This title, borrowed from the immense author Christiane Singer*, comes to me at a time when questions of freedom, life, creation - or re-creation - are swirling in the air like white dandelion flakes dancing in the spring season. Suddenly, locked in with ourselves, we question as never before our freedom and the meaning of our lives. Where do I stand ? This author who had the meaning of words also knew the meaning of the human and spiritual journey. Serious and laughing, light and profoundly artistic, she fascinated, intense, by her presence as much as by her pen, to the end of her fingernails. Master in the art of peeling the onion that we are, I can easily imagine her preferring the term "journey" to "personal development" or "spiritual development" as used in French. English language cleverly more often uses "mindfulness" as defining this approach. Now, of the two words - personal development - there are actually two lies. Like the capitalist way of working, the idea of development evokes success, growth, intelligence, individualism. In our collective unconscious, development is linked to "more" and instinctively we are looking for that "more" : more happiness, more love, more wealth, more success, more peace, more balance... A company develops, a career develops, a business develops. An individual can develop by creating new learning, new resources and even new values.
But deep down, does a being who questions his conditioning, his own confinement, his beliefs, his wounds, seek this development ? Does he seek to develop even more precisely what already weighs so heavily in his personal baggage, becoming so important that he could make us believe that we can no longer move, that each movement has become too complicated, too difficult, too impossible ? Beyond development is the following word that creates most of all the distortion in our well-intentioned but sometimes clumsily guided unconscious. Where we discover the character at last, the illusion of the person at the bottom of which so many attachments, shrinkages, artificial and superfluous layers have been created covering what is - really - it is really no one this persona that originally designated the mask of the actor. The "personal", the whole story that we tell about ourselves believing it to be the "true" story, this personal is then quite helpless when consciousness opens up to greater self-awareness. Caught in the act of pretense ! The lie right in the mirror.
Consciousness is not the mind or thoughts or what some would call the soul. The consciousness is a witness. The observer. The one who is able in each one of us to take a step aside and feel that "it" lives independently of any projection past, future, on one or the other. In the here and now there is no fear. It exists only when the mind writes history... And how many stories have we created that never saw the light of day ?! As true directors, authors, creators of multiple universes, we consider every day a thousand scenarios, testing this or that door and finally finding ourselves most often at the same destinations already known and repeated. For these doors are nothing more than echoes of the past that we tell ourselves. Some people have never been sick and nourish, more than belief, certainty - total faith - in being immune by having already survived many threatening contexts. Others have physically integrated the experience of frailty, of the need to care and are convinced that they need such and such remedies, precautions, medicines or vaccines and that even with this they remain the ideal target of any external attack. Of course each physiology is different and each one finds its most ecological and intimate balance from self to self. In any case, the story that is being told encourages us to define a future according to our representations and which often will not even be realized. We interpret a lot, sometimes forgetting that we are also the creators ! Interpreter-creators, such as Michelangelo, who confided that the sculpture - his work - was already there in the block of marble that was delivered to him and that he was only removing what was too much all around to make the statue look better. We can learn to listen to our inner sculpture, to observe it, this form that was already there long before we added our "personal" feeling to it. Not to develop new layers, but on the contrary to extract, remove, carve out everything that is too much, everything that deludes us into thinking that we are just a block of marble when life is right there, inside, behind all those useless and dissimulating layers.
A musician is constantly searching for this truth just as a writer searches for the exact, necessary words, those that make sure that nothing more needs to be added and nothing less needs to be taken away. Like the famous French hypnotist François Roustang, whose sessions were always more and more confusing because he relied so much on simple presence, simple silence - not so simple and yet once they are there you say to yourself "it was so simple" ! - we too have access to this unique score that requires nothing but its witness, the one who is aware of being.
BEING A friend confided in me the term "self-stripping" which I found more accurate at the time. In this process where it is only a question of discernment and detachment, what is is the real, the Tibetan sages say. Simple. Yet what is real ? A table, a chair ? They will eventually grow old, decrepit, dusty or recycled by man. One time they didn't exist and soon they won't. Besides, if I don't look at them, do they still really exist ? The real is immutable. Permanent the breath of life that animates, the consciousness, the moment, the here and now. The states of being change, fluctuate. I can choose to change my name, my identity, my country, my nationality, my profession, my family and even my sex... My emotions are changing as are my beliefs (one time I believed in Santa Claus with conviction, then I believed with as much insistence in certain qualities that define me ; the world once believed that the earth was at the center of the universe whereas now this belief seems obsolete). In this case you will tell me, what is unchangeable, permanent ? What remains and is so much there independently of all these movements and all will ? Consciousness. The consciousness of being. The "presence".
