As we approached the coast of Iceland in our most recent journeyings, I was struck by the liminal surreality of what I was experiencing. Below me was what appeared to be a snowy ice cap, delineated by a sharp, black line - the shore. I felt I was moving into a new, unknown realm. As our stay extended, day by day, I realised that this was not a new, unknown realm, but one which I have been experiencing ever more clearly as the years and months and, most certainly, the recent weeks have passed. I will try to explain.
At this time of the year, Iceland is a land of low light levels, a country sitting barely south of the Arctic Circle. It sits in a borderland. To the south is all that which sees change occurring twice daily, whilst to the north is that which which changes twice annually. One area sees the midday sun, the other the midnight sun. Somewhere between the two sits Iceland. In the cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean there lies a split between two great tectonic plates. From the heated interior of the Earth boils lava into the cold, wild and heavy ocean. And in the borderlands between the two there is life....Life! On top of the great ridge sits a mountain that seems forever to be splitting apart......Iceland.
From the cold depths of space flows the solar wind originating from truly titanic outbursts from the sun. At some point in its journey, that solar wind interacts with the Earth's protective shield. Stupendous outpourings of energy. And it is close. Beautiful, yes! And also dangerous. That night, standing under the Northern Lights, at the bottom of a vast tunnel reaching up into the heavens, is one I will never forget. It was (thank you Natalie) a night of amazement. So small, so powerless, was I, yet.......
I could go on and on offering examples of my awareness of living in these borderlands, of walking on the liminal edge. But there is something more important yet. As humans, we are adept at, or highly predisposed towards, projecting our inner worlds onto the outer, material world. And the distinction between the two worlds is not as clearly defined as one might expect or, I suspect, as clearly defined as one would like. The great 'out there' can only be experienced through our brain/mind complex. In that sense, everything is 'in here.' It almost seems that if there were any kind of guidance operating at all, I was in Iceland to understand a great truth, a truth that required my inner eyes to be wide open.
There is another land with indistinct borders, the land of the mind. It is our way to chop the mind up into bits so that we can better understand it. Yet, in reality - and because it is all part of a process of becoming (or so I think) - the borders we construct are artificial. Consciousness is different from unconsciousness, but the inbetween place is blurry and indistinct; it is without form as if the unconscious is trying to become manifest. My consciousness exists in the lowering light which shows a little more awarefully the darkness of my unconsciousness. It is said that there lives - and life abounds at all levels - a place where all our repressed and suppressed memories live on, memories and traumas that have great power. Yet hardly too distinct from that is another place of great power, and one in which exists, what I would like to call, impresenced awareness.
Between the world of consciousness and that of unconsciousness, there runs a path, a narrow and strait path. It runs between the mountain heights and the great Abyss. It is a path which I am obliged to travel whether I choose or not. This is living. It is a path that separates false security from the frightful powers of the depths of reality. For although the Way may be filled with excitement, joy, happiness and the peace of letting go, it is also a place of great fear. Consciousness does not make the choice as to when we are subjected to the one or the other.
That path or Way travels through the veils of indistinction that hang between the lower or ego-self on the one hand, and the higher or true self on the other. The ego-self seeks knowledge and safety, the higher self seeks "knowing" and the risk of awareness of reality. It is a path, I realise now, I have walked for years without understanding, without feeling, without knowing. This is what I needed to see. I have found what I needed to find, what was there all the time.
The inner journey continues. Why it must be like this I don't know. Yet this is how it has to be. I sense a surging upwards in my being which is my Being. I no longer work to my own agenda, but to the agenda of that which seems to live its life through me. How truly amazing life is.
In the darkened dawn of Keflavik, with the snow ploughs out clearing the ground, an aeroplane took off and flew us south. There is always, or so it seems, a need to return; and I was returning to my physical home, as also I must now return to the silence of my inner "home." What I have taken with me from Iceland I have tried to share. In the end the real experience, my experience of reality, is ineffable. Yet we are all in this together, knowingly or not. Of that I am certain.