Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flesh And Blood

On Monday, Leah asked what makes the difference for me about Innermost House, the elimination of worldly stresses or drawing its close quarters around me.  It is a very good question, and helped me understand the difference between the two aspects of my one experience of the house.  I tried to answer that it is both equally, that the emptiness and fullness together make for the experience.  It is in their unity that there is no otherness to me withinside the house.

Tonight I want to address Pam's question that seems related to Leah's.  Pam you ask, "Does this remain true for you, Dianathat '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.  

To me, life in Innermost House is a relation.  That relation might be reconstituted in a hundred ways, but it remains in essence one relation.  The emptiness encloses the fullness—that is the Conversation—and the house encloses the Conversation.  That is the whole relation.  

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?"

I don't know how you thought to ask your question just that way, but it is clear to me you sense something.  For that describes exactly the innermost spirit of the Conversation.   As others have observed, at the heart of the Conversation lies the experience of unfolding time as one thing, as a picture.  This comes from Michael, not from me.  I am the vessel into which that perception is poured, and the house is the whole Place that preserves it. 

The Conversation survives our move from the house, just as it preceded it.    But the relation is changed.  It is not so much that the character of the Conversation changes as it is that our means of sharing it is surrendered. Strangely, the house is an enclosing space that opens a way to include others. Without the enclosure the Conversation returns to its beginnings in solitude.  

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.

38 comments:

  1. Is it that the world is like a kind of veil (heavy curtain at times) that separates us from the eternal? We have occasional glimpses through the veil, but In Innermost House the veil could be left drawn back?

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    1. katrina. what a lovely analogy. but . . .
      i have to admit. i tire of the mystery and the abstractness of it all. i live my life in ultra simplicity.
      i live my life as a child does.
      i think that half the world's perceived problems might be helped if there weren't so many 'veils' and even actual 'walls'
      between us. all of us.
      i don't think it must be, nor do i want it to be, so complicated.
      i don't want it to become like 'a private club' for those who
      get it and those who don't.
      and even as i write that, i know there are those who will never get it. who want to stay for whatever reason in their self inflicted prisons of violence or greed or whatever.
      i don't know. half the time here, i barely am understanding what is being said or hinted at. i feel like i feel it, more than understand it. yet i often feel as if i'm on the outside pressing my nose against a glass. and you all are on the other side!

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    2. Ah, Tammy, I am bumfuzzeled a lot, too. I just try to glean what I can. Simple works for me, too. But let's all stay right here! It is a good place to be.

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    3. thank you sherry! kind words. even kinder thoughts.

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    4. I love simple, to the point explanations as well, Tammy, so I hear what you are saying!

      My understanding (or feeling..) of Diana's post today was that the mystery and wonder of IH was the result of a great recipe. The ingredients were the combination of two people with shared interests and lifestyle along with the combining of their talents to design and build a home to facilitate their love of the Conversation and the elimination the things that didn't facilitate the Conversation.

      It was no more magic than how a recipe combining flour, water, sugar and baking powder and milk can produce a delicious, fluffy cake! And like baking, the creation of IH took experimentation, trial and error and a lot of self-discovery, to figure out what was important in the lives of the 'bakers'. This 'alchemy' turned fairly ordinary things into something extraordinary. The sum was greater than its parts!
      Diana also seemed to be saying that many people are disappointed that she has not transcended the social limitations she has and that the magic that was felt in their Conversation while living at IH does not exist outside of IH..at least not that exact recipe. I am actually inspired to be reminded that this wonderful recipe that was IH can actually be created and therefore possibly recreated.. and perhaps even improved upon, like any good recipe!

      The life of IH felt magical and sounds magical, but it is actually very real and doable. This speaks to me and my common sense approach. I definitely operate in the 'feeling' state more than the analytical or philosophical way of thinking so sometimes my interpretations of my feelings don't translate well into my words.. but hopefully I was successful this time :)

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    5. I'm sorry my words are a bit vague and alienating. The metaphor comes from the Bible. I know what you mean about being on the outside looking in, Tammy. I've been feeling a bit like that myself. I didn't realise that I was contributing to the problem. I suppose that is the problem with speaking in metaphorical language. I'm looking from the physical, material aspect and also the more abstract, but tend to express the latter in my comments.

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    6. Tammy, I hear what you are saying. I like the simpleness of life too, but it is difficult to achieve. I'm no good in complicated conversations, my mind goes dwelling and suddenly I see the most beautiful ladybug wandering around and I think: isn't that the most wonderful creature walking there? Look at the colors, the dots and her tiny little business she is doing. I forget that someone was speaking to me, oh help, you where saying? So Tammy, if you feel that you are on the outside pressing your nose against the glass, please realize that you are not alone.

