Monday, August 29, 2011
Living the Questions: A Bit of a Dark Ramble
I've been saying for years that we can trust life, trust the things that are happening; trust that there are no mistakes or accidents or coincidences. How do we know the right thing is happening? Because it is happening. This I've heard over and over from people who seem to have experienced true awakening and observed life and our world from that perspective, from authentic knowing and seeing as opposed to intellectual conceptualizing.
I've also seen from the years on the spiritual path - and to my surprise - that the more I learn and think I "know," the more I see that I don't know, and the further the mystery deepens. I've always loved this, it's felt like its own brush up against the mystical and sacred, and an invitation, as Rilke put it, to live the questions now, rather than the constant quest for the illusion of security I think answers might provide.
Until the dark night that is...
Because the truth is, I have no idea what is truth and what is not. No idea if the right thing is happening, if there are mistakes or not, if it's even in our power to make lemonade when life hands us lemons; if life is the canvas to the imagination. (Though it sounds great, oui? though on second thought, maybe Thoreau had stumbled upon some wild mushrooms out there on Walden Pond :) I used to think so, I used to think we had much more control... before the Dark Night. Sometimes Life takes away even our ability to decide how we respond to things. This I do know from first-hand experience.
I think again of telling my teacher Isaac that I no longer have a clue what's true... and knowing his answer as surely as I know my own first name... Congratulations. And there is a sense that Life is not finished stripping it all away, any ideas, thought, beliefs about what is true or what should be, anything that stands in my way (of what...??), that as I go through my possessions and jettison ever more stuff, as my house continues to fall in value and I lose more and more money waiting for it to sell, as my mood rises and falls like waves on a stormy sea, I am left wondering what it's all really about, pondering the whole idea of mistakes and regrets and security, of what we know and don't know, can ever know or not know, of what is of value and what is not, what, if anything, can truly be trusted.
Living the questions... what choice do we really have? Well, other than making art - and even that doesn't feel like a choice, it seems to just happen - and enjoying the hell out of how people put words together to form a poetic and lovely and inspiring whole.
It could even be, couldn't it, that the Dark Night is a true and real, even necessary part of the path? That any idea of it being bad or wrong exists in the mind only. That what we can see, what we can know, pales completely in comparison to all that goes on in and around us invisibly, the tip of the iceberg being all that can be seen with our human eyes, all else lying beneath the surface, dark, mysterious.