The place from which all other parts are named

 

It is always a trauma for the human psyche when those elements it has over-invested itself in at the periphery of life are withdrawn, and the spring-like world of growth and opportunity seems to close down, as if the old currencies have become worthless while we as yet do not know how to value or harvest the following season. But this form of trauma has also been seen by many of our great religious, contemplative and artistic traditions as an invitation back to another kind of valuation, a return to a more internal focus, an opportunity to revive an old friendship with the place from which all the peripheries are recognized, priced and named. This internal, alchemical, almost catalytic core of identity-making and decision-making has long been associated with the soul of an individual; the part of us attempting to belong to the world in the biggest way it can; the part that witnesses our outer actions, stirs our conscience and quite often seems to be at odds with those other parts of us trying to game the system at the periphery.

David Whyte

Not listening to outside voices

 

Childhood events and interactions can cause wounds which manifest later in the form of an inner  critic, making us feel smaller when faced with stressful situations. It is good to practice resting in our inner innate goodness – the light that comes from within – and not give other persons power over our moods or thoughts.

The object of this learning
is to remove outside authority
from your inner life.
Eliminate the old habit of
listening to others about your
own comfort and convenience

Moshe Feldenkrais

Saddened

  • File:Underaged refugees in a camp located at the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, 30 January 2016.jpg

The Christian calendar is quite wise in placing the feast-day of the Slaughter of the Innocents today,  just immediately after the Christmas celebrations. It faces into the reality of this world, with the sad turns which we cannot understand, and the fact that we can lose that which is most important to us, due to factors which are unexpected or outside of our control.  It is the opposite to the distracting tactics which we see scattered all through the modern understanding of this holiday.

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world

without being saddened very often.

Erich Fromm

photo Mstyslav Chernov

That place within

temple

Meister Eckhart said, “There is a place in the soul — there is a place in the soul that neither time, nor space, nor no created thing can touch.” And I really thought that was amazing, and what it means is that your identity is not equivalent to your biography. And that there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.

John O’Donoghue, Interview with Krista Tippett, On Being

Brightness

dark-river

The only true antidote to always wanting more, as this 8th Century  reminds us, is to be aware of, and rooted in,  our inherent completeness, an awareness which will contradict the arising feeling of never being satisfied.

There is a solitary brightness without fixed shape or form.
It knows how to listen to the teachings,
it knows how to understand the teachings,
it knows how to teach.
That solitary brightness is you.

Linji Yìxuán, Chinese Zen Buddhist monk, died 866