ask what ye will and it shall be done

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

How I have wished that these words be so.  How I have grieved when I thought that they were not so, and how much joy and gladness did I receive when I knew with my heart that these words were the word of God.  I took the plaque off of the wall in my mother’s kitchen shortly after she died.  There were other things from the house that I wanted, but that plaster of paris plaque embossed with the words of the gospel and painted with small red roses and green leaves to illuminate the words hung forever in the kitchen and these words were such delicious words of hope, especially among the crude and poor ways that we had to struggle to survive.  These words seem to make it possible for me to have what I might want.

In the beginning, I could l not let myself want anything for me personally–that would have been selfish and in those early years of good catholicism to be selfish was a sin as surely as was adultery and coveting.  Two words that i did not understand, but understood to be very, very bad.  So I conditioned myself to not covet, and by the time that I knew what it meant, it was too late I was coveting all over the place and my soul must have already been condemned to many, many years in purgatory.  So I blessed myself, went to confession and made sure that I wore the scapular medal attached to my underware, because if I was killed, or found a way to die, the scapular would be a sign to St. Peter that I could by pass purgatory and go straight into heaven–as long as I had no mortal sin on my soul at the time of death.

Now to my non-catholic readers this myth of protection from hell and purgatory must seem a bit far-fetched, but when these are the admissions that you let in every since learning how to speak, they are very, powerful admissions, indeed.  Also, there was one more way to insure Grace and that was to attend mass for nine consecutive First Friday’s of the month.

These days that has been replaced with nine consecutive Monday’s at Mimi’s Artist Way meeting.  I’m am not sure what the indulgences are for , but the benefits are surely more immediately gratifying than the nine First fridays. Well, as least the earthly rewards are more tangible, the rest will only be told in the future.

Flash back–1952.  The walls in the kitchen is plastered and the paint is a shiny gloss that is meant not to peal and it can easily take a wash from the grease and the splatter that comes from the deep frying oil that sits on the electric range.  The window to the side looks out into roger and richard’s yard which doubles up as a junk yard for old cars.  Now by old I mean, a 1939 Cadillac and maybe a Packard and a Studebaker as well as shells of older cars that are there for parts.  Richard’s grandfather lived on the first floor and he had build a garage with a pit in it so that cars could be driven over the pit and you could work on the underside of the car by lowering yourself into the pit by a small ladder against the wall of the pit.  We were always being warned not to fall in, because there was hell to pay if you did.  It seems in retrospect that it would have been far enough damaging to fall into this grease pit without having to worry about what would happen if you were lucky enough to survive the fall without breaking your neck or an arm or a leg.

Even as far away as our yard, my mother hated that she could smell the grease and the oil from the dead cars.  And after all, this was her kitchen window.  Mostly she kept the shade drawn because she was concerned that someone would want to look in and see …what I can not imagine, because all that ever happened there was she mixing drinks or deep frying potatoes.

Fast forward–July 2010.  The day is a bright and crisp summer afternoon.  A breeze comes across the lake from a south westerly direction and I am comforted by the very noises that are made by the birds and by the occasional boys swimming in the lake below me.  I am some fifty yards from the water and I can hear the water lapping against the shore.  The trees are very tall and the pines that circle the property were placed exactly where they were placed by Ray who loved this piece of land and tented here while building what would become my summer house, or my retirement home, after it being his for some forty years.

How lucky am I?  What great fortune and perseverance that I must have had to hold on to this dream that was my mother’s dream before it became mine–to live in the woods in a cabin near a lake where she, or i would never have to be bothered by neighbors and other wrecks of nature.  The sun is hanging at a 45 degree angle at the moment and the shimmer that it is causing against the lake reflects on the leaves of the tall oaks and maples that surround the lake.  Everything is a glow, the sounds are mellow and even the voices of children in the distance seem to mingle with the breeze to create a windsong.

Windsong is the name of this chalet cottage and the more we settle into the sacredness of this piece of land the more we are content with the name that the folks who built it gave to it some nearly forty years ago.  Thanks Mom for lending me your dream.  Your longings which not often materialized taught me something about how to ask the universe to provide for the comforts and the serenities that I so need to live a sacred life myself.  I give myself to my longings.  I allow my dreams and my wishes to be present, not to be out there in the then and there.  i ask for what I want in the here and now.

