Saturday, 9 June 2007

Seeing ...

It is natural for us to take for granted those things which form an undeniable part of our existence.

As infants, we grew into an awareness of the world around us, and of the other people living in it, by a process which ran its course without any conscious contribution from ourselves; and yet, the mightiest of all wrenches must have been the one we endured during our discovery of, our wrestling with, and our realization of ourselves as separate individuals.
We had thought – with an embryonic thinking – that we were part of one whole existence: that what we felt was felt everywhere: that our discomfort and our contentment were felt by all other beings, especially those closest to us, and undoubtedly by our mothers.
Eventually we came to comprehend that we were self-contained and separate beings; we had to claim our hunger, our fear, our feeling too hot or too cold, and our self-centred expectations as our own.

This may have been quite a battle, but today we are completely unaware of what we went through, and equally unaware of our subsequent loss of the sense of oneness with creation and meaningful connections with other people.

We grew through the rest of our childhood and into adulthood with even the most outgoing and sociable persons retaining the underlying separateness born during that period. Our ability to connect with others has been undermined, and the overriding individual package we inhabit builds upon itself as we move through our lives.
Even among our families there are degrees and scales of feeling, the highest of which may not be sufficient to bring someone else’s problem to a living and a truly and accurately felt focus in our minds and hearts.
So many of us have grown into those people sitting before their TV screens, unable to empathize, and barely sympathizing with any person unknown to them except for brief periods when prompted by what they see and hear on the screen.
This is not, of course, an accurate assessment of our world nor of our place within it. It is the thin end of our humanity, where awareness has either never been awakened, or has been dulled by individualism and a perceived need for self-reliance born of fear: a reluctance, an unwillingness, even an abhorrence of showing or expressing vulnerability in a culture and a society where the creation and maintenance of external image far outweighs the recognition of internal reality.

We hide our true feelings and our weaknesses (as we believe the world would see them), behind a fa├žade of confidence and apparent strengths which enable us to stride through the world at large. And if this is how we function, that is just what we do: we stride straight through it, unseeing, unhearing, unfeeling, and, at any meaningful level, almost completely unaware.
We have eyes but do not see.

For those of us who are not so benighted – and I believe that to be all of us (Why else would you be reading this?) – I believe there is a constant need to take stock of our position; to weigh our feelings and our self-image against an objective assessment of our actual place in our world: in our homes, in our neighbourhood, at work, and in relation to those wider issues of which we too are made aware through the same means as everyone else.
My own experience suggests that the passing years bring an ever deepening recognition of the value of life, and of our obligation to respond to the needs of others. The advance of mankind through the slow tread of the generations is so much easier to understand when our own parents and their siblings have gone from this life, when our generation has children of its own, when they in turn have grown into adulthood, and a whole new world seems to dawn in front of them.
At times it can seem that the sun will rise tomorrow only because the world is alive with the young of today. The life of every young child, every infant, every human miracle in its mother’s womb, sings joyfully of all our tomorrows, but it is into the hands of the young adults and the youth of the world that we must place today: the day we have made for them and upon which they must build.

They too should be enabled to keep the song alive; it is for them that we should light the fire every day.

Wisdom has arteries leading into every conceivable corner of our existence, but we generally gain from its life-giving flow by the smallest of steps and by the briefest of glimpses. The combination of these two aspects of wisdom - the re-assessment of our take on reality and the increasing awareness of our minimal response to the needs of the world – places the emphasis firmly on the actual facts before us: the reality rather than the supposition, the assumption, or the trusted memory.

Reading scripture can be like that. The Bible is many things, in many parts; it is in many layers, and at many depths.

In my own life, one of the most gradually emerging aspects of it has been the overall sense of oneness that pervades my appreciation when focussing loosely and hazily upon it; the sense of solidity and weight, of a power asleep in the closed silence of what is outwardly just another book. It contains and conveys a wholeness which is another aspect of the sense of oneness we once had with creation. The completion of Humanity, and the fulfilment of our individual potential is to be found in the tension between the perception of detail and an awareness of the single cloak which covers all things. Somewhere under the superficial confusions lies the constant and calm flow of highly oxygenated Wisdom; that which enables us to see and hear more perfectly, and to think more clearly based on a more accurate comprehension of what we have seen and heard. It also makes it increasingly possible for us to relax into the smile of the ultimate paradox: that nebulous singularity, that unimaginable Oneness which we know as God.

My sense of the Bible’s immensity and simplicity is tied in with my limited ability to see and to hear: my lack of wisdom.
It tells us repeatedly that having eyes does not of itself enable us to see; that having ears does not mean we can hear. And this is clearly born out in physical terms by the fact that we do not travel far through our lives before we meet someone who is either blind or deaf, but who so clearly sees and hears truth, and who understands the reality of the world around them far better than many of those who are sighted and able to hear.

Who among us is truly blind ? Who is truly deaf ?
Do I see and hear anything as God intended that I should ?

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About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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