The Waiting Room

‘The Dining Room in the Country’ – Pierre Bonnard, 1913 – WikiArt

There is a subtle waiting lingering inside us. Do you feel it? I do. Let’s have a look at it. It’s an expectation, a yearning, a feeling that says that the now, what is happening for me right now, is not quite enough. In whatever way I may look at it, that’s very clear. This is definitely not enough. Period. And off I go, keeping on living as if one day, maybe, if I’m lucky enough, if all the good stars align at last, that might descend upon me. I might get it, that feeling that I’m now complete. Cooked. Finished. Over with it. But that’s really just a fancy idea. Wishful thinking. In the meantime, did I ever look at it carefully? This subtle feeling, this buzz underlying each and every second of my existence, that something is missing? I concede that there are exceptions, fleeting moments when I suddenly find myself whole, silenced, at peace. But this is not satisfactory. So there is comfort in waiting, in not quite engaging. Staying put. Waiting on the platform of life for the next train of thought. The next occurrence. What is this waiting made of? Is it a real feeling? Or maybe just a ghost-feeling? What is here that I don’t see? Why am I waiting? […]

Continue exploring this subtle waiting lingering within… (READ MORE…)

 

The Never Ending Story

May you find that within you 
which already lives beyond death 
and begin to live out of it now
.”
~ Rafe (Benedictine monk)

 

Listen to it. It is now. It is taking place now. It is taking your whole world in, and it does it effortlessly. For this is it. The whole thing yes, all you have ever been, seen, heard, encountered. All you have ever thought and felt. Including that which has given a home, a birthing place to it all. The whole bunch of it, this is you. I mean really you. Don’t think that you were some part of it. There are no parts. Your life is an undivided whole. And put your two feet in it. Stand as it. Don’t escape into some dark corners. Be proud. Take it all in. Be the giant that you truly are. But first, diminish all that is small in you. All your bits and pieces. Your thoughts of grandeur and failure. Your overwhelming feelings. Your precious little person. They will get in the way. Make them dim and distant. Let them leave you. For they were never yours, never you. They were little clowns dancing, laughing, crying on the stage of your life. Asking for your applauds or your pity. Don’t involve yourself with them. Welcome them all but stay remote, untouched. Let them perform though. They need to tell you something. To warn you. But stay when they have left the stage. Don’t run away with them. Don’t forget who you are. Extend your view. Make your being whole. Encompass it. Espouse it. Listen to it. It is now. It is taking place now. It is taking your whole world in, and it does it effortlessly. For this is it. The whole thing yes…

 

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other reveries from the blog…

 

God Wants it All

Photo by Gerson Rodriguez / Pixabay

“(et hi tres unum sunt)
And these three are one
~ Bible, 1 John 5:7–8

 

God wants it all.
Beware if you’re planning
A little visit.
But don’t worry now!
He’s not going to eat you.
It doesn’t work that way.
Rather you will be pushed,
Through some gentle pressure of His,
To eat Him yourself.
How do we eat God?
Now relax!
It’s all been chewed already.
You just need to let go,
To leave the place for Him
To move in.
It’s not such a big move.
He’s here anyway,
Occupying your couch,
Eating your food,
Breathing your air.
Only gently move away.
Start by going out
Of your precious apartment.
It lives perfectly well
Without your being present.
Give it some air,
Take a little walk,
Have as many outings
You feel!
Let God gather its belongings
And get used to the place.
It’s His already but
You failed noticing it.
Don’t think you will feel crowded
When you come back.
God is the best room-mate ever.
He will make it all nice for you!
I bet you will enjoy
His presence.
He will only stay to the extent
You let Him in;
So don’t be so anxious!
He’s not the kind to impose Himself.
Rather do it yourself:
Impose Him on yourself!
You will feel so free;
You will enjoy and pray Him
To stay,
To live here for ever
While you keep on strolling
In the city.
But don’t feel shy!
Make the effort,
Pay Him a little visit.
It is your home after all!
He’ll be happy to see you,
For by seeing you,
He is enjoying your sweet friendship 
And flavour —
Which is His by the way!
Befriend Him as your best friend.
You might even start
Going out with Him,
Everywhere,
To enjoy the world:
Listen through His ears;
Admire through His eyes;
Sense the world with all
His generous being.
You will laugh!
You will love!
And who knows,
You might even date Him
Just as He might date you,
And you two will melt and
Go back home.
He might move in.
You might move in
Back into your flat.
But not alone this time,
And yet not two either.
Yet your presence
Will not feel lonely.
You will feel bigger,
Wider,
Richer,
Though still
Your own unique self.
As for your friend,
You won’t even see Him
Anymore,
For He is just only you.
But His glorious heart
Will beat inside you
Manifold
In your life.
I warned you!
Remember…
God wants it all.

 

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Photo by Gerson Rodriguez / Pixabay

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Suggestion:
Eternity with a Smile (other pieces from this category)

 

Be Still and Know

This was our last retreat there. In the old mansion that we so dearly loved. Amongst the rolling hills of Wales. Here we have listened and felt. Here we have known what needs to be known. We have felt our heart sing and thrive beyond measure. 

Here we sang together for the last time. A small improvised choir. A last song that is like a hymn for future days. Its lovely tune I cannot convey to you. But the words. Oh the words… Only listen and feel the heart of it. It goes:

Be still and know that I am God
And there is none besides me

The first injonction is ‘be still’. It’s a call. There is a wild world out there. Don’t run after every seducing thought. Don’t follow every glitter of experience. Be disinterested for once. Turn your head away. Say: I don’t want you! Try it.

