Monday, October 8, 2012

Nothing


Today I want to welcome a new friend who calls herself Nothing.  Last week she introduced herself here with these words

Hello Diana...I'm commenting in response to what I've read here of your alarm and not accepting the things that go against your grain. 

So often those of us who feel the same way feel we must conform to those things. My own childhood invalidated my senses and inclinations so that I learned to ignore my internal compass and ignore my self in favor of survival in a loud and vicious world. I've woken up to this fact, after over 20 years of dredging through life as I was told I must, trying to conform to it and play the role. I am having a world of trouble simply recollecting the truth of myself.

The IH way of things resonated with me deeply, and the things that always made true sense to me, but became convinced were foolishness that I had to repress. Learning of simpler living vindicated and examples given a real and sustainable things brings out such a soaring of hope and a crushing despair for having wasted my life so far listening to the voices who told me what I had to do and be.

I've spent so much of my life wondering what is wrong with me, and still tell myself that I am broken for my nature. IH gives me some hope that there is somewhere for me and maybe that I have some sense after all.

These words awaken a strange feeling in me, something between a recollection and a promise realized. 

It is so difficult to say who is someone and who is no one, or which it is better to be.  Emily Dickinson wrote, "I'm nobody, who are you?"   

Still in the world it does seem to be a great advantage to be someone.  I have known people who appear to have made a worldly success of their life based on very little more than appearing to believe they are someone.  

It is strange though.  In my experience of our guests, those are just the people who least have eyes to see Innermost House.  It is just "nothing" to them, and I am no one.  They are never really around the fire, they are never even really inside.  

It is as if to be someone in the larger world is often to be nothing and no one in the Innermost Life.  And perhaps to truly see something in Innermost House is often to be willing to be nothing in the world.

I remember from a very early moment in my life the feeling of choosing to be nothing.  I grew up resisting being someone with all my silent stubborn might. 

At Innermost House I ceased to have to resist and was able to relax into being nothing and no one again.  It was like coming home to an experience of life I only remembered once I stepped inside.  

If I never learned to ignore my internal compass, it may simply be because I am so incapable of learning.  If I often did not do what I was supposed to do, perhaps it was because I could not do it.  Those closest to me wanted to know what was wrong with me through all my early years.  I have always been foolish in the world.

And yet if I have learned anything of myself, it is that my strength lies in my weaknesses.  It is by your abilities that the world lays hold of you, not by your disabilities.  And I have never had any abilities.  

Thirty years ago I was possessed by a sense of life wasted, as though my time were forever past.  I do not feel that way now.  I think of a favorite line from Emerson

We must be very suspicious of the the deceptions of the element of time.  It takes a good deal of time to eat or to sleep, or to earn a hundred dollars, and a very little time to entertain a hope and an insight which becomes the light of our life.

The answer for me did not prove to lie in time but out of time, in Timeless Time.  I came to see the advantages of what I could not do and the time I did not have.  For in these I was free of the world and its expectations. 

Then I began to see that I could do what was of value to no one but me, and my time began to expand.  At Innermost House at last the circle of my life enclosed me wholly, and there was nowhere for time to go.  

Innermost House arose from the ruins of a life that had run out of time and hope and possibility.  It was built out of Nothing, and No One lived in it.  It was heavenly.  It is still heavenly. 

  

18 comments:

  1. Diana and 'Nothing' - bless you, for having together created this leaf of the great tree of Conversation. There is a healing power in here, I can feel it. Heavenly blessings to both of you, and to all the other 'nothings' reading.

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  2. Dear Diana, and Dear Nothing: I can't tell you how much I would like to copy this message word for word and send it in a letter to my family, friends and everyone else who, throughout my life, thought they knew me and what was best for me. I'd love to roll it up and put it in a bottle and send it down the stream behind my house as an Exquisite Manifesto to the whole world. Thank you both.

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  3. Nothing- after all this time the awakening should be all the more sweeter. The most beautiful artwork is that which the contrast is the greatest so it can be with life. I felt foolish in the world for conforming. I no longer conform to most of the ways the world lives but follow where I am led and now the world is the one who looks foolish to me. I love Thoreau's most famous quote "I went to the woods because I wish to live deliberately....." And so we do live deliberately.

