Finding The Original Self

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Image by Laura Boyd

“This is how quantum physics shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing elementary units. As we shift our attention from macroscopic objects to atoms and subatomic particles, nature does not show us any isolated building-blocks, but rather appears as a complex web of relationships between the various parts of a unified whole.” — Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life

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Wherever I go I find that a poet was there before me. — Freud.

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An old alchemist gave the following consolation to one of his disciples: “ No matter how isolated you are and how lonely you feel, if you do your work truly and conscientiously, unknown friends will come and seek you.” — C. G. Jung

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“Consciousness is perpetually flowing from its infinity to a point within itself to know itself, and instantaneously expanding in tidal waves of bliss in the recognition of its own boundless infinity at that point. This is what is creating the vibrant, alive wakefulness within the unbound silence of pure Awareness. It is creating the incentive for universal intelligence to flow in the appearance of creation. It is creating the pure Alertness that enables all your thoughts, sensations and perceptions of the world around you to be experienced right now. —
Lucia and Lawrence Hoff

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We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a hope. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light. — Hildegard of Bingen

My education and practice is in visual art, but I have a lifelong attraction to language and ideas. Recently, in the last few years, those interests have unexpectedly taken over and have pushed art to the side. I don’t know, but I suspect that ideas and language are more natural for me than anything else. It just took seven decades for me to realize and affirm it.

On the one hand, I’m an untrained writer, somewhat unaware of the rules of the road, but on the other hand, I’m following my nose and discovering on my own a fascinating region of knowledge and creativity. I’m not very worried by consideration of things like the Oxford comma or stylistic rules. I don’t try to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, for example, but I do try to be understandable. I try to avoid the distractions of grammatical and spelling mistakes, as well as faulty logic, or — my most common mistake — cryptic writing. I try to be clear. I’m getting better at that, but it’s a work in progress.

I’m trying to teach myself how to write, how to use language to say what I mean. Having said that, I want the images I use to play an equal role. I want them to carry their own visual weight, not just illustrate my ideas. I’m not always successful, but I’m learning.

Keeping “beginner’s mind” is important in any endeavor. Over the years I learned to make art in a mental space of learning, of “unknowing,” in spite of more than fifty years of creative practice. In the art and craft of writing, I’m feeling my way as I use it to feed my need to understand everything more deeply.

My inner philosopher is finally getting free rein to examine ideas up close and personal. Not being a professional writer is a plus, a benefit that I get to enjoy without effort, unlike painting, which for me has a lot of accumulated baggage.

Most of the time I’m interested in universal themes, although I don’t exclude personal stories, as in this piece, but my aim is to put something into the world that adds to its beauty or meaning.

That is my aim. Whether my name is attached to these contributions is secondary. I do hope that someone somewhere is nourished in some way by what comes out of me. I believe that’s why we’re here. Only if we can locate our most essential self will we find the gift we are meant to give to the world. That original self is our mission and our contribution to life, if we can find it.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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