whole: day 11

The truth of what we call our knowing is both light and dark.  Men are always dying and waking.  The rhythm between we call life … I walk in the dark feeling darkness on my skin.  Dawn always begins in the bones.

‘Hymn to Ra’, The Egyptian Book of the Dead

As I am beginning to discover, knowingdarkly is not about what knowledge my mind may have learned, or what stories my mind tells me about myself.  So I wonder if knowingdarkly really begins in my body?  In what I call the ‘wisdom of the gut’?  

When I pause long enough allow myself to see a little more clearly, I realise I am an ‘expert patient’.  Nobody knows better than me, how illness affects my body – and so how my mind, heart and spirit is affected as well.  So nobody knows, better than me, how God-is-with-me, either.  

Knowingdarkly is about taking the risk to trust that, somehow, in someway I may never be able to understand or express, I do know something of God.  Knowingdarkly is trusting that I do know a part of God, a part of Love.  Knowingdarkly is risking looking for a glimpse of the hope of wholeness flickering somewhere deep within my bones.

knowing that we are not separate

When I see you coming toward me, and I know that you are going to offer help, or do something for me, if I am attached and clinging, I brace myself and prepare to say “No, I can do this myself.” I hang on to my pride and I push you away. If I surrender, I look in your eyes and feel your kindness and I melt a bit and say to myself, “let yourself be loved.” I say to you, “thank you.” And once I get over any lingering shame, I feel grateful. The surrendering is hard, but I am discovering that vulnerability is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice.

So, what is the surrendering to? It is to us; to knowing that we are not separate – that I am you and you are me. It is surrendering to the ever-present force of love and grace that surrounds us all the time like the currents of a river to which we spend most of our time blind and oblivious. We are surrounded by love and kindness and by the Great Spirit, always – this I am discovering. All that is required is to open and say Yes.

Other times I find myself alone and lost, and caught by suffering: physical pain, emotional despair, or mental anguish. When I have enough awareness to notice this state, my big question is: If I am not just this physical, emotional, or mental stuff, then who am I? What is the part of me that is NOT that? The part that knows joy and transcendence, that knows love? Where is that part?

I close my eyes, and enter what seems like a very dark basement with only a flashlight and I begin to search around. Mostly, I encounter the elements of my suffering; my physical discomfort, emotional pain, and my mental maze. So, I keep searching. At some point, I can suddenly see a glimmer of light in some corner and I move toward it. I discover something that is NOT suffering, but is another part of me. I breathe into it and shine my light there. I try to open the crack more. As I do, I find that the light gets brighter and the space gets larger, and if I persist it becomes bright enough to remind me that I am also Spirit and Life and Light. I let that awareness grow until it seems to have the upper hand. The suffering is still present, but no longer “has me.” Instead I am guided by a more essential love-based me that also brings along some suffering – a very different proposition.

from Surrender: The Art of Living, Loving, and Dying Without Training Wheels, Art Shirk

vulnerability is a muscle which glimmers.  (iPhone image)

Published by Kate Kennington Steer

writer, photographer and visual artist

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