What I want II

I may not have achieved enlightenment half an hour ago, but right now it feels like it.

What will I do today? There is the Experiment with Light workshop at the Quaker meeting. Do I really want to go? Should I cycle? Well, I may have damaged my tendon; and I have had a cold. I could get the bus. These are the options. What else would I do? I would do my washing and watch telly.

I wanted to watch Breaking Bad this morning, currently broadcast on Freeview 31, it was ep. 5/7. So I did, over breakfast, and watched Mike die with the most wonderful last words.

Do I want to go to Experiment with Light? A day with the Quakers. H might be there. Just possibly, it is unlikely. Do I really want to spend time with these people?

I want to cycle, and I have had pains in the back of my ankle. I put my seat up so that I would cycle on the ball of my foot rather than my instep, so that I would use my calves, which is far better technique, so that might strain my tendon just as it has been painful.

And that was it. I realised.

 I want to be someone else.

I want to be that person- who is always independent, who would cycle to Swanston without difficulty, who would then enjoy the Quaker day. I want to be the person I ought to be. I want to be cleverer. I want to enjoy the things I ought to want to do.

I don’t know where I got that person from.

I want to get the bus to the Quaker meeting. I really want to go now, I want to be in the place where I see reality more clearly. I shower, swearing fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck throughout-

that speech therapist, would not see me unless I asked my GP to see her again, ridiculed my appearance- shirt buttoned up to the neck??? Who dresses like that??? challenged me

WHAT DO YOU WANT????

and I didn’t know and I have not known since and I had Ideas- I want to hide, I want to be safe, I want to survive-

and now I have worked it out. I want to be someone else.

Okayyy- well, you can’t. You have tried that. It hasn’t worked.

Half an hour later I feel happy-

Actually there isn’t a 9.05 bus. Who knew? There is a bus at five past every other hour until it stops. I thought one of the buses wasn’t running. I checked the timetable (why check it, you know it already-

Oh!)

I feel exalted. I am just off to that Quaker thing. So much about my life makes sense now. Who knows what I might do?

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes VI

Enlightenment

Trautmann Transfiguration“Enlightenment does exist. It is possible to awaken. Unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the Divine, awakening into a state of timeless grace – these experiences are more common than you know, and not far away. There is one further truth, however: They don’t last. Our realizations and awakenings show us the reality of the world, and they bring transformation, but they pass. … We all know that after the honeymoon comes the marriage. After the election comes the hard task of governance. In spiritual life it is the same: After the ecstasy comes the laundry.”

-Jack Kornfield,  After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

Seeing the title in the quote, I wonder if there is any point in buying the book. This quote from One Spirit winds me up the wrong way. It postulates Enlightenment as a feeling of Joy, freedom, timeless grace, oneness with the divine, in some way different from quotidian getting and spending. Ecstasy and laundry.

I should tease out my understanding of the concept from my reaction to the individual words. It is possible to have the feeling of being Present, when joyful, for example walking under the trees towards Greenbelt recently. Rather than “Chaos of thought and passion all confused” all seems integrated, with perception, emotion, thought and purpose all pointing the same way. It lasts a moment. Or, I get stressed and I get relaxed, and relaxation feels nice but is not necessarily Enlightenment. Similarly, Presence in washing up. I turn my attention to the task in hand, and it becomes beautiful. I delight in the sensations of the light on wet plates.

I would like to be more relaxed in the stressful situations. It seems to me that in those Presence moments my emotions are acceptable, and I do not spend energy suppressing them.

Raffaello, transfigurationOh, Christ. Even joy can be dangerous. An evening with my parents in Inverneill stands out, when we were relaxed and happy together and it seemed a moment of eternity, a Discovery. We all felt it. Dad proposed going out to the pub, to make the moment linger. Mum demurred, knowing it would not. After attempts at happiness through following conventional recipes, we had found it by accident. I did not know what my feelings were because none of them were acceptable, in my teens, but that evening I did, though it would have been hard to put into words.

I feel fear or anger when these things are appropriate, and I fear my fear and anger, because expressing them has been dangerous to me. I have said this here before. The situation is far worse from my Wrong feeling than from anything external. I know that if I feel fear like this I will die, so learning to flow with the fear is difficult. That would be the freedom and timeless grace. The Divine would be me inside, and ego-conscious me accepting not resisting it.

I have learned to accept joy. I can learn to accept fear and anger too. Ecstasy, an intense discovery, becomes quotidian, a continual process of learning and falling away. It is not that we build tents for Moses and Elijah, but that we see them walking with us.

