Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The great playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote in Act 2 of his play, Ghosts:

"I almost think we're all of us ghosts. ... It's not only what we have inherited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light."

In reflecting on a book I’m devouring, The Translucent Revolution by Arjuna Ardagh, I found it astonishing to come across this passage by Ibsen, which at first reading, chills me to the bone. Yes, I know of these ghosts ‘all the world over,’ more so I am reminded of the ghosts residing inside of me…but, I’m learning a valuable lesson from them at the same time.

Do we need to fully exercise our ghosts away to recognize, even befriend the completely unfinished business that is confusing us, as us. Is it too simplistic to say all we must do is recognize even embrace these pieces of ourselves in order to be done with their haunting? Perhaps we will never entirely lose their grip…but should we allow their weight to hold us spellbound?

Why should we deny those parts of ourselves we’re so intimately, inextricably still in love with- it is such a compelling, heart breaking drama after all, isn’t it? Who are we without our drama? Shouldn't we embrace all that makes us human, even that part of us that is so pitifully afraid of the light?

Our experience surely cannot be fully contained by what we perceive is happening to us. I choose to trust we are more than what we believe ourselves to be and yet every feeling we experience is valid including our fear of the light as well as the draw to our source. I'm learning I don't need to understand our being, simply learn to rest in it while experiencing the mystery.

I'm sure we've done our part by showing up; the agreement is complete, even as we are complete, ghosts and all.


Blogger Ethan said...

stupid google blogger messing me up. As I was saying, good thoughts, how's the book?

10:38 PM  
Blogger Amy Harden said...

Probably early June. We wanted to wait because we will know by then if it's a sure thing.. and to at that point pick out our house...

it's crazy. And yes Sting is a hot piece of ass... It could be the yoga(as Trev thought) but I'm sticking with the tantric sex..

10:44 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

"I'm learning I don't need to understand our being, simply learn to rest in it while experiencing the mystery."

Yes, yes.


1:23 AM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

"Why should we deny those parts of ourselves we’re so intimately, inextricably still in love with"

This is why I, too, love this book. It's the first book in a long time that's invited me to see NEW MAPS of spirituality. Sitting in a cave or even doing standard practice isn't for everyone at all times. This book talks about people like you and me and all our blogger friends who lead real lives and have real mortgages and real kids but still have deep mystical experiences and longings. Great stuff.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous irving said...

The ghosts of our past may be our common inheritence of superstitution disguised as insutitionalized religion. This way of thinking that is ground into us as children, this teaching of 'be good, whatever that is, or go to hell.' I permeates all our lives, and is a veil to the light or real truth. And that light is real and plain and evident to reason, and real and plain and evident to the heart. That's why the first lesson on the path is to unlearn all the propaganda you have been taught, and embrace the love, mercy, compassion, and generosity of God. There is nothing else. There is only this light, and us.

Ya Haqq!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Good questions and insights, Tommy.

I find myself considerably struck when I come across songs, stories, and poems, usually by people not at all known for spirituality which touch upon deep truths. I think the listening of creating enables everyone to tune in to Wisdom whether or not they live in it.

one phrase you use strikes me especially: "parts of ourselves." Are the ghosts--the identifications, beliefs, etc. parts of ourselves, truly? I agree that we don't need to be in an aggressive stance of rooting them out, but I like Maharaj's idea of recognizing that anything we can perceive cannot be us in an essential way.

The ghosts are free to hang around or free to dissolve when I know that they're not me and not real. Who am I really? Well, that was my New Year's resolution: NOT to know, and not to presume I know.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

I guess I mean that, at least for one on the bodhisattva path, that freeing oneself from the drama is part of it.

If someone is awake, then he can wake others... Certainly most sleepers are enjoying their rest well enough. But some are having nightmares and crying for help.

12:38 AM  
Blogger trinitystar said...

Excellent post ... Ghosts that bring us gifts ... or Ghosts that remind us of our illusions.
hugs for you. :o)

11:25 AM  

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