The analogy I used was that of a bookshelf, on which the books are disorganized and randomly placed, some standing, some in piles, with unused space in-between. Defragmenting is like taking all the books and standing them up together to create more usable space. It's a way of organizing.
I've been reading Eckhart Tolle's miraculous book, The Power of Now, and later that day I came across a passage that made me go deeper into the defragmentation analogy. He says that the inability to feel connected to Being (a word he uses in place of "God") causes you to "perceive yourself consciously or unconsciously as an isolated fragment." And I thought, when we feel this way we are like a book askew and alone on the shelf, unread, undusted, just taking up space.
Or we are like an instrument in the orchestra when the musicians are tuning up and there's no harmony. Each instrument makes a sound with no connection to any other, and the result is discord, cacophony.
I have not been blogging much lately, partly because my outer life has become quite busy of necessity, but even more so because my inner life has been shifting radically. I have been undergoing a defragmentation process. The orchestra has stopped tuning up and the first few notes of coherence and harmony have begun.
This is happening because of some recent life events that have urged me to move away from the negative thought processes that have kept me fragmented. Some of these events have been by choice, such as giving up bitching for Lent, and some of them have come from the "outside." In conjunction with these events is the reading I've been doing of Tolle and of Byron Katie's book Loving What Is. At this point, I must heartily thank Jennifer for directing me to Tolle and Dan for directing me to Byron Katie. The fact that I was turned on to these amazing resources at the same time blows my mind. Literally. Because the purpose of these books is in fact completely aligned, and that purpose is undoing the egoic mind, bringing the Self into awareness and acceptance of reality in the moment. Embodied in this is the realization that the mind is an instrument, yet only one in the whole orchestra. It has its uses, but when it's allowed to run the show, the result is discord.
Within a few days of applying the principles of these books, I was experiencing and responding to life significantly differently. (I will post more about this soon.)
Around the same time, I also drew a card from The Kabbalah Deck, and pulled the Hebrew letter Vov (or Vav), which means "and."
Edward Hoffman, the creator of The Kabbalah Deck, says that Vov "reveals that things seemingly separate and even contradictory...can be seen to comprise a higher unity. With the right attentiveness, we can perceive the nature of that unity and thereby resolve conflicts." This sounds uncannily related to the practice of Negative Capability (see my About Me section for the definition of this term.) This quote shows why Negative Capability is important, and not as abstract and esoteric as it seems. It's a practical process resulting in defragmentation.
And. Such a little but powerful word. The supreme conjunction. And is the solution to fragmentation. It is the empty space, the gap, the silence and stillness between things. It's a powerful and always accessible koan. It's the reason I make collage, the very nature of it. It joins all things.
Black and white.
Fire and water.
Male and female.
Inspiration and expiration.
Inner and outer.
Yes and no.
Past and future.
To meditate on the and is to truly apprehend the things it joins, but also to become less attached to them. To see that higher unity, which cannot be understood by the egoic mind because its mantra is "or."
Interestingly, Vov is also associated with the ability to reverse past and future tenses in Biblical Hebrew. According to Inner.org, "the power of teshuvah [repentance or returning to God] to completely convert one's past to good, is the power of the vav to invert the past to the future.
I see a connection here to English grammar's conjunctive mood (more commonly called the subjunctive mood). This is a way of joining past, present, and future tenses, but can be done for different purposes and with different effects.
It can emphasize the present as the place where past and future meet, or in the case of expressing a wish, for example, it does almost the opposite. It reaches to the past and the future with no real recognition of the present. This is very fitting, since wishing by its very nature reaches to the future with no regard for the present.
But the conjunctive mood is also used for blessing, a way of coming fully into the present and allowing it to extend into the future. For example, the conjunctive mood phrase, "Peace be with you" is for right now, but also a continuation into the future. Same thing with "God bless you." It's subtle, because the emphasis is on the present, as it should be. The hint of future enters with the implied word: "May." (May) peace be with you, (May) God bless you. If the word was included, the emphasis would be on the future, but because it is not, the present-tense form of the verb is in the spotlight.
Interestingly, this type of construction is falling out of usage, and (according to Wikipedia) especially in the UK, for some reason. In fact, there its usage is actually being fought. What does this change reflect, I wonder?
I like this construction; I like contemplating that even the ways we use language reflect our spiritual condition. It is another vehicle for practicing Negative Capability, specifically with the paradoxical and mysterious nature of time. I find myself living in a conjunctive mood these days. And my favorite koan-ish conjunctive mood phrase, appropriate to end this contemplation with is:
So be it.