Sunday 11 December 2022

Waves and Stars

I am ready to admit that I am not going to 'make it' as a mystic. Yes there have been perhaps glimpses but basically I'm not given to it. Whilst it can't ever be ruled out, I've 'looked in to' my disposition for long enough and from various 'angles' and attempted to neither 'look' nor not 'look' in to what 'angles' arise and I see my koan arising time and again and it becomes apparent, or so it seems, that I'm really held so tightly by the koan that the jewel of direct appreciation is likely to remain for me a distant star by which I might at best steer but whose warmth is too distant to feel. I think it's fair to say I've not chased such 'warmth' in any event but I've tried to live in such a way that there might be the possibility... And this was because without doing so... without the star, there would be the darkness, however bright the lights of the everyday, there would be revealing them the darkness and the awful fear that one day it would cloud in so close and dense that the lights would only serve to illuminate it rather than each other. And I say ready to admit because as the image of the star grows so dim and the realisation that the fear arguably at the root of the koan is likely part of the landscape of experience for life then meaning and acceptance become as ever, the koan. Which is a roundabout way of saying that, that what? Indeed! And so I continue to put one foot in front of the other, observe the koan, struggle with the practicalities of the current situation and know that whilst there is inflection in my relationship with dharma there remains that star both distant and right here. The living dharma isn't negated or otherwise by an individual experience mystical or otherwise. 

Yesterday walking through the dunes (the tide was high and the beach impassable in places) back towards Warkworth DC and I conversed infrequently, rather we enjoyed the stunning vistas. Our walk was slightly longer in distance and time than typically it would have been due to the circuitous route up and down dunes trying to stay close to the sea yet out of its waves. It was frosty and in places slippery. However, at one point we came back to a familiar subject - consciousness. In different ways and with different language we converged around the question - are the physicalists right, is consciousness a product of complex physical structures and that's it OR is matter something that comes out of consciousness? Chickens and eggs? Well, actually the question was a bit more nuanced and the discourse somewhat more dendritic but I've not the impetus right now to go into the detail. Suffice to say we were of a mind on the unknowable nature of all this.

Just what is our true nature? It would be easy to write here something relatively smooth and affirmative, something pointing to that distant star which is right here and now. In truth, the question hangs and the thoughts and feelings are mixed and muddy. DC and I are fortunate, right now there is much strife and pain in the world yet we are relatively protected. There are some difficult problems with which we must interact and find ways of meeting and moving forward. Some of those have triggered past trauma and that is very challenging to sit with, find the way to place each foot and live each day. And so the ways we are fortunate and the ways I am dealing with trauma blend in a complex way and it is far from easy.

Sometimes the dharma is clear and there is joy. These are the times of peace and equanimity and wisdom seems simple. Sometimes the challenges are great, one is overwhelmed, it's difficult to find firm ground and wisdom seems elusive or at least one struggles to be settled by it. If one truly knew such times would end soon and all would be well we might better be able to steady ourselves in the storm, or possibly not.

I look forward to Christmas in the Scottish highlands with friends. Although the Findhorn Foundation has all but gone there remain embers and maybe one day something may rise phoenix like. Some of my friends there sit in the post covid flux and try to respond as best they can with a willingness to serve. For my own part, whilst I'd not seen myself returning to live in the community it's been saddening to witness its demise. The FF was a gateway for me and we served each other with a depth not necessarily apparent and I do feel it to have been my spiritual home. At times the 'floopyness' would infuriate me but more often times it was only holding a mirror to my inability to relax, trust and be confident that good enough was good enough. Riding the waves and trusting isn't something I find any easier as the decades pass, or maybe I do... Sometimes the waves engulf me but I've not forgot the stars. And beside me is DC who always keeps an eye on them.