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


Link

goofiness and the great grok

After the last unashamedly goofy post about cavorting with twinkle-toed Hafiz and a pipe-playing bunny it seems timely to post something a little more … grounded.

Unfortunately Emptiness doesn’t deliver according to demand; this is what turned up. It starts off sensibly enough, but when the metaphorical “clicks” deliver one to the inevitable placeless-place, i.e. when the free-fall occurs, it all gets dizzy again.

(Sorry, but you did sign-up / click-through…)

ALICE and the Quantum CAT

Yes. It’s true. The mind shift out of separation is monumental. That’s why it tends to be mythologised. Yet the ‘happening’ itself is more like a series of extremely subtle nano-gestures; somewhat like the unnoticed adjustments one’s eyes make to a change in ambient light.

In my experience something is definitely ‘felt’ in perception – it’s physical as well as psychological. In other words, the shift can be sensed by something, yet I find the ‘something’ can’t be torn apart from the sensing. I notice, for example, a releasing of muscles in the eye area, the forehead and the back of my head. The top of my head wants to open like a flower.

However, it’s in the psychological arena that the effects are monumental. Imagine, if you will, a little meter in mindspace with a needle that registers ways of perceiving / creating / experiencing one’s world. As the needle moves through the various modes there’s a little ‘click’.

You start off in particle view; you know yourself as a solid-state person with a mind of your own. You don’t need anyone to tell you otherwise, but along comes a sage (or a kind friend) who says that’s a lie. (Ooops.) You explore a bit – maybe try meditation, or check out the evidence presented by your own direct experience. Eventually something causes your boundaries to melt and – you’re awash in wave view.

“CLICK”

You’re feeling pretty cool about your new wave view; it feels amazing actually. It makes you take the so-called spiritual search seriously and you suspect that this is what they mean by ‘enlightenment’. Maybe you crow about it a bit, start entertaining ideas about teaching others the particle / wave trick. But someone or something disabuses you (oh) and you settle down into humble not-knowing-ness. And without moving a neuron, maybe your humility quiets the wave and there’s a shift to oceanic view.

“CLICK”

Oceanic view seems like the pinnacle – enlightenment at last! – yet you find yourself asking, “What’s awaring this view?” Meaning – there’s still a sense of subtle separation. By this stage though, your flotation suit (the one with “ME” laminated in electric yellow on the back) is leaking badly. Your head is in the tiger’s mouth (as they say) and nothing can save you from drowning and dissolving. Now you no longer know any boundaries: self is spaciousness.

“CLICK”

Oh – – – so this is what they mean by cosmic view! Mama Mia, you say, I’m awake and I was never unawake! And it is true – you are awake and you know you are awake. Your eyes are wide with the shock of sensing your self as everything you can perceive as far as perception’s probes can penetrate.

(The sky-dancing sage is cackling and shaking her rattle. She knows the goose isn’t yet fully cooked; there’s more… )

Cosmic view is … yet another view. It’s the one, however, that places you in the neighbourhood of black holes, and eventually Life will make sure you are devoured, entirely devoured, by one of them. Everyone knows there’s no view inside a black hole. No view, and no you.

“CLICK”

{ { { J U S T  T H I S ! } } }

Crikey.

The edifice has been dismantled. Full-on wild wideawakeness pops the eyes right out of the head. Awareness beams itself through the slits in the eyes of Mr Schrödinger’s cat and sees that ‘dead’ and ‘alive’ and Infinite Potential coexist in timelessness. Goofiness floods in. The enigmatic grin of the great grok appears on your dial.*

The why and the how of it can’t be explained. It seems comic that thought desperately needs to bullet-point the ineffable.

As if it mattered!

Life joyously heads out into the theatre of  magical mind, meeting each moment afresh and recognising all arisings as its endlessly-morphing self: “This too! This too! This too!”

And what does the world see? A goof with a silly grin on her face and a cunning cat at her heels (or not).


* ‘Grok’ means ‘identically equal.’ It means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed — to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in…

“All that Groks is God.”