It sounds like a cliche and maybe it is for all I know.  But this I can say with certainty:  I have scarcely ever given my self to a dream that did not come true.  I mean that.  When I allow my wished to be present in the moment, I seem to be intent on having the moment create the sensation of contentment and it most often does.

Contrary to the widely money making books on the topics of manifesting, it is not really a Secret at all.  Manifesting is a system of taking your life from exactly where it is in the current moment and saying to yourself with conviction that i want better than this.  I want at least this or better.  I want to move toward that mental system in my head that allows in Joy and Gladness and Serenity so that i can learn to want those things that are in line with who I am.

Thanks Mom…you gave me so, so much to aim for.  I am sorry that you were not around to see it happen, but my life took on all the dimensions that you wished for me.  You manifested your dreams through me and for that I am grateful and i hope to pass on your perseverance to your grandchildren and their grandchildren as well.

I am sorry that the window that you had to look out of was marred by grease and oil and wrecks and beer bottles scattered where a lawn ought to be, but as I think back, I finally know why you always pulled the shade down.  It was not so that they would not look in, it was so that you did not have to look out.  You created your own little paradise just outside the window by the sink, the one that looked out to Mrs. Trottier’s yard and the little Night Owl cabin that Dad built.

I guess what I am really sorry about is that i never got to know when you were happy and as such, I always thought you were not and that so angered me.  I still have that tendency with your grandkids.  If I think they are unhappy, I seem to become unhappy over that.  I need to get over that one sooner that you were able to.

I want my kids to know that I love my life, love them and want them to have their dreams soaring as high as eagles soar, and i want them to be able to dive down into the darkness of the sea and swim back to the top with a fish in their talons.  i want them to improve on your dream and make it theirs like I made yours into mine.  I gotta go, Ma—the Canadian Geese are hawking and the evening song of the birds is beginning to draw my attention to watch the nightly sunset over the lake.  You would have loved it here.  Thanks, again, Love, Jr.

Oh, for Crying-out Loud….

Locked in a Jam-jar the world did not look any different, it is just that I could not touch it.

So, I am told that I have a right to write.  I am beginning to believe that and as much as I am concerned from time to time about the bitting critical voice the my ego spits and spins out at me, I am beginning to recognize that the voice of the super egoic position is a very old voice and the criticisms that blare out of the radio broadcast are radio waves from the early 1950’s that have gotten lost in the atmosphere and are only now breaking through the membrane of early thought and producing very old messages that have little to do with my writing life in the year 2010.

I love to write.  It is not an exercise for me to sit with pen in hand or mac lap-top on my knees and to jabber out words that i hear being dictated to me from my mind.  What a terrific use for this egoic mind that never stops spinning anyway.  Finally it has a useful job, one that does not involve tearing me to pieces each time i want to do something for myself that is new and creative.  It use to be that I hated learning anything new.  I thought–or my ego delivered to me these thoughts that suggested I need to know what I am doing before I begin to do it.

Well, that just does not work for me.  As soon as i start to spend time telling myself what I need to do, and how I ought to begin and what plan I should have before continuing–i am fried.  By then I have lost all hopeful possibilities and I am left with a sagging resentment that I am not enough–never was, never will be.

It reminds me of a thought that my mother imprinted on us while we were growing up.  I am not sure what it meant to her or how she came to believe it in such a deep way, but she would often say, “you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you will never have one.”  At first, I must confess that I looked at that phrase quite literally and was rather pleased that I did not have a spoon sticking out of my mouth.  I was awkward enough as a twittering and twitching and tourettting young boy that i don’t think I would have made it if as well as looking like a freak, I had a spoon sticking out of my mouth–silver or otherwise.

But, as I grew to accept myself in the world, this idea that i came from nothing and would never have anything felt like a statement that I had to rebel against with all my might.  Starting with the discovery of myself at age 21, I behaved very poorly in relation to my mother’s ideas.  I began to see her as the evil, unsophisticated woman that would rob me of potential if I let her. I decided not to let her and my life worked itself around the defiance matrix, essentially groping after everything that i should not grope after and placing my self on the other side of what ever authority had to say to me.

Some years ago I coined the phrase,”I so much hated authority that I would not ever listen to myself.”

