the grief we cannot yet own

in which I pondered
(with questions)
the approximation of alchemical transformation,
of suffering into joy,
this beautiful mo(u)rning,
answer free until the end of so-called illusory time

I cried in child’s pose just now, this mourning. I don’t know what it was really, except I was thinking about a friend I miss very much and who I suspect may be suffering with chronic depression. I dunno … it’s vomplicated. The tears were that kind that erupt from your face before you even really know what’s happening, emptying your belly of the soul vomit. I allowed it and continued to breathe, and moved out of Child into Cow, casting my Face upward in all of its glorious grief to be seen. I howled then, and grunted relief, gratitude, a bit more grief and then tim-ally … composure, a bit more grief, then something vaguely approximating equanimity. In Child, the grief had already transmuted into joy and I could somewhat sense that this, therefore, was not grief specific, but grief general. As far as I understand it, this is what they talk about when they talk about alchemy.

I had thought the grief might be for my friend, because that’s who I was thinking about in Child, but I wonder: do we ever really cry for anyone other than ourselves? I think we like to think we do, but this might be because it’s easier to cry for others than it is to cry for ourselves, but ultimately it’s a distraction, a deference, a displacement of owr/oun grief, the grief we cannot yet own. It’s a mutated and insidious kind of codependency.

I suspect that when we cry for others it’s because we see reflected, in them, something we don’t yet want to see in ourselves. I dunno.

Something I do know is I love this young woman very much, and I miss her terribly. I write to her sometimes, but she doesn’t write back and I don’t know why. I know she loves me too, and I know it’s not the kind of love you might be thinking due to our collective conditioning and the reality that English has reduced love to a single four-letter word, as though it were some kind of molecule that could be smashed at CERN. Maybe if they did put the word “love” in the Large Hadron Collider and proceeded to try smashing it into smithereens, those smithereens might shatter our belief systems like shrapnel in the pre-frontal love, I mean love! Shit, it’s like a compulsion over here … remember, the ‘v’ is right next to the ‘b’ on the QWERTY.

I dunno.

I really wish I did, but I don’t, and right now it shits me to tears. Because what I love about this woman is her qualities, not her vagina (which I have never even seen) … I love her innocence, her naivety, her addiction to boisterous laughter and wanton tomfoolery … I love her soul, her heart, her mind … she also has tremendous breasts (which I have never even seen) and can ski double black diamonds, both of which are utterly irrelevant …  what is relevant is that she loves to talk about poo ~ that’s why I miss her, really.

She is a self-described “poo person”, and she excels at doing awkward poos. (My handwriting now is turning the second Os into tiny little turds, soft-serve caricatures with stink lines latent, about to emerge into a stencil fart, no doubt …)

There is a passage somewhere in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being about how our lives will forever be characterised by kitsch so long as we continue to shit in cubicles. He describes kitsch as a reluctance to accept the unacceptable, such as a man crying in child’s pose. Personally, I not only accept this, but actively embrace it, and/but what seems paradoxically sad is that I no longer really know whether this is healthy or not.

It seems obviously healthy to express sadness if it is blocking you, if it is inhibiting your growth because you’re storing it somewhere hidden in your bodymind, but what if it’s not? What if you’re actually mostly existing now in a near-constant state of equanimity. IF this, THEN when you cry for someone who may just be a reflection of yourself, what if what you’re really crying about is your story, or maybe theirs.

Because your story is not you, right? We are told often by therapists, accomplished meditators, and in spiritual literature, that we are not our stories. But what if we are? What if there is no difference between the stories of our individuated soul, encased in human flesh, and the story of the cosmos, encased in what? Where does the universe exist?, and where therein do our stories fit?

I don’t fucking know, and it shits me to tears.

Something I do suspect is that this poo-person friend of mine may know more about the answers than she thinks she knows, for reasons I can’t go into right now. [I did just find this, though, an audio CD about “depression as a call to spiritual awakening”.]

All I hope <~~typo … All I know is I miss her painfully, and I hope know she’s doing okay.

I’m doing okay ~ at least I like to think I am, but I suspect that really I’m not doing okay until I uncontrivedly write, with this here B Staed,

I am being, okay.


monday musings of/on the masticating machinations on/of the mega-ego

chew this cud baby,
and then spit it the fuck out:
swallowing other people’s shit is neither healthy nor wise

Mondays are supposed to be my Sabbath/Uposatha days and I’m supposed to be going inward, and writing from the soul is a way of doing that, because I will combine yoga with shamatha meditation in pursuit of samadhi, with long writing sessions and eventually I will be doing equally long sessions of analytic meditation, wherein many ideas are teased out before I hit the Staedlers or the Mont Martes.

I’m able to write more slowly now, even though I’m extra-ordinarily excited about doing this soul-writing course, with Jeff Brown no less.

This man has inspired me so much, and this course is going to be as formative as the creative-writing courses I did in Adelaide all those moons ago. My attitude has returned to something more original, and I’m glad I got the publishing-career aspect out of the way, the same as I got much of my rebellion … my misguided rebellion … out of the way early in my adolescence.

I am remembering this now: by late high school, when I perceived a lot of goodie-goodies going the way of the bottle or the way of the bong, I recall feeling glad that I had got this out of the way early, because by late high school I could already hold my drink, and my marijuana habit was well enough underway that no one really knew about it.

