Tao, Great Silent Mother Meditations on My Encounters With Self Ananda (Aíne Nevar) April 11, 1986
I. I cannot eat, I cannot sleep, No breath abides within me. I cannot remember my name Or my face Or those around me night and day.
For I am empty As before an embryo Empty Yet becoming full So full of yearning for Her presence.
The earth is in upheaval, the earth sighs a lonely sound, The earth tosses in her dreams.
All the people sleep, But beneath the droning Echoes - Searching faces in the day, Empty shadows of the night - How their souls cry out.
How they long for Her, The great and wonderful Mother! Call her harmony, Silent and serene, O Great Tao, Voiceless murmurs through all voices, Gentle striving in all hearts.
II. I have seen Her All around us, Breathed Her fragrance Rushing through a morning’s meadow.
I have melted, Dissolved my heart and mind Within the Her warm enchantment, Blushing at the sacred vision Of Her tender smiles Upon me.
I have gazed, I have wondered At my own blessing-- That I, so encased in form, Could view with such reverence All her distant beauty-- Laughing, singing through the night, As She danced with flowing starlight, As She wooed with mystic chanting, Calling sweetly all Her children Into perfect Harmony, Into peace and Brotherhood.
III. Precious heart of mystery, Breathes her presence all about me. Tao, so full of power Tao of all Heartbeats' ending throbbing, Symmetry expanding Beauty. Tao unfolding All directions holding All Wrapped within her sacred breast.
Lullaby of Tao All weaving Universe within Without. All that breathes or loves or fights, Every detail of sorrow fading, And our greatest hopes revealing The gentle souls, all One, Embracing together their Eternity.
All All of this world we call life Suspended effortlessly Within Her spinning lullaby And we are guided By the mystic Invisible threads of unity, Woven as the tapestry of Life.
Have you ever circled The staircase of our dreams Into our Father's eye And stood aglow with innocence? Stand Tall For you must now Be my go between This widowed, aged shell And God's delicate woven Time. But never deny, Never deny Never deny My blood that flowed. Stand tall within your Father's eye.
Annie II (Aíne Nevar) June 1972
When we feel that we can no longer hold it all together, when stress, loss, or tragedy appear, those are the times that creativity springs forth in abundance. When we open ourselves up and know how to work with difficult, seemingly chaotic energies, the times of disillusionment and confusion become the most fertile fields of our creativity. If we know how to nourish our imagination and tap into the resources of the unconscious, we garner vast psychological capabilities that give guidance and meaning to our lives, which originate in the passions and fluid playfulness we experienced as children.
Creativity neglects the impervious and unscathed, and lavishly bears witness through the weak and broken, to those who are lost and vulnerable and open to surprise. She has found me many times because, let's be completely honest, I am often disoriented, confused, and choking on an inner chaos that resists definition. These states of cognitive impairment and emotional turmoil are most vivid when there is a psychological-spiritual crisis that is calling me onward in my heroic mythic journey. Always accompanied by a mental haze, it's like being in two or more worlds simultaneously, each one having its own unique language. Clumsily traversing these worlds, I experience restlessness, insomnia, and self-doubt, and I continue to be increasingly ill at heart until the will of creativity emerges from deep within my psyche. In these sacred moments, I am set free to be everything or nothing at all.
The above poem, Stand Tall, is an example of one of those times of fertile confusion, though not my first. It was written in 1972 when I was at a crossroads in my young life. Just twenty years old, sitting in meditation, my consciousness rose up and up upon a spiral staircase of light. I found myself face to face with an older woman, a woman in her late sixties, perhaps early seventies, a woman that I recognized clearly as an older version of myself. Without thought or reflection, the short, but powerful poem was recorded on the paper in front of me. I was disoriented afterward, unclear as to who or where I was and, as I frequently did following these timeless moments, took a long walk in nature. I see now that nature was my way of safely grounding myself.
By age twenty-eight I had read most of Carl Jung's works in my search for an explanation of my experience. Frequently disheartened, definitely restless, I hungered for insight and self-knowledge, certainly for the many unexplained psychological patterns of self-sabotage, as well as a suspiciously forgotten childhood, but also for an understanding of this creative process that I experienced, yet resisted. Jung's own personal journey and writings provided comfort and encouragement.
After parting ways with Sigmund Freud, Jung describes a period of confusion and uncertainty. He states, "It would be no exaggeration to call it a state of disorientation." Alone, ostracized by the intellectual community, abandoned by many of his so-called friends, Jung questions everything. Jung began having visions and hearing voices. He reviewed his own life, but could find nothing of pathological consequence and no indication of psychoses or schizophrenia. He writes, "But this retrospection led to nothing but a fresh acknowledgement of my own ignorance. I said to myself, 'Since I know nothing at all, I shall simply do whatever occurs to me'." Becoming curious about who he really was and his own personal myth, Jung then has a pivotal memory of when he was around age ten or eleven. He writes:
"At that time I had had a spell of playing passionately with building blocks. I distinctly recalled how I had built little houses and castles, using bottles to form the sides of gates and vaults. Somewhat later I had used ordinary stones, with mud for mortar. These structures had fascinated me for a long time. To my astonishment, this memory was accompanied by a good deal of emotion. 'Aha.' I said to myself. 'There is still life in these things. The small boy is still around, and possesses a creative life which I lack. But how can I make my way to it?' For as a grown man it seemed impossible to me that I should be able to bridge the distance from the present back to my eleventh year." (from "Confrontation with the Unconscious" in Memories, Dreams, Reflections; emphasis added)
Yet he did just that: through working creatively with stones, constructing and interacting with his hand-made villages and people, Jung was able to clarify his thoughts, use his fantasies through active engagement of the imagination, and discover his own personal myth. In short, he resurrected his "child-spirit" - that part of us that imagines, dreams, and engages playfully with nature in an instinctive dance of inner harmony.
When the seasons of death cross over your fields, and you are torn apart like a corpse in a Tibetan sky burial, stand tall in spirit amid the fields of your own fertile confusion. Abandon your worries and surrender to play, pick up some stones, arrange them and talk with them. Freely indulge your creativity. Allow your dreams, visions, and withered passions to open wide the inner doorways to your own mythic journey.
And stand tall for there is still life in these bones and stones!
My work will be continued by those who suffer. Carl Jung