Deeper Voices

8ed832d8e6e124c7ffbee5887294984e.jpgI read Barbara Bash’s True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude (2004) today while sitting in the sun with the dog. It’s a simple, lavishly watercolour-illustrated journal of a retreat in the woods, taken during seven days in Summer, seven in Spring, seven in Fall, and ending with seven days in Winter. She’s a Buddhist (Chögyam Trungpa is her meditation teacher) who is struggling with fatigue, fear of the dark, a need to do, a certain restlessness, loneliness, self-doubt.

This first journal entry reminds me of the ‘grief’ I wrote about yesterday:

“My insides are heavy. There are voices tisking and shuddering at such laziness, but I am listening to deeper voices.”

That’s how I feel. I can hear the voices that tisk and shudder, and, I can hear voices from a deeper place, and I am listening to them.

In Winter, she says something that seemed to me to reframe the dilemma a friend expressed earlier in the day:

“Here in this cabin for six days these demons of pressure and critique can be — what? Loved? Banished? Teased? Ignored? Put down for a nap? … It has been a day of doubt. The wind of my mind blew me around. Here’s the dilemma — to articulate the confusion, describe it, know it — or to label it ‘thinking,’ let it go and return to the breath. I walk both paths.”

It seems it’s often a question of whether to engage with the confusion — to work with the pain, resentment, desire for connection, longing for affinity, fear of disappointment, hope, lack of trust — or to recognise that those feelings, opinions, beliefs, reactions, and thoughts are just ‘thinking’ — they’re transitory, they’re a fantasy our mind weaves, they can be released. Yes. We do both.

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One thought on “Deeper Voices

  1. Wandering through the internet and coming upon these musings (posted ten months ago!) I feel the connection of shared perception. Thank you for this –

    I have started a True Nature visual blog – barbarabash.blogspot.com

    Creating it is a practice of slowing down – taking a look –

    hope you enjoy.

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