it was a damn good deal

Ceramic sculpture by Haejin Lee


Until I woke up
to my unconscious insatiable insanity
it was the tireless weaver
of the fabric of my life.

It wasn’t enough to have mentally unpicked
and clearly seen-through
the myth and mirage
of the solid-state ‘me’ story.

Unconscious residue of that ‘me’
I thought was done and dusted
remained, and so, another unpicking began
– a second-level unpicking if you like.

Waking up to what one isn’t is utterly mind shifting.
It’s tempting to rest in the inevitable sweet relief;
it’s tempting to assume one has attained
the ultimate wisdom.

Yet, although thought likes to tell itself otherwise,
the thrust of cellular conditioning forges on
below the limn,
obvious to everyone but oneself.

I am driven by curiosity –
especially concerning creativity and freedom.
What might I not know about this multi-layered energetic playground
called my life? An investigation was called for.

I saw how the old unconscious imprints
ran deep; how their effects can’t be denied
yet are avoided, by-passed, rationalised
by a self-idea facing sure extinction.

Have you ever unpicked knitting?
You take the single thread responsible for the fabric’s form
and simply pull. The stitches unravel with ease.
If there’s a knot, you tease it free.

Just like that: I grasped the master lie,
and pulled. Stitch by stitch the network of neurology
unravelled. Each stitch was an imprint of pain:
fear, anger or grief.

Separation ceased as each imprint was fully felt
without one word being brought to the alchemy.
(Commentary, analysis, explanation
are neither required nor helpful.)

The howling insatiability that fuelled
my craziness was slowly sated. An incomprehensible
fulfilment surfaced that has no idea what words like
sanity or insanity might mean.

These days I find it absurd to claim that I am
anything – even “That”, or “Life”, or “Nothing”.
To say “I am” is a lie, yet as a sage once observed,
“the universe is myself”.

The universe chuckles to itself:
“It was a damn good deal – an imaginary ‘me’ for an immensity!
It only cost me everything … and everything
came back, marked perfect, wondrous, eternal.”


“I am not, but the universe is myself.” – Shih-T’ou, A.D. 700-790

Ceramic sculpture by Haejin Lee


20 thoughts on “it was a damn good deal

    1. Jana – it’s such a delight to know you visited and enjoyed – if that’s the right word! I sense we belong to the same (un)-knitting circle – forever devoted to the endless process of emptying…

    1. Oh… thank you John. It’s splendid to have your company! I don’t know about “deep wisdom” but will take a bow anyway. I have a very relaxed attitude to blogging and only post when moved… the voice has been muted these past months, but there seems to be a clearing of the throat happening. Let’s see what kind of croaking emerges…

    1. Thank you dear Michael – such a kind comment. I do love the thought that the words might be helpful.
      I never have a notion of writing a “poem”. The lines just form themselves with a cadence that’s always a delight to me. There’s seldom any editing. If someone asked me to write a real poem I wouldn’t have a clue…

  1. “I grasped the master lie and pulled…” Yum, yum! Thank you for the imagery. I’ve often conceptualized the deconstruction of Self as analogous to untying a knot, but that suggests that the “imaginary me” happened by accident; not so with a sweater tightly knit by…. whom? Always wonderful to read your words.

    1. Thanks for your appreciative comment – you’re obviously a visual thinker too!

      “tightly knit by…. whom?”
      I discovered that the fabric of the ‘me’ wasn’t knit by anyone. It is constructed out of our early experiences of pain. Each pain – one small stitch. Eventually, when we attain language skills, we assign a persona to the fabric and think of it as ‘me’ – the world supports us in that belief. And that’s the master lie.

      Happy unpicking! 🙂

      1. What is interesting now is that, contrary to our preconceptions formed by the official hagiographers, there is no final landing place to arrive at and plant a flag. I think it was the marvelous Dogen who mentioned that even Shakyamuni was only half-way there. In any case, I have abandoned the notion of a destination, and this makes the adventure much more exciting and absorbing! I try to write every day now, just to surprise myself at what comes forth. I am like a baby tossed into a stream, riding the currents and bobbing up and down all along the way, coughing up water and laughing between plaintive screams! 😉

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