Let the world go by and you may hope to return to your origins, to the base reality from which you came and to which you will return.
Let the world go by and you may find yourself at peace.
I have sometimes imagined life as an oak tree, in some distant forest untouched by man. Unworked wood. If a tree has consciousness then it must be of a very peaceful sort, unruffled by the tedious concerns of the human world.
My pen friend Keith has repeatedly advised me to let go. To let humanity and it’s 10,000 things trundle along without me.
Somewhere, not so deep down, I have always known that this is necessary. For me at any rate.
It seems advantageous somehow not to think badly of the world and that I think has been a part of the problem for me. On the one hand I look at the world and feel sadness for what happens and how our species is ruining it and themselves. But that is merely kicking against the pricks. As they say in Acts. And so I feel better in my soul when I simply view man’s busyness from afar and step aside.
Certainly anger at the world is corrosive and part of letting go must be to drop any anger for the way things are. And any ambition to change that state. Nice as it would be, it is not going to happen. Not now, perhaps not ever and to fret about it is both useless and damaging.
Let’s face it violence, poverty and disease are facts of life. Perhaps busy and dedicated people more interested in the world, more determined to be an active part of it, may save us from its evils eventually. I hope so. But I can not join their works.
I think almost from the very earliest stages of my life I was uncomfortable with “the world”. Not with the physical world and nature, with its soothing fractal beauty, but the world of busyness, business and human concerns.
As a child I was all about art, drawing, woodwork. And science – which sadly I never followed beyond my early education. Oddly enough acting and singing formed an important part of my prep school years. Not so odd perhaps if one views these as part of a general love of art and music, poetry and prose. Actually I never followed any of these things again until much more recently.
Looking back, I was always seeking something in these activities very far removed from the world I ended up in as an adult.
I feel no need to let go of beauty. I feel no need to stop singing ethereal music. I feel no need to stop reading poetry, sacred or otherwise. I must take up woodwork again and I am passionate about my garden.
The key to not letting even such beauty distract you and bog you down is to develop an unattached appreciation of it and participation in it.
I refuse to let Purcell worry me and if I will never be anywhere close to the standard of the young bass who sings with us for encouragement, then so be it. That he sings with Genesis Sixteen is something to celebrate, not get busy up about. Enjoy it without attachment. Enjoy all things without attachment.
That I get unspeakable joy from a Gothic cathedral is not something I feel any need to let go of or to stop enjoying. But quiet acceptance and an unattached enjoyment do me far more good than any academic study or deep involvement with the people who inhabit it.
I feel no need to let go of art, and if I am inspired by Rembrandt’s Belshazzar’s feast or Vermeer then that is not something I need to drop. As long as such beauty is seen from a detached and un-obsessive point of view.
If I want to take up woodwork again, then it will be for pure pleasure. A pleasant way of spending the odd hour. But I refuse to get attached to any one aspect of the life I am leading. Even my hobbies I can let go by and not attach too great an importance to them.
I have perhaps overcome obsession by now. Or maybe more accurately I am learning to give it up. To let such joys come and go, to notice and enjoy things but not to become fixated or bound by them.
Today was a day for letting go. I threw off the customary black lens and put on a kinder hue. I did nothing on the train journey from the dark satanic mills of 21st Century London down to our little cottage by the sea. I emptied my mind, closed my eyes. Stared out of the window from time to time and munched a sandwich. I lived, I existed and let go. There was one of those glorious moments of pure peace along the way. Although it was more than a moment and lasts still.
As night follows day, so my mood will undoubtedly change, if not tomorrow then next week or month or year. Nothing stays the same, let alone something so fragile and ephemeral as mood. I will doubtless find myself once again wearing the black spectacles. Or perhaps not, who knows.
But these moods too must be let pass. And they will. As will everything in this temporal world. As my friend in Canada said, enjoy this life while it lasts. It is too short to waste on worldly matters.