Archive for category Poetry
if you move carefully
through the forest
like the ones
in the old stories
who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,
that can make
that have patiently
waited for you,
that have no right
to go away.
~ David Whyte ~
(Everything is Waiting for You)
Posted Michael McKnight
by Greg Kimura
You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts
sent to be delivered to a hungry world.
And as much as the world needs your cargo,
you need to give it away.
Everything depends on this.
But the world forgets its needs,
and you forget your mission,
and the ancestral maps used to guide you
have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held
and spoilage becomes a risk.
The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:
“Is this the way?”
But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,
and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,
and it is simply this:
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.
The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.
Posted by Michael McKnight
Also see Hunger and Desire
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
~ David Whyte ~
(House of Belonging)
The Holy Longing-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Tell a wise person or else keep silent
For the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive
And what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm waters of the love nights
Where you were begotten,
Where you have begotten,
A strange feeling comes over you
When you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught in this obsession with darkness
And a desire for higher lovemaking sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
And now, arriving in magic, flying
and finally, insane for the light
You are the butterfly.
And you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced this,
To die and so to grow,
You are only a troubled guest on a dark earth.
Posted by Michael McKnight
Within the gentle glow of Lady Dawn
arms raised in salutation
Solemnly I made my Vow
A hunger burns inside me
I desire to know,
Spirit of truth
shine your light
illuminate my ignorance
I desire it with all of my
The Lady of Sorrow
Stood before me
Infinitely dark radiant eyes
I see your fervor abate somewhat at the sight of me
Are you not glad to see me?
My Lady, with respect, even brave men’s hearts quiver at the sight of thee.
Did you not ask to see the light of truth?
Am I not the sister of joy?
Where joy is, there I am too.
Can one exist without the other?
To know the Bliss of Between
You must know both the depth of joy
and the depth of sorrow
Do you know the meaning of your Vow?
She asked tenderly
The hunger burns
She held out to me
a flower of such exquisite beauty
the like of which never I did see
A yearning stirs
the depths of it’s scent
to inhale the intoxicating fragrance
The Lady ‘s dark hem touched my heart
and I shivered
Dare you inhale
Konx om Pax
Beware who dares
A cold fever seized me
Hot and cold sweeps
in and out
each battling for possession
in feverish dreams
of joy and sorrow
The Medusa wandering
in lonely eons of exile
as each heart turned to stone
who dared to look
In her sorrow and anger
she did not see him coming
A flash of light and sword
A moment’s chilling glimpse
of her own monstrous face
before the dark stillness
I awoke in the arms of my Beloved.
He caressed my brow with infinite tenderness
Love is the light of truth
He said simply,
Once upon a primordial night
he who by a stroke of hoof
revealed the source of inspiration
the sweet waters of Hippocrene
Pegasus knows the way
to the secret door
which Medusa guards
with fearful mask
the smallness of a seed
the potential of the universe
Wthin the smallness of a seed
the spark of life awoke
forces of creation
Do you see what I see?
Do you see the patterns
scribled in thoughts
written in history
designed in primordial awakening?
Do you see the patterns
in our massing needs
in our reaching desires?
Do you see the unfurling future
driven by the swirling breaths of thoughts
pelting down upon unsuspecting dreams?
The Cockcroach fills the night with noise, walks around, eat, marries, have children – dies.”
Oh, lowly caterpillar,
do you dream of freedom.
Do you look up into the sky
and wish for wings.
Do you see rainbows of colour
in your dreams?
Or do you see
only the next leaf
Life is not an intellectual process – life is a feeling. – Theun Mares ”
In the retrospect of his long life Jung writes;
“The world into which are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time of divine beauty. Which element we think outweighs the other, whether meaninglessness were absolutely preponderant, the meaningfulness of life would vanish to an increasing degree with each step in our development. But that is – or it seems to me – not the case. Probably, as in all metaphysical questions, both are true: Life is – or has – meaning and meaninglessness. I cherish the anxious hope that meaning will preponderate and win the battle.”
I started writing with the question “What is the meaning of life?” I started life with that question ingrained with burning intensity in my intent. Like the Selchie stranded on dry land, I was aware from the young age of seven, of a fierce yearning, a hunger for something unattainable. Like Jung I have come to the same conclusion, Life is both meaningless and meaningful.