When I say I got this out of the way, I guess I was deluding myself, because what seemed then to be a moderate recreational practice was actually already a rather extreme and potentially dangerous habit. Nonetheless, I was a happy drunk and always have been, except when I’ve been a super-sad drunk, but never a punchy drunk. As for my ganja habit, it’s enough to say that I sincerely once believed that I was using ganja for fun, not to escape from anything.

I seem to have been blessed always and early with a strong constitution, both physical and psychological. Ruby Lucy (my resident naturopath and Chakradance sheila) was always vaguely and reluctantly impressed by my ability to maintain composure and eloquence in altered states of consciousness, and last night my friend Samwise (my resident expert in Christian theology and philosophy) concluded our quality Facetime with a comment about how I seem to have been able to jump off the deep end numerous times without going permanently insane.

He said, “Your sanity must run deep, because I’ve seen too many others jump off the deep end and never come back because they jump off without a leash.”

I was able to express to him that on some deep level, the presence of friends like him in my life are a big part of my leash.

On some deep (albeit temporary) level, we know our selves through reflections in others, and during times of wandering in the dark woods of the soul without an easily accessible leash back to my true self, it is remembering how others love me that I have come back ~ at least, that’s one mechanism I have discovered. When I can’t remember who I am because the Hairline Fracture has [h]opened into a Chasm of Chaos, I have been able to remember, at least, reflections in others, such as times when Samwise and I sat down at the Exeter to tease out the nature of manhood (which we concluded can be summed up with the word “responsibility”) over a few pints. That’s just an example, of times when I have sat down as Ryan Paine with Other Names to talk with other physical human beings called whatever.

When I was in the psych-ward emergency room feeling afraid that I would not wake up if I fell asleep, I did wake up, hugging my passport, drivers licence and Medicare card. Literally, I woke up in the foetal position, hugging my passport wallet. I didn’t fall asleep this way, I happen to know. I feel asleep with … oh yeah, I also had my bankcard … but I fell asleep with these three cards in my hand and my passport wallet in the backpack someone had grabbed for me as I was getting into the ambulance. In the ER I used some of the hospital’s “valium”, which seems to cause me to sleep walk. When I woke up hugging my passport and began the process of calling the nurse and shuffling my way to the ward in the best Ken Kesey impersonation of my life, I asked the guards if I had been violent or aggressive while I was asleep. I didn’t know – I had been fearing death by poisoning when I feel asleep, and, sadly, I do know the violence I am capable of. They all smiled at me and said, “No mate, not at all.” I guess they had been watching me as I scrounged around in my backpack in search of my passport wallet. Maybe I said something funny in my sleep like “Where’s my hamburger!?” Who knows.

Anyway. I do know who I am now, and something beauty-full about this knowing is that it’s a knowing that I am, for now, both the identity on my passport and everything that Ryan Paine is not. I both feel and think that this is a knowing OF, compared to a knowing ABOUT or AROUND.

I feel I am closer now than ever, to knowing the true nature of my Original Face, because just now the word “face” made me think of the word “interface”, which now reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh’s idea that we “inter-are”.

Our human identities are an inter-face ~ a user interface (UI) if we want to go full matrix on this: our human identities are our earth-facing constructions, the complex of beliefs we have accrued about who we are in human form, so that we can tell the time for long enough to make use of this, our fortunate human rebirth; our UI is not something to be ashamed of or afraid of when we begin learning (with our human mind) that we are also something else entirely as well.

Although, with that said, if you do get an opportunity to stare directly at your UI with the full force of your true and actual Consciousness, I do highly recommend it, because the way I see it we have two options:

  1. continue suffering the low hum of misery that comes from suspecting our human IDs are not our whole constitution, without having the courage to actually face the false beliefs of our poor little ego


  1. face the music and understand that although our ego plays a demonic orchestral shit-storm of chaos a lot of the time … of ignorance, greed, hatred, fear and shame … our Consciousness plays a song so beautiful that you will never, can never, look back

You can’t see the back of your head yeah? In the same way, you can’t see the face of your receding ego once you have stared fully into and said, as you have yearned to do for so long, “Fuck you arsehole.”

Note the absence of an exclamation mark (which a dear friend Kathy Kitchen once called an explanation mark), and understand that to me, this kind of internal self-expression is far more an explanation than it is an exclamation: when you confront your ego and say just something like this, it understands something like what Justin Bieber said:

My mamma don’t like you,
and she likes everyone
[something something]
so you should go and love yourself

It doesn’t have to be an angry missive like mine was when I was doing the yoga of the perceptually challenged at the stupa of enlightenment, but it does have to be assertive. I just happen to have a lot of with-held anger, and that’s okay.

It’s true, of course, and don’t get me wrong / don’t project your beliefs onto me please: I understand that we need our ego, our human interface, for the time being. But once you’ve seen your ego for all that it is, in all its heinous glory, something fundamental shifts and suddenly, as if by magic, you become the master.

That’s all for now. I’ll do some more meditation now before I start on the next post, because this morning has already been a massively insightful Monday, and if I don’t at least try to process some of it internally I will wind up in the loony bin again, which, touch my wooden noggin, I actually wouldn’t mind ya know … I made some killer friends in that place.