Zenith

Seeing stones and sills go by
I see these things and start to cry

So many notes are gone and missed
I reach to feel them, shores to kiss

I greet You and I rise up tall
I want to search the Garden’s sprawl

To wander freely, touch what’s true
To love as greatly as You do.

In ‘Recognition’ of Happiness

Why do we need to apply conditions to our perceived state of happiness?

Can you be happy always, anytime?

I was confronted with these thoughts recently, and finally saw them for what they were: illusion breakers.

Undoubtedly, the first time I saw a quote or meme that stated something along the lines of “Happiness is Unconditional,” I didn’t get it. A line like this evokes one of those mystic, woo-woo Buddhist concepts, spoken from the master to the pupil. In one ear and out the other. A part of me pipes up: “I’m not a monk, I’m a regular person!”

But more and more these words wormed their way in deep. Wriggled and wrought to my heart. I get them now so much more fully and deeply than I ever expected to. A pleasant surprise.

*

A while back, after the birth of my daughter, I was going through a hard time. I wasn’t depressed per se – I was just despairing a little. Feeling unfulfilled at work. Tight on bills and uncertain of financial security. Unwilling to work harder to make said needed money as I now wanted to be home more and not at the office. Plus, I happened to be blessed with a micro-manager who liked to provoke and push – the very opposite of what I wanted and thought I needed. And to top it all off, a lot of my neuroticisms transferred to my husband, who carried the weight of those residual damages.

I didn’t know what to do.

So for whatever reason, I started writing after hearing a speech at work. And about a year ago, for whatever reason, I felt a pull to blogging. The ‘whys’ of such decisions I still cannot fully articulate, but I went for it.

After starting this writing practice on a regular basis, I finally started seeing and thinking and feeling what this misty concept of ‘unconditional’ really means. About what it means to be happy and satisfied unconditionally.

To have no condition or state of being or thing or person or job or money dictate my state of happiness. And to think this could even happen.

Lately, even with long days at the office, shitty traffic, messy houses and emotional toddlers in my life pretty much every day, I am able to see small moments. To slow down. To breathe.

None of these things or situations cause my unhappiness. Their presence or lack thereof does not determine my state of Being.

For if I tied my happiness to any of these conditions, my happiness has the potential of being yanked away at a moment’s notice. My happiness would be tied to this world, and all the ephemeral things that move in and out of it. My happiness would ultimately be elusive.

These things that we typically tie happiness to – people, jobs, money, health, children, cars, time off, social circles, etc – are things that change in life. They change all the time. They are conditions, and our charge is to exist beyond them.

To BE unconditionally.

So back in my tough days (and they are far from over) I had trouble with this line of thinking. It was so clear to me that money and a more satisfying job would solve everything. Right?

Currently I am still at said job, making the same amount of money, and I am happier than I was.

There might be other reasons for this, but a major part is that I’ve now realized that my happiness isn’t tied to those things. If I based my level of satisfaction on earning more dollars, then my happiness would have the potential to never come – and there is nothing further from the truth.

I have power over my happiness.

*

Everyday, I sit in amazement and stare at my dog sleeping so soundly on the floor at my feet, ears twitching at small noises.

I kiss my daughter’s head with fervor even if she’s screaming and I’m losing my grip on patience.

I think fondly of my husband and his zest for life that sometimes lies buried underneath self-criticism and doubt.

I recognize my ridiculous wallowing and give myself some space and forgiveness.

I am in awe of this life and all it contains in this perfectly imperfect moment.

And that is my happiness. ❤

“Language-twisting-twisting”

Words are always following me. They hang above, trailing me wherever I go. Constantly composing, re-forming, re-stating. Once I have a moment of peace or silence, they flood me like the deluge…. An onslaught of compositions, essays, poetry, and random statements.

I am used to this constant internal narrative. It’s been there for me all along, so it’s all I know. Constant and normal. But I do have to work to keep it productive and not obsessive. Once I open the gates to the flood, it is hard to retain balance. To find the prior equilibrium. I’m working on it, but it is an ongoing battle. A battle I enjoy, really, so I am at least thankful for that!

The more I write these thoughts and think things out in words, the more I find it’s not really about the words at all. The individual words, meanings, or technical skill. It’s not even about the literal story. No… it’s really only about conveying a concept. Communicating a feeling. Incepting pictures to the hearts and minds of others and to myself. The words themselves are meaningless, but together with intention and imagination they create, transform, and build.

Feeling these concepts in my writing, spirited and soulful concepts, is the goal. I hope I am on the right track. It feels good, and moves me passionately, so I think I am stepping in the right direction. The pictures of the soul are so much more communicative than any human written piece could aspire to be. Transformative, intimate, touching. These pictures are the ones I reach for and hope to glimpse.

Amazonian shamans have a distinct relationship with words. They talk and describe their spiritual journeys and ayahuasca dreams in far-reaching metaphors that seem nonsensical to the outsider – but they make perfect sense to them. They tell us that this is the only way one can know the unknowable and examine the unseen. To get close. To glimpse.

They describe this as tsai yoshtoyoshto, which means “language-twisting-twisting.”

