Tuesday, March 09, 2004


How can it be possible to know something one day, and not to know it the next? To have seen the direction ahead with crystal clarity only to return to a muddy haze of chasing ghosts through the mist? To have the curtain drawn aside, revealing a Great Truth, only to turn again and find the curtain pulled tight shut and the Truth hidden?

I saw a Great Truth. I know I did. I felt its greatness rippling right through me; shock at the simplicity of it, calmness at the certainty of it. Now it’s fallen away from me, or I from it – yet I have just one tiny thread of connection still, a fading imprint on my retina of what I saw behind that curtain; a felt sense of the direction ahead before the mists closed in once more.

I may daub a few words around the edge of this Truth, but they’ve lost that Ah-ha! quality. Empty words whose real meaning is once more hidden. It had to do with self-knowledge and with authentic choice, this revelation; with authentic being. Answering the question “What do I really want?” Or deeper even than that – being truly free and knowing how to ask such a question. There’s no harder question to ask; I hadn’t found an answer, but for a while I was able to ask that question with complete honesty and freedom; freedom, for perhaps the first time since early childhood, to allow for the possibility of putting self first. Making a distinction between ought to and want to. For a choice that derives from ought to is no choice at all.

For truly to make a choice, one has to be willing to choose each of the options. So for example, going back a few months to a time when I claimed to be considering deleting this blog, I wasn’t really at a point of choice – only if my finger had been poised on the mouse button, muscles and tendons tensed and primed, ready for the final signal to come down the nerves; only then would authentic choice have been made.

It’s the same with life decisions. Unless I’m willing and ready to take any path, choosing between them will never be a truly free and committing choice. Commitment to a choice requires first that I be ready to give up that choice. To take just one step in the mind that actually goes past the point of decision; to experience each choice almost as having been made. Otherwise how can it be a choice? This feels to me to be true even – or perhaps especially – at the most sublime levels. To choose God, one has to be willing to choose the devil. To choose life, willing to choose death. Perhaps that is why those who have faced an acceptance of death often seem to be the most alive.

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