So, like a rising tide of awareness unlearnt I am becoming aware. But it’s driven up from an internal and external consciousness. That liminal gap or finite and infinite place of refining and evolving.
It’s untapped by most and it is unplumbable. Its depth is Infinite.
Today in the bath I simply became aware of the water. (Well of course.. you say.. you’re in a bath).. Yes but it wasn’t the water it was the consciousness of water. Again linking to many aspects and associations. Like synapses but new neuro-linguistic paths not yet travelled. Sliding down new myelin cells and plunging into the acetylcholine ready for the action potential effect of new thoughts.
I placed my hands together much like a beggar places his hands in the hope of change.. food… money ..kindness.. love. Filled them full of water and watched it slowly leak out no matter how hard you press your hands into one another there was a space.. a path of least awareness..
I was thinking that this represents something, then I was given an answer. A gift of coming to know. If we consider the hands placed tight together as our capacity for thought. Then the water is the consciousness. I feel that as a child you are present and aware. Then the awareness passes through the hands. A path of least resistance.. pain.. sadness.. school.. love… family…. jobs…. commitments, anxieties, loss, grief and fears. The list of coming to know the social norms.
That consciousness lost…..we then have a compulsion to fill that space with material, experiential, sensual, hedonistic feelings. Unaware of what exists right on the tip of your hooter.
Unable to adjust to the humour of this loss. To the love available to us through silent contemplation and unlearning. We chose to live with the pain and trauma of the past, making it a lens to view our future. We become the past we are told to by ourselves and others. A chip off the old block.
Are you lost yet?… yes (sorry) keep reading and fingers crossed.. no!! Well done as the next bit is very alternative even for me and my world of mud skipping, black dogs, Weddell seals and the butterfly flame.
For those who know me I have the hatter’s hat on top of my head and I am calling people to the table for more tea. But not to settle as we need to move along….
So the evolution of the true self through unlearning is captured beautifully by Eckhart Tolle when he describes his discomfort of living ‘with his self’. In a state of anxious depression he realises the comedy within. Who is the self he cannot live with? At that point the water within the soul freezes cracking the immovable sense of past and future selves. Left are fragments of truths told, but within a present state.
Goethe captures it so wonderfully.
I was sitting with a friend this week at a social distance in a small woodland clearing and we were talking about the lessons of lockdown. I was trying to explain this added value of present thinking to him but the words were not jumbling out quite right. So I used an example of social objective truths. I picked up a small stick and explained that within this forest that was the possible (unproven but felt) conscious space. We chose to hold on to a small dead stick as our objective truth as it is something we can touch and see and essentially keep for ourselves.
That idea of the present being infinite is the bridge that I am beckoning people over as in my mind the poetry, the symposium and the community of the butterfly flame is very much a present unlearned space. My aspirations in my research around inclusion, awareness and SEN trauma is also very much an unlearning.
What is this drive to unlearn? What do I mean by unlearning? As an educator and father to beautifully creative boys. This lockdown has done a few things. Firstly I have had to find a new normal in a state of flux and chaos. I managed this with the help of my wife, my boys, a supportive manager, colleagues and Carol Dwecks superpower of ‘yet’.
Neither of my boys have had negative experiences as the process of education is for some a passage of passive time and interaction. Knowing through repetition and gathering of facts like a race to proficiency. But truly knowing what?
They just seem to have come alive with conversation. The smiles and laughter are real. The interactions and interests are exploding like a massive catalyst tsunami. Yes there have been changes and they have us interacting and affirming them regularly but it feels bigger than that….. Almost every day I hear a new statement from my oldest boy that is healed. It’s taken 5 weeks of unlearning…..
‘What I have learnt today is that when you’re in the wrong place of mind or you are told you can’t do something forgive them and prove them wrong by doing it’
‘The growth mind-set kit is making me feel like I am going to be the one on top not the little person I am somebody that I feel like I am a good person and that I can do a lot of things and become anything’.
He then likens it to the family song by Ben Howard ‘keep your head up keep your heart strong’
I am not alone I know other SEN educators and parents have noticed huge changes in their child’s behavioural and engagements with learning. No behaviour that is perceived as challenging to the space of learning….or needs referring, segregating or limiting the educational experience.
So what is unlearning… sadly it’s not a communicable for me. It’s partly a time spent with self in a contemplative space. I could describe Martin Lairds three doors. Or Buddhist theories and beliefs around actions before and after enlightenment. I could quote aspects of Hesse and the meaning of the river. We could jump into the non-duality ideas of darkness and voids of knowing. The clouds of unknowing and other texts offering a monastic view of our social truths.
The punk group ‘Slaves’ explain it all perfectly for me … in their most recent album..
I had this teacher once tell me there was no such thing as hate. Just acts of fear and love. I said that's a bold statement to make. She said think about it. And went on to explain. With every word that was spoken. The clearer it all became. I was looking out the window. I was watching the colours change.... it's funny how you forget things...
I will welcome you to think about your internalised sense of the true self by asking that you read this Haiku then sit in silence.
Light beam of pure knowledge, Yes, you can see the refracted colours, But the prism is mine.
(What does your prism look like?)
Like this Raccoon who is demonstrating the philosophical impermanence theory by trying to wash his new objective reality… enjoy the art of creative play.
Poetry, art, music, performance the greatest methods to navigate the confusion or embarrassment of the human condition.
Philosophy of impermanence must be the PhD idea, or maybe the name of the gallery exhibit.