It doesn't matter the word. When we are babies, we have not yet developed the individual consciousness and we do not make any difference between the other and the self. True sages we were then ! But without being aware of it. That is why the presence of a newborn baby attracts so much where it is only insignificant gestures, stammering. All around, people crowd around, as if in front of the presence of a cat. I look at mine and am fascinated that it is so silent, delicate, almost invisible and yet attracting all the attention because it is so full of itself, so present. Arnaud Desjardin confessed that people felt attracted to the masters in India because, he observed, they emanate a warmth like a fireplace where it's good to live next door. In a word : love. But it is only afterwards, by assimilating what is sent back to us from the outside as separate from us, different from us, that we become aware of our person, of our individualization, as we grow up. The child, like the adult, knows that he is alive. But if no one around is present, if there is no mirror, how does he know it ? There is no before or after in this consciousness. Just "love."
So our states of mind, our states of being can well fluctuate, move, dance and come to tickle us. In this sense they are unreal ! This does not mean that they are insignificant or illegitimate. They are like a weather vane that tells us the direction of the wind. They are also our guides, as this other wise man said when he said this lovely phrase : "suffering is a friend who takes us by the hand to take us home". Emotions, pleasant or uncomfortable, terrible or unbearable, indicate an imbalance, a dissonance like the insistence of a rubbing to invite us to find harmony again.
When I accompany a hypnosis session by these times of video-conferences, it seems to me more to propose to the person to leave a state of hypnosis to enter another state of hypnosis than to falsely believe that we are living in the "real" and that we are going to offer ourselves an "unreal" dream for the time of a break ! In this way we allow ourselves to open our eyes differently on our inner or outer world. Just as the theater stage can be seen from behind the curtains or in the spotlight, on the garden side, from the audience or high up in the manner of stagehands. All this remains a theater and yet, beyond the sets, we believe in it !
Some people might also get tense when they hear the word "personal stripping" as our belief is so strong that without money in today's society nothing is possible, that exposing oneself is taking a crazy risk. And what better risk could there be on one life, one and only life? Do we wish to procrastinate, to beat about the bush, to plan until death without living anything and finally take nothing beyond ? Behind this exposing lies, hidden, a little shameful, a little miserable to cling like a child to its mother's skirt, the fear of being stripped bare in that it evokes poverty. Isn't the poor also the one confined at the moment with comfort, television, food in abundance (too much ?), savings account and all-risk insurance, while he may be plunged into a feeling of loneliness, fear of lack, of a body that gives up, desertion of oneself, anxiety about the future, terrified of sadness, anger or lack of peace, regardless of one's environment ? "Clarity is not born from imagining the clear, but from becoming aware of the dark."
Jung As if on the bottom of a gigantic wave, we are in a very special moment. How big is this wave and what rhythm will it put until its end, until its momentum is exhausted ? It's still an unknown equation. Besides, is there anything else than this wave ? A before and after of the ocean in its infinite eddy ?
What an idea to think that in a few weeks we will be able to return to our habits, as before, that all this was just a parenthesis. In reality the confinement has this peculiarity that having less activity towards the outside, each inner movement is seen as if under a microscope. Each transformation, each inconvenience as well as each rejoicing, each confrontation or each tension takes on the aspect of a whole universe. We learn to put a greater consciousness on things, in this minimalist setting, where before the multiple and varied diversions usually allowed us not to notice too much of what is between two silences ?
This moment also reminds me of the process of the disease, whatever it is, in its symptomatic expression of a passage. This moment of discomfort where there is no other way out but to wait for "it" to pass, for it to be digested. When the body, the immune defences are in action - sometimes invisible - it is a moment of great intimacy where it is really only a question of returning to oneself in this "in-between" where it seems to no longer be able to control anything, to no longer know anything. In a word: surrender. What else can I do ? And what do I know if I no longer know anything ? What am I if I am nothing ? At least nothing more than I know about myself. Nothing that doesn't echo a take on myself. Between two chairs lies, infallible, the moment when the ass floats in the void, between two, no longer really there and not yet here, a little lost towards an unknown destination.
Not knowing where you are going and agreeing to focus on each step, on this present moment, as the horizon can be so foggy, is perhaps the greatest courage. And the most wonderful liberation ! Like a mise en abime, a fractal of the collective in the individual, whether those affected by the virus or those impacted emotionally, psychologically in the circle of their home, sometimes in cataclysmic crisis, here we are in the hollow of ourselves, in this movement of metamorphosis, that of the chrysalis to the butterfly. Silent Transformations wrote French sinologist François Julien in the title of one of his memoirs. Certainly, but transformations that are certain, inevitable, necessary and constant. And for some thunderous ones! It is precisely in this newfound silence, where the only noise comes from us, that we become so aware that the earth, the human being, that relationships, that everything is constantly transforming itself, is constantly moving, passing from one elusive point to another, where we thought we were stable. In hypnosis we know that a stable state does not exist, that everything is in perpetual motion, since it is the very nature of all things. To come out of illusion is to accept that everything passes without trying to grasp anything. The witness-actor-creator, at the same time a passenger in the back of his own vehicle driven by himself. Haven't you ever had that dream ?
