I really love words and the concepts that can be constructed with them. Words and their feelings create worlds, cultures, societies and stories, both lovely and horrific. My favorite words are those used to make art, to communicate sensation like ocean waves, and to give thanks. My least favorite words are those used to attack or defend. Not that these aren't art forms in their own right...just that I prefer to use words in other ways.
We can grant words both "positive" and "negative" creative power. We spin them one way or another. We give them impact, or not. Long ago, I was given an opportunity to see the world without names. Without descriptive words in my head when I look at the world, there is a raw kind of seeing, an original feeling. There is no date, time or world removed from this one. I remember wanting to live there...which sprung from my belief that I was somehow apart from this place. Alas/thankfully...I am a character in a story, here, with a map agreed upon by this culture, in which I participate, most of the time.
Sometimes I think I like to paint, to be an "artist", because it gives me sanctioned time in the wordless world. Meditation does the same. Anything requiring a degree of concentration will turn down or off the chatter inside. Most of us, though, don't notice. And over a period of many years, certain word-patterns--thoughts--become habitual and hypnotic. We believe fully in their power and act accordingly.
If I boiled down the negative messages I was fed and began to believe as a child, the concentrated stuff at the bottom would look like crap and sound something like, "I'm not good enough." I used this sticky belief to flavor lots and lots of storylines (all of them had sad endings). I used it as a cave. I used it to attack, and I used it to defend...and to grieve, and to need. I used it without knowing that I carried it like some powerful totem.
In spite of this unconscious stuff, there were still those times I would fall silent and pristine. I contrasted these two feelings--caramelized crud with open spaciousness--and concluded that I was crud, trying to be spacious more often. I understood the openness as a part of myself, and loved the good feeling of relief it gave me, but the density always returned.
Paying attention really paid off in identifying those "core beliefs", as a psychologist might say. I realized that when things happened (or didn't), it was always due to the fact that I wasn't good enough. Someone looked at me and said, "I want a divorce." Obviously, I wasn't good enough. I wanted to travel, and lacked the funds, because I wasn't good enough at fund raising. I wanted more peace, but wasn't good enough to deserve it. I wasn't good at saying "no" when I needed to, or making friends when I needed them. Seeing this one-size-fits-all ingredient was highly agitating, at first, and somehow a threat. I, I, I.
Eventually, I found myself wanting to "sit" with this agitation, trying to trust where it would lead, what I may uncover...I just looked at it, looked at the words and their effect on my heart and body, the memories they stirred up, the hopelessness and helplessness engendered again and again. In the midst of this "being with" agitation and anxiety, one day, I found the silent clearness welling up, and just looked.
Here it is...the wordless. I am. This is it. Too much, too much.
That's all I could say, smiling in the rush of love, in the sweetness and safety. Some time passed, and I found itself almost afraid, suddenly, to breathe--because I didn't want to disturb this peace with thinking, with grasping, with despair or grief or longing. This peace was fragile, too beautiful, and I was...not good enough to keep it! Somehow, though, I had leaned back into this trust. Thoughts fell into it like pebbles. Ripples happened, and the "water" remained, just as it was.
I have no effect on What Is...whew. Further, that "I" is just an effect. Words like these are puppies biting their own tails, always pointing to the circularity of reasoning. This is why I can no longer believe in what I think, and tend to think mostly for fun. Thinking is useless for solving philosophical problems...only because there really are none! On the other hand, all my thinking, all my problems, had to be exactly as they were/are.
I have to tell you that believing my own stories--from the perspective of "the world"-- is habitual, ingrained, and sometimes painful. Realizing that the "I"-creature is another story on a profoundly visceral level makes the whole experience Being much less painful. This is fabulous, and very freeing. I am free to love or dislike myself, or just not have a self.
Under all that, there is nothing to be understood. "I" can't possibly understand anything but a product of itself, which is incredibly useful in daily life, and psychologically speaking, a dead end. Inevitably, one comes to a place where the tail-chasing is not so important. The puppy sits down, falls over into a boneless, natural puddle of trust.