As a child did you ever tentatively wade into the deep end of the pool, slowly and with great hesitation? I remember looking down past the buoys towards the drain and thinking that it might as well have been the deep end of the ocean. It looked so mysterious and scary, I was not even sure I wanted to tread water above it. One never knows what lingers in depths unknown. As I grew and conquered my fear of swimming in deep waters I became braver and even began to dive into the depths, reaching for the drain in an attempt to claim the eerie space for my own. In the deep end it was silent, heavy and intense, beautiful in an unearthly way.
Mysticism is, in essence, little more than a certain intensity and depth of feeling in regard to what is believed about the universe.
As a woman, I have come to understand that I naturally move between the metaphorical shallow and deep end of the pool. I am most comfortable swimming in the deep. There is an unwitting intensity to me that I am a sure make some uncomfortable at times. I can come up for air and move freely in the shallows with others, being social and talking about popular culture. I can make it so that others have no idea that the shallows are unfulfilling to my sensibilities. I can “fit in” with those that have no interest in digging deeper, making small talk like a pro. The truth is that I have a constant longing for the deep end of the pool. I need to feel the enticement of wading into the unknown where I can challenge everything that I have ever known.
No matter how much we try to run away from this thirst for the answer to life, for the meaning of life, the intensity only gets stronger and stronger. We cannot escape these spiritual hungers.
The trouble being I can get lost in the deep end. I feel everything so intensely that I can become over sensitized and acutely aware of everything that is happening around me. In this state I am laser focused on whatever it is that I am contemplating. Time stops and my concentration is intently pointed on one thing. I often have to stop everything and write, just to get out of my head. Upon waking up in the middle of the night, lying in bed mulling over some deep philosophical point, I will voice note my thoughts to revisit in the morning just so that I can sleep restfully. The deep end of the pool can be deceptively turbulent depending on what I am examining. If it happens to be myself, things can get wild. I am introspective and evaluate just about every thought I have and action I make. This constant evaluation is how I understand human nature so deeply, it begins with me. It can be painful to look at oneself in a critical light hence the reason that so many choose to stay in the shallows. Everything is safe and awesome there.
“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being this alive, this intense. ”
The challenge for me becomes joining others in the shallows once in awhile. I simply do not want to most of the time. I prefer to be alone or in the company of a small group of people that enjoy intimate conversation. I understand that we are all only given so much time on this earth and I would rather spend it questioning and discovering. This is not always a good thing, everyone needs a break. My kids are very good at pulling me out into the shallows, by watching a television show, doing something spontaneous (gasp) or just laughing and dancing around. Once there, I enjoy myself and feel a release of intense energy that I carry with me most of the time. Balance is so important for perspective, especially for someone such as myself. Even with all of this, I ultimately find myself longing for the deep once again and move in that direction whenever possible. Wading into the deep is what calls to me more than anything and I answer by diving into its depths over and over again.