|For These Times||
Having artwork complete with a message, coupled with writing that hopefully comes from a deep place, I hope to speak to those who are like me. The schools, institutions, places of worship, never really spoke to us. They used us, tolerated us or ignored us. We went along to get along. We are the ones with the simple message I’m talking about written within us. There was always a presence, another realm, but many of us were turned off because of who was telling us this. I know it’s hard to listen to anything these days, particularly talk of the spirit, particularly if you are over fifty, but please listen just this one last time. I’m not the usual source. I’m an outsider too. We’ve all shared similar pains going through life. In a sense we’re the unspoken victims. Perhaps, in reality, we are the glue that holds the world together. So, with everything I’ve got, I’m reaching out to you. We’ve been alone perhaps, even thought at times we might be crazy, but actually we are the ones whose heads and hearts have been in the right place. We have to know this, in turn be confirmed by others who know this, and in doing so be enabled to keep alive what is special and is meant to survive.
Joe, meditation, God
I have a neighbor, say Joe, who teaches all over the world meditation. We see one another at the pool. The principles involved are watching your thoughts and emotions and not responding to them. Good enough. All other activities in life, whether meditating or not, are to be looked at with hopefully not too much response. The stillness of just being is the deepest answer to all dilemmas as I understand meditation. Joe is constantly correcting himself and others around him, sometimes diplomatically and sometimes not, to not be attached to your reactions of things and in a sense to not pass judgment. Doing so, anger at, resentment for sucks you into reaction which draws you away from your center.
Not much thought goes into the source of all things. Rather you are forever eliminating distractions that divert you from this stillness. Within this stillness one is connected somehow with the source of all things. Since it is hard to remain in this zone most of your energy is focused on this process. I think I understand this and give it value. How to reconcile this with my concept of a personal, caring, loving God is not easily done. They almost appear as parallel universes that one keeps going simultaneously. Well, there's a reason to keep both going even if the dots don't fully connect. Why? Because they might eventually connect even if it takes decades to do so.
Such an understanding came to me. I forget the circumstances or situation or specifics. Probably I was in some inner turmoil which is not unusual. I sat still on the couch, maybe to meditate, maybe to just be still and rest. Something I thought about gave me a ping in my heart. It was a good feeling, something like pure love where you melted, or were sad and joyous at the same time, or overwhelmed with gratitude and had the feeling of being blessed, or thankful and grateful, or peaceful with tears. Maybe all at the same time to the point where you couldn't take it. It was too much.
At the same time there was some connection to God and it was as if his energy was breathing into me. Inhale this God, experience the above inner swelling. It lasted for, oh a second. I didn't run, but repeated this inhaling part of God's spirit again, and then again this melting took place. This went on for maybe 10 times, maybe a little less or more. Then it stopped. It was more than a light. It was as deep as my being could absorb, and could not last longer. I don't think I could take anymore. In any case it wasn't important that I continue. Looking back it imparted a coding within me to understand another level of existence.
This repeated blessing and almost blissfulness received, however described, is what we seek. When one has it everything else goes away, or at least is less important. Nothing can hold a candle to this experience, at least in this life. So here is the connection to mediation and God, the bridge between these parallel dimensions.
When you connect as described with the being of God, all thoughts and distractions fall away. This is also the goal of meditation.. Going towards God and receiving this state of being achieves what meditation eventually seeks but is the actual thing itself, hence more direct. Meditation prepares to go there instead of just being there.
Watching your thoughts and reactions is one step removed from this. You are still focused on what separates you from God. You are focused on a lower state of being, . The momentary rewards of stillness, even stillness with an occasional moment of light, cannot come close to being, however briefly also, with the presence and God and having your heart melt into His.
So the question or mystery had an answer, at least for a time. Answers don't always last forever. But this is a good one. The connection between meditation and God is established to my mind. The cure that meditation seeks for the human mind has to take a back seat to directly seeking the presence of the above. Filling up with God's presence, however briefly, answers your deepest needs . You are connecting with the maker, not just stilling the mind. When you experience this, the mind inadvertently is free of distractions.
I have not been able to repeat this state. Indeed it takes some strength to do so. Some questions seemed to have been answered and other gaps have to be filled and hopefully its time will come again
Blue skies and clouds
My ex-wife posted some pics on Facebook of clouds and blue skies. They were dramatic and forceful and well composed. I suggested she do a little book of them and call it 'Skies.'
Later a newsletter I looked at 'linked to the above' commented that the 'best things in life are often free.' The cliché was expanded upon by stating the blue skies and clouds were vast and this vastness had no cost.
I was swimming one day and doing a backstroke because my right arm was injured I looked up at the blue sky and clouds in the distance. They were large and voluminous and their masses were shaded while coronas lit their outlines. I was lifted from worrisome thoughts towards larger thinking.
I commented to Joe, another swimmer in the pool, teacher of meditation disguised as an 'alter cocker,' that he should look at the clouds. He said they were magnificent. We both stared. Later we said it was a 'moment.' To me this meant I was brought out from myself. For two weeks the skies had these displays It would rain sometimes in the afternoon, then clear, and the clouds and the blue skies took over.
