Presence II

I can be present, and when I am it feels like I am conscious and the rest of the time I am asleep. That is the ubiquitous metaphor: Wake up! various groups shout at other groups, spiritual leaders at their willing audiences, people of strong political views from all parts of the spectrum at everyone else. And it really feels like that. I am asleep. This morning in the Quaker meeting I felt I was there, present, conscious, open to myself and the world, and I got there just as Meeting ended. One hour of struggling, confusion, boredom, listening to the clock ticking, and one moment of presence before notices and distraction. It is easier when sitting in silence but possible anywhere. I feel more alive, more aware, more truthful. Indeed sometimes I say something and feel myself in presence in that moment, and I know I am speaking the truth. I am in Certainty, not mere belief.

Another metaphor is clutching filthy rags round myself, and that is shown in my body. It feels like when I give ministry in Meeting I am moved to stand from a position where I am sitting in an open position, feet flat on the floor, hands folded in lap or on the arms of a chair, and sometimes it seems I am debating with myself then I open into that position before being moved to speak, coming to an agreement within myself and saying what I must say. And, before, I am bent over, arms crossed, legs crossed, head down, stiff, contorted, uncomfortable

looking inwards rather than outwards
beating myself up
in inner conflict.

I know that sometimes tears flow, pain is felt, just before/when I awaken, open, move into Presence. The pain is joy. The pain is clearer and truer, the joy is knowing this is how I must be, that I am as I wish to be. What happens before then? This morning I was trying to enter that open posture as a way to opening my mind, and finding myself continually contorting again.

Rejecting. That is part of it. Rejecting myself, rejecting what I see in the world, refusing it/me, I/it am bad, useless, wrong. And then I cease to reject, and accept. What a relief, to stop fighting myself, an opponent I can only lose against, or the world! If I am not fighting then I might dance. Stop clinging to the hope of a better past or some other impossibility or unreality.

Rock bottom is when you fight the truth until you can fight no more, or you indulge your denials and imaginings of how the world should be because the real world breaks through. You break, all your resistance breaks, you reform. All is well, and all manner of thing is well.

This morning, I don’t know how I got there. I just know I did.

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