Life is poetry.
No matter what the subject is, the poem flows, pulses, weaves its endless story.
Recently I had the experience (a familiar one), of being taken unawares by my willful ego and contracting into frustration whilst circling with a friend. As it was happening I believed myself to be voicing something completely valid, but afterwards (and prompted by his reflection), I became aware of the uncomfortable feeling that perhaps it hadn’t been as straightforward as I’d asserted.
In fact, it was messy; part of what was there was pure; a desire, a longing for something I was sensing into and that my soul was deliciously curious about exploring. But part of it was my ever-impatient egoic will, wanting to push towards being somewhere I wasn’t.
The process went something like this:
Soul gets excited about possibility ➳ ego sees opportunity to engage in drama ➳ ego uses soul’s impulse to voice its inherent dissatisfaction ➳ I get disconnected from the original impulse and am left with frustration.
Happily my friend was having none of my ego’s theatricals and batted the ball back across the net, refusing to engage and challenging it to come up with a solution (it was not appreciative).
This had the effect of flummoxing my ego to the extent that I sank back into stillness, at which point the soul desire was all that was present again.
The process left in its wake a wave of sadness (as usual) as I felt the pain of cutting myself off in contraction; the more aware I become, the more painful it is when I experience how I create suffering for myself.
It was a beautiful example of how, when we contract (buying into the ego’s ideas always and inevitably results in contraction) we distance ourselves from our souls – and how easy it can be for the ego to ‘steal’ a soul impulse and warp it into something that is a mere shadow of the original impulse (probably the best example of this is romantic love, which rarely remains ‘pure’ in the soul sense for very long).
Contracting stops the flow of the poem of our lives, without which we are suddenly stuck, surrounded by words, confused and stifled and isolated from the meaning that the stream of coherence provides.
It is what creates the illusion of separation in us; the most painful thing we can experience.
Noticing then, whenever we are starting to contract, and taking that (unconditionally) as a sign that we are buying into egoic reality and thereby rejecting Truth, is the key to reducing our suffering.
Ken Wilber speaks about absolute and relative truth, a distinction which I appreciate greatly. Absolute truth being the unmanifest plane (objective Truth if you will, at the highest level of awareness), where relative truth is the personal, individualized experience of reality in each bodymind.
I spent much of my twenties pursuing absolute truth as an escape – from suffering, from ignorance, but also from life. From the reality of what it is to be human, not just a soul, but a flesh and blood human, with all the messiness that comes along with that.
And whenever I fall into ego again I have to forgive myself and remind myself that being here, being human, is not about existing in absolute truth. That’s not the deal.
As an embodied, egoic being, the point of the game is to engage in the dance of absolute and relative truth; opening to and loving both. Dancing now with one, then with the other, swapping partners in a never-ending tango, and occasionally, increasingly, dancing with both simultaneously.
Embracing it all.
Loving it all.
Inherent in that challenge is the possibility of transcendence – transcendence individually and collectively from suffering, to a reality where all of life is once more a coherent poem, one in which the human race plays a leading role perhaps, but is not dominating or stifling the story.