Seeking nothing /3

One has to grow into that state where she seeks nothing for herself but takes whatever comes to pass as the thing most desired.

whatever comes to pass as the thing most desired

...whatever comes to pass as the thing most desired

I know this series of seeking nothing posts seem to be all about something I’m seeking but I think that’s good because it’s only when I see my own contradictions that I really learn something about myself. Carl Jung often said (can’t you tell I’m a big fan of CG Jung!?) that it is in maintaining the tension of the opposites that we become more conscious. “The greater the tension, the greater is the potential. Great energy springs from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.” (Carl Jung) You could say that I clearly understand the spiritual value of not seeking but emotionally and intellectually I’m resistant. The tension arises because it’s not enough for me to do what it is I really love doing. It’s also important that others love what I am doing too. I think part of being human is feeling like one belongs and I have never felt that I belonged anywhere. I have always felt like an exile. I have been an exile so long that I no longer know where home is. I think it’s my Solomon complex!

My good friend D who gave me this blog (thanks to Mo!) is similar to me. I suppose that is why he is my best friend. He has been working on a novel for years. It’s called Nobody: An Autobiography ©. I hope he doesn’t mind my telling you but I think it’s great title. It sounds like a book about me but he says that it’s a book about all of us. He doesn’t let anyone but me read the manuscript. In the earlier drafts he showed it to a few friends but stopped doing that because he said that he began to think too much about what others thought. He did say that other than me (who D says doesn’t count in the same way as others because he says we are so close that I may as well be a part of him which was a sweet thing to say don’t you think?) the only person who read a part of it and really understood what he was trying to do was Mo. He said that because of her his favorite word is wafting. He says that Mo helped him to believe in what he was doing during times when he found it very hard to believe, that Mo helps a lot of artists believe in what they are doing. He says she is an angel sent to administer to wafting artistic souls.

(I almost feel jealous in a friendly kind of way because I too would love to have someone who felt that way about my writing. D tells me to be patient, that for now I have him and I can’t tell you how much that means to me! If I told you it would require a string of ‘verys’ from here to the moon.)

[One day I will write an entire book in parenthesis.]

What I wanted to say about D is that even after all these years of working on his book he still isn’t convinced that anyone will want to read it. I can tell you that in my rather humble opinion it is a beautiful book. I am sure others will want to read it. It’s one of those special kinds of books, not meant for everyone so I don’t think it will make him famous (but like me he doesn’t have the time to be famous,) but I just know that those who will love it will really love it. (Maybe one day he will let me share some extracts of his book here? What do you think D?) For now, just like me, he keeps doing what he loves to do and hopes some day others will love it too.

Sophia is the central pivot of creation and represents the feminine aspect in all things. She is Wisdom Incarnate, the Goddess of all those who are wise.

The Great Mother Sophia is the central pivot of creation and represents the feminine aspect in all things. She is Wisdom Incarnate, the Goddess of all those who are wise.

I’ll tell you one more secret about D which he will probably be angry with me for revealing but I think it says a lot about who he is. Every day before he begins writing he gets on his knees and prays to the Great Mother to give him the strength and courage to do what it is he really loves doing. Sometimes it is very hard to do what we really love to do when we’re the only ones telling ourselves to do it. Thinking of D on his knees praying to the Great Mother (D says that though God has no gender it helps him to pray to someone and that so far as he is concerned the world has had enough of male gods.) makes me think of the 20th poem in Stephen Mitchell’s Tao Te Ching:

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.

And this brings me back to seeking nothing for myself and taking whatever comes to pass as the thing most desired. It is important to share what we do with others and hopefully others will love what we do but if I seek the approval of others while I am doing what it is that I love to do I know I will fail. I need to do what I need to do without any attachment to outcome and that is very hard. Why does it seem so easy for some to strike that balance between loving what they do and having others who love what they do? Is it just a matter of talent, because I have no problem accepting that others have a lot more talent than me, but I wonder if it is also something else. That makes me wonder about fate and whether or not it’s personal and what’s the relationship of fate to destiny? But if I begin to get into fate & destiny this post will go on forever. Maybe next time? For now I will keep doing what I love to do and trying to learn how to not seek anything in return.


Seeking Nothing /2
March 29, 2009, 15:30
Filed under: Seeking nothing | Tags: , , , , , ,

One has to grow into that state where she seeks nothing for herself but takes whatever comes to pass as the thing most desired.

It’s not easy to seek nothing for myself except whatever comes to pass and yet strangely enough I have always had everything I genuinely needed, (which doesn’t mean everything I wanted,) and I know it isn’t because of anything I did. I’m convinced that all seeking is in vain. I think of seeking as a bad habit that is very hard to break.