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    7. Leah, I'm enjoying so much your RECIPE analogy! We all know how easily your marvelous cake might have been a plain old biscuit instead with only a slight change in the proportions of the ingredients and the omission of the "sweetness". Way to go!

      It looks like each of us is taking this post and digesting it in terms that we are perhaps better able to understand. We're getting more clever as we go along in the Conversation. Iron is sharpening iron.

      And Tammy, all of us have our noses pressed to the glass--in rapt fascination. And we are fascinated by you, too! You are in good company here.

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    8. Leah, I like your analogy of the cake batter. It makes me think that each of us would make different cakes to some extent, based on our own unique perspectives in life. It's like the old game: "If your life was a cake, what kind would it be?" What would be its texture, flavor, shape, frosting (or not), size, etc., based on what experiences you've had in your life? Is the cake you've baked as your life different from the cake you would have wanted to bake if your life had unfolded to fit your daydreams about it? What would your ideal cake be if it described the ideal life you wish to have? ARe ourlife passages represented by different cakes?(For example, my early childhood would have been a yellow batter cupcake with pink frosting, my teen years would have been a dense fruitcake with lots of different flavors that I was trying out, my young adult years would have been a spice cake with cream cheese frosting to represent my sexual awakening, my middle years would have been represented by doughy bagels that filled me up and kept me anchored to my family responsibilities, and the cake I am living now is actually a fruit pie (life as having borne the fruit of its labors!)

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  2. Thanks for writing this Diana. It makes good sense to me.

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  3. "The wonderful thing happens when I am inside of the house. It does not happen when the house is inside of me. . .

    . . . 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."

    Hmm. I'm not sure I've got this right. It feels (to me) as though you are saying the house is somehow more alive, has more about it, than you do yourself as a human being. Or perhaps, as though you cannot be fully who you are without the house. And yet, you and Michael together made the house - he made its substance and you made its spaces.

    I take heed that you say "The wonderful thing happens when I am inside of the house. It does not happen when the house is inside of me."

    I don't want to argue with you, because you sound inconsolable, and I want to respect that.
    But though Innermost House gave form to what is in you and in Michael, you still have Michael and you still have you, even though you no longer have the house.

    You know when you carefully halve a peanut or a pine nut with your teeth, and there inside is the tiniest miniature peanut/pinenut plant, just waiting for the right circumstances to germinate?

    Maybe though you don't have Innermost House inside you, and it was special and perfect and completed you - still, maybe you have the seed, the germ in you of the new. You and Michael. You don't have to do it all by yourself.

    And as for not having "the normal human functions necessary to have a satisfying relation with the modern world," well, thank goodness for that! because the modernity you cannot relate to is every other kind of nuts! The technological brightly lit whirlwind consumerist carousel.

    But Innermost House is also the modern world, just as modern as all the stuff you don't like. And you loved it. So there is hope, I think. x

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    1. Hi Ember,
      I think so yes, there is hope. My experience with houses (of any kind) is that I always sense what is there and what has been there. Like there is something left behind and it is alive. Some years ago I had to leave my house and although I am very happy in my new home, I miss something I left in the old house. I couldn't figure it out for a long time. And one day I realized that when I became friends with my house I gave a part of myself to it and that part still remains in the walls and shall remain long after me. The house cannot give it back, and the thing I had to do was not standing still, but to build that special friendship again. I like the metaphor of the peanut, inside there is the germ which has the potential of growing, no matter what shell it had around it. That germ inside us is love, love for life. Therefore we can build again and again.

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    2. ...And now it is a PEANUT! I declare. Have I been plopped down into the center of a flock of migratory GENIUSES?

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    3. Bri, I have felt this way too about some of my previous homes. We leave behind a whisper of ourselves wherever we go that lingers in the air like a hint of perfume, and likewise, every other thing that crosses our path leaves its own scent too. That's why it's so important to monitor carefully that which we allow into our lives because everything has a vibrational level that will either raise our own level higher or give it a heavier, lower vibration. Diana has spoken of how she and Michael were very specific about what they allowed into IH so that each item blended into the whole vision that they had of IH. In fact, this explains too, why Diana in viewing IH as her body is so discombobulated with all the dross out in the world that does not match the inner awareness she has of herself. It's not vibrationally compatible with her own sense of who she is.

