Thursday, 29 March 2018

Self Concern...and true Inquiry

This is poem that wrote itself at about 5am on the last day of a stunning (and very challenging) 2 week retreat this February.

I feel very vulnerable sharing this because it feels like a very precious revelation and because my mind is fearful that I can't or won't live it.  And living this revelation is what my heart yearns for over and above anything else. So here it is...

Self concern 

Tonight at 4.30am I experienced 
True inquiry
Perhaps for the first time. 

It was touching. 
It was beautiful 
It was stunning. 
It was undeniable. 

Awareness noticed that the being was indentified
So it remembered itself
It entered life through the heart as Presence 
And simply recovered intimacy with itself
And wept as it remembered
The heart of intimacy. 

Tears of gratitude. Coming home. At last. 

Then it said:
“From here we can start”
Touched it cried gently again and said:
Now we can start”

Awareness as love
Noticed an attitude of self concern arise 
Gosh! It said. 
What’s that?
So it started by asking “what’s it like?”
And by becoming in it and as it very soon 
From the inside it simply knew. 

But the inquiry didn’t stop
It continued dropping 
And unfolding
By itself 
Until something like a deep resting place was found 
And awareness was satisfied 
And touched. 
That it understood. 
Then inquiry went on inquiring into other things 
Such as appreciating the nature of inquiry!


It wrote the above 
With the help of clear rested mind
At 5am
When being decided it had better things
To do than 


The self concern:
“Am I ok?” is
Really “Am I fundamentally broken?”
Fundamentally useless and unloveable 
Will I be left alone and unloved?
A broken thing
On the scrapheap 
Alone, lonely and suffering 

From a place of self intimacy 
It can be seen that this was never true. 
I was never broken/wrong/
That this was just a painful untrue cherished belief 
At the core of who I thought I was
And who I have habitually taken myself to be

I didn’t discover the truth of this 
Love discovered the truth of this 
Through inquiry 
Because it wanted to find out 
What was at the heart of suffering
Because love is interested 
In everything 
Including pain. 

Inquiry did inquiry 
Being discovering itself 
Because it wants to find out
Because it cares. 

Awareness was doing inquiry 
Into “me”. 


Having been fully understood. 
From the inside
The attitude of self concern
Need not 
Ever be taken seriously 
Instead it can be consumed
As the first course
Of the banquet
Of the remains of who I was.

Looking after the vulnerable and young parts...

Over the past 5 years I've had a series of increasingly touching set of meetings with the vulnerable "young" parts of my being, which psychologists or psychotherapists tend to call "the Inner Child".

My understanding of this framing is that the parts of us that get emotional (and especially scared) never really grow up and forever function as if they are a small child.  That's certainly how it feels to me when I meet these parts of me.

This "child" doesn't really engage via rational reasoning - it's too young for that.  The main language it speaks is feelings and the main things it needs are being listened to with love and reassurance that it is OK and loved just as it is, and that in the midst of the fear it is feeling, all is in fact well.

This is essentially the way we would relate with a young pre-verbal child - love, warmth, attention and hugs.  And it makes the most beautiful difference.

I had some very touching realisations about this following a recent retreat and two poems arose.

Here they are:

Running and Resting

I have spent 
the whole of my life
until now
running on empty

driven by the distress
of a child inside me
desperate to be held
and stroked 

and told “It’s ok, I’m here”
and told “you’re ok exactly as you are...
...I love you
just like this.

No need to move a muscle
No need to change a thing
You are safe
You are so very very loved
Just like this.”

Rest now honey.
No need to run
Ever again. 

I’m with you. 

We can rest

With love, gratitude and gentle resting. 



My little one
Is my first priority.

He had had some 
Pretty scary experiences
Coming into the world 
So he’s often not sure
If he can trust

If left without reassurance 
He spends most of his time
On amber or red alert. 
With alarm bells ringing. 
Which is really understandable. 
In the circumstances. 

When doesn’t get the reassurance,
That he needs 
To feel safe enough,
he feels desperate.
And desperate measures are called for...
Something, anything will do
To switch off the alarm
Or distract from the pain.

Life for both of us,
He and me,
Becomes a scrabble 
For safety -
Doing deals
Trying to manipulate or control the world 
Trying to get reassurance “you’re ok”. 
Yet it is never enough. 

When I remember that he
Is only a part of me
When I remember myself
As the vast open space
When I fall in love with silence...

I can hold him 
so very gently
with no agenda 
other to be with him
and everything else 
that appears in me
exactly as they are. 

And everything can feel held
In love. 

And can feel safe enough to
Come out to play
And dance
With no motive 
Other than to be life 
Meeting life. 

Like waves waving 
And meeting
On a vast ocean. 

The ocean doesn’t mind
 a few choppy waves 
The ocean doesn’t mind being a huge tsunami 
The ocean doesn’t mind being as flat as a millpond. 

This is how god loves us. 

This is who we are. 


With love, tenderness, wonder and vast vast space