I grew instantly tired of the jar that I was living in.  I grew instantly tired of being good and doing the right thing and especially of being appropriate.  I governed myself accordingly.  I was a nasty and resentful young man.  And, as much as i was able to, I would  put on a face to meet the faces in my world;  I had an interior that was in complete disarray, an interior that was chaotic and quixotic all at once. As an egoic position it served me well.  I was overcompensating, I was grandiose, I was manic, drank too much and smoked dope to ward off the awful sensation that I was not born with enough and that I would never be enough.

The value of inadequacy and insecurity in my life was not measured in dollars or sense.  It was measured by the degree to which I had a lonely heart.  I found myself very able to perform in the world, but the performance in the world never translated into a feeling of well-being or self-confidence.  My position in the world was hung on to like a cat would hang onto a ledge.  Without the help of my back legs all that I had was the strength in my arms to hold myself up, but every minute of my life was situated on the edge of disaster.  All my psychic energy went into holding on for dear life.

With that as the paradigm, it was no wonder that I had so little time for creativity and spiritual matters.  I looked at life from the edge of doom.  At any moment I could lose what little advantage that I had and the fall from the precipice  to my death was only inches from my seemingly successful life.

It was not a game.  It was all that I knew.  My belief in myself was manufactured and about as stable as the paper that the degree was printed on.  I was only as good as I was being told I was and that was based on the phony side of me that I presented to the world.  I was a crying out-loud to be loved, while not knowing if I had the capacity to love in return.  What I had to show that I was capable was a piece of linen paper–not even parchment that said I was a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychoanalysis.  This is who I was.  The paper told me that, and it was about as authoritative a doctrine as was the earlier one about the silver spoon.

In order to give myself an Oprah-like make over, I would have to start from scratch and go searching through the chaos that was my mind and I would have to locate somewhere in there a place where stillness and calmness were the first order of the day.  My mania and my depression both would have to take a back seat to the other phrase that blared out of my mother’s kitchen on a small wooden plaque…”Ask What Ye Will & it Shall Be Done………”

another take on “exit from narcissism”

To exit from narcissism one must first decide that narcissism is not a noun, it is a verb.  For far too long we have treated narcissism as a location in our psyche, a place to go; but it is far more of an active energy than it is a location.  The status quo sensation of being stuck in a narcissistic condition gives us the idea that we are stuck in a location within, a subjective place inside that we go to, similar to the place we go to when we regress.

But a far more useful idea is the notion that narcissism is a type of energy that is utilized in a fashion, than say, is different from neurotic energy, or different from depressive or anxious energy.  Narcissistic energy is a form of energy that is pre-conditioned to focus on the subjective rather that the objective aspects of life.  It is a fine tool for a psychoanalyst or a counselor to have because it assists one in discovering the more underlying causes of behavior. However, when a person becomes stuck or habituated to recording all aspects of internal psychic thought, one can become insane over the strength of the voice that this narcissistic ego can have.  It is like a a small boy or a young girl growing up and still listening to everything and every feeling and every opinion of the parent.  In time it drowns out the possibility for the individual to have a say in his or her own life.

The narcissistic condition is one in which the parenting ego has never taken its proper place in the the psychic system. As a result, that individual has no control over his thoughts; rather the thoughts that he is having control him.  The shift from a noun to a verb is a simplistic manner of looking at what we actually mean to look at when we are searching for an exit from narcissism.

What we want to be searching for is an activity that pulls us away from the focus on our subjective self and to reposition that focus on something of an object outside the self.  The exit from narcissism is activated through spiritual and creative endeavors that require the individual to look outside the self for an interest on which to place one’s attention.

This is not to be confused with knowing ones self.  The knowledge that we know who we are by having studied our subjective selves is a very different process from being stuck in some condition where all that matters is what we think, know or feel at any given moment.  The knowledge that we think is different that being obsessed with out thoughts..

milky white with a slight blue-hue

a cool, grey morning

milky white with a slight blue hue.

the lake does not beckon like

a wood fire might.

it is a great day for a nap,

a sojourn to a mindful place

on the way to a blissful sleep,

almost a parallel for

life itself.

the greens are still green

but against the distant shore,

from here, they are black.

a sharp  line  divides

the slight-blue-hue from

the milk-white sky

by the water’s edge…

the whole scene is recreated

in the reflection.

