Showing posts from December, 2009
“When I put the flower near your eyes, they twinkle again”
~8 year-old boy to his mother on her birthday. The mother was recovering from severe depression.

Where does the gaze fall? What do I see? What makes me twinkle inside? What repels me?

The eyes are the window to the soul, but so too are they the soul’s window onto the world.

I can perceive the world as harsh and grasping, like it could eat me up or skin me alive, and then feel compelled to turn away from it. But the world has no claws. Really, when I feel this way, it is aversion that has taken hold of me from the inside. When I recoil from phenomena, when I avert my gaze, in fact I turn my soul upon its own darkness. That is why introversion (or perhaps more aptly extro-aversion), in the extreme, can lead to depression.

I can perceive the world as the source of love and light and inspiration, but be prone to covet and consume what it proffers as “good”. Yet I cannot assimilate things which are not things, and grasping them…
Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth,
Hearts all whole.

Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
Wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars.

~Description of Elysium
James Agee

A lot of people I met with this week were struggling due to a current or impending separation from a loved one. Some were anxious to move on, others were grieving the absence of the familiar, still others were in limbo, numb and bored but unable to take the next step. Everyone expressed dissatisfaction with being in transition.

Change is hard. Even positive change. It reminds us that nothing remains the same and challenges our inflexible pattern-driven need for stability. Change cuts to the heart of the human condition: the thwarted desire for unity with something beyond… just this.

During transitions, we become aware of being like trapeze artists trying to …