stalking the numinous niche

This confession was originally posted on my blog this unlit light in 2011.  Recently I’ve been reminded about the little cache of my writing that quietly rests over on that blog and it’s been suggested that I share some snippets here for readers.  I figured that when the time was ripe to do so, I’d get a prompt.

It came a few days ago, over lunch with a couple of dear friends.  We were talking about the way humans seem compelled to “find their tribe.”  To join forces with those of like mind, to feel a sense of belonging and validation.  I had to admit that I’d never found a tribe or group that didn’t end up either disappointing me, or spitting me out for disappointing them.  If I had a tribe it would be in the league of the Rank Outsiders, the Solo Fliers, the Holy Rejects.

The conversation got me reminiscing about my mid-life preoccupation with finding where I fit.  It wasn’t so much about finding a tribe as finding my so-called niche.  It went on for the first half of my life and only disappeared (taking the need for company with it) when the split between the niche-less one and her experience zipped itself up. It had a lot to do with acknowledging what she loved to do (play with colour, texture, visual language), because in that encounter she unfailingly disappeared into the unknowable: into her numinous niche.

I have no idea how it happened. Love has a mind of its own; it slowly seeped out of the studio and spread itself at her feet.  Her niche turned out to be nothing more nor less than the full monty life movie, otherwise known as… S U C H N E S S – to the [n]


 

Lawrence Carroll, Untitled, 2015

 

My Niche is The Unknowable – April 22, 2011

About thirty years ago I confessed to a kindly iridologist that I felt I had failed to find my ‘niche’ in life.  He peered into my bright blue eye-maps and remarked that it was strange, because everything he could read there indicated that I was a highly capable person who could find a niche in many avenues of expertise.

It worried me, that feeling of being niche-less.  I was in awe of those who seemed, from a young age, to know exactly what they wished to do in the world and set about achieving it.  And it wasn’t helped by those who knew the potential here and kept asking when I was going to fully explore (exploit?) it.  I was in my mid 40s and still wondering what I would be when I grew up.

I had all the right tools: a reasonably sane brain, a good education, some skills as an educator as well as in the area of art and design, but my life-path seemed like a meandering groping from one neti-neti to the next.

I tried being a teacher, a broadcaster, a fashion designer, a wife, a lover, a wandering yogini, a ‘professional’ artist.  All those niches ultimately failed to fit. The role that held the most promise was that of the artist, but the funny thing was that whenever the flow of genuine creating was going on in the studio, I wasn’t there.  I mean, ‘artist-me’ was AWOL.  In its place there was a spacious, ownerless activity unrelated to all my small ideas of what should be happening.  And the moment the ‘artist-me’ tried to examine this mysterious activity it would vaporize.  It was ungraspable and unknowable.

Later I would find a philosophy that made sense of this mystery – it is spoken about by sages and artists alike as the movement of pure nondual Awareness. But back then it was a total enigma to me; it put the fire under a lifetime’s exploration of creativity. And it eventually delivered me to the niche I had given up any hope of finding.

My niche turned out to be that ineffable intimate Awareness itself.  And the amazing thing is that it always had been!  It had been my preoccupation for decades, yet I had failed to recognize that it was a valid contender for the niche stakes.  I had conceptualised the niche-notion, irrevocably keeping it at arm’s length and ensuring the survival of a niche-less seeker trapped in time.  Truly, I can be quite slow

When the penny dropped, a lifetime’s worth of seemingly incoherent bits of ridiculousness fell into place.  I fell about laughing like a lunatic.  The absurdity and awesomeness of it!  The beauty and simplicity and grace of it!

Like … landing on a bed of rose petals … sinking into their silken perfume … resting, at last … knowing that this simple at-one-ment always runs below the surface of experience, ALL experience … knowing that you never have to leave … even if it were possible!

– miriam louisa
(With minor editing to accomodate a further seven years’ worth of lightbulb moments.)


Artwork: Lawrence Carroll Untitled, 2015
Artificial flowers, pigment, stain, housepaint, dust
7,5 x 218 x 185 cm


spidermind at the clothesline

 

Echoes from Emptiness: St Andrews Cross Spider from www.thisisaustralia.com.au

 

three dark nights she toiled
throwing a silken mooring-line to the backyard clothesline

three bright mornings she watched it break
as the washing was hung out to dry

next night she cast her thread at the picket fence
and in the morning, strong and secure
raised a cocky eyebrow as I came with my basket

I laughed and I bowed to her –
eight-armed embodiment of the mind of creativity

 

ps

Instructions for Living A Life:

Pay Attention.
Be Astonished.
Tell About It.

– Mary Oliver

 


I have to go

when my love
for the wondrous world grows dull
and the world stops stopping
at the sill of my senses

my wild naked knowing
knows
that where I find myself
is a place I’ve outgrown

it knows
my pool has become safe
and stagnant
and whatever it is in this blood
that drives me upstream
will not take no for an answer:

I have to go

. . .

I will gasp in a new atmosphere
I will feed on unfamiliar fodder
I will ignore the old mating calls

. . .

what’s clear is this:  on the far side
of comfort, habitude and certainty
creativity flourishes
and creativity is life’s unknowable agenda
incarnate
here

 ~

wonder, creativity and wonderment

339

wonder births questions
questions birth creativity
creativity births wonderment

The cycle of creation begins with wonder

What exactly wonders?
Not ‘me’, not ‘you’!
Life Itself wonders, and billions of bubbles of sentience (felt as ‘I’-ness) explore its questions in billions of different ways.

The questions will always generate creativity in one form or another, but it takes a ripening awareness for creativity to birth wonderment.

Whose ripening awareness?
Not ‘mine’, not ‘yours’!
It’s a natural ripening without subject or object, without knower or known; a flowering that’s conclusion-free and that operates outside of time.

~

the dawning sky is the coral of a persimmon’s blush

327

the great view is seeing
as the I-eye
of primordial awareness

the great understanding is knowing
as the unknowable knowingness
of simple suchness

the great adventure is living
as the untutored creativity
of wild wideawakeness

~

the flowering of creativity

318

  • intellect

Tends to answer a query or describe a condition with statements – usually absolutes and conclusions.

  • intelligence

Tends to respond to a query with further questions and describe conditions with metaphors, always probing, open, non-conclusive.

  • questions

Seem to be crucial to creative living.  They indicate the presence of beginner’s mind, mind that’s open to new possibilities, willing to explore, experiment, extrapolate in fresh ways, while taking nothing too seriously.

Perhaps the essential requirement of the active dynamic of noumenon – that which seeds its manifestation into phenomena – is a kind of innocent, playful questioning …

Wouldn’t that indicate the necessity of keeping the questions alive and the mind uncluttered with conclusions in order for genuine, unconditioned creativity to flower?

~

our innate longing for intimacy

299

Many folk express the longing to be able to draw or paint some-thing.  They long to faithfully render a beloved face, or a favorite object, or the marvel of a landscape.  Or, with the plethora of photographic devices now available, they eagerly capture moments both miraculous and mundane.

Might this have something to do with our innate longing for seamless intimacy with that apparent object or experience, with longing to know it, to be it, on the other side of conceptualization, categorizing, labeling?

.

unknowable knowingness

nothing that can be contained, it flows and ebbs;
calls itself perception or consciousness or awareness
or life or grace or destiny or God

the ‘ten thousand things’ are its toys –
its appearances rising and falling
wherever It casts its sensory antennae

is it not the ultimate
seamless intimacy?

~