Second Birth of The Soul

At a certain point every idealist comes to a crossroads, a place where he realizes he must choose between two burdens; he can either suffer the opinions of the masses, or he can suffer the world’s resistance to his own. He must now decide if his suffering – and his life – is going to be worth something. This is when he begins to delineate what he stands for, and in doing so – he finds that he has not only given his life meaning, but he has given himself his purpose.

For he now knows that to rise above the mire of the world, he needs only to give life to his passions – passions that until this day had lay in rumination, stirring beneath the ancient, unbroken soil of his soul. In this way, every heartbreak had opened him up, and every experience had given him the kindling he would now use to fuel his dreams. Dreams that no longer would rest in precarious wait, on the brink of an eternal sleep; dreams that would awaken to give light to the dark – showing all of the world it’s soul through his.

Lawrence Black, Nov 25, 2014

Volcano Keeper, Melita Safran

Volcano Keeper, Melita Safran

Post Publish Edit: Upon publishing this, I came to realize it was my 222nd entry.

Serendipity lives here my dear reader.

Zoom Way Out

Imagine you are on a plane, reclining in your seat at cruising altitude – comfortably aware of the smooth, motionless flight. Now, imagine that below you, thirty-thousand feet beneath the fuselage where you reside, there is a single person going about their day. This single individual is the central character in their life – and like every life, theirs has it’s unique share of adversities and troubles and tribulations. And like every living individual, they are doing their best to face the challenges they must face; however, as is the case for all of us – their best isn’t enough to provide them with a secure and lasting sense of inner peace. So they, like all humans, live with a fearful heart; their inner disposition is subject to their circumstances, and like the seas – their inner world constantly stirs.

But from your vantage point on the plane, wrapped in the white noise of the jet’s engines, their problems are nil.

Yet to them, as to us all – our bills, our relationships, our hopes, our dreams, our fears – all of our expectations and dreams are the entirety of the universe. But they aren’t really, are they?

Yet still, we [humans] constantly find ourselves in a terrible way – anxious, worried, nervous, fearful, completely neurotic about our problems. Yet we are infinitesimally small.

earth

We are even smaller than this.

This is one of the great paradoxes of life. Over 7 billion humans existing on one planet – each finding him or herself the center of the universe. And for the last fifty-thousand years our ancestors (Homo Sapiens) – an estimated 100 billion of them – have lived before us, sharing this same experience – hopes, dreams, fears, stress, worry; their lives were as real as our own. And today they are scattered like ancient leaves, their remnants either dust or fossils. And what was their worry worth? What good did their fears and their sadness bring? Their worries were a mental illness. As Marcus Aurelius wrote 2,500 years ago, “Socrates used to call the popular beliefs ‘bogies,’ things to frighten children with.”

Take a minute to get a true idea of our place in the universe. 

Tell me what you were worried about again?

As far back as the ancients, man was zooming out – mentally envisioning his place in the universe.

Observe the movement of the stars as if you were running their courses with them, and let your mind constantly dwell on the changes of the elements into each other. Such imaginings wash away the filth of life on the ground. Marcus Aurelius

Donald Robertson, of Philosophy of CBT writes on this, in the words of 16th century politician, writer, and philosopher Anthony Ashley-Cooper, The 3rd Earl of Shaftsbury:

View the heavens. See the vast design, the mighty revolutions that are performed. Think, in the midst of this ocean of being, what the earth and a little part of its surface is; and what a few animals are, which there have being. Embrace, as it were, with thy imagination all those spacious orbs, and place thyself in the midst of the Divine architecture. Consider other orders of beings, other schemes, other designs, other executions, other faces of things, other respects, other proportions and harmony. Be deep in this imagination and feeling, so as to enter into what is done, so as to admire that grace and majesty of things so great and noble, and so as to accompany with thy mind that order, and those concurrent interests of things glorious and immense. For here, surely, if anywhere, there is majesty, beauty and glory. Bring thyself as oft as thou canst into this sense and apprehension; not like the children, admiring only what belongs to their play; but considering and admiring what is chiefly beautiful, splendid and great in things. And now, in this disposition, and in this situation of mind, see if for a cut-finger, or what is all one, for the distemper and ails of a few animals, thou canst accuse the universe.

Shaftesbury, Philosophical Regimen, Deity, p. 19

Donald Robertson has also created this excellent guided meditation, designed to allow us to step into the same perspective the ancients enjoyed, viewing our life from above.

I publish this because this is the truth of our place in the universe. A universe that according to Carl Sagan, contains more stars than the total number of grains of sand on all of planet earth.

We are conscious beings on a planet; we are the echo of the big bang – we are the consciousness of the universe itself. We were not meant to live in a state of misery and fear. I submit this to you, my dear reader: we can transcend the petty – unfathomably small magnitude of our problems. We need only zoom out and see the forest beyond the trees, the stardust floating in the ether – a pale blue dot, on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot


And if you don’t feel like zooming out – simply look at the size of the world.

Samsara Official Trailer


Do read this next: Nothing. Stardust. The Illusion of Thought and the Nature of Reality.

 

Self-Forgiveness and Forgiveness: Tools and Practices

I just wanted to take a minute to share a Google Doc I created with 5 resources / activities for self-forgiveness and forgiveness.

I’ve previously written on forgiveness before, but this entry provides the “how to” (whereas that entry focused more on the “why”).

