This is Part 2 of 2.
Until a myth has worked its simple magic to upend and demolish some deep psychological trauma, one could never guess at the power of a story. Being engrossed in Karen Armstrong's telling of the Buddha's story of enlightenment, the ethereal tentacles reached deep and did their work. In another of Karen Armstrong's masterpieces, The Case for God (2009), she writes, "Myths were really focused on the more elusive, puzzling, and tragic aspects of the human predicament that lay outside the remit of logos ... They were designed to help people negotiate the obscure regions of the psyche, which are difficult to access but which profoundly influence thought and behaviour" (pp. xi-xii).
Even now, almost two decades later, it is hard to describe. It is an illumination ... a new capacity to see the same feelings, thoughts and experiences in a different way. It's not a 'new spin'. It's a perspective that sees with a lens that feels of Truth. The choice becomes clear: nourish the new perspective and the clear ground that has been created within or turn away from that felt-Truth and return to fabrication. To be truthful in a kind and gentle way is a learned skill, and one that I increasingly learned to employ. I needed help with that. The long-term affect has been burgeoning contentment.
To know this sense of unearned belonging and wholeness allowed me to claim my "right to be here". A huge 'two-fingers' to the familial and social conditioning, shamefully hidden under a wrap that was, in any case, almost frayed beyond use, thanks to that FULSOME LIFE-giving pulse that continued to burst through me at various times. It was a personal liberation to say, "I am ... enough" and the universal application was that I came to see everything (inner/ outer/ gestalt) as relationship.
To repeat, in trying to convey the meaning in 'Touching the earth ...', it is to know that humanity is an inseparable part of Earth, the earth story, of all that came before, and all that is to come, of everything in/ on earth. For everything has been and is given for all this here. And, we continue to give ... we give to this process ... quite literally, our birth and dying are not in vain. Manifesting and Hiding. Every living thing has its belonging ... this all is not here for us but for its own purpose (or joy)- just because. It sounds rather ho-hum. Don't we know this through our science already? Yes, and yet how awesome this inner non-linguistic knowing!
In the entire ten quarters of the Buddha land
There is only one vehicle
When we see clearly, there is no difference in all the teachings
What is there to lose? What is there to gain?
If we gain something, it was there from the beginning
If we lose anything, it is hidden nearby
Look at the ball in the sleeve of my robe
Surely it has great value
Zen master Ryokan (1758-1831)
Another change was the lack of psychic energy to do anything that didn't interest me. The lack of willfulness - to make things happen - has been a challenge. There was little mental or physical energy to muster for certain undertakings that held promissory value but required a giving up of the happy calling of my heart to do what interested me most. It became obvious to me that this 'energy' came about to achieve something because it was fueled by a sense of lack. That deep, orphaned or constructed-over sense of lack was/is often the driver of industriousness. And, this psychic 'lack' is a great motivator and perpetuator, a phantasm promising future contentment, peace and prosperity.
I struggled with this change in drive for years and forced myself to do a variety of things I deemed to be 'fruitful and meaningful, altruistic and compassionate'; it was like swimming against a rip-current - exhausting. So, I finally let-go (many, many times) and listened to the subtle pull towards something. What a shift. And, I am still an informed citizen, performing civic duties when required, advocating when needed, supporting when needed, and being a helpful, loving, caring, kind partner, mum, friend, and companion when needed.
What I have learned is that in being kindly and gently truthful with what we see inside, we can be careful with the new constructions we build. We can navigate our way in the world with our felt-Truth and life-giving energy (interest, love, joy - enjoyment, peace, care, empathy ...) as a guide. We may just find ourselves the way we were built to be in the world, and be content.
Please click here for link to Part 1.
This is a photo of Nunu, named after the Teletubbies vacuum cleaner by Tom when he was a toddler. Here she is, resting on her ancestral patch of land, a pouch full of joey. She wholly belongs ...