Non attachment expresses itself as an unwillingness to attempt to keep my life secure and within the bounds of social acceptably. The ‘person’ with which I once identified finds non attachment uncomfortable and dangerous and would attempt to set limits on letting go. That ‘person’ is angry and distressed I continue to visit my former home and use it as my work studio, because doing so appears puts my former housemates at risk from the wrath of their landlord. I have felt nauseous every time I rang them and asked if they would let me in so that I could access my Hermetica materials, which remain there, as I have no other place to put them. To continue going back there seemed the very opposite of non-attachment: surely it would be best just to let go of all the materials and plants I’ve collected and walk away, especially if to be with them made me feel deeply anxious and was putting my former housemates at risk of eviction? Am I not being materialistic by not letting go? It seems like a case of the things I own, owning me.
On the mind/body level it appears I made myself intentionally homeless and it was an act of selfishness. It would now seem I am reliant on people who care about me to provide me with shelter and a space to produce my work, which looks like the opposite of more freedom. As strange as it might sound, the consequence of non attachment lead to decisions resulting in homelessness, but the situation has given me the opportunity to share of myself at a much deeper level that would be possible if I tried to protect my interests. I actually have more to give by not having a home.
I am free of concerns about having a home and so I am aware of a sense of humble gratitude for my Self. Being without ‘my’ home or workspace has enriched me by freeing me to give without restriction. It is impossible to hold back on giving, because I have no longer a concept of exclusion, or a private space to constrain or stop my giving. The fact that I am able to continually give is evidence enough I am free of problems. By giving, I mean I am not closed off and I am in a state of reciprocal exchange. Giving simply means not to withhold or restrict. I know the world changes from grabbing to giving, because I change. In the deeper sense, this is all I want from life: to make the world better and this is the only way it can truly happen. It is why I am so happy: my goal is being fulfilled.
I am homeless, but it hasn’t been necessary for me to sleep rough, yet it matters not to me if my friends give me shelter and protection, but it matters to them. Because I am at peace, I do not interfere with their processing of personal boundaries and decisions about how much risk they want to take and how much help they want to give. They are free to set their limits as they wish. I have none on myself and I place none on them. They are free because I am free. I do not decide for them what is appropriate in this situation, as it would be to assume an authority I do not possess. I ask for shelter because why not? To not ask is to impose my ideas of imposition. How can I decide for them what is appropriate and what is not?
I would like them to be aware of the power of their freedom so that they might know the same joy and gratitude that I know, but their willingness to know their freedom can only come from them. To impose freedom on others is oxymoronic. I can give freedom only to myself, which I do every day of my life. This is the only way I can truly free those I love. I give myself total freedom because I love them.
I continue with my projects for Hermetica London. Ken Marten the person wants to make terrariums and work with plants. Yet Ken Marten is also me, in a state of grace beyond the material world. There is no distinction, gap, or conflict of interest. To restrict Ken Marten from what he wants to do is to divide myself into two and create opposition. ‘Thy will be done’, because there is no other will and there is nothing else beyond or separated from it. There is no division between me and the Divine. What I want is what God wants, so why would I oppose myself or God? This would be impossible anyway, except as a concept that would seem real to myself alone, yet have no true validity.
From Nisargadatta Marharaj ‘I Am That’:
Q: There are people whom I love. Must I give them up?
M: You only let go your hold on them. The rest is up to them. They may lose interest in you, or may not.
Q: How could they? Are they not my own?
M: They are your body’s, not your own. Or, better, there is none who is not your own.
Q: And what about my possessions?
M: When the ‘mine’ is no more, where are your possessions?
Q: Please tell me, must I lose all by losing the ‘I’?
M: You may or you may not. It will be all the same to you. Your loss will be somebody’s gain. You will not mind.
Q: If I do not mind, I shall lose all!
M: Once you have nothing you have no problems.
Q: I am left with the problem of survival.
M: It is the body’s problem and it will solve it by eating, drinking and sleeping. There is enough for all, provided all share.
Q: Our society is based on grabbing, not on sharing.
M: By sharing you will change it.
Q: I do not feel like sharing. Anyhow, I am being taxed out of my possessions.
M: This is not the same as voluntary sharing. Society will not change by compulsion. It requires a change of heart. Understand that nothing is your own, that all belongs to all. Then only society will change.
Q: One man’s understanding will not take the world far.
M: The world in which you live will be affected deeply. it will be a healthy and happy world, which
will radiate and communicate, increase and spread. The power of a true heart is immense.
I have been homeless for just over a week now, staying with friends. I attempted to smooth things over with Camelot Europe, but to know avail. My possessions remain at my former home, along with all my ‘Hermetica London’ materials. I don’t know how long they will remain there and I don’t know what to do with them next. I realised my concern was causing me pain and it would serve me better to let go and accept the situation by remaining in the present moment, rather than speculating on what would happen next. I experienced the return of peace when I let go.
