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Writing and Naming

  • Elliott
  • September 25, 2015
  • 0

I have tried my best to write this week and I have nothing but a bunch of words to show for my effort. My writing has been vague, meandering, circuitous, and virtually painful to read and attempt to edit. Sometimes my writing is like that. Rather than force something on-to the page, which does not reflect the ideas I am trying to convey, I have decided to share someone else’s thoughts.

Thanks to startupstockphotos
Thanks to startupstockphotos

Consider these words from Stephen Mitchell found in the preface of the book A Thousand Names For Joy: “There’s nothing mystical or lofty about the Master. He (or she) is simply someone who knows the difference between reality and his thoughts about reality. He may be a mechanic or a fifth grade teacher or the president of a bank or a homeless person on the streets. He is just like everyone else, except that he no longer believes that in this moment things should be different than they are. Therefore in all circumstances he remains at ease in the world, is efficient without the slightest effort, keeps his lightness of heart whatever happens, and, without intending to, acts with kindness toward himself and everyone else. He is who you are once you meet your mind with understanding.”

I have been trying to write, this week, about incidents from my life, which clearly show that I am no Master. At  least, at times (like this week and probably most days, if I am totally honest), I can lay claim to no such title or authority.

Thank you Unsplash
Thank you Unsplash

Now consider these words from Byron Katie from the same book:
     “You can’t express reality in words. You limit it that way. You squeeze it into nouns and verbs and adjectives, and the instant-by-instant flow is cut off. The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao, because trying to tell it brings it into time. It’s stopped in time by the very attempt to name it. Once anything is named, it’s no longer eternal. “Eternal” means free, without limit, without a position in time or space, lived without obstacle.

     There is no name for what’s sitting in this chair right now. I am the experience of the eternal. Even with the thought “God,” it all stops and manifests in time, and as I create “God,” I have created “not–God.” You can substitute anything here–with the thought “tree,” I create “tree” and “not–tree”; the mechanism is the same. Before you name anything, the world has no things in it, no meaning. There’s nothing but peace in the wordless, questionless world. It’s the space where everything is already answered, in joyful silence.

     In this world before words, there is only the real–undivided, ungraspable, already present. Any apparently separate thing can’t be real, since the mind has created it with its names. When we understand this, the unreal becomes beautiful, because there is nothing that can threaten the real.”

So, perhaps it should not concern me that I cannot claim to be a Master. It is interesting to me that Stephen Mitchell, Byron Katie’s husband, in the preface to this wonderful book, would be intent on naming a person of certain qualities, a “Master,” and Byron Katie would, within a few pages point out the fallacy of naming anything.

Thanks to Solart on Pixabay
Thanks to Solart on Pixabay

I really think part of my struggles, this week, can be traced to my efforts at naming things which are inherently unnamable. I have struggled with every piece I have tried to create. Some weeks are like that. Next week I may pick up one of the writings and tweak it a little and find something worth sharing. On the other hand, I may discard one or all of them as unusable. Of course, there is the third option: I may file it away in a “needing work” file which is already bulging at the seams.

Here is what I know to be true: Everything happens, at least in my life, for a reason. Everything shows up as my teacher at exactly the moment I am open and willing enough to learn what the event has to teach me. I need to spend some time contemplating the importance I place on the validity of my thoughts. This is a theme which appeared in all of my writing efforts, this week. There is no accident that I chose to dive into Katie’s insightful book in the same week that I am struggling so in my writing. I will discover how these two are connected and extract what I need. It doesn’t always happen as quickly as I would like, but I am a Master at extracting what I need from my life’s lessons.

In the meantime I hope that you find something valuable in Stephen Mitchell’s and Byron Katie’s wisdom which I have shared today.

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