The hidden path

We seek a master like a religion
A god to show us the hidden path
Lost souls are we, moaning in the wilderness
Our greatest fear drives us on
Back to the cave we dread to enter
But even in the darkest place
The mind’s eye beholds a shining light
The person we wish to be
A glorious knight, strength of body
To serve our new found strength of character
All we need is something other than ourselves
To believe
A guru, a cause, a righteous war within
An ideal held up
The teacher we long to become
But never quite to excel
A beautiful story, this mystic’s path
An unfolding adventure for us alone
And at the summit what will we find?
Another, different, master to follow
A procession of projected perfection
At which to strive
Or the end of all journeys and an inconsolable sadness
The enlightenment at innocence’s end?

Bitter-sweet Ache

Old friends, how could I forget them?
Once we were so close
He was cool
She was great in the shower
So what if all we ever did was drink and screw?
I miss those days
I miss the chances I never took
The friendships I let slide
Loves lost in the tumult of careless years
Now I can barely recall their names
Only the sad feeling of the road untrodden
Paths left for the weeds
And the bitter-sweet ache of emotions long buried
Now coming up for air
We were young and stupid and full of life
That life burns in me still

Dissecting a Cloud

No words, saved up thoughts
Can answer true -
Only tiptoe around
The most obvious truth
Yet never set foot on that ground -
Dissecting a cloud
And finding nothing in his hands
The scholar despairs
Yet it is self-evident I stood the sternest test
Without the need for thoughts, or words
Or rather they took their places as servants
To greater cause
Before the event they fell over each other
To show me the way
And so I erred and stumbled
Or worried about stumbling and so fell
Until the moment came for the test
And eyes fixed ahead, thoughts had no choice
But to follow the narrow avenue offered them
And under sweat and toil a thoughtless place was born
A simple switch of focus and hysteria became calm
Instinct took over and honesty -
Without compromise for bending truths
Or looking one’s best
Showed them all what I could do, and cannot
And being the best that I could be
Who would not be happy with that?
When the road unplanned offers up such un-guessed at wonders
Such gifts not wrought by my hands
And you few who understand these words
Can share the joke
That I have no other way to tell this story
But with words!
So off with you, no more philosophies
And see this place for yourself

No Mistakes

Why do we think we make mistakes?
What is a mistake other than the thought that ‘what is’ should not be?
But ‘it’ is!
Does the rain fall in the wrong place;
Do birds sing the wrong tune;
Do we not stumble and end up in just the right place because of it?