The poor will be with you always

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/97/William_Holman_Hunt_-_Isabella_and_the_Pot_of_Basil.jpg/363px-William_Holman_Hunt_-_Isabella_and_the_Pot_of_Basil.jpg-So we needn’t bother trying to help?

At the house of Simon the Leper, or Lazarus, at Bethany, an unnamed woman, or Mary, who was Jesus’ friend and Lazarus’ sister, pours pure nard, an expensive perfume, on Jesus’ head. The disciples, some of those present, or Judas Iscariot object, saying the perfume could have been sold for a large amount, and the money given to the poor. Jesus said,

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. In Mark, he adds, and you can help them any time you want. The perfume was for his burial. Matthew and Mark then tell of Judas agreeing to betray Jesus. John says Judas was a thief, who would have taken that money.

Footnotes refer us to Deuteronomy 15:11: There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like it’s Heaven on Earth

We may always give to the Poor, but this could only be done now. It is a Sign of beautiful, extravagant Love, or a Sign that Jesus will die.

Menis Yousry told us to listen to the cabin crew when next we fly: when the oxygen masks drop down, put your own on first, or you will be unable to help anyone else with theirs. I thought of GJ, the Wise Woman in Top of the Lake, who speaks so contemptuously of her followers- first they look for love, and can’t find it, so they look for Enlightenment, and they don’t find that either.

So you’re on your knees? Good. Now die to yourself. To your idea of yourself. Everything you think you are, you’re not. What’s left? Find out.

Stop. Stop thinking. –What are these crazy bitches doing? Meditating? You’ve got to work. No-one will pay you for closing your eyes.

You people all want to help someone. That one wants to help Africa. Help yourself first.

Why should I tell you when you don’t listen? All you hear are your own crazy thoughts, like a river of shit, on and on. See your thoughts for what they are. Stop your helping. Stop your planning. Give up. There’s no way out. Not for others, not for you. We are living out here at the end of the road, in a place called paradise. How’s it going? Perfect? No. You are madder than ever. You are tired? So lie down right here. Be like a cat. Heal yourself. There is no match for the tremendous intelligence of the body. Rest.

I copy it out, because I am thinking about Enlightenment.

Volunteering

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Found_rossetti.jpgTo the volunteer centre in Zhuzhkov, which opens today. What do I want from volunteering? I want to be affirmed. I want to be patted on the head. I want a nice, quiet place where people are pleasant and I can do something not too demanding, which makes me feel I have done something useful, and I want that to be recognised and valued.

There is a new volunteer at the volunteer centre, and she sits in. Am I working now? What is my work history? What hobbies? Do I drive? That is the killer, really. I can use buses. What would I like to do? I tick a lot of boxes on that list, and she suggests reading with children. I would spend two hours a week with a child, listening to them read, and helping them read. I would have two mornings in Nupton learning the technique. I am pleased to see that it is important to involve the child in decision making. They want a commitment of a year. Well, had I volunteered a year ago I could have committed that, though I did not know it at the time.

Headway is near. I have seen it by the library, and did not know what it did. It works with people with acquired brain injuries, giving support and rehabilitation. That could be interesting. “Like Oliver Sacks?” She does not understand the reference. I am more cultured than she is, obviously. That does not entitle me to anything, but is pleasant.

She gives me the Diversity form, telling me that she is http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_The_Tune_of_Seven_Towers.jpgrequired to ask these personal questions, and she has decided always to give the form rather than to ask the questions, and I may tick “do not want to say” for all of them if I wish. Actually I like the diversity form, it acknowledges and takes an interest in diversity, and that is a good thing. The use of it will improve. I particularly like this one. It does not ask my sex, but my gender identity, M or F. Then it asks whether or not my gender identity is the same as that assigned at birth. I noticed my arcane weirdness was being asked about, stared hard at the question and when I realised quite how respectfully it was phrased felt delight.

Do they keep records of potential volunteers? No. They did at one point when the Children’s Centres said they would be seeking volunteers for play supervision, but do not now. So she will not keep my details on file beyond the fact that I came, and she suggested something. And she does not know my skills or abilities, or much about me at all, anyway. Apart from my gender identity.

To the supermarket, where I meet Terry. I have at last started the book he leant me months ago about attaining Cosmic Consciousness and Spiritual Enlightenment through hypnosis. It gives scripts for a reader to guide another into a trance state and an Encounter with God experience. Ronald Havens says that these Peak experiences are valuable, and quickly attainable without any long religious practice, though he does not believe in God. Would he read the scripts to me? He will think about it. Havens suggests the reader records them herself. So I have dug out my voice recorder. Terry has not actually tried this. Mmm. I notice my resistance: it helps you accept the World as it is, apparently. Fuck. Do I have to?