Ultimate concern

– What do you want? What do you really want? she asked me.

We had talked for hours, for months, about life, structures, wisdom, patterns in nature showing up in our mind, about noetic insights, about doubting everything and finally doubt itself, about life, death and everything in between, and about what is of ultimate concern. One third of what she said I could follow, one third I felt it might understand within some time and the last third I realized I would never grasp. But now it seemed that her patience with me had run out.

I interpreted the question as regarding what was of ultimate concern for me. We all have holy principles that we refuse to give up. In our lives we typically embrace values or ideals such as love, relations, goodness, glory, beauty, seeking enlightenment, wealth or happiness. But sometimes these values or ideals come in conflict with each other, and that’s when we have to choose.

– I want the truth, no matter what.

But as soon as we choose we pay a price. It’s called ‘ignorant bliss’ because knowledge and wisdom cannot be combined with happiness. That’s why I’m a researcher and that’s probably also what I should be.

– You will hate yourself, you will lose all hope for mankind and for the future.

She was right, of course. Everything I held dear, all fairy tales, all meaning, all I could stand on, cling on to, was wiped out. How mistaken I was, thinking transformation always lead to something good. First there was a terrifying silence, a vast darkness, disappointment and a loneliness. I died, but not for the first time. Then I found myself no longer being afraid. After a while my eyes started to get used to the darkness and to my own shadows. I could talk to them, listen to them, understand them, forgive them and make peace with at least some of them. Then I started to be able to sense and see the shadows of others.

It is often said that we should embrace our own divinity and let the light shine through us. Some do this very well and they become the radiant leaders, ideals and objects of other’s admiration. Not necessarily and not always, but often the brightest stars cast the darkest shadows. And shining brighter won’t make them go away. These shadows, if any, frighten me.

The dark night of the soul is often regarded as a pit stop on the path to spirit. And sometimes the soul is sacrificed in order to find spirit. For me, being in contact with the soul is more important than with spirit and divinity. For me they are each other’s opposite, or at least, they are found in opposite directions. In order to find the soul one has to go back to where one came from. We had it once and we lost it, but we don’t remember how and where. And even if we do find it, we will still bear the scars.

I’m not a good man and I’m certainly not divine. I have no such ambition. But one thing I can assure you. I love you dearly from the bottom of my soul. To the bottom of your.


I once betrayed my soul at the altar of the greater good
Although the distinction was hardly noticeable
an abyss in my heart, torn and astray

But not this time
One foot in the light and one in the shadow
not solid, but holding my ground

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