The Daily F – Distant Bodies

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To feel at peace with oneself and to be one with the Universe, one must be still and devoid of distraction. Eastern philosophy has taught this for centuries, millennia. It has taught that solitude is not the same as loneliness. Yet the two states look remarkably similar in my opinion. Perhaps it is a state of mind, rather than a state of being?

Perhaps.

All of life, mundane or otherwise purely comes down to personal perception, and one’s decisions as to how to interpret it and thus deal with it according to the meaning we give it. Metaphysics 101.

As Buddhism would have it, for example, in shutting out the distractions of the world, including people, your attention cannot then be compromised by being divided in multiple directions. In focussing all of your attention inwardly you are thus able to reconnect to your awareness of All That Is. The purpose of this is of course self-enlightenment. In feeling the power of the great divine energy coursing through us, we will then be better able to be of service to ourselves and others, and further enhance and heighten the vibration of the earthly plane that we live upon. Because it needs healing. Because it isn’t already in tact and more than capable of functioning with or without our corporeal intervention, or our whimsical notions about life and reality.

The meanings that we ascribe to our life experiences are full of contradictions. We manipulate and bend knowledge to suit us, even if it becomes a little tangled and non-sensical. The premise being, that if we can make something sound as complicated and as convoluted as possible, then it must contain an ounce of truth, then others will be more likely to believe our stories.

However, defaming Eastern Philosophy or religion is not what has prompted me to write today. When someone like me, knowing what I know and believe through my many years of having explored metaphysics, including religion, is faced with feelings of isolation due to a seemingly uncommunicative world, then I question why it is that my existence has become so solitary. Am I so enlightened that I no longer need the company of others around me?
I sincerely doubt it.
Then again, as Siddhartha G realised after a lifetime of searching for such answers, he had always been enlightened, it just took him a while to realise it. Indeed, I had a similar realisation some twenty years ago, though it didn’t take me quite as long to get there, at least not in current physical years. Understanding enlightenment, or ‘being’ enlightened, because all you can do is ‘Be’, doesn’t actually make life any easier, or better, it just makes it different, in the way that you and I are different. Life is still a very mixed bag of experiences, and mostly out of range of awareness, therefore unpredictable for the most part.
You learn that people and things fade in and out of your life all of the time, and the degree to which you mourn their passing fluctuates across a very broad range. What SG didn’t seem to impress on anyone was that it was the journey he took in seeking his answers that really mattered. That if one is already enlightened from the get-go, then it is irrelevant in the unfolding of one’s life story, and thus one’s evolution. The only purpose that this knowledge serves is to alleviate the fear of death, and the fear of trying something new, and thus the feeling that one is not in control of one’s destiny. Of course, this is nothing to sniff at. It can be a very important realisation to have, yet it does not diminish the anguish of loss through physical absence. Nothing can prepare you for that.

I am not alone, in that I have the love and companionship of my husband. I am not alone because there are other people who occupy the world around me, even if we are estranged. I view my life currently as if it were one of my street photos. I’m looking at an image of a crowd full of strange and unfamiliar faces. Along the left edge of the frame stands my husband looking out into the crowd with his own camera. I’m in the photo too, except you can’t see me because I stand behind the lens of the camera, yet by virtue of the existence of the image I know that I’m there. If the measure of loneliness is being absent of people, then I’m not alone. Not at all.
If however, I were to feel an emotional connection between me and all of the faces that I see in my hypothetical street image, I would have even less reason to feel alone. This tells me that it isn’t the physical presence of others that matters so much, but the emotional connection one is able to sustain irrespective of their physical presence, or lack thereof.

Emotional connections, meaningful connections can only be maintained if both parties are attuned in such a way, and by attuned I mean exactly that. A tangible connection that straddles distance and time. That, I know without doubt from a lifetime’s experience. It isn’t something I necessarily learned through my metaphysical training, rather something I already knew from the youngest age and was able to validate through later study. It is something that I find constantly being validated through my interactions with others. It’s a subject that the Sidiris have talked extensively about over the last few years, and it is indeed very tangible and real. So when that emotional connection is lost between two people, then it is felt very deeply and is as if a switch had been flicked to the ‘off’ position.
I don’t think the emotional connections people share are particularly prescriptive either, in that I don’t believe they follow any obvious patterns, at least not ones that can be solely attributed to the actions of one or the other person. Emotional connections between people wax and wane like the changes in weather, and they fluctuate constantly, much as gravity does on our planet according to degrees of solar radiation and density of atmosphere over any given location. On the solid surface below things can’t help but be affected by these ambient changes; we are all subject to those greater forces at work, despite our sense of physical stability.

Emotions do not need the vehicle of the physical body to convey them. They are to all intents and purposes separate from the physical world that we look to in order to validate our experiences. Therefore, they do not conform to the law of known physics. They perform outside of time and space, providing an instant form of communication to which we all respond, whether we are aware of it or not. How we focus our attention influences our experience, which is in a constant state of flux.