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  4. Man, Diana, this is a tough post to respond to and I have a feeling that I'm going to be adding more comments in small doses because what you've written requires deep contemplation and a kinesthetic feeling of my way around and through and beside your words, and I may be WAY off base in how I'm interpreting your comments.

    From the way you describe IH as "an enclosing space that opens a way to include others", I have the sense that the house feels to you like it's the externalized version of your actual physical body, and that its constructed shape of walls and floor and ceiling gives you specific boundaries around the emptiness of the space inside, which is actually how you perceive your own inner self and with which you identify. Without the form of the house to give your psyche a sense of edges to your own body so that there is something to encapsulate the emptiness, you find it difficult to find meaning in the ordinary world and to relate to others comfortably because outside objects obstruct and clutter the emptiness with which you identify yourself and which IH effectively keeps out of the equation. How can people outside of IH experience the real you if there's all this extra, man-made stuff (like clothes and concrete buildings and shopping malls) added into the emptiness that you perceive yourself to be? If this is the case, then it makes perfect sense for you to have written: "The wonderful thing happens when I am inside of the house. It does not happen when the house is inside of me."

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    1. Okay, so here's more. The reason that you can allow the objects you have in IH into the emptiness (you)that surrounds them inside IH is because they are the embodiment of the fullness that is Michael and were personally chosen with love and care for their organic connection to the rhythms of the natural world. They, along with the house and the emptiness in it, comprise the interpenetration of form and formlessness, the relational aspect of the bliss of Consciousness that has created the world out of the substance of Love for its own delight.

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    2. I'm a bit stuck for words here too, but Pam I'm impressed how you are really 'listening' and trying to understand. What you are saying finally makes sense to me. I'm awaiting with bated breath Diana's next post.

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    4. Are we now a Society of Scientists? Evidently so. Our Pam is a biologist, a physicist and a meta-physicist all at once. Tammy is a microbiologist looking through the glass. Ember and Bri are foremost in the field of botany. Leah is our chemist. My area of inquiry is physiology. Diana's expertise seems really to run the gamut. My my.

      Pam, I have to thank you for asking your question "JUST THAT WAY". We are seeing patterns everywhere now.

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    5. Here is our Alice--for whom things seem to make sense no matter what terminology is being used. Fr. Will has this gift also. We can tell by their input whether we are veering from the path. Scientific Ethicists. So, thankfully, we are in no real danger of "cloning Hitlers" as we venture farther out on the limb of our curiosity. Al and Chris are architects and builders--nuts-and bolt guys. They are most able to use the products of these inquiries and build solid and substantial things out of them. We can create nothing without them. Katrina and Sherry Share the all important function of editing the Scientific Journal. They have the genius for wrapping all things in humanity and making them comprehensible to the lay person. Of what use would any inquiry be without them?

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    6. I had to edit some thoughts upon further reflection so I deleted my post that was listed above and am re-entering it now:

      While I was getting dressed for work this morning I was still pondering Diana's words and her description of herself as the emptiness and the phenomenal world as the unreal. I was mentally comparing IH to a petri dish of just a couple of individual cells in which this relationship between the real and unreal and the form and the formless could be better studied at a micro level, allowing the 'unreal' to coexist with the emptiness on a small scale for a more detailed examination. That made me think of the physics experiment of having a sealed jar filled with just air (the emptiness), then adding marbles to the jar to its brim, and then adding sand to fill in all the spaces in between the marbles in order to explain the space that still exists between the grains of sand at the subatomic level. To someone who identifies with emptiness, the jar itself wouldn't even exist because a mind at rest identifies with nothing of the phenomenal world with its limitless unfolding of the 'ten thousand things'. More than that, a mind at rest isn't even aware of the 'thinker'. It is just this sensation of silent, immovable stillness. It makes sense, then, that the outside world would feel unreal to an empty mind that is totally content and fulfilled with its own emptiness and sees the phenomenal world as something inessential to its own wholeness. The 'whole of one thing' is experienced as the apperception of this emptiness that contains everything but is not affected or altered by anything.

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  5. Dear Diana, I rather feel that you have written this for me. I understand it perfectly well. All along you have been speaking to us of Innermost House being a BODY that houses and nurtures your spirit within it. The bones. The skin. The blood. Self and not self etc. "The world makes sense or fails to make sense to me in the body." You are writing for us, in very correct terms, A Textbook of Human Anatomy. You are brilliant! Now this is something that I have earned an A+ in, dear. ANATOMY. You've found me where I live. I acknowledge your genius with gratitude and love.

