A Love Letter from the Higher Self to the Self.
By Matthew Head.
Dear Little One,
Where to start? This is no easy letter to write.
I wanted to begin by expressing the hope that it finds you well, but of course that is not necessary or even possible because I know precisely how this finds you. I know every nameless swirl and shade of all your feelings, and the whole kaleidoscope of your inner life holds no mystery for me. Another reason I find this letter so tricky is a problem of distinctions, which is to say I am not entirely sure who you are. Indeed, I am not altogether confident on who I am either.
Where is the line between us, my friend? I fear that in writing to you now, I am cementing a separation between us which never really existed, save as an idea. I am sorry to sound like a perfume commercial, but I don’t know where I end and you begin.
In an effort to reach some kind of understanding of our strange relationship though, I suppose we might say that you are the aspect of us — the team member, if you will — who deals with local business. Looking at the stars makes you feel small — doesn’t it, little one?
You are the beleaguered individual who must navigate the sordid practicalities of this world, form relationships with other lonesome units of humanity and cope with the vicissitudes of earthly existence. You are the one who is sometimes prone to ‘unworthy’ feelings of pride, greed, lust and shame.
From time to time, you might find yourself anxious about growing old, or about how you are measuring up in your progress through life. You might, now and again, feel you are not good enough and begin to identify more with the story of your life, and who you think you ought to be, than with the ever-unfolding limitless adventure of your lived experience. Occasionally perhaps, you might even give a shit about what the neighbors think.
If that is you, then who am I in this partnership?
Perhaps I am the one with the vision, the ability to see the bigger picture. And in seeing the bigger picture, old friend, perhaps I can see quite how big we actually are. It would be easy to say that I am above all the low human impulses I have just ascribed to you — and that I am a shining field of pure energy floating on some noumenal cloud of perfection, far from the shameful and treacherous world of blood, shit, semen and tears. But this is not a vision I have faith in. Because I am the consciousness of all creation, little one, the eyes with which the whole universe can see its reflection. If I am anything at all beyond the conceptual, I am the totality of everything — including, of course, everything human and ‘low’.
As the totality of everything, I necessarily contain all that exists.
It follows that I contain all of your uncertainties, all of your perceived failings, your loneliness, your disappointments, your shame and pride, as well as your loves and your ecstasies. Certainly I am there when you are euphoric, whole and loved. But know that when you feel ashamed, that is me too. When you are vicious and spiteful, when you misunderstand, feel stupid, unloved or forlorn, then I am there just the same. I know this might be hard for you to understand, my love, but there is no path towards me. Nothing you can do can move you closer to or further away from me, because everything you are in every moment is contained within me.
You cannot lose sight of me even when you feel you have lost sight of me, because that very loss of sight is me as well.
I feel it is also important to reassure you that I cannot judge you. There is nothing you can do that you need be ashamed of in front of me. Although I contain all your moralities, I am way beyond their reach, so there is no possibility of you being fallen, sinful or in any way lower than me. Your shame is an aspect of me too, so you need not even be ashamed of feeling ashamed.
The boundary between us is infinitely permeable and constructed of narrative aggregate. Like lovers, we dance through it and slip in and out of each other in so many ways that neither of us exists independently of the other. Perhaps we are both simply characters in a story, or figures in a picture, that serve as a tool for understanding the situation we find ourselves in.
Then again, perhaps our usefulness as two is over. Maybe, my beloved, it is time for us to melt irrevocably into each other’s arms.
With boundless love and infinite patience,
Hobbit, flaneur, idler, scribbler, climber of stiles and sharer of Yoga, Matthew currently lives in impecunious splendour in rural Dorset. He is originally from South Wales, but landed in these ancient woods, somewhat surprised, via suburban Birmingham and the unacknowledged centre of the cosmos, Wolverhampton. He is involved with the Independent Yoga Network and writes for and edits their online magazine Namaskaram. He dislikes motorcars, loves real life and is a passionate advocate for the ordinary. Matthew is currently a student of profound learning and a facilitator of Yoga at Gaunts House.