It is rarely as good as you think it must be, or as bad as you fear it will be.
Black crows are silhouettes against a cotton sky.
There is light. And there is dark.
The dark cannot subsume the light. Shine a light, and the dark must give way.
Shadows are wholly dependent.
But light shines of its own accord.
Black crows are silhouettes against a cotton sky.
If we insist on outdueling the other, we will eventually find there is nobody left to whom we relate.
A healthy relationship is not a duel of wit or will waged behind defensive walls; but a patient organic blooming of giving, understanding, and compassion.
Through giving we may receive; through understanding we may question; through compassion we may be saved.
Healthy relationships give us comfort for we are vulnerable, strength for we are weak.
The invulnerable and invincible among us are lost and lonely indeed. Not only do they not exist (for who among us are gods?), they are trapped in the illusion they do.
Step out from your defensive walls, and others will follow.
To change and develop in a positive direction one needs honest information. This is a reason why lies and deception are so injurious to well-being: they prevent the development of one’s full potential. Honesty to oneself and others is often painful, but so is birth, for mother and baby alike.
This damn thing is an absurd joke.
Oh not again. Not again.
I’ve seen myself a thousand times and I have not changed a bit.
One day it will all end.
The ideals of a frightened boy: all smashed.
One day it will all end and the ideals will not save me.
We were made broken.
Now, as then, and tomorrow again.
Listen. I bore myself. And you too, I hope.
It has all been said.
What am I clinging to but broken space?
There is no substance here but hollow ideals.
And yet hear my cry: ‘Give me a war! Give me a goddamned war, and something to die for! Give me an ideal!’
I am an unbalanced pretender. And I always knew it. A goddamned unbalanced pretender, shooting a shot now and then, taking aim and shooting a shot now and then, to tip the scale in my favour.
Tip the scale, tip the scale. I lean too far I must tip the scale.
A pretender. Pretentious. A pretentious pretender pretending to be pretentious: pretentious squared: meta-pretense.
I am not even able to fail with grace. Not brave to fall off the measure. Scrabbling and clamoring to tip the scale. I’m sliding and falling off and I am not courageous. I do not dare…I do not dare!
Have you ever seen the beautiful truth, and had failed to act?
And don’t say at least I was aware enough to see; that most are too calloused to be aware.
Don’t tell me I should feel lucky to live; that most are never born.
Pretenders squander awareness; cowards squander life.
Oh, that I could BELIEVE! In something, in anything. To be calloused enough to not see, but to believe!
Oh, that I could fail to see, and truly believe!
But I have seen. And have done nothing.
Do you understand my words? Don’t make me spell it out.
The pretentious switch costumes until nothing of substance is left.
I need a war! – (to fall off I do not dare)
If you don’t get it….then get out!
You have been spared, and my envy of you knows no limits.
It knows no limits.
I need a war! – (to slide right off I do not dare)
This balance has tipped and I’ve shot my shot and my envy knows no limits.
One day this will all end. This ideal will not save me. Now, as then, and tomorrow again.
I dare not fall so I shall pretend. To wage war that I may believe, and callous my soul to regain relief.
I’ve shot my shot.
Oh that I were as calloused and deserving of life as you.
I cannot go back in time. But I can do the next best thing: start making positive improvements in my life right now.
There is no such thing as dishonesty. It doesn’t exist in any meaningful sense.
In our deepest selves fluctuating values constantly tug on the strings of our wills.
Behind any deceptive act is a value held to be true; a belief which, no matter how wrong might appear to another, completely informs the actions of the deceiver at that moment.
We may deceive ourselves, and therefore others, but we can’t help be but honest deceivers.
A new world opened before me. One overflowing with light and love. I am neither reluctant nor expectant to enter, for reluctance implies doubt, expectancy implies dependency; I neither fear what lies within, nor seek salvation.
I know this world is meant for me. I will take my time to explore and learn. I will live.
Please take these words, and cast them across a crimson sky. Let the whole world read what I have been led to see. There is no pain so great, nor fear too deep, that a breath of pure love cannot ease.
Allow love the day to seize. Let love reign, and be free.
The hours, the days, they come, and they go. But the moment – it lasts forever.
