The Great Un-naming

Twitchy itching… An almost-stinging.

When the bandage has become a part of you,

When you peel it away to explore the extent of healing and loss.

 

The bloodied cloth I hold in my hand is my name.

It is the first thing that ever happened to me.

It is surprising to find that it is not so organic after all.

Peeling it away

 

surrendering this name.

Relinquishing it.

 

Place it gently on the stream.

With the twigs and debris and floating leaves.

The current washes my name down river.

 

I will sit in this quiet alone.

My burdens strangely lighter

 

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Emptied

We are a handful of dirt.

Hollowed out by This Profound Breath.

And when we stepped into this instantiated glory.

This embodied transcendence

 

There is this vastness within!

 

It is not nature but our own little hearts

Which so abhor this vacuum

And so we grab fast the things that come along

Offering to make us full.

 

If we were younger or older

Wiser or more naive

We would never have held on to them in just such a way

these things we were given

That were never meant to be our possessions.

 

This, this is why when we enter into this world where they call us adults.

The world takes back that which began in it.

It is not because the world needs it.

It is because we never did.

 

This kindness.

Returning our great empty space.

When it is returned we find

Nothing that ought to be abhorred.

 

Silence

1.

There were no sounds.

 

2.

Your presence is tolerated.

No one will ever tell you that your kind is here to be seen and not heard.

Why make anyone uncomfortable by saying it outloud?

We all know this is, what it is.

Your presence here will be tolerated.

But not your particpation.

Not your questions.

Or your contributions.

Where is your grattitude for being let into the room at all?

 

3.

And yet.

Anything could happen in the quiet!

The lips pursed as if to kiss the air.

Who knows what will come next.

It could be the the thing that finally makes everything make sense.

 

There was an empty place inside.

And the words still echoed in there.

I don’t love you.

I never did love you.

You weren’t enough.

But that was only on the inside that she heard those things.

There were no sounds on the outside.

Everything had already been said.

 

5.

And yet….

Have you ever heard the snow fall onto a lake that hasn’t yet frozen?

A lovely living white noise.

At the edge of hearing.

Or maybe you are only imagining it.

Because now, there is only you.  

In a field with a lake in the winter at night.

It is so quiet here.

 

6.

You think its the worst thing.

When they stick the filthy rags in your mouth

To muffe out the screaming.

 

It’s not though.

The worst is when they offer to  take the gag away

And you agree to be quiet

Because you have learned your lesson

 

7.

And yet!

The first time

I released my thinking away truly.

Placed it gently on a river like a floating leaf.

And just let it go.

The first time I sat in this True Silence.

I glimpsed myself for the first time.

Just a brief reflection in the river.

Then the breeze came in, and wrinkled the water up.

But I had seen it.

The me behind me.

The observer of the fools parade of thoughts.

 

8.

She saw their eyes heavy with fear and worry.

And she tried to hold back the moan.

It all hurt, though.  

Everything hurt.  

Mostly she was ready for it all to be over

The body blotted out her best intentions

She moaned.

Gasped.  Clutched out for a hand with her wrinkled hand.

Her heart stopped before they touched.

There were no more noises here.

 

9

And yet!

I might end this line right here.

I might say these words and pause.

Right here.

I might open this

Wide.

 

White space, pure on the page.

And a gift

Emptiness

Here, take it.  

 

Now

It is not only this single immortal moment

Stacked up on itself, like turtles all the way down

It is every moment

Every moment.

Every moment lead itself

To this now.

 

Everything that happened.

Every moment from my conception.

.every moment since the earth cooled

Every moment since God laughed a big bang into existence

To just now.

Every one of those moments

Will give itself up.

Culminating….

 

In that soft insistent breeze,

Drawing my bangs to caress my earlobe.

In the thisness and thusness of right here.

Right now.

 

Boxes in the Attic

Sometimes i feel like a boy who lost a parent

When he was a baby.

The widow or widower

Boxed up all their things.  

And placed them in the attic.

For me.  When i am old enough to go through the detritus of that life and begin to construct

A theory about just how many claims that existence

Can make on my me

 

Sometimes i feel like that boy

Filled with mourning and wonder

Lament and curiosity.

 

Only the attic

is the world.

The wide wild bewildering world

 

The boxes

are everywhere!

Clouds filling the sky some as wispy as the fey

Others as substantial as iron girders supporting the roof of a parking garage.

 

The sting of the coffee splashing up around an ill fitting lid in the morning chill.

Scalding my fingers and landing in the muddy snow.

 

Those boxes are the smile touching the eyes of the woman who gave me my change before i pumped the gas.

 

Those boxes are the heart knowledge

That you cant love somebody into loving you.

And the wicked will prosper.

And the body grows old.

And then the body dies.

 

This one life of mine is an excavation.  

Dusty boxes in an attic lined with pink insulation.

They can be opened like brown flowers that making squelching noises

As the four interlocking petals are pulled up and out.

 

This life is an act of discovery.

The truths  i am shaking the dust off of

The things i am holding up in dirty light.

 

They are awe inspiring and monotonous.

They are wonder filled terrors

And terror filled wonders.

They are who we are

And who we are not.

And what we should have been.

 

The Latest

When I began blogging, bunches of years ago, this little site was where I started.  I cast a pretty wide net: theology, politics, culture, and poetry.

A few years ago, I mostly narrowed my focus in blogging.  I came back here, to Jeff’s Deep Thoughts, for a few things that did not quite fit into the Contemplace.  At the Contemplace, I shared my observations about meditation, prayer, and mysticism.

I continue to narrow my focus.  I have put a whole lot of sweat and tears (can’t honestly say I shed any blood) into The Faith-ing Project.  This site is intended to be a bit of a playground for the mind,  a training gym for the soul.  It is not directly about my journey at all.  Mostly, my hope is to assist others by exposing them to spiritual exercises and contemplative activities.

Why don’t you come and check it out?

https://faithingproject.wordpress.com/

An Opportunity

One of the things I have learned over the last couple years is that spiritual practices like meditation can be life-changing.  This lead to me posting less here at Jeff’sdeepthoughts and more at The Contemplace.

The latest evolution in my spiritual journey and my online musings is the Faith-ing Project.  My vision is a place that can offer readers a new spiritual practice every day for a year.  I have been writing, organizing, and compiling for months.  I am just about ready to go!

The Faith-ing Project does not yet have a home or website.  But it does have a need.  And that need might just be you.  Are you:

  • Interested in spiritual practices?
  • Able to give these practices about 15 minutes a day?
  • Willing to offer feedback, criticism, and push back?

If this sound like you, please email otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com   ask me your questions, or just let me know you are interested.

I am putting together a team of testers who will receive an email with each days practice.  In exchange for trying the practices out and sharing your experiences,  I will give testers free access to content that will eventually become paid on the site, and I will post thank yous, and links to content you might wish to direct others to.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff