This morning I woke early. I like to get up before anything else gets up. I laid in bed next to my love, my belly pressed to his back, my legs curved to fit with his legs. I placed my open palm to his belly. I prayed. "Thank you," I said.
I got up and started the coffee. I exercised. I stretched. Then I poured myself my first cup of coffee and sat down on the couch. I like to take my mornings slow, allow time to stretch out in front of me, to circle me like a halo and stand still before it suddenly snaps back like elastic and becomes taunt once again. When you're the only thing awake, it feels like waking up after the bomb.
I was sitting on the couch, still and quiet, when I suddenly recognized the voice in my head. There is always a hum in the background. Often I don't even notice what it is. Sometimes it's music. Sometimes it's chatter. Most of the time it's both layered on top of each other, incoherent and constant. It pretends to be white noise. But somehow, against the quietness of my morning, it managed to stand out in high relief from the blankness and become clear.
The voice was talking shit.
It was jumping from person to person like a bee travels between flowers. "He does this. She does that. They do this. They do that." Each statement might sound like simple fact save the tone. Judgments are hard to see. They are not colored by our worldview; they are our worldview. Judgments are what we have come to believe to be good and bad. If asked to write down on a piece of paper what we believe, most of us would lie. Most of us wouldn't even know we were lying. Is telling an untruth lying if you don't know you're lying? If you believe what you say, aren't you telling the truth?
If you want to know what you really believe, get up before the rest of the world and try to be quiet. Your mind will continue to work with very little effort. It will say things without your conscious attempts at crafting interesting sentences. It will tell you what you think of as good and what you think of as bad. It will tell you things you didn't even know you thought--and some of it will be stuff you don't want to know. Let your mind wander. Sometimes I am shocked at what my brain will tell me I believe if I let it go off unsupervised.
I have to hear this voice before I can begin to understand or change myself.
Over the last week, I have had the honor of being in the great well of sadness. It is a feeling I wouldn't describe as depression. It is like being in contact with the reality of suffering. This morning, when I was sitting on the couch and eavesdropping on my thoughts, I realized that these thoughts cause so much of that sadness. I am held down by them. I am also grieving what is lost when I buy into them. I believe the sadness may come from my soul observing my mind.
There was a Grimm's fairy tale about a forrest where all the roads lead back to the middle. If someone set out to escape the forrest, he might think he was heading the right direction until he found himself inexplicably back in the middle again. So I follow these thoughts and they lead me back to the middle again. I've unhooked myself from the world only to get hooked again. Again and again and again we do this if we're seeking to raise our consciousness. And it's just when you think you've gotten to the top of the mountain that you look up and realize you're actually back at the bottom.
Time snapped back taut when I heard my neighbor fire up his old clunker to go to work. I don't know that I learned much of anything this morning except that maybe I know even less than I thought I did, which was a great deal less than I knew when I was twenty. I find myself more and more in awe of how little I know the longer I stay alive. And they say that it is our thoughts that create our feelings! What am I going to do!
Why, think less and listen more, of course!
Book Notes - Patrick Nathan "Some Hell"
1 day ago