    Today's lesson is about homeostasis, symbiosis, and the function of the Immune System as the sentry at the gate WHO intelligently maintains balance and wholeness for the entire organism. The WHO is YOU! The system is autonomic--automatic, requiring no conscious thought to do its work as long as conditions are favorable to it. When they are not, as when you are obliged to venture into the "world at large", conscious thought IS required. Alarms are sounded within. Emergency measures must be implemented. The body is an enclosed system that maintains its own integrity.

    Not only are you normal, Diana. You are the most PERFECTLY NORMAL being that I have ever encountered. Your intelligence has not succumbed to the prevailing environment. In an upside-down world, you are one of the few Who are NOT odd. You get an A+.

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    1. And Julie is the interpreter and encourager at large!

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    2. Yes, wonderful summary. I hope to be as 'normal' as Diana!

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  6. what a group of remarkable women you are!
    can you see a beautiful piece of land . . .
    in the wood
    nestled in a small bay perhaps
    close enough to a village for food . . .
    the clearing in the wood with tiny houses far apart
    yet close enough for seeing the glow of light
    through a window in the night
    to make for a lovely sense of companionship . . .
    yet still giving the sense of aloneness so necessary for the
    conversation . . . to take place.
    in each tiny house.
    all your responses to each other and to diana are like a rich dessert
    to me. i must eat it in small bites if i'm not to become in a stupor and
    too satiated!
    thank you for including me. you are kind.

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    1. Me too. I want my house to be closer to the water than to the woods, if that's okay with the rest of you. An open horizon makes me feel relaxed and nurtured. (I'm an air sign!)

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    2. You can tuck me into a "hidey-hole" down by the creek...

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    3. I am there with you Tammy! Sounds like heaven to me.

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  7. I feel a little 'lost' among you amazing and wonderfully erudite people! I feel I am intruding upon this most special of conversations.
    But your warmth draws me closer. I too feel as though I stand outside a window witnessing your exchange of thoughts, reflections and ideas, catching glimpses of conversations tempting me to stay, stay awhile.

    Just when I think I can speak and contribute, I find myself a little intimidated. My unsophisticated self found wanting.

    Nevertheless, I read and feel so very connected to your views and innermost thoughts on the innermost house.

    For me, the innermost house has a deep meaning. You come to "wear it" and it, in turn, draws from your soul. Your own within.
    A home within a home.

    You don't leave it. You carry it with you - within you. Not like a burden. That is something that is carried without. Like baggage.

    Julie's interpretation is perfect!

    I imagine a door, a portal, at my ribcage. My Solar Plexus. Upon opening the door, among the biological systems of the human anatomy, closer inspection finds another doorway... to the house within. Innermost.

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  8. Vicki, I'm so glad you've joined in! I hope you won't be intimidated by our "sophistication" in the future. I am, of course, flattered to the Moon--however I'm a very ordinary hillbilly lady myself, in the mountains of East Tennessee. I live in a "holler". So, if it will help you, feel free to read anything I write aloud in the best southern accent you can come up with; or sing it loudly like an old Southern Gospel Hymn. That'll cure you... Hahahahahaha! WELCOME (3 syllables...)dear Vicki!

    P.S. Our Sherry is from ARKANSAS! I called her up on the phone once just to get a load of her wonderful voice! We laughed our heads off for an hour.

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    1. Oh, like Arkansas is a 3rd world country?????? :) Yes, I probably do have a strong southern accent, but my words mean the same as the rest of you. I am there in feeling and spirit.
      BTW, Julie sounds just about like I do! hahahaha!

      Vicki, I see that you are from Australia and that is one fascinating country. Tell us more about your innermost place. I read a bit of your blog before I got sidetracked.

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    2. Hahahahaha Sherry! I thought that would get your attention. Of course our words mean the same as everyone else's--We just put the emPHASis on a different sylLABle sometimes.

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  9. Thanks so much Julie! I feel as if I've settled myself quietly on the edge of the sofa now, tentatively edging closer :)

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  10. Vicki, I like to think of our varied comments (including yours, my friend!) as light breaking into a thousand sparkling diamonds on the sunswept surface of a deep, vast ocean. No one sparkle is better or brighter than any of the others, and none of them add a bit of difference to the comforting stillness of the ocean floor, and yet, Oh! what a light show they create and what delight there is in enjoying the infinite variety of dancing sunbeams (our spoken comments) on the tiny waves that are our thoughts!

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  11. Oh, that's lovely Pam! Thank you.

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