If there is no light, then there is no dark.
I have fallen into the dark; I have become despair, doubt, infinite dread.
The dark says, ‘Turn your back on the light, there is no hope there; the closer you are permitted to come to the light, the further you will inevitably fall. Stay here, on the bottom, for in the end, all is doubt, fear, death, nothingness.’
The dark says the light is but an ideal, one that you can never reach, and thus one that will always fail you.
And I answer: ‘If light is an ideal, then you must be as well. To turn my back on one demands I turn my back on the other. You say it is folly to choose the light for it is an ideal, but then surely it is also folly to choose you.’
And the dark shudders, and spits me from its maw.
In the distance a tiny light flickers.
Caught between two ideals; I walk towards the dancing light.
Trust is the silent energy fuelling any healthy relationship; you truly appreciate it once it is broken, for the silence is replaced with the screeching deafening noise of its fragmented and metastatic parts, circulating like screaming cancerous tumours through the withering and dying relationship, illustrating with crystal moral clarity the following truth: trust is the relationship and the relationship is trust. You risk it all if you take trust for granted; nurture and cultivate it as dearly and attentively as you would a developing child, for in effect, you will be nurturing and cultivating not only your relationship, guiding its development from birth to maturity, but, as any dedicated and caring parent knows, developing yourself as well.
There’s a pain that only I may know.
If it is common why do I feel so alone?
‘There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.’
Has this wisdom failed me, or have I chosen not to see?
The love of two bound souls…the curves of hips and naked backs…mouths agape in mirrored arches of ecstasy.
We are apes, dammit! So how can we seem so divine?
We long desperately for what we cannot have-
and what we have we fail to see.
The divine is all around and deep within-
A fluttering butterfly tracing sinuous curves across the naked sky,
pulls a string in the poet’s heart making melodious melodies of the mundane.
The sun rises as it sets:
Pain and joy; loneliness and companionship; light and dark; ecstasy and agony.
An ape so divine.
Good out of weakness. Strict normative principles so as to control the world. A moral absolutist so as not to get hurt. Actions not adhering to, not possible to adhere to, such strict moral principles. Hurt inevitably following.
Afraid to live. Ashamed to love. Each breath self-reflective. Critical. Analytical. Simply not comfortable in my own skin.
Each cell of the body awash in nervous energy. Anxious vibrations. Always, always on guard. Even asleep. Especially, in my sleep.
For I do constant battle with my demons.
Guilty. That I am a sinner.
Dirty. That I am impure.
Unworthy. That I will be abandoned.
Envious. That I am lacking.
Anxious. That catastrophe strikes the unwary.
And yet, compassion. For myself. For others. Compassion for my demons. Thirty-six years and I have yet to win a battle. I am done battling.
In compassion there is hope.
In hope, salvation.
I know that. Living to avoid life. Erecting walls of fake concrete. Thick. High. Encompassing the spirit, the mind. I know that. Belief in those fake concrete walls. Belief they are impenetrable. Apparent safety within. Each minute head bowed. Praying, sacrificing, worshiping an illusion.
Within the comfortable confines of illusory fortresses, ego is king. Weakness is lord. Only that which skirts your rotten kernel of fear is permitted entrance. Not only are you the victim, but to protect yourself you have become judge, jury, executioner.
You reign supreme. Alone. Protected. Alive in the dismal darkness of fear and anxiety. Living to avoid life and the blinding rays of light tracing cracks in illusory concrete walls.
Train the mind to dwell in the fraction of a moment after a conscious experience but before the naming of it. There the ego has yet to form; there salvation from the self can be found.
Fear to fear to fear to fear.
If sentences could readily bend,
I’d twist that one end to end,
To illustrate the following truth:
Fear brings fear in an infinite loop.
Instead a daily dose of wretched I shall permit –
Of living life choked by anxious threat;
Of more than words bending end to end –
Of wretched routine from my trembling mind slip.
For I envy the skies of a cloudless day,
Into such clarity I breath clouds of gray,
To darken and slow the world that I may,
Reveal the links that could bring me pain.
Take my word, on sunlit morns I pray for rain.
