“Man perceives in the world only what already lies within him;
but to perceive what lies within him man needs the world;
for this, however, activity and suffering are indispensable.”
– Hugo von Hofmannstal
As conditioned, social humans we are great for skirting around an issue. We can deflect conversations off lonesome highways and long, winding diversions, very skilfully. All to hide and divert attention from what’s really going on within us. We’d prefer to talk in stories, riddles and blame rather than just plainly admit a deep feeling of hurt, anxiety or fear.
What’s at work here is that we pull content to match the energy inside.
It’s not the content in the outside world that is the problem causing an issue inside; no the energy within pre-dated the content outside and actually created it.
For example, you are afraid of something in your world because you have a fear within. The content in the outside world is just an aid to point us back to that source energy causing it within.
So your world is a graphic comic, a virtual reality version of your inner landscape. A printout of the internal programming. And how you treat your inner landscape is how your world treats you. I’ll say that again in another way, how you deal with energies that arise from within is how your outside “real world” treats you.
For example, I’ve met a lot of people who have a problem with what they call ‘being seen’. They feel invisible. If you want to be seen, you will need to begin to see. Start with seeing what is arising within, being present to it, not ignoring it or stuffing it back down. Acknowledge your inner world. This begins to give you a strength and a level of opening to acknowledge others in your outer world. If you want to be seen, you need to start seeing.
It all boils down to searing honesty with ourselves. That sort of honesty that burns. It burns us to admit to something so private, so close, so deeply held and secretive. So seemingly humiliating. The burning is the burning off of the layers of self image in the process. But we’re not necessarily being honest with another, oh that will come and be important at a later stage. Initially, though, the honesty needs to be just with ourselves alone. How many of us can even admit to ourselves some of our deepest, darkest reasons for withholding love, or withholding ourselves in some way? How many of us can admit to being secretly desperately needy for love, for validation, for admiration?
Fact is, we all have a vulnerable, empty centre. That’s who we are: openness, emptiness. Over the course of our lives, we just got more habituated to the feeling of having rather than this feeling of being. We created a fortress around this sense of self, to give us a landing pad away from the empty core. The ‘having habit’ began an accumulation of experiences and stories that then quickly began to define who we were, began to build our identity. Before we know it, the base has shifted from the empty core, who we are, to this apparently more solid base of identity, who we think we are. So we shifted out of our centre and built an increasingly sophisticated psychological arsenal to keep ourselves from ever having to experience the vulnerable, empty core.
We can spend our lives playing out in the periphery of the identity story based on this made-up self, or we could allow ourselves to collapse through all this armoury, through to that which we are at its centre.
Robert Frost describes this best with the lines:
“We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.”
So what’s really going on with you? Are you dancing a merry dance around an old story, or can you see how you’re just locking yourself out of life by perpetuating an avoidance mechanism of truly allowing yourself to burn in the truth of your Being?
Are you done being somebody, and do you dare to be Nobody?