Nowhere is this business of seeking more pernicious than in my life as an artist. If an artist creates for any other reason than the need to create they’re done for. I write because I can’t not write. Sometimes I wish I could not write because sometimes writing is very painful. And writing is damn hard work. (A friend who is a much better writer than me once told me that writing is about 10% talent and 90% hard work. I think for me it’s more like 5%!) For a long time I tried to not write. It almost worked until I saw that it was killing me. Now I write all the time. It’s like breathing. If I stop I die. But if I use my writing to seek personal gain in the world, if I think for one moment what the world will give me in return for my writing, I’m finished. Whenever I write to please anyone but myself I feel like a fraud. But it’s tricky. It’s not so red and blue. Like most things it’s fuchsia. It’s perfectly natural that I would want others to like what I write but if I write because I want others to like what I write all I write is crap. I think this is true about anything we do. It’s like what the Zen masters say about the art of living.artofliving Think about the bull’s-eye and you’ll never hit it; be the bull’s-eye and you can’t miss. Something like that. So when it comes to my writing, seeking nothing for myself except whatever comes to pass not only works, it’s absolutely essential.

I think that what really matters is that I’m doing what it is I really love to do. That is where everything else begins. What I love to do is write. I don’t know yet if others will love what I write but I won’t know until others see what I’ve written. [I know what you’re thinking. You’re reading this so it’s not true that no one sees what I write but this doesn’t really count because this is only hypothetical.] I think the reason that I’m not ready to show others what I love to do is because I am afraid that others won’t love what I do and I really want others to love what I do. I know that sounds pretty lame but I can’t pretend that what others think doesn’t matter to me, especially those whose opinions mean a lot to me like my family and friends and Christian Bobin. But you see, this is precisely where it gets pernicious. (I love that word! Carl Jung often said the most important question to ask is “From whence comes evil?” but I prefer asking ‘From whence comes perniciousness!?’) I know that when I’m ready I will show others what I’m writing and if they love it than perhaps I can begin meeting all those people I really want to meet. For now I know that those who love me love what I am doing even if they haven’t seen what I am doing because they love that I love what I am doing. That means a lot to me.

The money and fame that would come from others loving what I do isn’t so important to me. In fact, I think fame would be a terrible thing. My solitude means far too much to me to give it up for fame. When I fantasize about others loving what I do I think about how it would give me the freedom to keep doing what I do and how I would be able to meet others like me whose work I love. But if fame means meeting all kinds of people I’d rather not meet, I prefer not being famous. As it is, I don’t have enough time in the day to do all that I want to do. Imagine if I had to fit in being famous!!

One fantasy I have when I imagine others loving what it is I do is that maybe I would be able to afford a home of my own, nothing fancy, just a simple home in a quiet place, perhaps tucked into a birch forest with a stream nearby that I can hear when the windows are open,

Imagine it surrounded by birch trees

Imagine it surrounded by birch trees

where my new and old friends would come and visit. No one visits me where I am now because it embarrasses them to see that I live in such squalor. (I don’t mind the squalor too much. At least I have a cheap place to live so I can afford to do what it is I love to do.) I think of living in my new home and having dinner parties where everyone would sit around a great big wooden table where the conversation would be rich, intense, heartfelt and nourishing and that makes me smile.

Like a bear in the woods

Like a bear in the woods

And because I really believe that we need to be serious about taking better care of our planet, my home would leave no footprint at all––there would be solar panels on the roof, a windmill in the backyard, a thermal pump in the basement and of course there would be a compost toilet. All the food from those dinner parties needs to go somewhere!

I know I said that having money wasn’t so important but I would like to have enough so that I could afford tickets to see dance, theatre and music and be able travel to other cities to see the work of artists who aren’t able to come here. An artist needs the work of other artists to be inspired, to nourish the soul and not feel so alone. And because I think money can be used as creatively as words and paint, I like to imagine helping all the people I know who can’t do what they would really love to do because they can’t afford it.

I think more than anything if others loved what it is I love to do I would feel for the first time in my life that I belong.

When you think about it, most human beings never get the chance to do what they really love to do. In fact, being able to ask what it is we really want to do is a question that most of us haven’t been able to ask for very long. Until recently anyone saying that they were only going to do what they really love doing would have been considered crazy. For hundreds of generations daughters did what their mothers did and sons did what their fathers did. When I think about it this way it makes sense that it sometimes takes so long, as it did with me, to figure out what it is we really want to do. When I was growing up a lot of people told me what I should do but very few asked me what it was I would really love to do.

Having the chance to do what it is I really want to do is amazing. We act as if it is something we are entitled to but this is not at all true. I can only do what I love to do because of all those who went before me and the lifetimes others suffered doing what they didn’t want to do. It’s because of them that I have this chance and the responsibility to do what it is I love to do. In this way doing what I want to do isn’t just about me. It took thousands and thousands of years for us to see that when human beings do what they really love to do they become more human. (I like to think that our ancient ancestors did what they love doing because that was simply the way life was, the Garden of Eden thing,

She knows

She doesn't ask herself what she really loves to do; she just does it!

but then we got smart but not smart enough and started doing things that no one in their right mind would want to do. In this way doing what we want to do is like coming home only now we know that we know what we really love to do.) Being more human means being more full of love and wisdom and joy which is good for everyone don’t you think? I feel like I am just beginning to learn what it means to be truly human. I think it has to do with seeking nothing for myself except whatever comes to pass and doing what it is I really love to do.