In his wonderfully readable memoir about his studies in the Peruvian jungle with indigenous peoples, The Cosmic Serpent, author and anthropologist Jeremy Narby posits why they must speak in twisted language – the “language that is double and wrapped around itself.” The shamans use their koshuiti, or particular song they sing, during their hallucination dreams in order to communicate with what they are seeing. They say:

“With my koshuiti I want to see – singing, I carefully examine things – twisted language brings me close but not too close – with normal words I would crash into things – with twisted ones I circle around them – I can see them clearly.”

Here, we could infer that normal language does not let us know these concepts adequately. We need the metaphoric meaning, as this is the only real way to see. Mental pictures cannot be described in mere words. They are concepts, feelings, pictures that reach beyond and within the self.

I have been writing my poetry stream-of-consciousness style for a while now, and I am only just grasping the pictures and concepts that it conveys to me. When I write, I try to let it flow unhindered, and it naturally comes out in rhyme. I’ve decided not to fight it – indeed, maybe rhyme is the best way of seeing the universe?

I will heed to the “language-twisting-twisting” as it shows me what I cannot see in this rationalistic, brain-based world. It shows me the language of the heart…in singsong.

*

I want to know, but feel unrest.
I want to formulate the best.
And so I must take my time…

Pyramids are built in rhyme.

Deceleration

Breaking bread in utmost haste
Singing soldiers, making paste
Sought amongst the gravel ruins
Partial maladies seek cocoons.

Casting nets both wide and vast
Reeling in the fishes fast
Cranking, beating,
Flesh and bone
I can’t see past the hues and tone.

Fast forward through
The muck and dew,
Slowing down now,

Breathe.

Anew.

Dance of Emergence

Laughter heart
Singing songs
Where have you been
I’ve waited so long.

Spinning down
A web so fine
Chewing morsels
So divine.

Treading lightly
Swallowing so
Leaping to where
We want to go.

Pausing only
To reemerge
Then further down
We must submerge

Contemplation
Brings its wings
Contraptions set
Amongst the things.

Silly, sordid, solid lies.
All together
With the flies.

Catching them
Is hardest, too.
I want to meet them.
Really, I do.

Presence

Seeing seething, seeping wounds
Bandaged more than their cocoons.

Breathtaking, worldly, in delight
Something broken, fangs in spite.

Carrying burdens with their back
Cracking barrels, stumbling track.

Ambitions high amidst the air
Spinning yarns, caressing care.

Eyes want truth in light and thought
Hands wrought iron, sow and sought.

Be with the mystery, comforting space
Beyond the matter – it’s not a race.

Upshift

I feel like I’ve been in an incubation period. Insular and isolated. Not by any specific day to day circumstance, but by my own inner need. Some form of metamorphosis.

This is, I realize, a very grand term to apply to my own personal growth, and rather presumptuous. But what else emerges after a period of incubation but some form of life, put together out of the immortal slime of potentialities?

I personally need these times of introspection greatly, not only because I’m an introvert and recharge in silence, but for the need to be alone, without distraction, just to make sense of things in general. To make sense of the entirety of life, in thought and in emotion.

When I read books I usually come to a point when I need to put them down and psychologically gnaw on the new ideas and let them percolate. Allow them space in my own psyche to simmer and assimilate. As such, sometimes I get halfway through a book, or even three-quarters, and I have to put it down to think. Then, unsurprisingly, I have a hard time picking it back up again as I let too much time elapse for mindful thought. It should be no surprise that given this predilection, I have seven books in progress right now, not counting three or so kindle books.

(This specifically applies to non-fiction; I tend to race through and lose myself in fiction books, to the detriment of all other pursuits. In this way I am very careful and cautious about introducing fiction titles to my life.)

This start and stop nature is frustrating, but as I was reading this evening and trying to revel in a large chunk of personal time in which to really sink my teeth into a book, I got fidgety. My mind’s own thoughts started to outweigh the words on the page. I had no choice but to put the book down. I could not concentrate on a single concept any longer.

I have to upshift my focus – yield to the unrelenting vastness that bubbles over and in.

When dealing with new concepts, ideas, histories, facts, spiritual themes, and even other more mundane areas of life – I absolutely lose my narrowed focus after a time, and can only gain it back and reign it in with great, great, great effort.

Introspection and rest are the only ways to gain this back without a fight. My conscious attention to details, to information gathering, becomes exhausted and I have no choice but to stop and open the aperture to bask in a larger picture of light.

So maybe this little incubation period is a necessary thing that is leading me to wonderful places; maybe it is just a resting place, to gain back energy. Either way, writing is a way to structure some of the unfocused thoughts that stream around in my unconscious opened aperture. Much needed therapy and a welcome outlet.

My “hibernation” of mind, and slow down of blog posts, are both reflections of the busy-ness of the holiday season and the uptick in general of ideation that I have been subject to in the past month. Ideation that has forced me to put the book down and gnaw and percolate.

As much as incubation is necessary, I look forward to less information gathering and more information formulation in the coming year. The pendulum swinging back from its moment of rest.

I’ve said a few times in entries here that I sometimes feel like a conduit of thought – a mere single point of light emanating out of another, grander source. Just repeating and processing what I receive. This feeling has not subsided – it has only grown, and provided a substantial foundation for my personal philosophy and spirit.

Cheers to the 2016 New Year – to new thought, upshifted focus, and the general expansion of heart.