For my eyes are sensitive to the sun’s rays;
I am jealous of the green and life the sun feeds,
Jealous that I don’t vibrate at such vital speeds,
My vitality lost to the rot in my rotten seeds.
This I know: fear and pain are my eternal due.
For I choke clear air with a deathly hue,
Thereby ensuring the truth remains true:
That fear brings fear in an infinite loop.
Life is organic; an unfolding web of cause and effect. Free will and the sense of self are illusory, and we all come laden with evolutionary, cultural, and familial baggage. Our neural networks are infinitely nuanced, such that no two people in a population of billions are exactly the same.
Life is staggeringly complex, seemingly irreducible, yet completely free of magic. We are simply blind to most causes. I am who I am, and where I am, right this instant due to an unfolding, organic dance of causal relationships, the majority of which I am ignorant. My ability to learn, to adapt (or not), are threads in the nuanced web of my life. Threads tugged upon, supporting, connecting the baggage of my birth, my personal inheritance and unique development.
I did not create these threads: they created me.
The same goes for you.
Tell me: where in this picture could we, should we, insert blame?
Laurels are the sled at the mountain’s top. Rest too long your weary legs, and unawares you will find yourself at the bottom looking up.
In response to a recent query. I thought it worth sharing, as it highlights the motivation behind the seemingly tortuous mission to ‘know thyself’.
‘For me, I not only glimpse into the ether, I spend days, months, years, living within and breathing the ether. If by ether you mean the unknown, the fear and anxiety of your life, the world you dare not enter for it might be too terrifying, the truth too exacting. If by ether you mean the abyss. Why do I do this?
The uncovering and understanding of the deepest truths and realities about the cosmos and your place in it, is, I would argue, the source of everything worth holding on to, worth striving for. It is no mistake that one of the strongest and longest-lasting pearls of wisdom is ‘know thyself’. Knowing yourself requires you understand your relationship to reality, as part of who you are (indeed, perhaps all you are) is as a relational entity: you not only draw nourishment from water and molecules in food, warmth from the sun, oxygen from the air, but as an emotional and social creature you are defined by, and in relation to, others. In a very literal way you are the product of a web of causation stretching backwards through time and covering immense space and nodes of influence.
You can be ignorant. You may truly believe falsehoods and build them into your narratives. The universe doesn’t literally demand you know the truth. However, knowledge and wisdom is the source of everything and anything worth tapping into. Why? Because the universe might not literally care, but if you live your life blind to a deeper understanding you will run into problem after problem after problem. Or so my experience has taught me. Problems with relationships. Problems with self-confidence. Problems at work or in society. You will thrash and point the finger everywhere, absolutely everywhere, other than at yourself. But once you wipe that slate clean, be willing to start afresh, be dedicated to writing a new narrative for yourself, one whose plot better reflects the true nature of reality and your place in it, many of your problems will disappear, your confidence will grow, your relationships will strengthen, you will know when to stay or when to move on, you will stop blaming others (and yourself) and accept not only the cards that have been dealt you (I, for example, have serious anxiety issues, ones for which I routinely blamed the universe), but you will also find ways to work on the things that are in your power to change. Nobody can ask anything more of you, and you will find you are actually beginning to live a meaningful life.
And why not simply ignore and bury terrible truths? I say: there is no wisdom in wilful ignorance. In fact, I find the notion a paradox. Once the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, there is no putting it back in. People try! Alcohol, drugs, running away, escape escape escape! But once the cat is out it will always find you. In bed late at night. In those moments of clarity when you look at yourself in the mirror. When you reflect on your life and realize it is dripping away and you have wasted most of it and the blame and pointing finger no longer saves you. When the universe no longer holds you up. And, for many people I imagine, the cat comes back on their deathbeds, stalking like a phantom the recesses of consciousness until the dark shadow fully envelops the mind. Don’t let that happen! Don’t die without ever knowing yourself and truly living!
Once you glimpse into the ether it is already too late! As in the Wizard of Oz, a peek behind the curtain is all that’s needed to shatter the fantasy. But as you peer ever deeper into the ether, you, like Dorothy’s companions, will find your courage, your strength, your wisdom, and, like Dorothy, your life.’