Image – detail from the cover of Alice and the Quantum Cat, edited by William Brandon Shanley – an adventure into the world of 21st century science with contributions from Fred Alan Wolf, Amit Goswami, F David Peat, Nick Herbert, Danah Zohar, Beverly Rubick and Peter Russell. What a line up!

http://www.paripublishing.com/books/alice-and-the-quantum-cat/


dear disappointment

 
Well hello there Disappointment! You’ve been on my mind of late. I’ve been reflecting on how your gracious appearances in my life were usually both misunderstood and unappreciated. And I reckon I owe you an apology. It’s a bit late coming, but since you are surely impervious to expectation I doubt that will bother you too much.

This morning these words lined up unbidden. They made me smile; I thought you might like to read them.
 

Echoes from Emptiness - Johannes Vermeer: A Lady Writing, detail

 

dear disappointment

 

your thumping Grace opened up
a view without a viewer
a life without an agenda
a heart at home in its hallowed holiness

 

your diamond-edged scalpel
shaved clean the fluff and fantasy
called “me-myself-mine”
excising my every erudite question
leaving no trace –

 

not even a shadow of ‘understanding’
survives

 

nothing
a phantom could claim as ‘I am’
or even I am not

 

you turned me towards your ruthless kindness
revealing every betrayal and abuse
every heart-break and aching longing
to be an instant portal
to the eye-popping Knowing
that is unknowable

 

beyond, so utterly beyond,
where every word is empty, hollow, meaningless
untrue
and all there is to do is giggle
at this glorious ever-unfurling
suchness

 

are you not the supreme guide and guru?
is there a faster track to seamless intimacy
with the everyday world of multiplicity?
could there be a greater blessing than your quiet interest
in our stumblings towards the light?

 

take me!
oh have me so completely
that true vulnerability is birthed

 

yours

 

truly

 

. . .


Image: Johannes Vermeer: A Lady Writing, detail.

Source – Artmight.com


the vastness of unimaginable you

261

He who would rest in
perfect peace
must know the nameless name
whence all things rise
and bloom and cease
returning whence they came.
~ Tao

 .

What IS this “nameless name”?
The echoes whisper and scribbler scribbles …

 .

The wild wideawake
knowingness
that can never be known.

The brilliant light of
awareness
that has never been lit.

The perfect present
suchness
that can never be escaped.

The vastness of unimaginable
You
before you are labeled and defined.

~

rain

217

There was a shift.

The big breath that ceaselessly moves around the earth changed its path.
It exhaled a new perfume.
Its touch on the skin was clammy.

It called and I could not refuse.
Out I went, took up tree pose beneath the Poincianas,
poised,
waiting, in the company of a host of parched and thirsting creatures,
scaly ones, crawling and slithering ones,
feathered and furling ones,
all of us wrapped in the dry embrace of cracked earth.

It came, a surging orgasm of blessed benediction.
It roared its song in shimmers through
the wetlands of my body.

Rain.

The raw awareingness of my senses,
inseparable from those of tree and earth
bird and beetle,
is saturated in wild wet delight!
~

 

suchness is ultimate ‘I’-ness

213

returning to Life is wonderment

– ‘ONE’derment

‘ONE’derment wraps one in atonement

– at‘ONE’ment

at‘ONE’ment is ‘n

n’ is now-this-here

now-this-here is suchness

suchness is ultimate ‘I’-ness

and ‘I’?

unspeakable
uncatchable
unknowable

and
inescapably
ONE

totality

~

what is this?

209

[Inquiring into THIS – referred to here as ‘IT’, unlit light, primordial awareness, wideawakeness, unknowable knowingness, Beloved – is a practice often recommended in nondual teachings.]

 

THIS

 

What is this?

Is it nameable?
No – not truthfully – it is prior to all naming.

Is it a thing?
No – it can’t be found or measured.

Is it nothing?
No – it’s everywhere ‘I’ looks
listens, touches, tastes, smells, feels.

THIS

is

whatever

IS

striped naked
self-luminous
and
inescapable

~