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.


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 –

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

    hope you enjoy.

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