dazes like this generate a longing

mixed with a nostalgia, a remembering

of my dog, fur-headed, velvet-eared,

rubber-nosed creature that loved

to spend these lazy daze with me,

at home, wrapped in a blanket of

thought leading to pencil sketched

worlds of water-colored memories.

she is still here, though I can not

touch her fur, I can still smell her

wet paws as she muddies her way

to nuzzle her nose in my lap.

milky, watered eyes blur the

light outside my window.  She

is the stillness, now.

you do not have to have a grand house to have a full heart

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.  thomas jefferson

Do you think differently when you are there?  That was one of the questions that Tom Ashbrook asked of his guest. His show today was about the summer shack, the summer cabin and the memories or the dreams and desires that it enveloped. It prompted many of my own visions past and current.

As I sit on my porch, rocking and listening to the radio, i can not help but feel  connected to the earth and sky around me.  The lake is a muted rosy red, the trees across the lake are covered in a light fog and are bluish. Then a band of purplish clouds blends into the sky that is the same rose color as the lake.  The radio show ends with a quote from one of the guest on the show.  “You do not have to have a grand house to have a full heart.”

I can recall a summer, it might have been 1952 or 1953.  My Dad worked in the textile mills and the only vacation he got was when the mill closed down for the 4th of July.  We drove to the White Mountains and that must have been the start of my love affair with small cabins and cottages and get-aways of all sorts.  I remember that there were six or eight small cabins.  It could not have been more that a 12 X 14 shack with a little flower box under the window and several summer chairs in front of the cabin and a few picnic tables on the grounds.  I met a little boy my age and we played.  I know that there was a metal sand sifter involved and maybe a few toy trucks.

My Grandmother watched over us while we played.  She might have been reading a book, but i am not really sure of that.  What I am sure of is the feeling of pure joy, the feeling of everything being right with the world because everyone was so happy.  The red Coca-Cola cooler  had a handle that came over the top and snapped the lid shut.  There was an aluminum meat and cheese keeping tray and the ice and the sodas and the milk were under the tray.

We ate cold foods, like meats and sandwiches and fruit and cookies and I don’t think we stayed very many nights.  I can see the cabin and my grandmother as clearly as if it were yesterday.  My mother loved small cabins and always said she wished she had had a shack in the woods rather that the cape that my father bought for us to live in in 1950. It must have registered with Dad because he and my uncles built a screen cabin in the back yard that year.

The cabin had a name. The Night Owl, is what Dad stenciled above the old wooden screen door that slammed shut with one of those spring latches that was so loud you could hear it clear into the church parking lot. The studding came from the mill.  It was oiled soaked studs that must have been used to crate heavy machinery.  My God, were they smelly. I bet sixty years later and they are still smelly and standing.  Nothing but a fire could have destroyed them.  The roof was covered in asphalt tiles and it was painted the same green color as the house.  Dad ran an electric wire from the cellar to the cabin so we could have a radio in the little shack.  Later he dug a trench and properly wired it, and in time he put an old television in there and we spent our summer nights in the back yard, my mother pretending we were away on vacation.

Earlier this evening when I was listening to the radio show about summer shacks and the romance of a cabin in the woods, on a lake or near a river, i mused at the fact that I had one.  I got my mother’s dream and I have  her cabin in the woods.  And, though it took a whole generation to manifest it–i know she would have loved it here.

Do you think differently when you are there?  That was one of the questions that Tom Ashbrook, the host of the radio show, asked of his guest.

I don’t think with the same part of my mind when I am in my cottage.   I think the feeling of safety comes from being so close to nature.  The little dirt road, the no street lights, the sound of the water lapping the shore and the song birds in early morning and the peepers at night.  They all converge on my senses and give me the feeling that I have all that I need.  I am not so intruded upon by my narcissistic ego when I am here.  The continuum of consciousness is not separated as it is when I am needing to use my egoic mind to solve problems.  When I am home the cabin envelopes me. It is a womb like room with so few unnatural sounds that I think there is not much more than what is here to be wanted from he universe.

How am I different when I am at the cabin?  In a word, I am satisfied.