Back to Satori

Satori, Enlightenment and Knowledge

There is an important distinction to be made here, between Satori – the experience of complete and total freedom, and Enlightenment, a more general state, which is assumed to be permanent – not a mere experience that might come and go. Enlightenment – throwing light where previously was only darkness, i.e. confusion, is used as a general term for understanding. But the type of enlightenment we are talking about is presumably different, an understanding that allows Satori to occur, not only by chance – as may be experienced by anyone, at any age, but regularly in everyday life. What kind of understanding could this be? This is where knowledge, i.e. memory, comes in. Until one has experienced the complete freedom of Satori, then lost it, and been left with its shadow in memory, only then has one the opportunity to understand what Satori is and how to get back to it: Life was so good, just for a while, but it is no longer. Why is this? The answer, I believe, is that Satori is freedom, the freedom to experience all states without resistance. It is not a state that requires anything in particular, how could it? The great trap is that we pursue this prize through the tools of thought. Memory tells us that life can be better, than we should be better, that the past could have turned out another way. I had it, how did I lose it? I should not be feeling this way! These thoughts are not necessarily wrong, but neither are they helpful in the pursuit of our goal. The weight of being the person we think we should be prevents us from experiencing the freedom of Satori. A wonderful, spiritual experience leaves memories of a better time that then generate resistance to subsequent times that are not so happy. It strikes me therefore that that the key is not in what we do to obtain Satori, but what we do not do. We need let go of all our thoughts and memories – the rod we have made for our own back by our successes we then feel the need to perpetuate into the future, the failures we want to badly to banish from ourselves – but how to stop thinking? The brain thinks – that is its function. It may think quickly, it may think slowly, but just as the heart must beat, it must think. The trap of trying to stop thinking has snared many a seeker after truth and personal enlightenment. The key, my experience suggests, is not in stopping thought – how could we? – but in detachment from it. If we cannot stop thought then neither are we responsible for it. Good thoughts make us no better, nor to bad thoughts make us bad. They simply are, and our concept of self, so set in stone we think, but in the reality of the present moment so fluid, will change and clash with any set belief. Satori is freedom. We experience it spontaneously when circumstances are right. We cannot force it. But this does not mean there is no room for knowledge. We learn, and in learning can find the trick of Satori – that it is found as much in misery as it is in joy. I must stop feeling so miserable; I must stop thinking so I can recapture the state of Satori; I must become enlightened. These are all just thoughts: harmless thoughts, owned by nobody. They are a natural response to memories, which in turn are stimulated by our changing circumstances, which inevitably will cause a clash between what is desired and what is. This is the dark swamp of confusion; this is the state of not-knowing which way to go to get out, we just instinctively know life can be better. And then the glimpse of light, the warm sun of Satori shines through the fog and things are infinitely worse – I felt it and it was good! And so we search all the harder for the way out and in doing so get more lost than ever before. When all we need to do, or rather not do, is stand still and watch. Watch and see the morass underfoot solidify. Watch and wonder at the beauty of the fog, and the sun when it appears. AND NEED NONE OF IT. For it was in our acceptance of the fog, in the swamp, in our own confusion and our own thoughts that Satori came. And it shall only go when we forget this and think it is a state of bliss to be found because our thoughts are good, or our feelings are just right. So welcome confusion, kiss the swamp. It’s just a reminder that the true path back out of the swamp, back to Satori, is the one that goes nowhere.

Misery, no misery

Stop looking for answers elsewhere. Abide in your misery, if that be your lot, and see at its heart that it is not misery at all, but something glorious, something ordained by no one, but wonderful all the same.

The sensitive mind

The sensitive mind keeps one eye on its own internal state. If it feels stress, a feeling of striving for something, any acceleration from a balanced state of peace, it is immediately reminded of its mistake in maintaining a position different to that of life happening now. Then, by itself, it is encouraged to move back into balance.

Suffering is a sign

Suffering is a sign, an immensely valuable reminder that reality is clashing with some stubbornly held view – of ourselves, or how we think the world should be. It is a warning to let go of our views, our expectations. It is a promise to only get worse and more tiring, until we release the story of ‘our’ life, and simply enjoy what is.

Learn and then let go

No matter how wonderful an insight, how enlightening an idea, repeat it enough and it becomes a dead thing – a platitude which once was poetry, meaningless words shorn of their power, just another memory – useful, but of diminishing relevance to this vital moment. That is why the lessons of the past should be learned and then let go of, lest they distort our view of the present, which after all has never happened before.

Now to Now

Time, what’s the deal with time? When we fall into the mindset of what could have, or might yet be, we fall into the trap of time. The trap where free spirits such as we mess up our lives, doing somehow worse than we should have done. With the weight of terrible responsibility we criticise our actions in hindsight, we castigate the judgement of others, being different to our own. We reject those things in the world, and in ourselves, which do not correspond to our favoured view. We add 2 and 2 and come up with 7, we acknowledge only that which reinforces the thoughts we want, or fear, to believe. We take the ghost in the machine and torture him, we tear her apart for all the ills we find. It’s my fault, it’s her fault, it’s all gone wrong; life’s not what it’s supposed to be. As if it needs our say so! And all because we believe our story through time. I once was there, now here I am, maybe one day soon life will be better. We dream of heaven and make ourselves a home in hell.

The only answers we will ever find are happening now. That pain, those tears, that sweet regret. That joy, that fear, those anxious butterflies of anticipation. These are all the answers we’ll ever need, for what is – is, and are all that is required. There is no ideal state, no better solution than the one we have right now. So chill, so kick back, or maybe scream and shout. If it’s there it’s needed, no better way could be found for this bright life to find its way, from here to here, from now to now.

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