Saturday, 3 August 2013

To Be As an Atom

When I first attempted to write a first draft of this post, I discovered that uncomfortable feeling of mild panic. What do I write? My deadline was approaching and everything I had tried thus far was unacceptable, either on the grounds of content or of timing.  At the same time, I was aware that this panic was triggering certain other feelings which were acting as positive feedback, thus enhancing the problem I faced.  The only good thing about this script was that, having written the first paragraph, I had made a start on something that might eventually be acceptable.

When I first began Gwynt, I was determined to post every Saturday.  There have been three occasions when I have posted on other days, for reasons that I felt justified their inclusion. Those reasons still hold, but I have still maintained my Saturday deadline for all other posts. My reason for this is quite simple.  It enforces a necessary discipline in my life, without which I would quickly become uncomfortable, and maybe lax.  That laxity would in turn lead to wandering along unnecessary and unproductive paths.  It appears that when I need to deal with spiritual matters, and particularly those which reduce the importance of my ego, that self-same ego fights to turn my energies into the frittering of time and resources on other activities. That is unacceptable. However, wisdom dictates that I must allow some slack in the system to allow space for those spontaneous insights that erupt from beyond consciousness from time to time.

To turn to another matter, I have to say that I do not enjoy being vulnerable, but it is a necessary condition so long as I continue to write about the subjects I discuss here.  I feel passionately about the issues I raise, and sometimes that extra yard of vulnerability can seem to be too much, too unsafe.  Yet I cannot cover myself with protective plating.  There would come a time when I would be carrying so much psycho-spiritual armour plating that I would be unable to move.  And still there would remain a few chinks where I was vulnerable to a damaging thrust.  I know, I have been there. My preference, therefore, is to play the role of the atom being subjected to the incoming attack by a neutrino, anthropomorphically speaking. Now as everyone knows, neutrinos are very tiny subatomic particles, and atoms behave as if they are almost entirely pure space.  There is, therefore, a very high probability that the neutrino will pass through the atom without touching anything, or even noticing the atom is there.  This is my preferred stance, even if it isn't perfectly safe.  In any case armour plating is what one Has, vulnerability refers to a state of Being, the latter being preferable to the former.

Part of my vulnerability is allied to my choice of subject rather than the depth to which I probe and how much I reveal. This is compounded by the language I choose to use, often because I can find no meaningful alternatives.  Let me try to deal with this latter point first.  I know that people can be put off by such words as God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, spirituality, ego, lower self, higher self, esoteric, occult, alcoholic, narcotic, codependency, and a wide range of other scientific, religious and psychological terminology.  And there is one other word that is so personal to me, and that is the recently introduced 'Druid'.  This image has been my constant companion in my inner world, just as the Inner Christ image has been for many a Christian. But what can I do?  I have no other language that remotely answers my needs.  Yet I feel I continually run the risk of glazing peoples' eyes over by the mere mention of those previously cited words.  And the real rub is that I'm not completely comfortable with most of those words either.  I know that what I write about is specialist stuff, but it's such fun;  it really is.  All inner discoveries and the journey towards Truth, whether it be called God, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Ultimate, or whatever expression is your particular, chosen synonym, are worth the effort.  

Quote from "The Red Book":

"My speech is imperfect.  Not because I want to shine with words, but out of the impossibility of finding those words, I speak in images.  With nothing else can I express the words from the depths."

Until I committed myself to this great inner experiment and its resulting experience, until I began to try to understand my inner imagery, it was as if I had been two-dimensional.  That inner experience supplies the third dimension.  The dimension of time doesn't really enter into the scheme of things. Something akin to a kind of eternal now, with lapses into time for the sake of convenience, is the usual way that my inner life operates.  And this causes me no problems because no words are involved.  It is only when one tries to verbalise the experience that problems arise.  It is then, perhaps more than at any other time, that I become acutely aware of my 'alone-ness';  not loneliness, never that.  By extension, of course all people are in the same condition of alone-ness. When one adds to that the fact that everything we experience in the outer world, from the mind outwards, is our minds' interpretation of incoming data from our senses, thoughts and emotions, one begins to get some inkling of the extent of our condition.  We can no more directly sense the world around us than we can look directly at the studio or film set from which our entertainment comes. Safety seems to lie in words, and our commitment, even addiction perhaps, to the use of certain words or particular sets of words.  But that safety is an illusion, and all too often words isolate rather than unite.    

