A Fabulous Secret

‘Poetry of N. Gumilyov’ – Oleh Sokolov, 1973 – WikiArt

I’ve always had the intuition that writing hid a fabulous secret. That there lay a soft power, a beauty to which no other thing compares. That words could express harmony. That a particular form of them could take me into the unformed, into the soft ether of life. That words had the capacity to unravel the meaning of the totality of possible existence. That they were alchemists that could produce in all of us the perfume of their own land of birth — which is ours too. That they could clear all the mist that keeps lingering around this life of ours. This is the promise that words held for me. And I do not mean that they could do all of that through their explanatory power alone. Through their simple, logic, arithmetic value. They could and would comply to do so if you wanted them to. But it’s not quite why I had praised them all along. Words could seduce me through their music alone. Through their soft capacity for intimacy and poetry. Through the intrinsic harmony that they carried, and were a vehicle for. Words could be like Tango dancers. And their arabesque was love itself.

And yet. Yet words had eluded me all my life. I have always been short of them. They were never allowed to run freely in my field. They had been concealed by the majesty of pain. But would I be willing to engage with them, that they would come hastily as a balm on myself. Would I be willing to let them express their all, that they would arrive in bouquets that flowered with all their perfume. Words can act in us as clarifiers. They make clear and clean. And they can be hard workers, if you let them be. If you keep still while they come inviting you into their round. This is where they service you — in the power of their expression. This is where they silence you — in the stillness of their homeland. This is where they present you with the simple gift of being. Listen to them carefully: they will show you how they share the same ground of being than you. I’ve always had the intuition that writing hid a fabulous secret…

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Oleh Sokolov (1919-1990)

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Website:
Oleh Sokolov (WikiArt)

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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A Disencumbered Now

Expecting anything from the next moment will make you leave the present moment. Holding on to anything that took place in a past moment is a hindrance. It will curb your ecstasy. It will dampen your freedom. It is like the surging of time in a timeless moment. It will throw a cold. Now is always timeless. Otherwise now is not now anymore. Now then mingles itself with thoughts of past events, and with expectations. It is sullied. Eternity is lost, replaced by the movement of separation. Stillness is disturbed, transformed into endless seeking. Now is being encumbered with time. And time is nothing but the main constituent of our limited, illusory, suffering self.

The present moment can never be a moment. It would make it of time. It would make it last. Nothing lasts in the field of the now — which is pristine being. Something that lasts is already stained. But presence is only shining in purity. It is an empty container, even when it is full to the brim with multiple appearances. Presence is unencumbered by anything past. It doesn’t need to accumulate. It doesn’t need to expect, hope, project, prepare. How do you accumulate in fullness? How do you prepare for the inconceivable? How do you expect the unanticipated? How do you hope for the unexpected? Presence is like a pure diamond. Any impurity, the slightest stain, will lower its intrinsic power and value. For the diamond of being needs clarity. This is how it takes ever more light. The diamond of presence has to be unadulterated. This is how it is made genuine and innocent. Disencumber the now. Unload it from anything that is coming from thought, that finds its origin in the memories of the past and the images of the future, and expresses itself as fear and lack. Your apparent self is made of such thoughts and images, with their concomitant feelings. They are like the soldiers of the separate self’s army. Take a time off from these. Stop indulging in them. Don’t be fooled and misguided by them. You are not made of the past or the future. These are only the now in disguise. Now is who you truly are. Now is all there is. So go for the now. Allow it to shine freely. Disencumbered.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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The Contemplative Mind

Contemplation is a place of leisure and space. It is, as its etymology conveys, a ‘place for observation’. It has space within itself. It is a temple, which in Latin means an ‘open and consecrated space’. It is a sacred spot. A place where you find yourself meditating without having initiated it. It means that you — your Self — are on an equal footing with the objects of experience. You have not been absorbed, or engulfed by them. You are rather with them, hosting them all, embracing them in your emptiness. You see life from the standpoint of your temple of being. This is the position where from things acquire beauty and meaning. This is how you contemplate — by looking at everything from within the position of your Self. This is like being at the beach. The beach is a threshold, as are the front stairs that lead to the Ganges in Benares. This is when or where the city life is left behind and we come to be on vacation, on a holy-day — which is always a holy ground — to have leisure, freedom. To meet a certain form of death. To face the emptiness of the sea, the river, and the sky in front of us. We know intimately, or have the intuition of this place in ourself — this threshold, this passage from a dull and empty sense of acquired fullness, to the fullness of emptiness which is nothing but our natural, god-given state and being. This is the temple from which objective experience ought to be contemplated. This is where the contemplator is felt to be the contemplated. Contemplation then becomes a prayer. And such a prayer asks for nothing but the fact of being. This is the place of convalescence, where you come to heal from the world, from yourself. This is where you come to paint, to produce a new world out of your Self. This is where you get healed by this new vision, where your life finds a reorganisation, a new standpoint, a new temple where you can breathe at last and be content. Contemplation is completion. Sitting in an empty boat, or amongst dirty laundry, and be taken far out of yourself into your newly discovered sense of Self. This is a cleansing process, both of yourself and of the world. This is the contemplative mind.

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Painting and text by Alain Joly

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The painting was made from an original black & white photograph by Bjørn Weinreich.

