Arrow Of Longing; Walking Into and Out Of Distinction; Dual Solitude and Mutual Aloneness; The Preventers Of Life; The Straighteners Of Souls; Toil Without End or Purpose

I do not fear the glory of the morning. No, nor the arrow of longing that flies from me throughout the day.

I do not fear the red color of the dirt I grab ahold of as I walk east into the magnificent golden sunrise. I know I must walk through all colors until I become a color myself, distinct from all other colors. I will walk until I have become a distinct presence and then I will walk on until I have become indistinct and unrecognizable, until I have become desert-colored, red and brown and orange and gold, and yet somehow without manifest form or hue. Until I have become like one who does not need to advertise his own becoming. Until I have become like one who drinks of the fountain that does not stop flowing with soul-water or flaming with passion-fire. I yearn for terrible fires to chase me out of my home and isolate me from all others. I yearn for flash floods to rush through the dry creeks of my thirst so that I must find the power within me to withstand them.

Come stand with me or go stand alone. Either way only if we are alone can we stand together. Only if you have stood alone can you sit with me here in dual solitude. Only if you know your aloneness will I feel your friendship.

Do not expect me to maintain your illusions for you, or your truths. Do not expect me to maintain you at all. Am I your maintainer? Am I the container for your falseness? Am I the retainer you shove into your soul to straighten it? I do not claim to be a straightener of souls. Find someone else to straighten your soul, though you might only find greater soul-sickness. I do not want your soul to be any particular way. Would you have me particularize your soul? Would you have me shape you? To shape you is to distort you, how could I distort you and then look you in the eye? Would I not see my own distorted shape? To try and shape into life is to prevent life from shaping itself into form and into formlessness. I do not wish to be a preventer of life; I will allow life to be itself.

The preventers of life—I see them everywhere. I see people not allowing life to unfold. I see the folders wherein lie the trees of life and I see those who fold themselves in on what they strive after, which is not life. I see those who strive for death in the name of life; it nearly kills me, but I will not die at their hands. I will not die at the hands of those whose hands are useless, though they might toil in the world, without end. They toil for futility; they are in the viciously vacuous hands of chance and do not even know it. Often I do not know what I toil after, but I know at least that I do not toil with indifference in the name of peace.

There are those who toil quite indifferently, all in the name of peace, indifferent to what they are doing and most indifferent to themselves. I do not toil in this way. How could I be indifferent to my toil? How could I be indifferent to myself? I am indifferent only to those who are indifferent to themselves. I do not care for their apathy. Could I ever have a peace that does not go through toil rather than come about through useless toil? Could I ever have peace at all? When I toil I use more than my hands. If toil with the hands spurs on the mind to thought and the heart to passion and the spirit to elevation and the soul to depth, then this toil serves a purpose beyond itself. If toil does not serve a purpose beyond itself, it serves no purpose at all.

Confusion and Clarity

Those who feel the most confusion are typically also those who are able to express their souls’ struggle most clearly, while those who are without much confusion have little need or desire to express their own relative lack of struggle. If the latter group, the larger one, were to express their lack of confusion or struggle in a work of art, would-be appreciators would perhaps struggle not to be confused by it; the piece of art would likely lack the clarity the artist feels in life. Creative work is borne more from confusion than from clarity. It is the need to find clarity, to make sense of things, which spurs people to create. If someone is already sure of his life, if he already has a clear and well-constructed identity, then attempting to create will perhaps bring him face-to-face with the confusion he had heretofore avoided, could if he is lucky make him question whether his life is really as clear as he thought, whether looking in the unclear waters might be more in line with his no longer easily discernible purpose.

But that wouldn’t be lucky at all.

