Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIARY 120 ~ Everything Is Waiting

I've been at Rivendell Retreat Centre,on a weeks meditation retreat entitled Everything Is Waiting. So I've been practising being aware of my body, my breath and sense of place in the world. My mood prior to going was very up and down, feeling quite dissatisfied and somewhat insecure. I didn't fancy leaving secure familiar surroundings and heading off to spend time awkwardly with who knows what. Much of the week I did emotionally oscillate between engagement and an incipient desire to leave. At root of all this was fear. Whenever I feel threatened or frightened, consciously or unconsciously, just feeling out of my depth, stupid, or inadequate there is a desire to outright rejection or summarily dismiss the cause of it. Its an old self justification preserving self-dignity reaction.

The retreat turned out to be challenging, but not in any overtly confrontational way. It subtly stirred the pot and some deeper disquiet in the dregs at the bottom. I had two quite vivid disturbing dreams. In one I was with a couple of other hapless friends, and we had some sort of valuable treasures that we kept in a cardboard box. We were constantly trying to outwit three cowboy gangster types, in greatcoats and wide brimmed hats, who would outsmart us and find us wherever we were. Usually with some sort of bloody slow motion shoot out ( think Tarantino ). It felt violent without actually showing much. The second dream is less distinct in my memory, but it was set in Diss where I used to live, and the main person in it was someone I used to know there. In the dream they were a dodgy antique trader, who was a unhinged psycho killer on the quiet, so again there was tension, and the potential for violence was more implied than shown.

Apart from any benefit to my meditation practice, a retreat is an opportunity to catch up with myself. To tap into these less noticeable currents, and during the silent periods just be more receptive. My psyche was well churned up. So a bit of reflection was called for. At the beginning of the retreat, I said I was looking forward to just stopping. From the Abbey House Repaint over the Summer onward, its been one creative project after another with a deadline to meet, whether this was an exhibition or a special shrine I was making.  Once I did stop it was as though a flock of tatty pigeons and battered old crows started to land on my veranda and peck at a few crumbs.  Birds can be the bearer of  messages, and don't always require you to call in pest control. So lots of niggles and issues drifted in and out, but how I responded depended on how I view them. Many of mine revolved around what to do next with 'Project Artwork'

Since the exhibition, I'd made the priority getting a functioning artwork website the next thing I needed to do. This effort has stalled over photographing work, which is just not happening. I'm rather reliant on someone else's good will, skill and spare time, who is also rather busy. I could just get the site up and running with poorer quality photography, or decide to take a longer term view and be patient. Any serious attempt to sell my work, or get galleries interested in an exhibition, does rely these days on having a decent website.  It could appear to someone as impatient as I, that everything is waiting on the dratted photography being done, but it is and isn't. It depends on adjusting the width of my perspective and priorities.

I've come to the conclusion that at this stage, that any aim to turn my artwork into a new career is being over ambitious and is really out of sequence. It puts undue pressure on me to keep producing finished work rather than allowing time to creatively explore possibilities. Pushing forward the website or developing my artwork, can.however, compete for the scarce resources of time and energy. I can focus on one or the other, but not both. So my main priority for 2014 is to develop a regular art practice and give that as much time as I can. The website will take however long it takes, but hopefully sometime next year it will be launched.

My tendency is to make too big a deal of things, which ends up putting unhelpful pressure on myself. I then become rather freaked when things become apparently stalled. I start to push harder on a closed door, and how I view the rest of my life becomes infected by all of this. Everything is waiting for this one thing to happen. One of the themes of the retreat was the tendency to push for results in practice, and be led by ambition rather than our experience of reality as it is. Experience then becomes a concept or idea about it, and practice about attaining upward progress only.  Paramananda said near the end of the retreat, that our psyche's don't work or respond according to this sort of  linear thinking. Linear progression is anathema to it, and may even positively repel it. That all concepts of progress, attainments and Enlightenment are fantasies that our ego latches onto, that turn us away from reality. Actually we are fed and grow by repeated exposure to ever deeper levels of attention to the moment we are currently in. Everything depends on the patient quality, receptivity, breadth and focus of ones waiting. Desires, cravings, aims and ambitions are forms of aversion, that effectively turn us away from experiencing experience as it actually is. Everything is waiting, once we turn towards the experience as it is, instead of trying to turn our experience into what we want it to be.

No comments: