Tonight I want to address Pam's question that seems related to Leah's. Pam you ask, "Does this remain true for you, Diana—that 'there is no otherness'—even back out in the hustle and bustle of the larger world, so that now you are able to perceive the entire world as one unified whole regardless of where you find yourself to be? As a result of living for so long at/in IH are you now able to INCLUDE the contracted belief in separateness and meaninglessness that you perceive in most people's relationships with the world as part of the wholeness that has no 'other' that you experience in IH? Do you continue to transcend the perception of linear time even when you are not in the controlled environment of IH?
From the moment we left Innermost House, those who knew of our homelessness expressed what I can only describe as a kind of avid longing for me to reassure them that I now experience life in the world much as I did life in the woods. I can hardly think of a single friend who did not enthusiastically urge upon me their expectation that "Innermost House is within you now."
Thank you Pam for simply asking this important question. You offer me the space in which to feel my way toward a more complete answer.
When the house and I and my husband are together in a certain relationship, a wonderful thing happens—and not only to me. The same wonder is experienced by others who visit the house, so within the house we share an indescribable, genuine peace of oneness together. What the house encloses is beautiful and real. But even after seven beautiful years living within that house I am still only me, not me-and-the-house. The wonderful thing happens when I am inside of the house. It does not happen when the house is inside of me.
I cannot feel that this is a failing. I can't feel that the house fails me, or that I fail the house, or even that I fail myself. I am part of a relation, but I am not the whole relation.
So I can no more live contentedly in the world now after Innermost House than I could before it. I lack the normal human functions necessary to have a satisfying relation with the modern world, and I expect I always will.
Still there is something in the way you ask your question that makes me want to say a little more. I feel you are reaching for something I recognize. "Are you now able to perceive the entire world as one unified whole regardless of where you find yourself to be?...Do you continue to transcend the perception of linear time even when you are not in the controlled environment of IH?"
But that is an abstract and indirect way of speaking about something that to me is a flesh and blood experience. I experience my life in the body. The world makes sense or fails to make sense to me in the body. And the modern world that makes no sense to me is not just the world of abstract thoughts, but the world of unreal things. My whole bodily sense tells me that these foods, this clothing, these houses and towns are fictions.
Left to my own bodily senses in the world, I cannot accept what does not feel to me to speak the truth of the body.
On Friday I would like to speak a little about one kind of midway house of communal life we have have often found in the world, where the mind and body remain in some meaningful relation to each other. We are living in one now.