Ode to being lost

We spend most of our life searching, trying to fill the void we are born with. The original sin of the separation of our conscious and unconscious minds. We enter the labyrinth of the million corners, lanes, and fake lights. Just some sugar to get us going until our next ‘discovery’. To no avail. Why wouldn’t we just stop…?

We need certainty to have a meagre feeling of control over our lives. To have the illusion of predictability. We need knowledge to control the world, to command it to our will, whatever that might be. We understand the laws of Newton, Einstein, Mendel, so we can make predictions about the outcomes of a given situation. These laws restrict the number of possibilities and give us some peace of mind. But for all our rational laws, we can still not fill our infinite void, which seems to just sit there, indifferent to all our efforts, looking at us with that emotionless expression.

Unfortunately, we cannot use logical reason to conquer our unconscious and reconcile ourselves with it. No. Instead of controlling reality, we need to surrender to it.

Jung managed to sketch a rational bridge to the unconscious through psychology. He gave us some hints about the unconscious’ language, symbols, and helped us interpret both the individual unconscious expressed in dreams and the collective unconscious expressed through myths. It is a bridge into the mist, though, with little certainty.

It is strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone. Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits. A world lives within you. No-one else can bring you news of this inner world.

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World

On two consecutive days last week I had these lines going in circles around my mind incessantly: “For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself” (Karma Police, Radiohead) and “Come on now, you knew you were lost, but you carried on anyway” (Racing Rats, Editors). Initially, I thought my subconscious was trying to tell me that I was lost, and I had erred my way. But then, I realised they were trying to tell me that I want to be lost.

The unconscious mind cannot be conquered. At best, it can be accepted. We can be friends with it, sort of. And we can listen to it, to our internal voice.

You are never better placed than when you are in complete darkness and unknowing.

Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings, Sermon 25

Not to know. To unravel some of our mental structures that fetter us to old patterns. To be empty, so that we can be filled. To sit in the middle of nowhere, without a clue of what to do or where to go. To go nowhere and do nothing. To relax, to listen, to admire, to accept.

Being wrong, as in ‘not knowing’, leaves the mind open to all possibilities, more receptive, open to discovery.

If you were to ask how beneficial it is to pursue this potentiality and to maintain ourselves in bareness and simplicity, holding only to this darkness and unknowing, without turning back, then I would say that it offers the sole possibility of gaining him who is all things.

Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings, Sermon 25

Yes, it is “strange to be here”. Not knowing and being present. Sometimes the first few words in a book contain everything.