I knew that being separated from my children would be difficult, but I didn’t know how difficult. Having almost no contact with the people that you love despite your own efforts is a hard lesson in the ways of the universe. It says there is a flaw in our commonly accepted logic about how the universe works, and thus how we imagine our physical and emotional lives are governed. Our reliance on physical contact with others in order to maintain emotional connections is in part what causes the pain on separation, because we feel that we must give that up too. When the emotional connection does not diminish however, we seek to sever it from us in lieu of the lack of a physical presence. In our minds we cannot fathom how the two could exist in separation. This in turn causes the most pain. The pain of being torn between knowing we have to get on with life, yet not wanting to relinquish the way things were. Permanence is what we fear when it comes to loss. However, absolutes cannot exist. The concept of an absolute may exist in our vocabulary, but it exists shrouded in a veil of impermanence, of an ideal that seeks to dig its heels into solid, but non-existent ground. It is a meta concept that gives the illusion of what it purports to be true, by seeming to be more solid than it is. In solidity there is validity, and therein lies the problem, the root of all ills. Indeed the root of all physical and emotional pain. The more we rely on the physical world to support us, the more pain we will feel when it fails to do so. The more we dig our heels in the more we realise that our solid position is precariously balanced on the edge of an unpredictable, and profound emotional chasm. We tell ourselves that fluidity and movement is unstable and likely to make us sick, so we fight emotional change and turmoil, instead of riding it out and letting ourselves settle into its ever dancing rhythm. We were born at sea in the midst of an electrical storm. Riding emotional waves is normal.

Letting it all go and pretending that nothing bad ever happened is really the only solution to a contented life, as much as I still find that a scandalous concept. Not because I’m hellbent on feeling pain and being reminded of it, but because it says that in some way you have to stop caring as much about people and things that were/are important. However, it is the only way to deal with pain and loss. It’s what is meant when we are told that time heals. Letting go means forgetting the ills and rewriting your story so that it only reflects happy memories. Through denial we prosper and grow. Through the creation of an illusion of permanence we feel safe and loved, and are able to proceed with confidence, even if the format changes many times throughout the course of your life. Life is an odd, contradictory thing. It doesn’t really make very much sense, nor is there a one-answer-fits-all solution to making it any better. It isn’t a negative view I harbour, but an open-minded one. An enlightened one that says resistance is quite futile, and that being at peace within oneself is really about being chill with the world. Just as martial arts training teaches, if you relax and go floppy when you hit the ground, then it won’t hurt as much.

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5 thoughts on “The Daily F – Distant Bodies

  1. Hi Maria. I’ve been thinking about this over the last few weeks as weeks as well. Interesting to find you asking the same questions, even with a husband and children. It is nice to see that even for someone with all that, others don’t fade into the woodwork of unimportance – which is something I think of most married women. And men.

    But I also think this may be you.

    I find you to be a particularly tuned in person, caring and able to connect, with a value for it. And it’s right there in the quality of your art. The intimate and engaging permeates the presentation. Continue in your mission to connect, though nowadays it is difficult to maintain (with Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram), it’s moving to know human life is still out there.

    :))

    1. Hi T!

      I’m sorry for taking so long to respond to your comment. It’s been both a busy and a tumultuous time in my life recently, what with travelling a lot and poor health. When I posted this particular piece I was due to fly out to the UK to spend time with my kids so I lost track of things for a while.

      As always you are very insightful and you give me things to think about. I hope you never think I’m ignoring you or being rude. Like when you asked me to write about my experiences here in the US versus the UK in terms of my being a white woman here, and not being white there. I’ve been mulling it over ever since. But it’s not a post I want to write of the cuff.
      With recent political events here in the US being what they are, of course the issue of gender and race have become ever more prevalent. It’s a complicated thing to write about given my own personal experiences throughout my life. There just isn’t a right way to progress with issues in society that doesn’t involve an unrealistic ideology, or a sense of ‘me versus them’.

      What to do?

      I hope you’re keeping well despite all of the crap in the world. Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!

      M. 🙂

  2. Grieving is an interesting thing in that it doesn’t really matter for what we grieve or when; it always seems to take the same form and happen in the same way. When someone dies, we grieve first their physical presence, and then, having adapted, painfully to not having that, we grieve interactions. Most handle it by learning to “let go,” which consists mostly of put such thoughts out of one’s head and living “without.”

    A few of us reach the point at which we give ourselves permission to live “with,” mostly with memories of the person/thing we grieve, and that provides some degree of comfort. Even fewer, and maybe only those of us who are creative or insane allow ourselves to imagine, thinking “what would so-and-so think or do?” Of course, those around us are convinced that’s unhealthy, so we only do it privately. I imagine even fewer “channel” allowing ourselves to touch what exists within the All after they pass. But I’m not convinced that could even be taught to those receptive enough to wish to learn.

    Even still, we only connect to those who’ve gone. If they are still physically present somewhere, our grief gets stuck at hurt and anger. I doubt any of us would try to channel someone who’s really just a phone call away, and a million miles from seeming to care. But maybe that’s what’s required. Perhaps it’s so hard to connect in this modern world because we’d relied too much on physical presence. Now that it’s gone, and digital is all that’s left, we are stranded on our individual islands. I wonder if that’s really true. Perhaps we can feel each other–the empathy we’re all capable of–and even able to communicate through that silent mystery, but few of us are brave enough to try.

    The sad part of feeling alone is that even knowing that we aren’t does little to assuage the feeling. There is something missing, some little connections, and it’s not even physical. Maybe Enlightenment teaches us what it is, but there’s a need for something more advanced–the next step that SG didn’t take–that advances us past knowing what is and teaches us what to do with that knowledge. I don’t want to be Enlightened; I want to be happy. How do I find a bucket of that, Mr. Gautama?

    1. Yes, being happy is the daily goal, should be the daily goal for all of us. In fact, I believe our desire to be happy is the one thing that drives us all in our human endeavours. Indeed I think it’s what drives all of existence. Call it instead a desire to fulfil one’s full potential, as the word ‘happiness’ seems to carry with it a lot of stigma for some, mostly because it seems to be something that you attain rather than something you are, and might have the potential to be all of the time. Our verbal labels get us into trouble. They misdirect our attention, and misguide our intent frequently enough that the world seems to be a complex, irrational place, and we forget to pay attention to other facets of our daily experiences. The things that often lay quiet and hidden in the spaces between the words, and all the pomp and misdirection.

Don't forget to breathe...

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