The second point I raised earlier, namely the choice of subject about which to write can be difficult to decide on.  This difficulty arises in part because I do not work through my material in a particular time-wise fashion.  There are reasons why I work in this manner, any difficulty arising being offset by the acquired gains.  Sometimes it means that before I can introduce one subject, another preparatory subject must be dealt with.  It is similar to the mathematical process that, one cannot try to prove a concept which uses inputs which have not themselves been previously proved.  Of course proof is not a requirement here.  However, meditational data and realisations honestly arrived at are, for me, a prime requirement.  The sources from which I draw some inspiration will include religion, with all its shortcomings, Christian theology, the Mystical Qabalah, Twelve Step Programmes, the Bible, and in fact any source that seems to offer a way to the Truth.  Nothing is exempt, although inevitably I will choose from sources with which I am most familiar.  One of my most important sources of data is the inner journey I psychologically travelled, almost exclusively dealing with my childhood, in the company of my Inner Druid.  I cannot, in honesty, call her anything else. I will not deny her by even trying to call her something else.  I can only say that this is who I am;  this is where I'm coming from.

Finally, a calm has descended and I sense a small crisis has passed, so perhaps this is the right script to post. It is always my intent to listen for that small, inner voice that decides my next step. Of course I don't always listen hard enough and so I don't always hear.  Maybe on this occasion I've heard aright.


  1. Dear A-Tom,
    since you started Gwynt you have been writing posts which are full of depth, integrity, lucidity and heart and I think this is evident to anyone who has stopped by and taken the time to read them. So it makes me sad that you seem to be apologising to your readers for 'flaws' - such as the language or symbols that you use. I completely understand your feeling of vulnerability but I would like to make a suggestion: henceforth please keep on writing your posts exactly as you want to write them, continue to explore the subjects dear to you in whatever words you are at most ease with, and do it above all for your own soul's sake. A bonus is that your posts will touch other souls but please please never try to please. It's easy to say don't worry if comments don't come or are not the responses you might wish - I know that worry very well - but I still say 'don't worry'. What you are doing is absolutely worth doing. Just keep on doing it. I thank you with all my heart.

  2. Natalie; Will do, and thank you. I love my new name, A-tom. And in case I forget, because I will need to catch up after the departure of visiting family, (phew!):-


  3. This problem with language to describe the un-describable or the hard to describe is one I recognise. For me if not for others the resource of poetry is the answer. That goes for poetry already written or perhaps poetry one produces oneself. A poem, as I may have implied in a belated comment on your last post, often uses images via words in a precise yet invariaby original way to draw back curtains over hidden aspects of existence. It can use surprise, sometimes shock as a technique to give words new and ground breaking significance. Or so it seems to me.

  4. Thank you Joe. I suppose I feel I have a certain lack of creative language at my disposal, having been science educated rather than arts. I tend to assume, therefore, that other people who write do not have the same problem. And of course that may not be correct.

    I'm beginning to absorb the message, that I simply must write, and use the words that come to mind; that there will be no academic criticisms - or put-downs - of what I write. (Some childhood stuff runs very deep indeed and largely unnoticed.)

  5. Nowadays we have all the communications-transmission imaginable, but it is our gross materialistic culture which is blocking significant sharing. There's a battle between small-box minds (no matter how large the IQ) and courageous sharers and savers of the "things that don't fit the reductionist textbooks". Those who share their spiritual journeying are courageous because the small-boxes are, at bottom, uncivil jerks who consistently employ derision/ mockery to attempt to silence what they can't contemplate without some weird kind of fear.

    Keep up the good work, Tom; your posts are a joy to read and consider.

  6. Susan; A bravely expressed, forthright comment and one which I will pay great attention to.

    On another matter, I recently received, through the post, my copy of the Liber Novus. It isn't the beautifully illustrated, half-German/half-English edition, but the fully translated English edition. I must say that I find myself repeatedly going back to, to read a few more pages of that the wonderful script. As you said, "You will not be disappointed."

  7. I believe the more we fear vulnearability, the more vulnerable we are.

    Choosing a subject is why I have several templates for posts, to be used when spontaneous ideas aren't moving me. Started off with essays on color. Alphabetical lists. Tao Te Ching interpretations. I was lucky to start out with so many bloggers offering memes as jumping off points.

    No one will read the posts in order, anyway, so jump in anywhere and fill in as you go.

  8. Zhoen; You know, it never occurred to me that "no-one will read the posts in order." I suppose I had always assumed that posts would either be read as they came, or simply passed over. Thank you for that revealing thought.

  9. I'm a bit late here after much busy-ness with family and friends. The other commenters have said well what I would have much more difficulty saying, as I'm one who has trouble finding words. Carry on, dear Tom. You are honest and articulate and a deep thinker, and you do have a way with words!

  10. Bless you, Marja-Leena, and thank you. I really have no intention of stopping my writing.

  11. No comment again. No idea what did me in. Maybe I pulled some of my strings that I should have left alone, or my courage went into hiding or ?
    You know how gratefully I appreciate reading your posts.

