Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Thy Life Is Dear; For All That Life Can Rate Worth Name Of Life In Thee Hath Estimate.
In the stories of people's lives, when they have had enough of their self-consciousness, and are fed up with the lifelong alienation and feeling of being apart, they come to that inevitable stumbling block - the fear of death, pinnacle of many a therapy session. The dubious advantage of knowing we are going to die is at the heart of the pathos of the human condition. In separation, this is made bearable by believing the stories that have no end: Heaven, or many lives led in succession. Mentally healthy persons are accepting, and face the fear, without having to ameliorate it. In fear and anger, whole populations defy inevitable death by devoting themselves, blinkered, to causes given such profound status that they are deemed worth dying for; inevitable death is made bearable by the distraction of the story. Layers are peeled off the onion by individuals by any number of practices: therapy, self-inquiry, or even the rigours of life's presented situations. This usually begins with some discomfort with the dishonesty that permeates life, the lies we tell ourselves to make living in the face of not continuing bearable. So life is faced. We find a confidant, or a therapist, or a teacher, or a sponsor, and confess our worst sins, mostly to ourselves. In the midst of this, all the layers of dishonesty peel away, and we confront the shadow, and know we are capable of all the worst; hatred, selfishness, violence. As we accept our humanity, the the act of acceptance reveals another layer; unconditional love, as we fully accept ourselves, warts and all. Another layer goes; we see that everything was a gift, and unfolded the best way it could. The unconditional love spreads, and embraces all the people, places and things that our lives touch, or that touch our lives. We see our intrinsic worth, and the worth of others. Any feelings that arise, however intense, are seen as part of life, and not to be avoided. We have peace of mind, at least occasionally. There are few layers left. Another layer goes; perhaps being happy, and having peace of mind, are not the goals. Perhaps there are no goals. Perhaps there is no story. Perhaps there is just this; the end of acceptance, perfect and total. And the last layer goes, leaving nothing. When the last vestige of identification with our complex and fascinating personality leaves, and the inside of the onion is seen as nothing, that is when, so many opine, awakening can happen. Whatever the hell that is. Yet this universal journey through the truth, humanity's longing for redemption, and the final letting go of everything that you ever considered of value - even that epic journey is another story. The stillness inside the onion is timeless. The motion of redemption is, like any other part of the appearance, an appearance. Perhaps the final revelation, or recognition, is that no matter whether there is an incredible story of awakening, the miracle is always this.