Monday, December 05, 2011

separate self

i've come to the stunning paradox that we are individuals, some would say,
alone till we die,
yet in the buddhist texts, at least, we are trying to stop separating self from other. yet, the paradox--i am alone, and in relationship, be it intimate or otherwise, i am together in my aloneness.

this idea, this reality, made me realize that i've never overcome the separateness in my past relationships. never even gave it a thought. it was how we operated. i retreated to my corner, he to his, or she to hers, depending. only now, do i find the piercing eyes of my other pressing in, even when i am most unlovely, reminding me not to let it take me out.

don't forget who you are,
she says.

who am i. really.

there are moments i think i know. and moments i'm certain i do not. this weekend was a mixed bag of reaction and observation. at least i was able to stay present in my sucktastic moments, and by that presence to observe what has come instinctively to me my entire life.

in short, to run. pack up, take off, head for the hills. and if i can't get bodily away, to wall myself in, typically with silence, an averted glance. so many defenses. it was hard to see through them, until finally, i just kept watching and found some words to describe what exactly was going on.

i came across this passage in everyday zen:
if we truly want to see fundamental unity, not just once in a while, but most of the time--which is what the religious life is--then our primary practice has to be with what Menzan Zenji (a Soto Zen scholar and teacher) calls the "barrier of emotion-thought." He means that when something seems to threaten us, we react. The minute we react a barrier has come up and our vision is clouded. Since most of us react about every five minutes, it's obvious that most of the time life is clouded over for us. We are caught within our own selves, we're caught in this barrier.

forget for a moment, the threatening initiation of this defense. consider only, as i was forced to, the barrier. i said at one point,
i'm walled in and can't get out.
because i could no more force myself to see beyond the barrier than a fish can live on land. it just wasn't happening. so i stayed with it. i languished. it wasn't wallowing, i wasn't berating myself, i was just watching things going through my head, hearing the past chime in, the future, for me is easier to keep out, i tend to be very now, but even the past wasn't so painful as it had been. that could be considered triumph if i hadn't had the awfulness of the present moment to contend with.

what i came to understand through the course of that most difficult night, was that sometimes, other will press in. sometimes, other will want to engage, even see you through the mindfields. :) i like that word. it felt a lot like that this weekend. like i was navigating my past, my habits, my defaults.

perhaps, having navigated them, and mind you, i've come to no resolution about the insult (or perceived threat), i have merely begun to be released from the stranglehold of my coping mechanisms. will i do better next time. i sure hope so. but we'll see. karma, threat, growth, all have their uncomfortable moments. my boss has said,
if you're not uncomfortable, you're not growing.

well folks, i'm growing. that's all i can say.


Jacque said...

U sure are...

siouxsiepoet said...

oh girl, we gotta talk!


Geen Grey said...

Aloneness. Have to think about this post. Can't wait to talk to you. Barriers, not seeing clearly. True. All true. Loveeeee

siouxsiepoet said...

hey love i found a text from you from about a year ago, don't ask, anyway, you were telling me the things i tell you. so, it all goes around and comes around again.

i will try to reach you soon, loveeee :*