Sansaku: Drifting Toward Deep
I’d always fall for the question, how to go deep. It’s one of those ideas I like to iterate, to ask again and again, starting over and over. It’s going to the most vulnerable and dangerous of places in safety and trust. It’s the secret to connection. Go to the places that scare you, go to the places you hide, share secrets. I’m just warming up.
Why go deep? That’s part of the inquiry. Recall the times and tell a few stories. I was ridiculously deep that year and any number of people accused me of being dramatic and shallow. “Get over it. Get on with it. Get a life.” What could I say?
How to go deep with our narrative? Deep takes time, takes details, and sometimes all at once or not at all. Marriage is deep, even when it’s not. There can be a silence and routine that drowns, and a silence and routine that swims. Both are in the deep.
It doesn’t look deep to eat the same food each morning, to walk the same trail in the afternoon, or to sit for hours on end in the studio. If it’s shallow, it’s not repetition’s fault.
According to Bly, Kabir said, “I laugh when I hear the fish in the water is thirsty…What is most alive of all is inside your own house. Go wherever you like, if you can’t find where your soul is hidden, for you the world will never be real.” That’s a wake-up call. He asks if we walk from one moment to the next with a confused look on our face.
Heraclitus wrote, “You cannot reach the limits of the soul by walking, even if you pace off every street, it’s meaning is so deep.” Lao Tzu, who was writing at the same time 2,500 years ago, said the same thing but called it Tao. Now it’s words that never reach. What does?
Therapists are trained to go deep by going deep themselves. Jung said it’s hard to take someone someplace you won’t go. He’s called a depth psychologist and encourages those who are called to dive.
Dreams belong to the deep. The psyche has directions and deep is one of them. There’s depth everywhere if you know how to look. There’s a door into depth. It’s not always dark, but seems to take eyes to open.
Rilke said conflict is second nature and lovers are always approaching each other’s boundaries. It’s how we go deep. I live in a border town. Japan is just across the ocean and the room.
She’s taught me wabi-sabi and Japanese ways of going deep into natural beauty. I see wabi-sabi out the window. It’s the wood pile and the stump I use for chopping. It’s the old apple tree and blossoms.
Irma’s ashes are in a small glass vial on the window sill, they’re the color of clouds, her hair. Emotions carry knowledge and I pay close attention to mine. I’ve learned the most from ecstasy.
How to go deep? I spend hours and hours each morning alone. I read old journals and write in the new. I sip tea and look out the window. I stop for the sunrise. After Sansaku, I eat the same breakfast.
A ritual is as hard to see as a routine is easy.
I have my morning clothes, house clothes, walking clothes, and clothes for going out. If you only saw me on the River Trail, you’d swear I never changed. Does he even wash them?
The crow and magpies wear the same clothes every day, no one asks them why. My inner voice has something to say, “It’s okay to look like yourself.”
It all looks routine until we go deep. It’s a feeling choice, an experiential direction. No one need tell us.