This week a wise woman wrote the following to me:
Give yourself permission not to believe anything. Just "be" and trust that the Divine Other, whatever that turns out to be, will just "be" alongside you.
I've been pondering this. Not just this week but before. Other people have recently given me advice or said words about "be" and about moving beyond or through concepts.
I was reading today and the text contained an illustration which gave me a clue. I mulled it over and turned it round, adapting it slightly for myself. Of course, it's just an illustration - human words and visions seeking to express that which is beyond our words and visions. And an illustration has many meanings. Not just the one I'm using today. A picture is worth a thousand interpretations.
To be is to sit with my hands in front of me, palms up, open.
Held in the palms of my hands is the air.
No matter what draughts or winds come, held in the palms of my hands is the air.
But if I try to grasp the air, I lose it and grasp nothing.
To be is to sit in stillness, accepting, trusting, experiencing the air.
At this time to believe in the concrete nature of human definitions would be to grasp nothing.
"God" is the real. What I can grasp is the unreal.
"God" is the infinite. What I can grasp is finite, miniscule, nothing.
I think I may have adapted my reading quite freely - looking back several times at the pages read I can't find the illustration. There's talk of grasping - but not of hands and the air.
The pages were good - proposing differences between real, unreal, and non-existent. That which is unreal exists. Of the non-existent it cannot even be said that it "is not". And they explained the meaning of "subtle" in a metaphysical sense rather than in a clever argument sense. There is talk of waves, oceans, reflections
"It is very important to understand what Krishna means by "subtle," because only the subtle is reality, truth, sat. Whatever can be grasped will be unreal, asat. It may be here today; tomorrow it will not be. Only that which cannot be grasped is sat.
Whatever science will come to know will not be godliness, because godliness means precisely that which doesn't fall within the grasp of knowing. ... The beginning of godliness is from that point where it is impossible to grasp."
So now is the time where I must learn to be, not to grasp. To let the beyond be the beyond without giving it narrow names. For the Tao that is named is not the Tao. Words, concepts are appealing. They're safe. They give us a place where we have a security and think we can see the edges of life. I like concepts. Letting them go may be difficult.
I've been grasping the air for many years. I have scars in my palms from digging in my fingernails in an attempt to hold onto air. Now is the time to relax, to rest, to open my palms and be. To be in the presence of that which is life, the eternal. And in time to realise that I too, the real me, is life, the eternal too.
To go further, the form of the hand and the form of the air are not the real. They too are unreal - they exist but are unreal. They change.
"The unreal is a glimpse of the real - though only momentary. If we hold tightly onto the form that the real temporarily takes on, we will be holding onto the unreal. But if we recognize the formless in that momentary form, the attribute-less that has shone through it, we will have caught hold of the real."
I've grasped the form, and thus held the unreal and missed the real in a quest to hold it.
Now. The time to be. To let the real be.
To see the changing forms. And the changelessness that manifests as those forms.
Congratulations if you've read all that. That you've persevered to the end through all this weird semi-mysticism, and mentions of Krishna. Now, the final straw perhaps. Here's a song by Neil Diamond, from the soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull - which was trendy forty years ago. And I was a lover of Richard Bach books when I was about thirteen.
(words in italics are taken from "War and Peace", a series of spoken talks by Osho discussing the early chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. I like Osho. He was paradoxical. He said some wildly outrageous things. He said things I don't begin to agree with. The people who ran things in his community in America were plainly evil or fell into great evil. Osho did plenty of things that just seem "wrong" for the average guru. Perhaps because he saw this world as unreal. Yes, he was a strange one. But I like him and his writings - usually spoken talks - provide much material for thought, even the bits that are too wacky to believe or just plain wrong! It's very different from the weighty tome by Calvin that I was reading a year ago.)