I began this review of 2019 with the impression that my resolution from last year had not lasted long. The more I reflected, however, the more I saw that its thread ran through the whole year. Let go. Be empty. That had been the commitment. The reason I couldn’t see it was because my original focus lay too deeply in the extreme of that idea; in the ultimate, spiritual conclusion of emptiness and non-attachment. Lofty goals indeed, and needlessly ambitious because, firstly, I’m far from ready for such a state. And secondly, if it happens at all, it comes through doing the small stuff daily.
The year began industriously, with the Nine Tiles and the numerous videos we were making. That creativity came to an abrupt end in an early example of letting go, outlined in ‘Always Know That You Always Know’. What happened afterwards ensured that the year ended industriously too. Opportunities started appearing immediately, and in the ensuing months I found myself busy with various projects. It turned out to be the most productive period with the highest quality work I’ve ever done.
Simply by letting go of whatever does not feel right, we create the space for the right things to happen. There’s an old post from 2012 which explains this phenomenon in more detail. There were still deep anxieties along the way, and an unavoidable discussion about whether I was even suited to such a profession if it meant sleepless nights and worry. But when I worked, I shone.
Relevantly, whenever confusion or concern reigned regarding what to do or how best to go about things, the one thing that calmed me was the conviction that all I can do is what I believe to be the right thing. Rather than second-guess what needs to be done or what people might want, offer what I have to give and then at least I can be true to myself.
In the middle of the year there was another letting go. In reading Jeff Brown’s Grounded Spirituality, I was challenged to step back from that extreme version of emptiness, along with the spiritual associations which supported it. A friend’s suicide was the tragic catalyst for the decisive step. It was accompanied by a clear message which, together with a personal experience, pointed to the trauma we all carry with us. That shift ushered in a greater realisation of our suffering, and how we can heal ourselves. (By the end of the year that view of healing had expanded to include the entire world.) This particular, far-reaching development is summarised in the bookend posts:
There followed some healing insights from a Qi Gong workshop and a connection with Nature which hinted at another shift on the horizon. That eventually came at the end of November when I discovered the work of Charles Eisenstein. As I wrote in these two posts:
there needs to be a letting go of the old story in order to allow the new one in. (Actually, as with the Nine Tiles example above, the shift is inevitable because of the discomfort the old story is causing.) One element of this, which is connected to my own healing, is the embracing of whatever it is I have to say, regardless of what others may think. Another, as I mentioned earlier, is doing what I believe to be the right thing.
Both are prominent in the final posts of the year, which together form probably the most personal, certainly the most intense, and potentially the most healing piece I have ever written. Inspired by a heartbreaking poem written by my father, I am taken back to my childhood to explore more deeply the pain I felt, emerging from the experience with deep insight about how healing it can be to connect across space and time.
If last year was about letting go and the emptiness which accompanies it, this year has brought the focus onto healing. It is a subject which Karaj held very dear to his heart. It found expression in his work with a core group of people at the start of 2002.
Reading back over anything I have written in the past, it can be easy to think I’m not getting anywhere. But it is characteristic of this work that we continue to circle around the fundamentals, increasing our awareness each time, growing, discovering, and experiencing more deeply the subtleties of existence.
Awareness and intention are powerful forces, and although we are prone to distraction and forgetting, they set things in motion which continue to work behind the scenes for our benefit. As this review has shown, last year’s intention to let go has been more present than I realised. And the more we let go and step into the unknown, the more we open ourselves to the splendour of love and life – two creative, restorative energies which show us the way when we allow them, and which are instrumental in our healing.