"How can you all live like this? How can you bear it?"
(If that is not a strictly accurate recall, please understand I watched that episode a long time ago.) I suppose that those are the questions I am now asking myself. How can I live like this? How can I bear it? There ought, I feel, to be a simple answer to those questions, but it would inevitably entail a high degree of circularity, and that would be most unsatisfactory. So I will stop asking questions and get on and do something, anything, like going inwards and trying to describe what I see.
The first impression is one of standing somewhere in a mist or fog. There is nothing on which I can focus, and I feel a mind-sapping lethargy. I feel quite alone. Freed from all the complications that the ego loves to generate, in order to give it some sense of worth, of importance, I realise that my ego is transient and, at its deepest levels, fearful. It fears being cut off, of being sealed inside an iron lung where no-one can hear it. If I am truly searching for something which relates to eternal Truth, I must begin here where I presently find myself, for only in finding my Self will I find anything worth the seeking.
I am not bound to one particular place in this mist that surrounds me. I can move, but into what? If that Presence lies just beyond my senses, I do not know whether it is behind, before, or alongside me. Recent forays into the realm of meditative imagery has convinced me that if I walk behind I can choose only to follow or go my own way; no inner conversation is possible. If I walk ahead I am liable to make horrendous mistakes, and still conversation is not possible. Only by walking alongside this inner Presence can we converse, and can I be safely nudged this way, or that. Somewhere up ahead is the place at which I need to arrive. All paths lead to that goal. It does not seem to matter what I read, hear, think or feel, but that every experience - no matter of what duration - leads or points to one place. That one place lies at the very heart, soul or ground of my being. And I repeat that only in finding my Self will I find that which is worth the seeking and the finding.
The odd thing is that I couldn't see this, I mean really see this, so long as I was aware of that sense of Otherness that is my ever-present companion. Only now, with the attendant feeling of being bereft, am I able to be aware, even if only in a limited way, of that towards which I am headed, and have always been so. There can be great strength and durability in something that seems as intangible as the ground of my being; and there can be great weakness and transience in something that seems as ever-presently demanding as my ego.
If I have rambled on and gone in circles in this script, it is because I cannot yet see a clear way forward. The mist still clings to me like an extended shroud, and I am unable to focus on nothing-ness. If I have been placed in this state for a purpose, I will remain here until that purpose has been fulfilled. I need only to watch and wait for that clearing of the mist which will surely come. This is what the spiritual life is about. The valleys are every bit as important as the tops of the mountains; and down here there is at least some cover, and places at which to enjoy a rest every now and then.