What comes below follows directly from earlier essay, The Hidden Door, which had a profoundly unsettling affect on me (and my sense of “me”). That essay led to several weeks of feeling strange, and jumping at shadows, disturbing as it did many long-held notions I’d had about what was real.
Then this, two weeks ago, with an even greater affect. It opened floodgates of past and present sorrow, which had been held off for so long by not accepting them. Some of it was even unleashed on the dearest people in my life, before I knew what was happening. Which leaves me today staring out over a black pit – but one with a bright and growing center…
I appreciate everything I am given, to the extent I do not ask for more. If it all must end today, I accept. If I lose everything and everyone I hold dear, one by one, I do not regret. Anything beyond the present moment is unexpected, unknown. Everything is His again, though I thought them mine for a time. But how can I lose anything? The fear of loss – the things in my life; the people, relationships, freedoms; the capacities of mind and body – their loss reveals only my belief in their possession. All was lost to me some fifteen billion years before I knew it was here; and everything I know must escape me.
Hold your breath and you will lose it; set it free and it must return.
I love life enough to no longer wish it; because by wishing, I wreck the very thing that makes it wonderful. Trying to preserve what I think to be my life, I fail to see its nature. I cannot both be and seek to be. Always looking for the dangers, I fail to see the rest. A life that seeks security, secures itself against life. Is happiness possible while worrying about unhappiness? Thus, to live one hundred percent is to be just as willing to die.
Willingness to be anxious is relaxing, because the anxiety is no longer troublesome; guarding against anxiety is the most anxious. There seems to be in life a fundamental paradox: that we gain through loss; that knowledge is useful primarily in revealing our ignorance; that the difficulty of being detached is the striving for it; that the distinctions we use to understand life blind us to its essence. According to this paradox, the Perfect can be found in the midst of imperfection; the self separates us from God because “we” love “Him”; our “life” is the veil that keeps us from living; our desire for security is what makes us insecure; our search for God is what makes it impossible to find Him. “Leave thy self behind, and then approach Me.”
I think the answer to joy lies, like a hidden door, in the very heart of pain. “Joy” and “pain” are, after all, distinguished by me, not in reality. In fully embracing all, I no longer need to escape one part in favor of another. By accepting self, it must dissipate, because it was never real to begin with. Our contention with life is like fearing shadows: the fear itself is what makes demons of them. In loving those demons, they return to the mere nothings they always were.