this too
Thursday, April 13, 2006

Being more open, more exposed – I’m intrigued by the way reflecting on my possible move to an open, blowy landscape has shifted into wider reflections on this theme. There’s probably nothing more important to any chance of change, communication, useful action. I’ve spent most of my life, you see, shutting myself down, pretending hard that I’m not here.

What a wonderful refuge imagination has proved. Without it’s sheltering arms, and later those of literature, how unbearably miserable I would have found life. And so, a solitary person, living mostly in my mind, is who I’ve been.

And, as well as a great blessing, it’s been a great curse, of course. Much of adult life has been a battle to come out and meet the world: a battle sometimes won, because of dear people happening along, because of passionate political feelings, because of a job that took me all over the world, the magic of the strange and new demolishing my reserve; and a battle often lost in drifts of depression and isolation.

What really made the tide start to turn a bit in recent years was beginning to practice Buddhist meditation – a practice of meeting the body, the breath, the air, in the present; of opening the heart to the here-and-now, to self, to others; setting up a pattern counter to that other pattern of closure adopted early in life. It was the ineffable encounter with the right thing at the right time. Sometimes I have a mad urge to be an evangelist for it – one of those dreadful street preachers with a megaphone. But the right thing at the right time is something so personal, not to be foisted on anyone.

However, it is time to say again that the online group I’m part of, over at 100 Days meditation blog, will start a new 100 days on Saturday 15 April. New meditators, in any tradition, are welcome then or at any time.

Imagination is the freeing of the spirit; the emancipation of that which is real. Cosmic Mind created the universe by imagination. He did not use a megaphone; he intended his creation to listen to the silence and learn.
Jean, I love the way you write your posts. This one seems to take new strands serenely one by one and braid them together into the whole. Here's to the next 100.
Thanks for the reminder that it's possible to start again.

An amazing photograph by the way.
Blah blah blah. So much introspection - you bloggers need to get over yourselves a little and start reflecting more on the world around you.
first your meditation, then your blog, then your new, wide open landscape. something that starts within, now shows up without.

i am grateful for your courage to share, your introspection and your honesty.
Sounds a bit familiar. I've probably been more social than you, but on the other hand I've isolated myself by working at home for the past 12 years. I'm now contemplating taking a full-time job. I'd told them I wanted contract work and was very disappointed when they said only full-time, on-site. But suddenly this is seeming like it could be just the change I need in my life. I may be ready for it. We'll see, of course, if it comes through.

I've been unable to maintain meditation practice. I think it's wonderful and I've done it for periods of time then I stop and have no real feeling of being drawn to return to it. But perhaps I will try again.

Good luck with the potential move, Jean. Maybe things in the cosmos are stirring for those of us stuck in ruts...
Heh. Just occurs to me that I'll be moving (workwise anyway) from the wide open spaces where I live (okay, it's hilly not flat expanses) towards the city and the action as you move in the opposite direction. But in both cases much more exposed, in different ways.
I know what you mean about feeling evangelical. The enthusiasm when everything's clicking is just so wonderful (I've been feeling something of the same myself lately). But then we remember and tell ourselves: enthusiasm too is just a mind state--don't screw it up by clinging.
:-) It's always good when someone like M. Gloop comes along and reminds us all that no matter what we say or how clearly we say it, there will always be people who will hear precisely the opposite of what we're saying.

That's been one of the most valuable things I've learned from blogging -- I mean, I always knew that people might mistake my messages, but I didn't know how often and how drastically it happened. Sobering. Liberating too, in a way. It's taught me how to value the people who really do listen, & not to assume it's my fault when people don't.

Anyway -- wonderful post. As you say, it's always only ever "for those with ears to hear." Or as they say in our own buddhist tradition, "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear." I bet you have no idea how often or importantly you've appeared that way. You certainly have for me.
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A Buddhist evangelical sat on a streetcorner smiling into his megaphone, next to a sign with arrows pointing left and right, written in the middle - "This Way."
I'm very moved by this writing. Your honesty, vulnerability, warmth, brilliance. The photograph is stunning. I keep coming back to look at it. I hope we continue to share many 100 Days mediations... xo
I live in the East of the country. Where I live is not particularly attractive, but not far away are wonderful walks through a countryside, with the vast East Anglian sky overhead. I walk along riverbanks, across fields (only on the paths !), through forests, on beaches. Suffolk has 3000 miles of public footpaths - how lucky we are in the UK to have such a heritage and such access to the countryside.
I love your photographs that remind me of the happiness of walking and communing with nature. Come East ! and leave the city behind.
The photo is amazing. I've found myself staring at it for the longest time.

Beautiful post. My thoughts are with you as you continue to move toward this openness.
(Feeling somewhat chastened by Dale's generosity of spirit: I was about to say "delete that little shit". Clearly, I have a long row to hoe.)

Wonderful post from a wonderful, admirable, enviable position. Good for you, Jean.

Thanks for the comment, I will be returning to That Other Place.
Jean, I can feel how scary as well as liberating the move must feel, especially when the new landscape itself so precisely reflects an inner state - wide open to possibilities while also vulnerable and unprotected. It's wonderful that you can read such clear lessons in those subtle signs, just as your photos do. I wish you all the very best in this forthcoming journey. It seems to come just at the right time.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." (From dale's comment.) I have never heard that. What a kind thing to think on.

Beautiful, gentle post. Thank you.
Your kindness and good wishes overwhelm me, thank you.

As for Mr Gloop, he made me laugh. I have a big dose of the infamous British self-irony and part of me completely agrees with him! I think it's healthy to retain this internal voice, but not to let it dominate.

I still don't know if this project is going to happen - a lesson in coping with uncertainty, trying to be committed and put good energy into the project, but not attached.
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