  12. It is tempting to say we take risks when we click on that "PUBLISH" button, yet even when others do not quite understand what was in our minds, their feedback allows us, as seen above, to fill in the spaces left by our original offering.

    That sort of exchange leads to a richness all around doesn't it?

    As someone told me not too long ago, please don't try to go away, ever Tom.

  13. Ellena; Yes I know, but at least you let me know you were around. Thank you for that.

  14. Halle; Yes, indeed it does lead to a richness indeed.

    As a child, I learned always to keep a look-out behind me, for whatever might come my way, either from my father, or later on from local gangs. (I grew up in the London 'Teddy Boy' era.) Even now I feel uncomfortable sitting with my back to a door.

    When I know people are reading Gwynt and make no comment - and I'm not referring to people who comment here only occasionally - (There are many people in France who read my stuff; who the heck are they?), I feel the same sense of discomfort.

    Be assured that so long as I have something to say, and I have the necessaries to say it, I won't try to go away, ever. :)

  15. Oh my yes! That sense of wonder, and yes discomfort at the many who read and never stay to add something is part of my experience too.

  16. My weekend was filled with brewing activities, so here I am reading your post for the second time. I particularly liked the part about psycho-spiritual armour and neutrinos. Indeed, the entire post was nice to read. I felt respected as a reader and treasured as a friend.

    To pause and explain oneself to others is a very courteous thing to do, I feel. In my world, people don't often do this. They expect others to simply understand them or to put effort into understanding them. More often than not, there is little hope of having the favour returned.

    The nice thing about reading your words is that I found myself nodding, saying I knew that. It was nice to read your thoughts on "certain words or particular sets of words." Folks seem to sling words around casually, without much thought, and suddenly the meaning does as you write, isolates rather than unites. A "pause post" such as this one unites readers with you. So I guess this is a long-winded way of expressing my thanks. I'm very glad you decided to start Gwynt. Very glad!

  17. Rouchwalswe said it well, very well indeed.

    Your writing keeps us all thinking, Tom, and that may be your true value. While you're thinking . . . we are thinking along with you.

    I feel I need to read your blog more slowly than many others, including my own. That is a good thing. Keep thinking, keep writing, keep sharing. You are a treasure.

  18. I would like to address this response to both you Rouchswalwe, and you Bruce, if I may, because what I would say to the one I would also say to the other.

    I cannot respond with words high with erudition, nor yet with words that adequately express my feelings. There is a sense within me of a 'flowing over' of 'embracing' which extends outwards to all my friends here.

    I feel humbled, and deeply thankful.
    I'd better leave it there, I think.

  19. There is so much in your post Tom that i don't know where to start commenting. So many points of commonality, and so many differences between us. I admire your discipline - the notion of posting every Saturday - but it is opposite to my notion of being a passive instrument, waiting for the Muse. But then the fact of writing even when you don't have anything to say creates a vacuum for the Muse to speak (where Muse is the subconscious).

    And though what you say about ego makes perfect sense in the world, where we often say ego to mean "self-importance", it tempts me to challenge your words.

    "my ego, that self-same ego fights to turn my energies ..."

    So who is the "I" behind the "my"? If ego is the other, who is the subject, the seeing "I"? Do I know this "I"?

    For I suppose this is ground to be walked. And then the vulnerability. Isn't vulnerability the defining characteristic of the animal, from slug to human? If I let myself be my vulnerability when it strikes, give it the priority it demands, will I not connect with the animal, and weaken the power of mind to torment me with ideas and imagery?

    I know nothing, just sharing aspects of my own journey, these last seven years; and delighted to read the frank account of yours.

  20. Who am I? I don't know; I am undefinable. Yet there is a tacitly assumed sense of I-ness that can observe the actions and machinations of the ego, that in many ways false self, inner construct, state of being, with which I can too easily identify. (I will be writing more about my realisations about the ego - not the 'self-importance' characteristic - hopefully in the next few weeks.)

    I recall Prof. Needleman in his book, "What is God?" asking Dr. Suzuki, "What is the Self?" The answer came back, "Who is asking the question?"

    It seems to me that there is a reality about the "I" that the ego does not have.

    I can define vulnerability if I choose to, but I cannot define the "I", my Self. How, then, can I become my vulnerability? I can perhaps identify with it, as I can any characteristic of the ego, and the ego constantly makes demands. Should I give in to those demands, then I become cut off from the mind, but not the intellect. Surely only in that state can I claim to be tormented. (Is that not a possible definition of sin, to give in to the ego?) Imagery is the language of the sub/unconscious, and Higher, self. That's all it is, language.

    I tend to see my relationship with my inner world as one of partnership, even if I am the very junior partner. That seems to be a reasonable degree of passivity. No?

    Thank you for your interesting comment.