Bibliography:
– ‘Benares, A Sacred City in North India’ – by Bjørn Weinreich and Ulla Mørch – (Denmark, 1983)

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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The Substance of God

‘Neubrandenburg’ – Caspar David Friedrich, 1816 – WikiArt

How can we account for the beauty of the world? Because in spite of everything that is happening within and without, and afflicts us, leaves us distressed, the world bears at its core an intrinsic perfection. It’s not difficult to see. You only have to stand back, to release the grip, be less involved. To look afresh at the blue sky above your head. To see that a blue sky is an extraordinary thing. As is a tree, and the song of the wind in its foliage. As is a cloud, and the sudden tapping of the millions of drops that come to wet the land. As is any human endeavour, and the skill it takes to play a symphony from Beethoven. As is a chair, a blanket, a paper bin, anything that exists. Existence is a baffling thing. It is the core of the matter — that anything exists — and to understand it is to crack the nature of reality. What is the secret hidden behind any appearance? How can a form acquire beauty, a movement express harmony, a shape provoke love? And more interesting even, how is beauty made ugliness, harmony turned into disorder, love transformed into enmity, perfection changed into chaos? What are the workings behind it all?

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A meditation on the beauty and substance of the world… (READ MORE…)

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The Program

Image by Pete Linforth in Pixabay

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There is a program that shows up in our being
. This program was created since the dawn of time. It has been affected by countless lines of conditioning. It is moving, dancing like a sea, moulded by habits or necessities, defined by laws, created by the limitations of having a body. It has its own incentives, formed out of previous incentives. It develops in an infinite number of ways. The program is always surprising. It never stands still. It is entrancing, captivating. It occupies us all, and it does it totally. There is no escape from the program. At least, there doesn’t seem to be. Until one day. Until one day…

That day is the day where light shows up at last. And that light comes as a revelation. It is here to clarify the situation. To give us the truth of the matter. There is in fact a way out of the program. We can be free of it. It doesn’t have to mesmerise us, make us fearful. The program was never really a program. It never was limiting. It was play. And the stage for it was not the universe. The stage for the play was dimensionless. It never came into existence. It didn’t have to. For it is unborn, uncreated, unsubstantial. It is not itself a program. Thank god that it isn’t. It would have had tragic implications. Now listen carefully…

All of life is contained in this infinitesimal point of being that is responsible for your saying ‘I’. This is the stage of life. Beware though of mistaking the stage for the program. That sublime ‘I’ is not the ‘I’ that carries the formulation of the program. It is not the ‘I’ that borrows its existence to the existence of the program. Not that shaky ‘I’. No. That sacred ‘I’ of being is the only thing that is seemingly in the program but is in fact not. That all encompassing ‘I’ is before everything that you can name. It is the nameless that harbours all names. It is the no-thing that contains all things. It is independent of all the things that only depend on it. It is alone within itself. And that aloneness is you, ‘I’, all that you are now. All that you have ever been. Will ever be. Can ever be…

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Text by Alain Joly

Image by Pete Linforth

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Website:
TheDigitalArtist (Pixabay)

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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The Names of God

‘Signs of Christ’ – Nicholas Roerich, 1924 – WikiArt

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The knowing of ‘I am’
is the apparition of God’s being
in our human experience.
It is the being of all beings,
the self of all selves
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~ Rupert Spira

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יהוה               الله               ईश्वर

ब्रह्म               رحمن

אֱלֹהִים

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There is something that is very hard to understand about God. A survey of the names that have been given to god makes it unequivocally clear, but we keep missing the target: ‘Being’, ‘Mighty Being’, ‘I Am’, and so many others, refer to the fundamental equation of god with ‘being’, with our very everyday experience of plain, simple, pure being. And yet, we keep projecting the presence of god in an hypothetical outside, another ‘being’ that our very ‘being’. So it seems that a study of the different names of god will help focusing on the fundamental nature of god’s being, this mighty Being whose being rests unseen, unnoticed in our own being.

Etymologically, the word ‘god’ (Proto-Germanic ‘gudan’) finds its root meaning in the ancient ritual of sacrifice, as in ‘libation’, or ‘to pour’, or in the Sanskrit ‘hutá’, meaning ‘having been sacrificed’. So god is ‘the one to whom sacrifices are made’, which extends to the sense of calling, invoking. To whom or what do I give the primary attention in myself? Do I indulge in, or fall to any objective appearance as thoughts, sensations, perceptions? Or do I sacrifice these appearances and find rest in the stillness of the one that is aware of these, which is pure being? To whom does my pouring, my libation go?

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See how the many names of god relate to the sense of ‘being’… (READ MORE…)

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The Ways of Being

Have you ever tried to live just above yourself? Now look. There is a whole set of activities going on down below, but you don’t need to get involved. It’s all conditioned reactions anyway, so don’t get entangled with any of it. You know this ceaseless activity: The ‘thoughts’ and the ‘felts’. Perceptions mesmerising you with their belly dancing. They will precipitate you down. They will be your fall. As for the body, it can take care of itself for the biggest part. Attend to it only when it’s required. To go to the dentist or to the cinema. To give the mind a vehicle. Fair enough. These are the contingencies of life. Feed the body well though. And give it something to do to keep the joints going, or for pure enjoyment. Joy is not some kind of negligible. It’s a necessity of life.

So bodily activity doesn’t need your full involvement. Stay aloof. Enjoy the show. As for the rest, you can be with being. You know this place that’s immobile, that never changes. Trust it. It will keep you safe. Stay there, just above yourself as it were. And don’t think that you are being haughty or bourgeois in this. Being is not that sort of being. It is not really above. It mingles with the lowly too. Actually it is everywhere. It cannot be taken apart. It’s the very fabric of experience. Only give it a little attention, and it will take you with itself. It will invite you at its home. Beautiful. Spacious. Silent. Well situated. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. You can bring there all your messiness. She doesn’t mind. Even these noisy and shameful friends of yours. But give them a warning though. They might not be served their usual cheap wine. Being has its ways. Her friendliness is contagious. Your friends might fall in love. They might shrink eventually and disappear. And make ‘being’ their home… move there for ever… even marry her… and be happy hereafter. You know the whole story that goes with it…

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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