The Empty Chair, as a piece of written work, grows out of requests from students and friends to get something down in writing.
The nature of any work that attempts to address the Spirit, is that it resists being put in packages and being limited as a result. I have made a number of attempts to write a traditional book, only to find that as I put thoughts down on paper, they change. A sense of arrogance at trying to limit the Infinite, arises.
Somehow, the written word itself, the black marks on a piece of paper (or the screen of a computer) become a shackle.
It is different in a group exploring the subject together, where perhaps, I see myself more as the facilitator of a joint practice. What happens there is that, when things are still, a clarity arises and what needs to emerge, emerges. There is the experience of listening to what I and others are saying, without constructing or analysing it, in the awareness that there is an Intelligence at work; a digested compost is speaking, which has little to do with the personal intellect.
This, I believe, is the way of the Spirit, to reveal itself, whenever and wherever the clutter that masks it’s eternal presence, is temporarily, surrendered. The Spirit IS. It is not acquired, striven for or awarded, it is the substrate of existence and the cause of existence. It is not mine or yours, unlike the Intellect and the Soul, which are personal.
When however, we take the memory or a recording of the group’s work and try to write it down, we find that something has lost its immediacy; the truth has not changed, it wont, but what has changed is the relevance of a particular aspect of the truth to a changed moment and circumstance.
The Intellect doesn’t like this and Intellectual pursuits, such as Science, certainly do not like this, as they search for a truth that is true under all circumstances. It cannot be. Simply; the finite mind cannot grasp infinity, it is a contradiction in terms.
I have tried to explain this argument against writing anything about this subject to anyone who would listen; but to no avail! People keep reminding me that I am mortal and 80, or thereabouts and have crises. As if I didn’t know! They remind me that traveling becomes more of a chore, however much I may enjoy being with the people who are at the other end of the journey. I reluctantly admit they are right.
In April 2009, there were 25 of us at a beautiful centre in the mountains of North Carolina and this problem came up again…”get something down before it is too late, Mike” they said. We arrived at a compromise, which is a book that never ends; it remains a work in progress. (I like that because so do we!). In addition there will be the possibility of on-going alteration to everything that is written, from submissions from readers.
I have promised to file a substantial “teaching” or thought–piece, every two months, indefinitely.