Did a lot of walking today and I am now in a cafe in a Forest Hill. On the cafe wall I saw the following sign “If you endeavour, fate will favour you”. Last night I continued reading Nisargadatta Maharaj, ‘I Am That’. Earlier in the book he explained he did not need the body to communicate, but the person he was with needed it. I needed only to experience him through a book, but he was very present and answered my question as if we were together in the flesh. From the book:
M: You can have all the emotions you want, but beware of reactions, of induced emotions. Be entirely self-determined and ruled from within, not from without. Merely giving up a thing to secure a better one is not true relinquishment. Give it up because you see its valuelessness. As you keep on giving up, you will find that you grow spontaneously in intelligence and power and inexhaustible love and joy. Q: Why so much insistence on relinquishing all desires and fears? Are they not natural? M: They are not. They are entirely mind-made. You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You imagine that your possessions protect you. In reality they make you vulnerable. realise yourself as away from all that can be pointed at as ‘this’ or ‘that’. You are unreachable by any sensory experience or verbal construction. Turn away from them. Refuse to impersonate.
Terrarium making on the run - the show must go on!
After being evicted from my home yesterday and seeing my possessions thrown on the street and then rained on, I was quite exhausted by the time my homeless partner and I arrived at his friends house late last night.
After a slightly uncomfortable sleep, I woken up with a new perspective this morning. I would imagine that everyone experiences a curve ball or two in their lives, forcing them to change direction, no matter how well they plan and try to protect themselves from life’s uncertainty, but I seem to chase after them.
I am attempting to live from the heart, to see no distinction between my needs and the needs of others in a world that seems to be governed by self interest, not because people are evil, but because they are terribly afraid. The idea that people are somehow helplessly out for themselves is a very strong belief to challenge. I sometimes see my choice to attempt altruistic living as an act of insanity, after all, who wouldn’t instinctively want to protect themselves from risk of homelessness or worse, even if meant others had to suffer, if only indirectly or in a future generation? Isn’t life cruel by forcing us to make such choices, which is why all tolerate things we know are wrong?
I have always lived from the heart, but a sense of guilt used to wreak havoc each time my life seemed to be in peril. Not this time! I feel very different today to how I felt when I posted yesterday. I owe this feeling of hope and happiness to my housemates and ironically one person from Camelot, who have put my needs before theirs, as I will explain shortly, thus challenging my perception of a cruel and selfish world.
If you have followed my work I would hope it was obvious that I dearly love what I do. Yet I have always been prepared to lose everything I’ve built up if I believed holding on to it would be the cause of suffering in others. It is a simple fact that we will not survive our material life, that we will lose it all eventually. Accepting this and letting go now is liberation from suffering and from inflicting suffering on others. Acting from love can be perceived as dangerous and threatening by those who know no better, which is why I am in this situation now: I refused to pay rent for a building that was not wanted. In doing so, I challenged one of my deepest and most materialistic beliefs, that I cannot live without taking care of money before everything else. How can something made up, that has no heart or feelings keep me safe? No wonder it seems like people are terrified and do cruel things if they depend on something that cannot really protect them. Maybe that just describes my beliefs.
How could I have any hard feelings towards those who feel I am putting their livelihood at risk by my choices? I know how hard it is to escape the ‘sorry, it’s me or you’ mindset, because I have struggled with this all my life. Yet in the midst of yesterday’s horrors, I experience some of that altruism from others. My housemates risked eviction by allowing me in the building when they were told they would be punished for doing so. Once everything was getting rained on and I was soaking wet, the Camelot employee supervising my eviction allowed me back in the building and ignored me taking my possessions under cover. He told me he could lose his job by allowing me to do this.
Hermetica London is a bittersweet love. I put everything I am in what I do, because I know it will not last. Why not give it my all, every moment? The opportunity to give everything we have presents itself only once: in this moment and then it is gone forever. I cannot wait until I feel safe and secure before I decide to do something truly honest, because I will only be safe when I have escaped life itself. The material world exists as an opportunity to give of ourselves everything we possibly can, and by that giving, know who and what we are: that we are ourselves the universe and everything that exists in it. How wonderful is that? Grab the chance while you can, because everything you will ever experience is just the merest fleeting flicker in the vast infinity of Love and the only opportunity you will get to know that you are that Love.
Plums from the Garden
When I identify myself with the body, my existence becomes an anxious concern to preserve the corruptible. Yet within the flesh, overlooked and discarded, the potential of the seed represents a continuous truth that is my essential nature. If I give the body no preoccupation, it will take care of itself. I concern myself with the unpalatable heart of my nature, the part that does not satisfy immediate needs or pleasures. I cannot know my true nature without giving attention and effort to the undesirable. If I nurture this and it will sustain both myself and others. You will know myself with certainty beyond the fleeting. My experience will be not just the temporary flesh of the fruit, but also the roots, the branches and the leaves. I will be aware that I bear more fruit than I will ever need. I will enjoy the temporary sweetness of the flesh unmarred by the bitterness of regret at its ending.
Broken Pear Tree Branch
It is enough to know that there is suffering, that the world suffers. By themselves neither pleasure nor pain enlighten. Only understanding does. Once you have grasped the truth that the world is full of suffering, that to be born is a calamity, you will find the urge and the energy to go beyond it. Pleasure puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you do not want to suffer, don’t go to sleep. You cannot know yourself through bliss alone, for bliss is your very nature. You must face the opposite, what you are not, to find enlightenment.
Sri Nisargadatta Marharaj - I Am That