from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

being intimate with self other tree hill cloud &c

I'm currently doing a great deal of inner work – which is also shaping itself in outer work – on quality of relationship: to self, to Self, to soul, to other (human and non-) and to what we have called variously God, Spirit, Great Spirit, the Goddess, Atman, the One, the Whole and so on through the millennia – that which patterns the universe, gives the birds their song, the daffodils their time of blooming, the rain and sun their own moments; gives us the consciousness to perceive all this, to love. (I shall now be calling it 'the law of continuing' – see my last post.)

So – once again there is a huge amount going on beneath the surface, none of which is ready for articulation, and all of which is predicated on the question: 'What does it mean to be truly intimate not just with my lover, my closest friends, myself – but with everything, everyone, with the earth, with the universe?'

All of it is somehow about being visible, showing up, being wholly present, taking the risk of vulnerability – and facing one's woundedness rather than being driven by it; dissolving rather than reinforcing the barriers and obstacles to an open heart.

This might be easy to do with hill, hare, cloud, skylark, hellebore, or music, poetry, dance; occasionally possible with a good friend, or oneself; possible but much less easy with an acquaintance or even a stranger; but face-to-face with our lover? – a very different story. And a cause of a deal of unhappiness in personal relationship.

Right now, I'm going to leave this there, except to post this quote from Buddhist psychotherapist John Welwood (here he's speaking specifically here of one-to-one personal intimate relationship).

'...personal intimacy is a spark flashing out across the divide between self and other. It depends on strong individuals making warm, personal contact, mutually sparking and enriching each other with complementary qualities and energies. This is the meeting of I and Thou, which Martin Buber understood not as an impersonal spiritual union but as a personal communion rooted in deep appreciation of the other's otherness.

'A deep intimate connection inevitably brings up all our love wounds from the past. This is why many spiritual practitioners try to remain above the fray and impersonal in their relationships – so as not to face and deal with their own unhealed relational wounds. But this keeps the wounding unconscious, causing it to emerge as compulsive, shadowy behaviour or to dry up passion and juice...

'[And yet]... the alchemical play of joining heaven and earth in a relationship involves a more subtle and beautiful dance: not losing our twoness in oneness, while not losing our oneness in twoness. Personal intimacy evolves out of the dancing-ground of dualities: personal and transpersonal, known and unknown, death and birth, openness and karmic limitation, clarity and chaos, hellish clashes and heavenly bliss.'

And the truth is, whether or not I like it, that it's exactly through intimacy that I come up against my rough edges, my resistances and addictions, my liking this and not liking that, my hanging on to order and pushing away chaos (or vice versa); and exactly through this process that transformation can happen – or not. It's my choice in every moment.

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