“Why I Am Here”

I am here to better understand why I am here
I am here to come nearer to what cannot be understood
I am here to suffer through three or nine unclear years
I am here to recover the silent knowledge for good

I am here to hear why I am here
I am here to be steered by the voiceless and lost
I am here to wait until a voice becomes clear
I am here to dance ’til the spirit stands aloft

I am coming to say less
Coming to mean more
I’m leaving to remember
What it is I’m living for

I came to marry memory and hope
I left to seek the unexplained
I returned to listen for the unheard note
When I leave,
I’ll lose
All I’ve strived to gain

I am here to better understand how I got here
I am here to stand still, listen to the creek flow by
I am here to let go of an illusion I’ve held dear
I am here to hold on to a truth that is not mine

I am here to see clearly what else is here
I am here to return, to remain, and to move on
I am here to look for home, like a dispossessed seer
I am here to turn towards an ever new dawn

I am coming to say less
Coming to mean more
I’m leaving to remember
What it is I’m living for

I came to listen for silence,
I left to speak softly with rain,
I returned to marry stillness and chaos,
When I leave,
I’ll have lost
All I strived to gain

I am here to better understand why I am here
I am here to give shelter, here to bring storm
I am here to feel the sun as the clouds disappear
I am here as the snow melts, as it loses its form

Aimlessness and Purpose


The log in the river is not aimless, the dolphin in the sea is not aimless, the cloud, though drifting in the otherwise blue sky, is not aimless. Each goes where it goes and does not go where it cannot go. But I am not a log in the river, or a dolphin in the ocean, or a cloud in the sky. I am a man who often feels aimless. It is important sometimes to observe myself when I look at the cloud, observing both myself and the cloud, perceiving how the cloud goes nowhere in particular and perceiving how I am going nowhere at all. I am just standing there, or sitting there, watching the cloud.

I am aimless when I forget what my aim in life is. Is it to glorify God in the highest and bring peace to his people on earth? No. I cannot hope to bring peace to anyone but myself. Is my aim to be on the road, to travel in a home-going way, going always away and always coming home? Is my aim to find my aim, or to pursue the Self in me that needs no aim? Is my aim to engross myself in our material civilization and become one of the many? No. I have a purpose beyond that. Entering society may be the beginning, and is helpful for some things I cannot do alone, but further than that society assists me only as it helps me to realize myself. If I am not doing that, I am not living life, and in that case whether I am engrossed in society or not makes little difference. If I am not living, what am I doing? I am aimlessly drifting toward death, or I am already dead. When death comes, I want to meet it as an equal, I do not want to be taken by it. I want to die many times before Death comes so that when Death comes it takes only what is not me; it does not take the whole man. To be so I am not taken by death I must be a whole man.

My ambitions are turned towards myself, not in a self-absorbed, egotistical way, but only because I am determined to overcome the self that sits down here today, to explore much deeper than the ego-self, to dig down far below what is visible, to find the truth hidden in the invisible. This is my ultimate aim: to bring forth the invisible, to express it in such a way that the reader can see the invisible within herself, and remembers who she is. To be fully myself, I must remember who I am. Only such a man can help another to remember. But it is difficult, and my aimlessness drifts back anytime I forget, if only for a moment. There are many moments when I forget, when I question whether I ever knew, whether I ever can know. Am I not simply a man? And wouldn’t it be better to be a simple man, concerning myself with the essentials of life, physical needs and family? No. Though I practice simplicity and feel it is essential and part of the aim, I am not a simple man who can concern himself only with physical needs and family. I am a man who aims to point people to what is not-man through my own experience of who I am. This is my aim, my purpose.

snow mountain alaska

What is essential for me is something deeper than the physical and visible. Many people remain on the surface of the water. They float along like the log in the river and do not feel the need to go faster or slower or deeper. Where they are at all times is the only place they can consider being. What they see at all times is all they can imagine seeing. It does not even occur to these people that they could be anywhere else or be seeing anything else. Nothing exists but what is directly in front of them. In times of weakness, I envy these people’s easy contentment. But in reality I know I am not one of them. There are a few who do not float in this way. As these few become conscious of where they are and who they are, they say to themselves, ‘I cannot float here. I was not made for these waters.’

So they sink for a time, though only half by choice, and so become only half-aware of what lies beneath the surface. When they have risen to the surface, by their own tortured choice, they look back and see in a hazy way the confusing contents of what he has already traversed. They resent the part of the river they have already gone through. It was not the way they wished it had been. When going through rapids they wished for serene waters. When all was calm, they were restless for the rougher water. Now they struggle to look ahead. They are tense and troubled thinking about what could trouble them around the next curve, yet they cannot help thinking about it. They want to know what will come beforehand so they can know how to approach and confront it. How can they know what to do when they do not know what is to come? Their lack of knowledge and understanding force them to go under again. Maybe going below the surface now they will find the answer to what will come above it later. The aim of those who sink is ultimately to come to the surface, to be on the surface, but their purpose on the surface demands that they have sunk far beneath it. They must find the tide without resisting the riptide. They cannot float without having sunk, and they will sink until they learn to float.