We could be given the most brilliant intellectual discourse on the meaning of life, and to our intellectual reasoning mind it makes absolute sense, but if you turned inward, and looked at your own life and see no meaning in it, then emotionally you would still feel “life is meaningless”, and you would find it hard to continue being active in the world. Emotions are filters. Whatever emotion you are experiencing colours your experience of the present interpretation of the past, and future views. Emotions also channels or restrict energy flow. When you are apathetic you have for example a low energy flow.
How we feel about ourselves is what filters our perceptions of the world. This a truth that was recognized by wise men and women throughout the ages. Yet, it is not as simple as it seems. Many pop-psychologists dangles the carrot of “eternal happiness”, to their followers, but it is a concept that is static in time. Happiness can only be achieved in an ‘out-of-time’ environment, or zone.
Life is meaningful or meaningless according to our season, and both serves a purpose.
It is known that even the most advanced among us, still experience emotions just as we do; they just process them much quicker than we do, with a wider vision, and perspective. So one must conclude, and from all that I experienced, that they too experience the dark side of emotions. They too will have a preponderance, a season in their inner world, to see life as meaningless.
For me the experience of the world as meaningless, cruel and brutal, is a call from the Dark Mother, to turn inside, and enter that which we fear; to enter the meaningless void, the nothingness of existence. It is a place we fear because we are afraid that we may never return from that nothingness, that we may sink into the swamp of despair, never to see the light again.
When you have entered that place with full consciousness, without resistance to its call, and returned a few times, you fear it no longer. It takes practice like everything else, and you start to develop something which I call night vision. Although all you you experience is dark and meaningless, you know that the miracle of the light of insight will come, and with it a gift of inspiration that will lead you to the next phase of your learning. It becomes the crucible of your personal refinement as a human being. The seed of our next hunger, the next lesson of your unfoldment.
I know all this may sound very esoteric but it is also reflected in the normal experience of our emotions. A feeling once it reaches a certain intensity, will always seek to reach a peak before we can rationally look at it. Whether we like it or not, a feeling must run its course. They build up slowly, or abruptly; they peak; and they release. Everyone’s intensity threshold is unique, reflecting differences in temperament, family values, the manner of expression of feelings, personal experiences, and so on. But once the feeling intensity reaches a point of no return, the feeling must fully travel its course, building to a peak, then at last reaching a a point of release. Once we pass the point of no return, we enter the non-thinking zone. It is then when we can say and do things we regret later. When you are in that zone, do not try to understand, or rationalize, just feel, know that you will reach the clear thinking zone, after the release. It is because of this that it is not a good idea to try and suppress the hurt, the meaninglessness of life, you feel, because whether you pretend not to feel it (we are very good at denying it to ourselves), it still rages inside, and then you ignore your personal guidance system, which helps you establish balanced boundaries. It is also like learning how much wine makes you drunk, for some it takes one glass, for others …
“After a feeling peaks, there is a natural release of intensity, the feeling completes its cycle, and we can think clearly again. The clear thinking zone is the source of powerful insights, because here we are most in touch with soulful desires, dreams, and understanding. An insight gained from an experience felt becomes ‘lived wisdom.’ Intellectual ideas from books or other outside sources have little true effect on our behavior; the insights we gain from the clear-thinking zone bring the most lasting change. Many couples report that after a good ‘argument’, meaning that both partners have voiced their real feelings and felt heard, they experience closeness and intimacy.” – Don & Jean Elium
Just so the opposites within us needs to have a good argument, where both felt heard before we can feel whole, and intimate with ourselves again. This also applies to our our sub personalities, or archetypes within in us.
In the esoteric traditions there exist a concept of the ‘diamond body’, which is the ultimate transformation of the physical body into a light body. Yet, as with everything else in the realms of the metaphysical, it has multiple layers of meaning. We are literally rough diamonds, as someone said, “Gods in Embryonic Form”. Through our inner work, our psychological self-evolution, we refine ourselves. The more of the rough layers we remove, the brighter our light starts to shine and reflects through the masks we wear in our ordinary lives in the real world.
It is one thing to understand something intellectually, but it takes ‘walking your talk’ to experience it, and know its truth. We feel something is the truth; we do not think something it is the truth. Until the thought, the understanding of a concept has been assimilated into the emotional body of ourselves, there is no knowing, and it will remain just a tantalizing thought, but really without meaning to our inner world.