I hope this benefits others as much as it has benefited me. This is real good medicine for the heart.

Enjoy it here: Self-Forgiveness and Forgiveness Guide: 5 Powerful Tools for Heart-Centered Forgiveness

forgiveness

The Storm

Wow. What a year it has been. It’s as if I am back in the good graces of the angels.

I can’t fathom what I must have done to deserve this. This year felt like remembering.

All that I have been, all that counted – all that I am; everything that matters in my heart has crystallized, and I feel better than I have in a long time.

2013 and part of 2014 would prove to be a very neurotic time for me – just a period of trying to think my way out of things. There were bleak times, times dim enough to only be seen in hindsight. At one point there was so little light entering the aperture of my soul I was spiritually dead. You see, I was trying to solve matters of the heart with my head. Of course all that came of that approach was angst – existential masturbation, the thinking man’s enemy.

Consider the preceding paragraph a compressed version of events. The ultimate outcome however, having been that I underwent a kind of rare quantum change that only occurs once or twice in a lifetime – if at all. My chrysalis – a great unscrambling of an egg, consciousness untangling itself, brand new neural networks – biodigital jazz. Like putting my soul in a cosmic rock tumblr: in goes a Jackson Pollack, out comes a Monet. From Tom Odell’s Another Love, to Ed Sheeran’s Kiss Me – angst to romance – I fell back in love with life and my heart grew.

My heart grew.

I can’t elucidate beyond those three words, because no other metaphor can do it justice. So here I sit, big eyed and dumb, knowing that numb is the new deep.

And it’s blissful, but I’m frightened.

It’s the fright of discovering that seemingly eternal island of inner peace within yourself but fearing the tide might rise and you’ll find yourself underwater again.

You see, I’ve never said I’d never go back there – but now I’m ready to look back and declare that I’ve been to a place I don’t ever wish to return to. I’m still scared because I am still scarred. But I’m following my intuition now, something I haven’t consciously – or rather, something I haven’t bravely done for about four years. That hurts to admit, but it’s true – I spent about four years brooding – complex and angry and all alone, even when I wasn’t. It was a hell of a cave. Deep and dark as fuck.

So tonight I’m writing because I am scared of my intuition letting me down. That’s probably my deepest fear. I don’t ever want to go back there – to that magicless place – zemblanity. Total fucking suffering, unbelievable mediocrity.

Despite the fear, I am reminding myself, my intuition has never been wrong. Of course, there are times where I have made errors in judgement (also known as lessons learned), but as far as relying purely on intuition, I can’t ever recall an outcome that wasn’t opaquely intuited beforehand – that’s why it’s called intuition.

You see my dear reader, life is really like one of those choose your own adventure books. Follow your intuition and you can’t go wrong. Follow fear, and doubt, and all things unholy and you will end up fighting giants, playing the game of life on hard mode. But, unlike in the choose your own adventure books where you can take a mulligan on a bad shot, in real life, you don’t get to turn back the pages and do things differently. There is no second time around. Gatsby was wrong. So, you either learn to write the story of your life with great care – with a conscious awareness and an attention to the process, or you simply never wake up, never realizing that this is your story.

And I have awoken, I know this is my story. Infinite possibility. So that’s what I’m doing, I’m trusting the process, learning to sail it one horizon’s tack at a time.

I’m trusting that a fresh dawn will follow the darkest nights and this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. My thoughts and attachments are no more than clouds in this sky, and the squalls come and go, but the sun shines eternal behind it all. It’s a beautiful thing to trust in the power of a new day, because when you really do, you realize that each moment is a new dawn. As is said in one of my favorite movies – “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around”.

It’s just that when you do find yourself in that dark night of the soul, you don’t ever think the sun is going to rise again. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Crack Up, “In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” And so it was.

But I never saw the ‘transformation’ (for lack of a better word) that would come of it. I had hoped for a comeback of sorts, and I held fast to the belief that things would one day be better, but I eventually forgot what hoping felt like. And as forgetting goes – I didn’t know that I had forgotten, I just eventually ended up holding onto a semblance of ambition, a thread of destiny hanging before me. I clung to it without knowing what lie on the other end of this thread, I just … well – frankly, I don’t even wish to recall what it was like. (I’ve spent months pushing out the kind of existential diarrhea that only befalls writers and creatives.) Let’s just say I didn’t see the man I could be. I didn’t see myself capable of transcending what felt like all of existence.

But I did; I came out of the storm a changed man. Not a different person – just different, more true to who I am. Vastly more aware of what that is.

“Once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami

The storm is a humbling yet empowering experience. I just wish I could have said to myself at the time, Don’t worry man, you’ll make it out of this, but I can’t tell you how many times I just closed my eyes and imagined going deep underwater to a place that felt separate from my experience.  That kind of attempt to escape presence – there are no words for what that is. It’s what I did though. I closed my eyes and imagined going deep into a blue underwater cave. Perhaps a kind of waking dream of sorts – going beneath the surface to escape the storm. Whatever it was, it was all I could do at times to be with myself.

But now I am here.

storm

I’ll let the beautiful poetry of Seinabo Sey close me out.

There’s a conclusion to my illusion
I assure you this
There’s no end to this confusion if you let it wish you well
-Soul to sell
Highest bidders, can’t you tell what you’re getting?
There is a light to all this darkness, I will tell you this
There’s redemption in you asking them just why it is
Some answers are better left unspoken when you know you ain’t getting any younger