The drifter becomes so when he says, ‘I am not fit for these waters,’ fully believing and knowing the truth of what he says. Though born fit, in life he like everyone else becomes unfit. Not everyone sees that they are unfit for the waters. Many people feel they are fit and are deluded. But the drifter sees clearly how unfit for the waters he is; he feels it like he feels the tug of the rip current pulling him downwards. His aim in life is to again become fit for the waters he was born fit for. In fitful spurts, by relentless struggle, he continually sinks and comes back to the surface. He wants to say, ‘I can float here. I know how to float without drifting and sink without drowning. I know now what I need to do. I know now what I need to say. I know I cannot do otherwise.’ But he cannot say or do any of it until he truly believes and knows it, and this might take a long time, a lifetime, or it might never take, and so in the end he will be taken in Death’s hands, his own hands empty and his mind unclear, having never reached the clear and pure water of his own true nature that would fill and fulfill him. If he reaches that pure water, he will love it all, and will make no distinction between the pure and impure.

Road Trip to the Grand Canyon, Ooh's and Aah's, Creative Greetings, Life Plans, Favorite Words

But back to the primary aim. I follow the Self that leads me and can follow no one else. I can lead no one but whoever follows their own lead. If I cannot follow my own lead, I will certainly fail to lead anyone else. I must go from painful loneliness and isolation to a solitude that cannot be compared, an aloneness that slowly deepens into ultimate connection. My natural state, and the natural state of all humans, is loneliness, isolation, and aimlessness. Knowing my aim and living it takes away loneliness. The aim brings with it the aloneness; the two cannot be separated. Anything that distracts from that aloneness distracts me from the aim. If I pursue only the companionship needed to alleviate my loneliness without the connection needed to deepen my aloneness, I am forgetting my purpose, I am forgetting what has worth. Anything that distracts me or leads to forgetfulness is worthwhile only if it brings me back to remembering.

I am worthwhile when I remember, when I follow my lead but am not led blindly, when I seek my aim, when in myself I feel at home, when in everything I see beauty, when in every sound I hear God.

This morning there are few sounds. I hear the coffee pot, the wall heater. My hands hammering on the keyboard is the most obtrusive sound, and it is the sound of my greater self disciplining my lesser self, like the hammer pounding in the nail to build the foundation of the house. It is hours before the dawn. Without these hours, on days when I wake up late, I start the day already alienated from who I am, already distant from my deeper nature. I feel a sense of irretrievable loss on those days that for most people would be out of all proportion to the cause. Those are lost days, and with too many of those I become lost myself. The aimlessness is born out of the distance between surface and depth; it is the head-banging, out of control teenage offspring that drifts between the deep and shallow.

To avoid that sense of aimlessness, that feeling of being lost and without purpose, I will do anything to recklessly seek purpose, perhaps with the purpose wrecking poison itself that leads only to greater lostness. My aim is to live in those the depths, but it is a daily struggle. Instead of mourning the alienation that begins the day, I work to understand it, to overcome it, and to get beneath it. And sometimes simply to sit in it, to sit in the distance like the traveler sits on the southbound train, a fierce light in his eyes, beholding the horizon he is held by, the horizon that calls him onwards. My discipline must be stronger than my self-pity, my desire to wake up stronger than my desire to stay asleep. If my body is awake but I stay unaware of my deeper nature, I might as well stay sleeping. It comes to the same thing. Either way, I am dreaming, not fully awake, and not even half-alive.

I am alive to the extent that I am awake; to the extent that I am connected with what I consider to be my deepest, most essential Self. Without a connection to that power, without feeling myself to be that power, or without feeling that power to be within me, nothing I do can make any difference at all. I can do nothing alone, without that power, but I can also do nothing without admitting and welcoming authentic aloneness. All true doing comes from being truly alone. Though I might be in the midst of an aimless material civilization, surrounded by crowds of people; though I might be a stranger, far away from any friend or relative; though I might be utterly alone, if I welcome the aloneness, I am welcomed home.