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  4. I'm going to have to think about this one. Maybe I can find some comfort in it. I think most people want to be someone. (I always wanted to be someone. I should have been more specific.) We want to belong to our society while at the same time being a person of some significance within it. I am often treated as if I am nothing or invisible, and I usually don't like it much. I feel as if I'm being ignored, disregarded, or even disrespected. It has happened when it really mattered (as in career turning points)or in everyday situations (when people interrupt me in the middle of conversation, or walk right by me without seeing me). Often, it hurts and I try to examine myself to see what's wrong with me that I am held in such low regard. But then I try to look inward with the hope that I do have value and I am interesting and I just need to find people and places where I can be myself and do the things that fit my true nature. Maybe I will some day find those things in my own Innermost House.

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    1. Al, we all need love and I agree, it certainly feels nice to be appreciated. I hope you feel the love from the group here and are able to find it within yourself. It really does start there, and exactly where you currently live.

      I appreciate your calm, wise presence here.

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    2. Hi Al, I have the same issues, and I have it for a long time. But nowadays I find some piece in it. Let me tell you a story, it was two weeks ago. I was invited for a dinner party with 17 other guests. Everybody had to make a (part of a) course. My suggestion to do the main course was turned down because that would be vegetarian, which I am, and they wanted to eat meat and fish. Instead I made the first course, a nice salad, which they liked. After that it was meat and fish and I was asked if I was bothered by that. I said no, I am perfectly happy with potatoes and veggies. But then a strange thing happened. Everybody was served, got a plate and meat or fish, accompanied with mashed potatoes. There were no vegetables at all, except for a small salad. They had forgotten me, there I was, without a plate and watching everybody wishing each other "bon appetit" and toasting their drinks. For a moment I felt the most lonesome person in the world and usually I would get up, take my coat and go away. But not this time. I went to the kitchen, took a plate and served myself with potatoes and one spoonful leftover cabbage salad, which I proudly ate, ignoring the "what's wrong with you" and "why are you so difficult" looks. Now I have to laugh about it, that was certainly the largest mashed potatoes meal I had!
      Please do the things that fit you true nature, it might not always be possible, but I am certain that it is the way to happiness.

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    3. God bless you, Bri. Only question: why did you want to have dinner with these people?

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    5. I am not sure, Ember. I ask myself the same thing. Maybe it is that I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings and therefore accept invitations that go against my grain.

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    6. Thanks, Leah. I don't know about wise, but the gentleness and kindness around here certainly helps me feel calm.

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  5. Of all people, Al, you ARE someone. You represent yourself so well.

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  6. I am learning to discard my 'foolish' self these days. It has taken me 40+ years but it is comforting to hear you say that from the ruins of your life you found hope.. and heaven!

    Thank you Diana and 'Nothing' for illuminating the way.

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  7. "Nothing", I so deeply understand you. You are me. I am you. I, too feel sorrow over the years that I have wasted trying to understand and conform ot the expectations of the world. But, I know that if it is not shaken off that I cannot go forward. It is tiresome, isn't it. Like a job that we must do every day in order to function at all.

    Al, I don't think being passed by is so bad, in fact, sometimes I would rather have it happen. We must be someone in our own eyes, or nothing if that is what we wish. Being someone puts a lot of unwanted responsibility on one. But, then being the nobody that we want to be is hard to accomplish, too! I think that we are all growing and finding our true nature. The one that we thought we had lost or didn't even know was possible.

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  8. I can't begin to recall the inordinate number of times that I have been called 'Pat' instead of 'Pam', even by people who have casually known me for some time. It really has made me look at what I have used to define myself as a unique 'someone', and has greatly helped me disidentify myself as anyone special. Our name is typically such a strong anchor for our sense of self. Without a name, who are we?

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  10. Diana, you wrote: "It is by your abilities that the world lays hold of you, not by your disabilities. And I have never had any abilities." I beg to differ, dear Diana! Your ability to touch the heart of a thing in your writing in such a simple yet profoundly mystical way is a great talent that very few have. I am hoping that someday you will write that book you have mentioned because I, for one, will purchase it the day it comes out! You have a unique voice that arises from a very still place within you and a message that hauntingly echoes in one's psyche of the time before time in which 'nothing' is all there is in its complete wholeness. Diana, you rock!

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