On another day I recall being alone swimming on my back looking up seeing an old man in one of the clouds. Was this some confirmation from the above? Other shapes took lifelike forms.
When my apartment felt too thick and dark I stepped out and looked at the skies. The clouds were always perfect, varied and complete. They asked nothing from you and were just there. The words 'noble' and 'lifting' applied. It amazed me they were so available and so free. They were a sample from the heavens bringing my mind and spirit to a higher plane. They made me feel safe and clear at the same time. I just had to remember to occasionally look and let them in.
Not able to face the day
Not able to face the day
A configuration occurred that morning. Forces were at work that left me paralyzed. I could simply not move.
Nothing was tragic. It was just an accumulation of things, from the large scale to the small scale. One problem led to two more with no end in sight, no solution seen, just more of the same. Any energy put forth got me nowhere, just like quicksand. So why even move, or budge. It was as if my fate was sealed, with no hope. So truly, why face the day?
Usually something prompted me to get up, whether from just discipline, obligation, or just plain fear. But that day at that time I could do nothing. I could not rationalize, muscle, or push through the barrier. I could do nothing. I had to give up.
Then, out of nowhere my body became infused with a light which tingled through my body. There was no theme to it, no explanation or reason for it. It was just the spark of life itself passing through me. Blood became oxygenated, oxygen was infused, muscles were revived, bones and ligaments fortified, the mind was sparked and awareness and wonder renewed. There was no agenda, no rhetoric attached to this. It was just life, and the force behind it, asserting itself into my being. And so I became able to face the day
God, do you really intervene? Sometimes it seems so. There is synchronicity that I feel at times. I also sense I get warnings. Other times it does seems as if I pay for mistakes I made. I'm not saying the scale is equal, because maybe I should have to pay much more. So maybe some leniency is taking place.
Still, the heaviness seems to outweigh the joy. It seems in the practical world when you behave not practically, whether aware of you or not, you end up on the short end. It seems as if the rules of the world have to be obeyed whether knowing you or not. That can be a bitter pill. If one has sacrificed to know you, it would seem it would open up an easier path in some ways. Is this just wishful thinking? Do the rules of the world rule no matter what? Don't you intervene for those who recognize you even if they made mistakes? One could say this is preferential treatment but is it really?
It would help if some of the rewards took place in the here and now. Thinking one can know you and survive in this world intact is not always easy. Otherwise you remain so distant, so very distant.
I would think it's probably a mysterious mixture of everything. It feels as if sometimes we do need a sign, and some support. Otherwise it's all too dry. You're too far removed. Often when I think you have answered some need I have I'm disappointed. Other times I see how you work with temperance. I know I sound inconclusive. Maybe to know any more would overwhelm me. Strengthening myself is an old theme which sometimes I'm weary of.
All this is an appeal of sorts, for what I'm not exactly sure.
My Quest 2
Again, an Hasidic master wrote 'I and my quest are one.'
After reading this and being uplifted by it one morning I shopped at a nearby vitamin shop and the assistant manager Anthony, big loud and boisterous with a pony tail started preaching on how 'normal' people do the best. 'Just be normal' he maintained. Work, save your money, have kids and don't get too off on things. He said artists today are off, a little coo-coo. He had a film maker friend who asked him for money because he was two months behind on his condo payments. Anthony said you have $30,000 in the bank, why don't you use that? His 58 year old friend said that's for my film. Later he said his friend was sleeping on another friend's couch, a sacrifice for his dream. A casualty of artistic dreams and ambitions and waiting for something to happen, maybe for too long according to Anthony.
Anthony, formerly a musician, of course like an ex alcoholic wanted sobriety from too much dreaming. I said although I thought I had bit the bullet and become practical I really never stopped being a dreamer. Anthony added that fathers should train their sons to be practical, have their feet on the ground and not in the air. Yes artists were living in fantasies and were weird according to him. I said well life doesn't always permit that kind of feet on the ground upbringing. Sometimes all you have, the only thing that adds up, is your endeavor or quest which to counter not having that practical mindset. I also added maybe the practical people today are also missing something. He said they seem to be doing okay.
Later I thought of Judaism which surprised me with its practicalities. Originally archaeology shows their pottery was simple along with their homes. Nothing elaborate or fancy. They saw their job as earning a living, being decent, and waiting for the Messiah or Hashem himself to come .and having kids until he does. Sounds simple, almost enviable. No need for elaborate art here.
I pondered all these things but still the Hasidic master's words gave me strength and were more in line with my life. It was too late for me to be a normal person and get it together. 'I and my quest are one' offered comfort where the other ideas left me feeling empty.
On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.
I'd like to believe this
I need to believe this.
I do believe this.
In one sense I feel God's
touch on every move I make
and there are lessons and meanings
in each separate moment.
In another sense there is chance
and life often seems arbitrary
and God is more like a friend
than someone in full control.
Daily recharge at times
During certain periods of time, if in the right frame of mind, I have tried to go to God for advice. It seems to put me together. It's as if I have no memory and have to build myself from the bottom up every day. I have to recharge daily, reconcile where I'm at and review my direction and the “why.”
Steven B. Nussdorf records his lifelong search to find meaning outside of the normal channels. He uses writing, poetry, and drawing to document this effort.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.