Don’t let the world eat you. If anything, swallow it yourself! But do it softly. Let it go and disappear of its own accord. Be gentle. We don’t want to upset it. It needs to tell you more. Wait a little longer. You will be surprised.

Put yourself together. Find the place of togetherness in you. Stay there. See how good it feels. Be reunited with your own self. Make it happy. Make yours its sweet presence. Hear its heartfelt cry resonating. You’re here. At last! […]

Continue unraveling these verses from a song… (READ MORE…)

 

Benares my Love

One day long ago, I was stopped on my way, redirected as it were. It was one morning, the time of a glorious encounter with the subtle ethers of a city. Nothing would ever be the same. But what did I know at the time?

In Benares I met the Ganges. But it wasn’t a river. It was something calm, placid, yet charged with a force and power that I had never met before. At night, the river was still not a river. It was an absence, an emptiness. It was dark. And the boats that were aligned on it were like suspended, resting, immobile, placed here by something I could never comprehend. And the waters met here secretly with silence, in the crystalline air where a bell breathed an occasional, happy tone.

In Benares I saw the sun rising. But it wasn’t a sun. It was a bath of golden light spread above the waters. It was giving and fresh like all illumination must be. It was a pointer reminding us tirelessly to turn our attention on ourselves. It was not taken for granted but received. You were being exposed, as all beliefs and limitations ought to be. And in the evening, its setting amongst the heartfelt notes of a devotional song would send shivers down your spine. Then you knew. You would come again tomorrow to be clothed by its golden light. And you couldn’t wait.

A secret meeting with the city of Varanasi or Benares… (READ MORE…)

 

Variations on the Separate Self

Who am I, and in what really do I consist of?
What is this cage of suffering?

~ Jayakhya Samhita, Verse 5.7

 

Why is it so difficult to recognise something that’s staring us in the face? The distance is always so short between our worse moments of separation and the full recognition of the truth of our being. The tiniest, softest change of focus can either show you a world made of infinite space or throw you into an abyss of tortured thinking. When we stand in the apparent coziness of our false beliefs, we seem to be ages away from any kind of understanding. We feel that no amount of effort will ever bring us into the light. We might as well give up. This is the road towards self-indulgence and sorrow. We think that the burden is too big, the effort required out of reach. No. It’s never like that. We are an infinitesimal move away from the light. No effort is even required. Something of a relaxation. A so slight change of focus that it seems no move at all. It’s here already, waiting for our humbleness. …

Continue finding out about these variations on separation… (READ MORE…)

 

The Cave

As the innermost Self of all, 
he dwells within the cavern of the heart
.”
~ Mundaka Upanishad, Hymn II.1.9

 

I had this thought landing in my mind some time ago, that “now I might as well retire, take refuge into the cave of awareness”. This made me think of the retiring into caves, as monks and anchorites do in some spiritual traditions. Retiring from the world, falling into solitude can be useful to withdraw from the entanglement with the ten thousand things of experience. It allows a space in which we can be watchful, and have the leisure to deepen our understanding. In the Hindu concept of Ashrama, which represents the four different stages of life, two are dedicated to some form of withdrawal from the the world: Vanaprastha, which in Sanskrit literally means ‘retiring to the forest’, and Sannyasa, which means ‘to put down everything’. The western word ‘anchorite’ has a Greek origin which means ‘to withdraw’, and ‘monk’ comes from ‘monachos’, which means ‘solitary’.

But what does this withdrawal from the world mean, in deep analysis? All the religious concepts of renunciation, solitude, poverty must point to something deeper than just a physical attitude. Because no matter how thick the walls of renunciation may be, a strong sense of being a ‘person caught in the entanglements of its own re-created world’ can and certainly does survive any physical retirement, be it in a forest, a monastery, or a desert. So this retiring has to be a metaphor. In reality, the true retiring resides inside, where we for a time take our stand as the witness, the presence behind all objective experience. The Indian word ‘sādhu’, which also refers to a person living a form of renunciation, has more ambivalence. Its rich meaning goes from ‘not entangled’ to ‘leading straight to a goal, hitting the mark, unerring’, to simply ‘peaceful, excellent, virtuous’. There is much more here than just withdrawing.

 

The Lord is the supreme Reality.
Rejoice in him through renunciation
.”
~ Isha Upanishad, Hymn 1

 

So the cave, metaphorically speaking, is awareness, the peaceful presence at the core of our experience. This place need not be a remote one, except in the first stages of our understanding, when we need to disentangle our true self from the parasites of a busy and confused mind, or indeed an equally busy and confused world. But, in a way that is truly paradoxical, when you reach the deep, unfathomable cave of consciousness, the inside suddenly turns out to be the outside. The true cave turns out to be no cave at all. It turns out to be the world, the entirety of our experience. As Rupert Spira says: “This empty ‘nothing’ turns out to be the fullness of everything.”

The walls of the cave are made out of our daily experience. The world is the cave and it is placed at an infinite distance. Be careful here, ’infinite’ doesn’t mean ‘far away’, it means ‘at no distance at all’. The world is ourselves. The cave of consciousness where we have retired is ourselves. Not the little self for whom retiring was a separate action with an aim at hand, but rather a new self englobing everything, the whole world. And this world is not a cave of separation, it is the totality playing with itself. And believe me, the infinite possibilities for celebration, the number of possible games to be enjoyed are here if we are only willing to play. Not entering any caves, but giving ourselves – literally – to the non conceivable, the non fathomable, and to the ten thousand things of experience.

 

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Joseph Wright (1734 – 1797)

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Painting: A Cavern, Evening. 1774 – Joseph Wright – [Public Domain] WikiArt

Websites:
Rupert Spira
Joseph Wright (Wikipedia)