Changing your conditioned self, the rough layers that cover the diamond is a slow, step by step process that cannot be forced. Trying to always think positive thoughts, and hastily give up your negative thoughts that comes your way, may give you the illusion of having at last made the breakthrough, but it can also prevent you from really getting to the core of your hunger, your pain, our your inherent wound. Until we really get to the core of ourselves, and that means entering our shadow, acknowledging it, we can never be sure when Heyhoka will come and turn our lives upside down. Just when you thought your life have meaning, Heyhoka will come and show you the meaninglessness.
I dreamed I was a Butterfly
Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed that I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there I was, visibly Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that it was Tzu. Between Tzu and the butterfly there must be some distinction [But one may be the other.] This is called the transformation of things.
For me to look at the meaning of anything, I must look at the full cycle of a thing, the process and unfolding, of what was hidden in embryonic form in the seed of the initial concept, or idea. The I that I became aware of was but the initial concept of the I that I could become. What indeed does the caterpillar know about it will become, but for the fierce hunger that it must appease. (But then again what do we know of what dreams a caterpillar dream?) Does the hunger of the caterpillar give it’s life meaning? Perhaps to the caterpillar it does, for while we feel the hunger we cannot rest, and must search. I had to find the meaning for my deep hunger, my yearning, for it in itself contained the direction of my path through life
Then one day the caterpillar’s hunger cease, and a new hunger fills its purpose, to find a sanctuary where it can await the death of its transformation. But what does it know of the awaiting transformation? Does it merely become aware of the need to lay down its quest in quiet submission to its fate, to its death? Does its life cease to have meaning?
In 1944 Jung broke his foot, which was followed by by a heart attack, while he hung on the edge of death, he experienced deliriums and visions, from which it was very hard for him to return. It was as if the caterpillar was given a premature vision of our hunger.
“In reality, a good three weeks were to pass before I could truly make up my mind to live again. I could not eat because all food repelled me. The view of city and mountains from my sick-bed seemed to me like a painted curtain with black holes in it, or a tattered sheet of newspaper full of photographs that meant nothing. Disappointed, I thought, “ Now I must return to the ‘box system’ again.” For it seemed to me as if behind the horizon of cosmos a three-dimensional world had been artificially built up, in which each person sat by himself in a little box. And now U should have to convince myself all over again that this was important! Life and the whole world struck me as a prison, and it bothered me beyond measure that I should again be finding all that quite in order …”
Although the circumstances of my premature dream of my future self was very different to those of Jung, the effect was the same. To return to the harsh and cruel reality of the present seemed to me unbearable. I felt no more desire for anything on this world. There was absolutely nothing I felt I wanted to aspire to, for it all now seemed so meaningless, and nothing mattered anymore, and I felt nothing. My present ego had loss all meaning. The butterfly found itself in the body of the caterpillar, and had no desire for the things that would feed its body. It had the hunger of the butterfly. I longed for oblivion, to still my unattainable hunger. I felt as if nothing in my present could possibly appease the premature hunger.
Yet, I knew that if I did not feed my present form, I would die. I also knew that if I died in my present form, my longed for future self would be still-born, and the hunger never appeased. I would be like a Banshee wailing at the crossroads of the twilight zone. “Why!”
‘Be still my child,” said the million-year-old man, “within meaninglessness lies the seed of meaning. Accept yourself as you are, now.”
“ It was only after the illness that I understood how important it is to affirm one’s own destiny. In this way we forge an ego that does not break down when incomprehensible things happen; an ego that endures, that endures the truth, and that is capable of coping with the world and with fate. Then, to experience defeat is also to experience victory. Nothing is disturbed – neither inwardly nor outwardly, for one’s own continuity has withstood the current of life and of time.
I have also realized that one must accept the thoughts within oneself as part of one’s reality. The categories of true and false are, of course, always present; but because they are not binding they take second place. The presence of thoughts is more important than our subjective judgment of them. But neither must these judgments be suppressed, for they also are existent thoughts which are part of our wholeness.” Jung
Before you can forge the diamond body, you must forge the diamond ego.
Before I can forge a diamond ego, I must accept myself just as I am right now.
The paradox of life is that before I can make or bring any changes, I must accept everything just as it is right now. Everything is meant to be exactly as it is right now.
