Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The unfixing

This essay is illustrated with a 
photograph of an Apsara from Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

 One might assume, that somehow, under the force of Grace, things will be different and everything will be fixed.

 I certainly used to believe that, when I read about these matters as theories and philosophies. But I don't know anything, really; because when it comes, I see that it is exactly the opposite of what I thought I understood.

Grace unfixes me.

 It is something like this. Everything in me is set, in stone, like cement. I am fixed; I hold to my habits, what I am, my assumptions, all the nonsense that I have filled myself with for what are now nearly 60 years of life. There are some good things in there, to be sure; yet it's confused and jumbled, there is no order to it — and it has set in me, it has crystallized.

I don't really see this (and oh, how I need to suffer it!), because I like living in my orderly stone cathedral, which carries a representation of the world that is purely egoistic.

I need to live with that every day; and I do, so comfortably that I don't even notice I'm living with it. It's only when Grace enters, when something from another level inspires me like the breath of God itself, that I see how I am in a life and have Being.

 This tears me apart. I put it as follows in a poem on this trip:


 This is how I live:

Inside, I get torn apart,
into small pieces, each one showing 
no more than a letter or two, 
perhaps a syllable; 
and the pieces are thrown
into the errors of my soul, my breath.

They spiral, fluttering slowly
downward towards the bottom of my heart
like confetti, as though snowfall
were a benediction: all the words I use made sacred
by destroying them.

Down there, in darkness
where I can’t reach them,
small creatures find the scraps; 

Gather them with nimble fingers,
folding tiny resurrections 

In the shape of birds. 

This unfixing dismantles me as I am; yet even as that happens, the parts of me that are set remain set. It isn't that the old goes; but a new certainly enters. 

I need to remind myself to return to this intimacy in this sensation, which is always available, as often as possible so that I come back into relationship with that which is already given and already there — which I just forget, throwing my pearls in front of my own inner swine.

 To see this is to understand that it's as though God and his angels are always in the room with me (they are) and that I have been given the extraordinary and perverse ability to studiously ignore them at almost every moment. I treat my whole life that way; and the way to fix my life would be to come into relationship with this other world, which is within, in the same way that the kingdom of heaven is within. 

It is an unfixing of the external; it takes it apart without touching it, so that in deconstruction, it is transformed.


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