Of all the authors I cherish, two now intimately acquainted with “the truly inward source” have my unwavering commitment to their works: Alan Watts and Rainer Maria Rilke. And I can’t exclude Erich Fromm. But I digress. They all have one thing in common. They cared about authenticity in love, in living, in every layer of what it is to be alive. And they dedicated their lives to the exploration of the development of soul with their own unique approachs in articulation and in vocation.
Watts, holding a Master’s in Theology, wrote many books, opening doors to Eastern thought for countless people and gave lectures. Rilke poured out poems and prose and travelled the world. Fromm established himself securely in psychoanalysis and critical thought. They each influenced the world of human development beautifully and continue to do so.
But for now, I’m going to simply quote Watts here and be done for the day. He challenges extremes and puts us all to rest with a wonderful since of the unity we can share no matter our religious or non-religious bent.
“To be or not to be is not the question, for pure being and pure nonbeing are alike conceptual ghosts. But as soon as the ‘inner identity’ of these correlatives is felt, as well as that which lies between man and nature, the knower and the known, death seems simply to be a return to that unknown inwardness out of which we were born. This is not to say that death, biologically speaking, is reversed birth. It is rather that the truly inward source of one’s life was never born, but has always remained inside, somewhat as the life remains in the tree, though the fruits may come and go. Outwardly, I am one apple among many. Inwardly, I am the tree.”
Alan Watts – Nature, Man and Woman
We can know, as we become more at peace with the being/nonbeingness of our core, that we all share from and partake of the same beginning. And the same ending. We forget that truth in our fixation on differences. We forget it in our ideas of separation from each other. Yet we all cross some street or river to get to the next place. We all pull our clothes on over naked bodies. We all struggle with identity issues. We all want peace. We all get angry. We all feel hurt. Underneath it all, we want to know and be known in love and in intelligence. We want to understand the dance between the ghostly complements of being and nonbeing. Even if the desire is merely unconscious, our longing manifests in our daily cravings and patterns, in our choices.
And the end to that craving, the answer to the perpetual questioning is a simple act of being right here, right now, with yourself in acceptance. It’s as clear as resting in these great words: “The truly inward source … has always remained inside.”
And so it is.