in silence, and can't be written about or even spoken of.

At the same time, I undertook this task with a sense of responsibility to the community at large, and it seems that now, when I am the least interested, is perhaps the very time that I must put the demand on myself to continue to offer something as real as I can, from what I am pondering and working on in my own life today.

In the midst of this life we live, we are all convinced that life is for the living. Life is about living, being alive, that the purpose of life is to live to the fullest.

Yes, in a certain sense, this is all true, but this is the outward understanding of life. It's only if life feeds something more inner, more organic, much deeper within ourselves, that anything real takes place. If we are outward, and we live within outwardness, we live within an illusion. It's only if life feeds the roots of our being that life is serving any actual purpose. Otherwise, it is a sophisticated kind of masturbation.

And I think it is fair enough to say that society as it stands today has developed that capacity until very little else is left. Even the things of the intellect, of culture, and civilization, that we think represent the deepest -- and loftiest -- achievements of man spring from an outward form of self love. We have built giant engines of rationalization to convince ourselves that this isn't true, and they are working quite well.

Life is not about living. Life is a process of preparing to die.

This is, of course, quite impossible to see from the perspective of youth, which believes that there is no death. As we age, however, even within the numbest of men the sense begins to develop that there is something else going on here. Questions arise. Even the rich and powerful take one step back to consider their ways. At least some of them do.

We are here to prepare to die. We are here to gather material within ourselves, to take in impressions in the deepest manner we are able, so that our soul can grow into something useful enough to be of service when it leaves this body. This opportunity will not be available when life ends. The time that men must work within themselves is now.

Now, we don't come to our impressions of life honestly. We are all messed up by the way we were raised, the values we were pumped full of -- not all of them are bad, to be sure, but we never really made them our own -- and the illusions which we feed ourselves so eagerly from our own imaginations.

All of this baggage stands between me and my ability to see something honestly.

This morning, I stood on the banks of the Hudson River at about 7:00 AM or so, and watched a tangerine sliver of sun peek out over purple rushes. The part of me that was taking in this impression more deeply was searching "the parts with all of the baggage" to try and find a way to express it, in words -- poetically -- that could bring something of it to others... and I realized that there are no words that can ever truly do this.

That moment was absolutely sacred, the light was sacred, everything was imbued with the presence of God. So I saw how things were honestly, and it became clear to me that there was no way to actually bring that to any other place or time. The honesty only existed within the witnessing, the receiving of the impressions, in that moment. Everything that could be brought away from it was a relic, an artifact.

This idea of taking impressions honestly has everything to do with the process of preparing for death. I can't really explain this effort properly in words; it is a point of work that we can only bring ourselves to through many years of suffering and effort.

I can only suggest that readers who do not understand what this process is continue their search within themselves, within what they are--how they are organically, within sensation, within their emotions--and see that the universe of meaning is built within the man, and does not--cannot-- exist outside of him.

This process of living so that we can prepare to die is a vital one. If we live to the fullest, we only live to the fullest in order to be able to die to the fullest.

Is this an accessible mystery?

Perhaps not, but it is one that we must inevitably explore--with every breath, if we are able--right until the final moments of our lives.

May our hearts be opened, and our prayers be heard.

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