Monday, September 22, 2014

Not my conditions

Flowering Bush, Anhui province
 September 13 — Shanghai

This morning I woke up at 3:30 AM, and spent a bit of time reading email. I had occasion to watch the promotional videos for project baseline, an international diving project which one of my friends is working on; and I was treated to some extraordinary images from 600 feet down, areas where the light just barely reaches, that included corals, huge fish, and a geology that evokes the vast age of the planet.

These impressions are now balanced, at 5:30 AM, by the dawning light in Shanghai, where I look out over a city completely shrouded in fog.

This morning, as I meditated and prayed, I contemplated the fact that it is seemingly impossible for me to empty myself in a way that admits of a space into which the sacred can enter. There is just too much of me in me; and me is greedy for the sacred in a way that is just unseemly, that's all there is to it.

There are times when emptiness comes; and then, the inner conditions are quite different, but they are not my conditions. and I come again and again to how the outward part of myself always wants everything arranged according to its own conditions.

 There is nothing theoretical about the struggle when it is encountered organically. It is very much a part of what is here and now; and it's a part of recognizing that all the conditions around me are not my conditions. If I were able to achieve an equanimity, a Gleichgültigkeit, within my inner being— something that can come, but that is not something I can do — perhaps this would be clearer, but in the midst of my subjectivity, everything I think of in regard to objectivity is theoretical except the struggle itself. I cannot think my way there from here.

 My teacher Betty, towards the end of her life, asked me whether we were not in fact too arrogant in our efforts to develop our Being; and I think she was onto something there. We reach too far; and, I think, we are convinced we ought to be reaching, instead of understanding that we need to wait to be reached.

Even in the midst of my struggle and misunderstanding, a vibration arises within that can lead me closer to an organic relationship with the understanding I wish to have, but don't. And that vibration is a real call to the inner Being, which flows into me in a way that life, in its outward and material aspects, simply can't.

It's a reminder of the presence of God; and even a tiny reminder of that nature is a cause for enormous gratitude and a renewed effort to work and struggle against myself.

Well, I ought to count myself fortunate that these reminders come so often; yet in a perverse way, I feel a sense of anguish they are so necessary. Each one is a reminder of how helpless I am; and I think that this anguish and this humility which they bring may be the only force that could save me from myself... if anything in me is worth saving.


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