{ pure gold }

 
     

It must have been more than 50 years ago.

I was a newbie meditator and yogini when my teacher threw this curved ball:

“Pray for disappointment.
Disappointment is the highest teacher.”

Gulp.  I thought I was signing up for Transcendence 101, not some advanced course in self-mortification.  Please explain, I asked, and she did:

Disappointment will unpick your stories.

It will shatter your certitudes.

It will strip you of hope.

It will lead you to the other side of the assumptions you unknowingly live by. 

(It will be a huge shock to realise that the only free and true choice you can ever make is to stop, shut up, listen and open.)

If you can live with its inevitability, it will deliver you to unbreakable peace and equanimity.  You will understand the real meaning of trust and you will make impermanence your touchstone.  

No fatalism or nihilism involved – no ‘isms’ whatsoever.  
No ideology, therapy or frantic god-bothering required.

 

{ pure gold }

 

Well, as it happened, she was right.

Did I ever offer up a prayer of invitation to disappointment?  
Not that I recall, but I’ve always been a bit contrary, and I was definitely curious.

Everyone was hunting for the enlightenment cookie via his or her own tendencies and patterns – I guess I was too.  In hindsight it’s clear that my fierce wild-maned Cincinnati yoga teacher (who was managing my return to mobility after having my right leg leg severed in an accident) was introducing me to the Via Negativa,
to the ancient Vedic Neti Neti inquiry.

And so far as the gods of disappointment were concerned,
my ingenuous curiosity was enough to catch their attention.  

Off I went, from one knee-grazer to the next.

Sometimes they served up the prompt in the midst of the mishap, accident, heartache, bust-up, betrayal, rejection.  Sometimes it would show up in the aftermath.  But it never failed to arrive, scribbled in gold on the back of an increasingly tattered calling card:

 

What knows this,

ceaselessly, inescapably, 

while remaining entirely unaffected?

 

a h h h h h . . .

s y s t e m – r e s t o r e

 

{ pure gold }

 

I bow before disappointment’s wild grace.

 

Speaking personally, mls.


Notes:

Sometimes a poem calls forth an image; sometimes an image elicits a poem.  I’ve been keeping company with this Kintsugi sculpture by Billie Bond for a while, waiting to see if words might line themselves up in response to its powerful eloquence.  What showed up surprised me.  While I have been blessed with untold good fortune, generosity and joy in my life, I confess that it was the unspeakably harrowing experiences that opened up intimacy with the entire field of experience.  So I’m posting this in case it matches the shape of a wound that needs loving attention.  We all have them. And we are the world.

From September 18, 2013: a love letter to disappointment

Sculpture:
Billie Bond, Kintsugi Head 1, 2014
H32 W22 D15
Black stoneware, resin, epoxy, gold leaf
Unique
http://www.billiebondart.com/kintsugi-sculpture.html

Kintsugi – “golden joinery” also known as Kintsukuroi – “golden repair”, is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with lacquer mixed with powdered gold.  As a philosophy it sees beauty in imperfection; it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.


I need to tell you this before it’s too late

 

Jean-Michel Meurice, Urgell 1, 2004

 

The knowing of Knowing

is the sweetest somatic intimacy, the ultimate G[od]-spot.

It’s no wonder poets pen passionate love-notes

to their beloved Beloved.

 

It’s more evident than any revelation,

more obvious than anything observed.

Yet this seamless saturation is neither an experience

nor anything that could be called an attainment.

 

It’s prior to consciousness,

to memory, to perception, to imagination.

(I say “prior to” but I don’t mean a-p-a-r-t from.

Perhaps precursory would be a better word.)

 

How mysterious that it’s completely overlooked, ignored,

while at the same time

hungered for/longed for/searched for/worked for/studied for/meditated for/practiced for/prayed for/paid for, in time, devotion and sacrifice . . .

 

What a joke! 

No GPS can locate it.

Yet it’s inescapable.

 

I don’t need a guru, method, scripture, sledgehammer

to wake up to the fact that whatever I am

is unarguably and precisely whatever I perceive, experience, feel.

I only have to look from a silent mind.

 

To acknowledge this Knowing –

to abide as it, to act as it

restores me to the all-inclusive immensity

I knew all along.

 

All along.

 

Since breath #1 was gasped on a summer’s morning in 1944

and these innocent eyes first opened

onto the mindscape

before

words like suffering and salvation were sown there

sprouting addictive fantasies

about enlightenment, transcendence, escape

before

I was thought-washed to believe that

the embodiment of this Knowing

would erase every discomfort and dysfunction from my experience

before

the dark net of distinctions descended

before

I learned to be clever.

 

– miriam louisa

 


 

Artwork by Jean-Michel Meurice
Urgell 1, 2004
Acrylic on fabric, 215 x 215cm
More info HERE

I love the way this work portrays the richness of our circular existence, the dance of the dreamer around the still, silent core. It’s a wonderful example of contemporary Tantric art.

 


 

It’s been a year of farewells: a brother, an artist comrade, and now another old buddy from my peer-group has gone.
Again I meet the temporality, the impermanence of this experience of being alive.
Again something rises to state the actuality of my experience – not to comfort or console, but to remind myself that everything appearing is a window onto the everlastingly unaffected.
So what?
So that whatever life dishes up has some small chance of being met with honesty and presence. So that I might be sane enough to remember that my wishes – no matter how profound – have nothing to do with what-is. So that I might see directly, act appropriately.
I’m ok with old age. The need to change anything falls away. Candles in the wind.
Yet (occasionally) (rarely these days) I’m moved to share a confession. You never can tell, it might be the last one. And there are things I want to say before I go.
Thank you for reading.