I have an ego that can rape me with its envy.  I can be torn apart over feelings of lack–but when it is night time and the darkness covers everything in sight and the breeze rustles through the leaves and the lake water sends a cooling smell into the house, i am one with the heavens.  When I get to the country after being in town for a few days, my soul sings and my mind stops needing more.  Even the sun sets more blazingly here at the lake.


chapter one: now

let’s us go then you and i when the night is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table.  let us go now into the moment that is here & now.  let us look upon the great and small things of the universe and spell out for all to see what it is that you are craving.

do you know?  can you say with any certainty that you have an idea of what you want?  i am not able to, yet!  i am not able to shut off the egoic idea that is my person and know what it is that i am wanting in the moment.  mostly when i try to shut down my mind i find a desire to be young and handsome and able to be sexually attractive to who ever i am fantasizing about.  i think that if i were to have the prowess that i would never need another thing.  i am like eve in the garden who believed that if she could have what was the forbidden fruit than she would possess everything that she needed to be a god herself; but even god was bored and needed to create man in order to appease his wandering restless mind.

do we believe that we are created in the image and likeness of god?  does that not make us god.  I AM!

i think of what i want at this moment and i can see that i want my mind to stop and that i would like to rest, very much the way god did on the seventy day.  i would like to put my head against a pillow and feel completely satisfied.

i can not remember the last time that that happened.  i can not remember the last time that i felt at-one-ment with the world and with myself and with my god.  it may never have happened more that a very few times in my entire life.  it may never have happened at all.

but if it did it involved a very handsome man and a very passionate experience and a totally exhausting bout of sexual pleasure followed by a deep restful sleep undisturbed by dreams or desires.

what is this place in the human heart where there is a moment of perfection.  the place is not a location, rather it is a time.  it is time and not space that orients one to the now experience.  if you are to follow yourself into a moment of joy you must abandon the idea of space and of things and instead enter the idea of timelessness.

timelessness is the key to entering the moment.  the moment is not defined by parameters, the moment is the totality of consciousness and as such it is not a location.  it is everything, it is oneness with all that is–with sound and sight and smell and sensations inside and outside of the body.  the moment of now is eternal–timeless and can only be accessed by abandoning all that up til now we have thought to be important…

time, not space is my world

it has become morning once more…i wonder how it would help or hinder if i knew exactly how many more mornings that i have in my reserve.  i might not want to know.  on the other hand would it help me to not waste moments as if i were a time tycoon and from that position of time-wealth, i had nothing to ever worry about & as much of what i wanted was here and now and that here and now would last forever.

i look for answers outside of myself for hints that might bring me closer to understanding the mysteries of life.  perhaps it is the up-bringing that set me on this path to wanting knowledge about the universe.  certainly, as a boy i was fascinated with meta-knowledge.  i looked for answers inside of me when i had the eucharist in my mouth.  I prayed a pious prayer, squeezing my mind for answers thinking that while god was in my mouth i might be able to get glimpses of nirvana.  I would tense my body & “pray hard” as if praying hard was a louder prayer than praying soft.

i knelt in silent adoration–my lord and my god i adore thee, were the words that circled my mind.  i fought back impulses to think and wanted to be blank so that christ would write on my soul the answers to life.  I did not even have formulated questions.  I just prayed hard that i would be chosen to be special–like the virgin was chosen to be his mother, i want to be chosen for something very special.

it did not work–a tleast it has not worked yet.

looking for god outside of me has not worked.  oh, certainly i think i see him in natural beauty, the cove with water lilies growing on the surface of the water, the sky moments after the sun has set and it explodes into a myriad of colors that the human pallet can not conceive.  at those moments I squeuze my mind and tense my body and i look for the sensation that i have swallowed god with my eyes.  but, only a strange, nearly empty stillness exist.  all i am aware of is creation and my small wonderment about it.

it is not a muse, not an inspiration, not even a moment of silent at-one-ment with god; rather it is a small silent sensation that i am in a tiny corner of the cosmos, illuminated at best by the light of the world and small, small, small, in relation to beauty.

i discover like emerson did before me that beauty is is own excuse for being and i turn my back to the moment in time that colored my world with god’s pallet and i walk away, un-enlughtened, but in wonderment.  a moment in time enters my consciousness and i watch myself watching the universe unfold and watching myself unfold with it.  i am at the further most ex-stream of my existence right now. i am embarking on tomorrow as we speak.  i am turning now into yesterday with every nano second that passes.  time, not space is my world.