“… for between the yesterday and the today we grow and change. What once seemed like simple truth suddenly takes on an entirely different angle…and so we are set upon a renewed path of thinking, of pondering, of questioning.” Wing-Tsit Chan
who I am
what I am
What is worse
the not knowing
or the knowing
for the knowing brings me
to a terrible choice
Did you forget too
did you not see my longing
the music of the eternal sea
reached my soul
did you not see the waning light in my eyes
the very light that attracted you
reflection of the wildness of my soul
were you content
are you content
just to keep me by your side
and tend the fires of your hearth
Was it a dream
was there a time in another skin
that I was free
to ride the waves
to join the laughter of the waves
and dive deep into
the unknown depths
when the mournful song
from the sea did not threaten
to overwhelm me
with forgotten feelings
a fierce hunger
for something unattainable
I thought it was but
an idle dream
Now that I know
I must choose
how terrible the choice
When I first heard the ancient tale of the Selchie spouse, powerful images filled my consciousness, and I wondered about Selchie Choices. The sea of course represents the unconsciousness in mythological and dream symbology. How appropriate the story of the Selchie for choices we sometimes encounter upon our path.
Choices once seemed so simple to make; so easy to decide what is right and wrong. However, when you know the full implication of where your choice will lead it is no wonder that the Sybil are often described as with “unsmiling lips”. To see beyond the horizon; to see the unfolding patterns throughout time, can be a heavy burden. Each way you turn involve risk and potential loss, and you know that someone will get hurt, and yet you know you must make a choice, for even if you do not make a choice, a choice will be forced upon you and you will not be able to live an authentic life any longer. If up to that point you have lived an authentic life, all your gains will be lost, and the fall will be hard. If you do not choose you will no longer really be alive. Yet, whatever choice you make, you must make it with the full knowledge of giving up a part of yourself. Anyone who consciously strives to live an authentic life will encounter it.
In Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflection”, the last chapter, “Retrospect,” I see a reflection of the Selchie Dilemma.
“ Knowledge of processes in the background early shaped my relationship to the world. Basically, that relationship was the same in my childhood as it is this day. As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible. The loneliness began with the experiences of my early dreams, and reached its climax at the time I was working on the unconsciousness. If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely. But loneliness is not necessarily inimical to companionship, for no one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely man, and companionship, thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others…
“But if a man faced with a conflict of duties undertakes to deal with them absolutely on his own responsibility, and before a judge who sits in judgment on him day and night, he may well find himself in an isolated position. There is now an authentic secret in his life which cannot be discussed – if only because he is involved in an endless inner trial in which he is his own counsel and ruthless examiner, and no secular or spiritual judge can restore his easy sleep. If he were nor already sick to death of the decisions of such judges, he would never have found himself in a conflict. For such a conflict always presupposes a higher sense of responsibility. It is this very quality which keeps its possessor from accepting the decision of a collectivity. In his case the court is transposed to the inner world where the verdict is pronounced behind closed doors.
The man, therefore, who, driven by his daimon, steps beyond the limits of the intermediary stage, truly enters the “untrodden, untreadable regions,” where there are no charted ways and no shelter spreads a protecting roof over his head. ”
The Selchie’s choice represents for me that very aspect, of the ‘daimom’ Jung spoke of, which represents for me personally the passion of my life. Without the driving force of my passion my life looses its meaning and like the Selchie I will slowly close down all my faculties, in order to bear the pain of ignoring the call of my soul. This is why I love Mythos as an expression; it can express multiple layers of perspective at the same time. A single symbol has multiple layers of meaning, from the most mundane, to the most profound of what we can grasp, at a given time.
It is the ‘daimon’ within those of us who strive to live an authentic life that eventually leads us to find our skins, and bring us to soul choices; which we cannot deny.
I see the moon reflecting on the mirror surface of the pool. A ribbon of cloth floats towards me. What bigger piece is it from? I feel its texture with my fingertips, run it across my face to feel what it stirs in my soul. Who was the weaver of the cloth? Who spun the thread, where did the raw material feel the first ray of light to bear forth that, which in the hands of the master spinner and weaver becomes the myth of its origin? From whence this ribbon of cloth? I hold it to my face and fill my breath with its essence. I dive into a crystal clear pool, as if diving into the radiating source of light, so pure. In this source of light I feel myself purified the deeper I swim. I swim until I feel there is no more need for I will never reach the end, I allow myself just to drift, wrapped in peace. Slowly I float back to the surface. I open my eyes; the warm breeze cooling the water drops on my skin.