Saturday, April 25, 2015

I don't know

There is a great divide between youth and old age.

I can't span it, except by living; and it is always invisible from where I am. It is only looking back that I begin to understand how little I understand. And it becomes my responsibility, now — as it is for all of those my age, and my elders — to stitch these scraps of fabric back together into a wholeness which I can sense as my life.

This analogy of sewing, of textiles, and of the wholeness of cloth reminds me once again of tantra, which means loom in sanskrit; but the action, as much as it is one of weaving, is also one of swallowing, of digestion. So much is taken in: and it appears to be random, very nearly unrelated, until I allow the action of awareness to bring the various elements together.

I want to understand life as a whole; and that can only be done after one has lived enough.

 I suppose one of the paradoxes I discover is that I can only ever live enough now. Now is enough; as long as there is an organic sensation of it — and even then, more is necessary.

It's often said in Christianity that we are children of the Lord; and I had this distinct impression, when I was last in China — by the time readers encounter this post, I will already be back there again — that the children are everything. It is an extraordinary thing, the potential that a child represents — within each child's life, a whole life, lived now; and also, a life moving forward into the unknown. When I come into relationship with children – and, for that matter, everyone — I come into relationship with this potential, which is expressed in every moment by all of us. This perpetual residence on the cusp of what can be is where life arises; and we don't understand anything about it. As long as our feeling capacity is not awakened, we don't really sense this very well; once it is, we are left with a sense of astonishment.

This sense of being troubled (see the second quote from the Gospel of Thomas at the link) goes deep into the bones. It is, I think, another way of describing the act of coming into question. I've never liked that particular phrase, because it is so overused; perhaps one might better say doubting everything. "I don't know" seems more powerful to me than "I want to know," because it lacks the impetus of desire: it is passive, and allows what is to arrive without trying to go out and grasp it.

I am, by nature, grasping; I guess perhaps we all are. And I am now too old to be naïve about my motives and my actions. The creature in me will always be attached to creatures. It is that part of the soul that has the ability to receive something else that is truly interesting; and although I knew about this when I was young, and could think about it, I was unable to understand it. Many things had to be broken in me before that could happen; and that there are times when I think that everything must break.

This isn't a bad thing; and if I trust, I need not fear the process.

That's a lesson I need to learn over and over again.


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