Seeking nothing /1
March 22, 2009, 15:42
Filed under: Seeking nothing | Tags: , , , , ,

One has to grow into that state where she seeks nothing for herself but takes whatever comes to pass as the thing most desired.

That’s one of my favorite quotes. I don’t know who wrote it. It sounds like something from the I Ching. It’s stuck up in the place of honor, directly above my computer at eye level. It reminds me to be here now. I need to be reminded to be here now because I’m rarely here now. Where I am seems to be evenly divided between where I was and where I think I will be. My brain does everything it can to avoid being here now and yet when I am here now all my problems disappear and everything feels right and good. You’d think I would want to be nowhere else but here now but obviously a bigger me then me doesn’t agree.

A lot of people think Eckhart Tolle is the one who came up with the idea to be here now but he is just repeating what great sages have been saying ever since great sages started saying anything. I first found out about being here now with Baba Ram Dass‘s Be Here Now. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like Tolle,



Eckhart & Alfred

even if he does remind me of Alfred E. Newman. I think the way he tells us to be here now is in a way that we need to hear it now and I also think what he and Oprah did together was truly amazing.

Tolle & Oprah tête-à-tête

Tolle & Oprah tête-à-tête

If you want to be here now you should listen to their dialogue. It’s free. But back to here and now and seeking nothing.

I rarely seek nothing and almost nothing of what I do seek works out. Most of the time I am seeking to be anywhere else but here and be anyone else than who I am. I’ll give you an example. Today when I woke up I wrote in my journal:

There’s been a mistake. This isn’t what I ordered. My life wasn’t suppose to be this way.

Then right away another voice asked:

And just how do you suppose your life was suppose to be?

[I don’t know about you but I have a lot of voices in my head and they rarely agree with one another.]

The first voice answered the second voice:

I don’t really know.

But then another voice jumped in and said that it knew precisely how my life was suppose to be.

I was suppose to be doing something that I love and I was suppose to be good enough at what I do that others would also love what I do; and because others love what I do they would love me; and because they love me I would be invited to meet all the people whom I’ve ever dreamed of meeting–people like Christian Bobin, Nancy Huston, Anne Michaels, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn whom I adore,

Sean & Robin

My would-be friends Sean & Robin

Juliette Binoche, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jami Sieber, Leonard Cohen, the Dalai Lama, Richard Tarnas, Wolfgang Giegerich, Barak Obama just to mention a few. [You can see that how I suppose my life should be is far from modest!] And there was suppose to be many many more whom I don’t know yet but whom I was suppose to know because after they fell in love with what I do they would fall in love with me. I was suppose to eat at their tables and be included in their conversations. We were suppose to go for long walks and talk about how marvelous it is to be doing what it is we love to do.

I think what this voice is saying is that when you do something that you love and others love what you do, your work will wander the globe as your soul’s diplomatic envoy introducing you to fascinating people who you would love to meet and who would love to meet you and whom you would never have met otherwise. That is how I always imagined my life would be but that is not how it turned out. Instead after a long long time I am just beginning to do what it is I love to do but so far there is no one else who loves what I do so consequently I don’t know many people and the people I would love to meet don’t know who I am.

But supposing how my life should have been is hardly seeking nothing for myself. If I did intentionally seek such a life I know that I would never find it. It’s not the kind of thing you can force from life. It either happens or it doesn’t. That’s very clear to me and yet nonetheless ever since I was a kid I thought my life would be like I supposed it would be. I don’t know where it came from but I really felt that that was how my life would be. I was sure that one day I would do something I really love doing and that others would love what I do and that because they loved what I do they would also love me. It wasn’t about fame. It was about love. Lots and lots of love! However, for a lot of reasons I don’t yet understand, my life didn’t turn out that way. You can begin to see why a quote about seeking nothing for myself would mean so much to me!

Sometimes I imagine that in a recent life I was the person I think I was suppose to be in this life and that because I got all caught up egotistically in the fame and the power and abused my privilege, my karma this time around is to learn humility by being a simple ordinary human being. That I can remember how it was to live my life the way I suppose it should have been feels like living my life with my hands tied. I feel like Solomon when he was lost in the desert, alone, anonymous and desolate, with a dim memory of the time when he was a great King. Somewhere deep inside I know that I was a great Queen and all I need to get back to being a Queen is to find my ring but I lost it and I don’t know how to get it back. If I told this to anyone who knows me now, that I’m really a great Queen

Lady Lilith, my favourite Queen

Lady Lilith, my favourite Queen

who has been forced by Asmodeus to live the life of nobody, they would laugh. And I wouldn’t blame them for laughing because I’m not a Queen; I’m only a simple ordinary girl who dreams of being a Queen. [I can say this to you because when I blog I’m only a hypothetical person so that when you laugh it will only be a hypothetical laugh.] I know that I am who I am because I need to learn how to be nobody. I need to do whatever I do for the simple pleasure of doing it and not because of how famous it will make me, or rich or powerful or how much others will love me for what I love doing. I am learning to live life for the sake of living, to grow as a human being for the sake of growing and not because of anything I seek. Only in this way will whatever comes to pass be what I most desire.

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