Friday, September 7, 2012

Changing Places, Part Two



Pam asks, "Diana, do you think you would like to replicate IH in a new location in the East, or do you feel as though your new home will have a different feel to it in keeping with the East's landscapes and unique energy?"

On Wednesday we spoke a little about how the outward appearance of the next Innermost House may change to knit together with its new home in Placewhat Al calls its "conditions and traditions."  Yet we expect those outward changes to be modest, and inside I expect the house hardly to change at all.

Houses outwardly similar to Innermost House were built at the advancing edge of frontier life for more than a century, from the Blue Ridge to the coast of California.  Adapted to local materials and details, the house is at home in a whole continent of places.  I'm grateful to think that it would be fitting in nearly any American woodland.  It belongs to the woods, and takes on the character of its habitat naturally.

Still, an opportunity might arise that would call forth a clapboard house or a log house, or a stone or an adobe house instead, and any of those could easily be adapted for an Innermost House in Place.

But inside!if I could, I would have taken the whole inside of Innermost House with me, exactly as it was.  And when we rebuild I would not wish to change a thing.  Not a board or beam, not a cast of light or shadow, not a knothole.  I would not make it an inch larger or smaller or shorter or taller.  I am bonded with it in some inward way I cannot fully explain.  It is strangely impersonal.  I see it pictured and I hear a thousand echoes of the Conversation that created it from within.  To me it is the final embodiment of that mystery we sought outwardly as Place, and inwardly as the Conversation.   

At the heart of Innermost House lies a mystery.  That mystery drew me ever backward from the world in which I found myself, just as it drew my husband forward through it.  I have been called backward since I was a child, and I suppose that is what they meant.  I lean backward with all my nature toward something I remember before remembering, just as my husband inclines forward toward something he will not believe does not exist. 

So our search led us backward and forward at once, and every step we took had to satisfy us both.  Because it was our path together, the way toward Place that opened up at last into Innermost House was a kind of standing still in motion, a moving stillness.  It was a Conversation in Place.

I am not an improver of things.  Things come to me or they fail to come.  I can only say yes or no.  With all my life I would say yes again to Innermost House a hundred times.  Wherever it next arises it will put on the mystery of its new woodland Place like a changed suit of clothes.  But withinside it will enclose the soulsame mystery of one circling, changeless Conversation.


16 comments:

  1. I believe that you will take your Innermost House with you anywhere you go, because it is in you. It is a place that will never be replicated exactly, but will still have that feeling of peace, of serenity and solitude that this one gives.

    I am excited for you, but I also know that the sweet memories will be with you and your husband as you begin to create in the East.

    Thank you for sharing Diana. Your ability to write and express your thoughts have filled me as I walk this journey with my family towards a simpler home, a simpler life.

    Be blessed today!

    Maria

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  2. "Moving stillness"--how apt a description of the Conversation that circles endlessly around the stillpoint. Action in inaction--movement within and from the constancy of the stillpoint--that seems to be at the heart of the Conversation as I understand it.

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  3. Diana says: "I lean backward with all my nature toward something I remember before remembering"

    I stop there, and consider.

    Diana, is it possible to explore or describe this?

    I am (intensely) interested because I remember the World of Light from where I came to get to Earth. Since being here I have glimpsed it once or twice in accompanying individuals to the door of death (in hospice and pastoral work), and I have seen the door open and the light blaze through. Since I was a child I sensed that I had to hold the memory, carry it carefully, never dropping it so it could not be broken, never letting go of the thread so I would be able to find my way home. My compulsion to live simply comes from my determination never to forget, never to allow the footpath to become overgrown and the way back obliterated by worldly things. It is as though my life's work is to remember who I am and where I came from, though sometimes as I grow older it feels like remembering remembering, and the echoes of my home seem so far away and improbable. But I do not believe it it, I know it, I remember it, it is there. The Earth - earthly things, stars and trees, moonlight, firelight, streams - these do not erase the memory, they speak to me of it. But worldly things - career advancement, governments, cars, political and social infrastructures, money, street-lighting, metalled roads, socialising, institutional church - they suffocate it and cover it in slow clogging growth that would choke the life out of it.

    What is it you are remembering? Can you say?

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    1. Oh, please let's explore this. I remember too. All of you here are the only people I have ever encountered who seem to have the memory.

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    2. I had a dream once where after diving through a wave in the sea, I met Jesus and a girl who lived on an island just ahead of me. I had the idea that the island was a kind of paradise and represented the state I was in before I was born/ aware of myself. The girl seemed to know me intimately and was surprised that I didn't know her and told me I used to be on the island too. I remember thinking in the dream: I was in a state of bliss once, before I was alive. This dream came to mind when I read the words 'remembered before remembering'.

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  4. I am clinging with a very fine thread, to what it felt like to live simply in my own country. How my grandmother would begin her day with prayer and communing with her small patch of land. How my aunt will make the walk to the open-air market to pick up our milk for the day. Everyday had a purpose, a solace for our every movement. There were no distractions, but a joy of being alive.

    The memories are joyful to me. I am filled with them. But since moving here, to the land of abundance, the memories have become cloudy and less alive in my heart.

    But yet, my inner soul clings to this. Slowly, I am making my way back.

