the landscape of inner breakdown


Help me resist the urge

to dispute whether things

are true or false

which is like

arguing whether

it is day or night.

It is always

one or the other

somewhere in the world.

Together, we can penetrate

a higher truth which

like the sun is always

being conveyed.

….Mark Nepo

we suffer from dualistic thinking…us and them…no, it is all of us, and when we trust life’s deepest paradoxes to hold our opposition, we are then free to love…..but remember, love’s journey is the painful and liberating paradox of being in this world fully….this is the threshold of inner light…..of understanding the illusion of separateness……the mind cannot hold the weight of the heart…..

To bring back trust to life requires the deepest sort of listening. I’m still learning how to listen in this way. Even after sixty years, it feels elusive, as the most important teachers whisper behind the wind to ensure that we give ourselves totally to discovering their secrets. Two such teachers are ‘not-knowing’ and ‘paradox.’ Essentially, I have learned that true knowledge that can help us live waits on the other side of our ability to hold two things at once that are both true. One aspect of true knowledge that came to me through my experience with cancer is the paradox that we need to die in order to live. I am still trying to understand the daily meaning of this. It seems our capacity to withstand the tension of opposites is key to entering paradox, and key to that is becoming comfortable with the space of not-knowing. Understandably, most of us are uncomfortable when things are undefined, when things are not clearly to or for, up or down, left or right, or right or wrong. But the deeper truths always take time to reach us, and it is our job to enter a practice of waiting openly- which involves enduring the tensions of not-knowing. The truths that matter require us not to form opinions or beliefs hastily. On the contrary, we are asked to allow time to surround us with the Wholeness of life, to take the time required for the paradox of truth to show itself. It seems that the practice of not-knowing begins with a trust in the unnameable space that holds us, in the mysterious atmosphere in which we all live. That seems to be the true space of listening and learning, where our brief experiences of life in its totality, whether harsh or calm, will not fit into our tidy little maps of perception. Yet where are we educated in this? Where are we taught to withstand the surf and undertow of ambiguity and confusion long enough till we can drift in the majestic swell that sages and poets of all traditions have called the unity of life?……Mark Nepo

life splits us open…..

God Pursues Me Everywhere

God pursues me everywhere,
Enmeshes me in glances,
And blinds my sightless back like flaming sun.

God, like a forest dense, pursues me.
My lips are ever tender, mute, so amazed,
So like a child lost in an ancient sacred grove.

God pursues me like a silent shudder.
I wish for tranquility and rest — He urges; come!
And see — how visions walk like the homeless on the streets.

My thoughts walk about like a vagrant mystery —
Walks through the world’s long corridor.
At times I see God’s featureless face hovering over me.

God pursues me in the streetcars and cafes
Every shining apple is my crystal sphere to see
How mysteries are born and vision came to be.

—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

8 thoughts on “the landscape of inner breakdown

  1. Is chaos unknowing, or knowing chaos is an assurance, of the abundance of change in our lives, our universe? Persistent wonder, sweet mystery of life, the constant knocking on the door understanding like roots pushing their way into fertile soil so that the tree of life will one day reach our ‘heavenly home’. I realize now life’s mystery is its greatest gift, or greatest frustration … No wonder we are so easily swayed … The path is long, and the gate is narrow, everyone has their own Everest to climb … Interesting name for the physical worlds highest peak – ever rest

    • funny how we strive to climb the highest summits….& then we come down….gotta keep walking & gotta keep searching for that soul-feeling to come around again….& yet we need to be still….another paradox for us to hang our hearts on g.f.s…..

  2. I love this, Susanne…….. And part of the reason is that it is so frustrating for a poet to put to word so that others understand…..and yet, we cannot or it is (as you say ~ us, me, them, all). We are nothing and everything, the spark and the raging fire ~ a thought once given light was left of love. Let us cling to this moment which dispenses with the dew, reminded of a truth we rarely see. ~ Love to you, Bobbie

    • a strong poem here Bobbie…..shadows of that sweet mix of paradox and not-knowing…..may we have the heart to listen well…….a sweet full moon to you….

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