    Maria

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    1. Maria, I'm glad you're here with us. What a touching description of life where you came from. Having grown up in this country, I've had to wonder why anyone would wish to come here...it is such a crazy place, really. Do what you must to keep those memories alive in your heart. They are your treasure.

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    2. Thank You Julie...I am trying.

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  5. I don't know if it's something from before remembering that I need to go back to, or something I must believe will pull me forward, but I often feel there's something out there, some place or person I was meant to be. My friends here try to help me understand that that I already have everything I ever wanted or needed right here in the here and now if only I would open my eyes to it. I'm trying, but it's not always easy. It is said that not all who wander are lost, but one wonders.

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    2. "but I often feel there's something out there"... That's the crux of the problem of your longing right there, MojoMan! Anything that you're looking for 'out there' can never be brought into your own being. You have to start from within. One good way is to practice focusing on your breathing, just to anchor your miindful attention that is currently outer-directed back to within your own body. When you come home to yourself again and again so that your attention comes to rest inside a still mind and an open heart, you will find that there is no where or no one outside of yourself that will ever help you feel more complete. The person you already ARE is the person you are meant to be; you just have to learn to stay put inside. (I know, easier said than done!...) I believe that this is also the essence of the Conversation--that all discussions no matter how profound or how mundane, eventually lead back to the Silent emptiness from which they emerge, and this Silent stillpoint is who we are, yet seem to be programmed by our ego to spend our lifetime trying to avoid.

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    3. Bless you, Al, my fellow wanderer. Whether we are reaching backward or forward is probably immaterial, as we are definitely circling our goal. Our eyes ARE open. We will know it when we see it. We are ready to act at that time. Michael and Diana continued for thirty years and they are on the move again. They keep going. I'm reminded this morning of Psalm 27:13: "I had fainted, unless I had BELIEVED to see the goodness of the Lord IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING." The idea that I already have the desire of my heart and I just don't know it is silly, at best. I will continue to look for the MANIFESTATION of my desire in this present life. I hope you will too, friend. All who wander are not lost.

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  6. Ah yes Pam, but I also think having a physical Place that embodies our journey as we pursue personal Enlightment can be a helpful foundation. So, after reading IH's request for more design/building questions, I would like to move from the esoteric to more mundane, if I may?!

    Diana, the window placement of Innermost House and it's resulting lights/shadows is one of the first things that drew my attention. At first I thought it was a happy accident, but after joining the Facebook list I started to understand that there probably weren't any accidents in creating your home.

    One conversation lead me to Christopher Alexander and his Pattern Language. Once I understood the practical, step-by-step method of the Language, it helped clarify and validate my own convoluted house planning up to that point.

    Did his work influence you and Michael in creating the physical aspects of Innermost House? Simply put, did you think, "I want to experience the play of the sun's rays on that wall", and then plan a window placement to capture that - and other such aspects?

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    1. I agree Shea. Our Conversation here is about Place. Real physical Place. I am in the process of clicking through the sites pertaining to Pattern Language, and this is resonating with me. Thank you for this "heads up". I think we all really do hold an ancient picture of home in our hearts, a prototype. As I work on my floor plans, I get closer with each draft.

      I also have some nuts-and-bolts questions for Diana: Is Innermost house heavily insulated and, if so, with what?
      How long did it take to heat Innermost House back up in the morning when it was 40 degrees in there?

      And finally, after reading Maria's poetic description of a day in the life of her grandmother and aunt in her home country--her "solace for every movement" --echoing Diana's "moving stillness", I wonder how an ordinary day at Innermost House went. What was a day in the life of Diana and Michael like? We have seen glimpses all along, but I remain curious.

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    2. Shea, I wanted to thank you for recommending the Christpoher Alexander books. I am reading A Pattern Language and A Timeless Way of Building. They are both available on Scribd.com for free. These are HUGE tomes, but I am making my way through them. Fascinating!

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  7. Shea, I believe that having a physical place that embodies our journey is inevitable, no matter where we live. Right now, as each of us looks around at our own home environment, we have concrete evidence of exactly where we are in our journey. Our homes tell the truth of our focus and intention even when we plead otherwise (As above, so below. As inside, so outside). I believe that when we truly 'become' the journey as Diana appears to have done, then our environment will naturally come to reflect the subtle inner changes that evolve within us. We can try to create a simpler lifestyle from the outside in, but this simpler lifestyle is still artificial if it is not truly grounded in how we experience ourselves, and others as well as ourselves will sense the difference (That's not to say, however, that we can't use a simpler home environment as a mirror for us to see where we resist simplicity and to demonstrate where our attachments still exist that allow us to believe that we have a solid self). What I see Diana and Michael as having done, however, is different. Over the past thirty years they brought to their home search the inner awareness they had already honed, and created from this awareness a clear representation of what their own inner states are. If they are in touch with the land and with the natural way of executing daily life it is probably because they have rooted out the non-essentials in their personalities and are therefore drawn to what mirrors their own core values that they have lived. I have no doubt that no matter where they reside--even if they are temporarily living in a hotel--their own inner Presence fills their lodgings with its high vibrational level and makes the environment feel special. This Presence is not bound by space or place or objects, though it may resonate more with a certain place and be more easily reflected there. What makes IH unique is the energy it contains, not the walls, the siding, the plaster or anything else. It seems to me that the sense of place and the construction techniques in and of themselves did not create the Presence we feel in looking at IH, they merely reflect it.

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