"The only real is change" Heraclitus Perhaps music has this gift and this necessity in reality to put into sound what silence transforms. We learn to listen to what is between two notes, but do we listen to what is between two sighs ? Have you ever observed an "in-between" ? This is precisely what we experience. Often we react by struggling, looking for diversion, when we are on the way from one point to another. Not having arrived at our destination, we wait and try to return the most productive wait possible. But do we ever really get somewhere ? What did we really taste of the road, each of those paths we took every day to go to work or elsewhere ? Freed from all expectations, when it gives up, helpless, at the bottom of the tsunami, surprisingly a space is created, life spreads. When we are at the bottom of our health, physical or moral, the feeling of powerlessness is often the first person to knock on the door. The "evil-hearted" or "soul-hearted" sometimes shouts unbearable things at us. Christiane Singer had lived and witnessed it so extraordinarily in her last hours, the darkest, most difficult ones, when, abdicating all resistance, she finally found ecstasy, the most beautiful of liberties, no longer expecting anything and embracing Life beyond all illusion. Like a miraculous person who came to visit her in the hospital, she laughed, in peace, smiling with all the energy recovered from the struggle, from the fear that exhausted her being. On the threshold of her death she was more alive than ever, more alive than all the astonished humans visiting her. Her passage, this intimate transformation, had been lived with a consciousness so full, so present in every moment, that she had finally become this witness of Life, consciousness, love. Of course, suffering is not the only way! And there are infinite nuances of what makes one or the other suffer. This fear at least, this uneasiness that can visit us here or there, like this friend who comes to take us by the hand, can also put us back on the path or guide us to take another route, a new road and help us to come back a little more, a little better, home, really, in this miraculous temple of ourselves.
"What you resist possesses you." Arnaud Desjardin
Like a piano sound : the more you free up the weight in the speed, the greater the impact will be, generous, wide. The more you look for strength, however muscular you are, the louder the sound will be at best, but certainly hard in its attack and short in its resonance. Basically, we only come to liberate the sound that is already there, or rather to let it resonate, like Michelangelo and his sculptures.
JOURNEY WITHOUT DESTINATION
In the morning (before government restrictions) I was lucky enough to be able to walk in the forest in a very secluded place in Burgundy with only passing friends in the trees, birds, sky and earth. Surprisingly this walk made me feel like a very contemporary space. To see again, to discover again each day in solitude this deserted land of the human, to walk in the middle of these elements which sing the joy of living without outside witnesses, gives me each time the impression of an astronaut returned from the cosmos. The miracle is not so much walking on water but already walking on Earth !
Our mind has so accustomed us to foresee, and in doing so, to note absences, lacks, needs, before noting what is, what happens right there before our eyes too busy with our thoughts that twirl through our interpreted past or our imaginary future - unless it's the other way around! In short, what more, better, different can we want than the here and now ? Of course some will say that confinement in the country is easier, others that confinement alone is better, others still that being without children is sad while their neighbors are already starting to propose their children on facebook ! If being married was the sure condition to be happy, it would be known. If being alone was the key to peace, it would be known. If being able to buy everything you want was a guarantee of fulfillment, it would be known. And if being without anything opened the way to freedom and wisdom, that would also be known. In every case, in every journey, it is possible to live a hell like a paradise. Of course some contexts seem more favorable, easier, more privileged. But deep down, how many couples at the moment, in perhaps magnificent spaces, live like strangers or, worse, enemies, and how many single people, a priori sad and alone in a Parisian 12 square meter apartment, perhaps discover a marvelous path with no other escape than oneself ?
As I continue my walk that day, I venture out, driven by intuition. At a certain point I think I lose myself not without delight in this place where it is good to be. Rather than turning back, a voice tells me to continue even if I think I'm moving away. I tell myself that I'm really moving away, but it's too tempting to go further and see what's behind and behind again! It would be time to think about retracing my steps, I tell myself... Finally, letting go of any idea of return, amazed by the scenery and the thoughts that are absent, I suddenly discover, like a mirage, a road that I know. This is the road to departure! My legs, my body, took me across the fields to go around the forest in two hours and here I am, at the moment when I thought I was the most lost, the farthest from everything, I find myself at home, at the origin of my steps, "at the source" some would say! I smile with a smile on my lips as I think of this beautiful metaphor that I have just lived, in my body, in this experience. Trusting one's steps, going in the movement, in the momentum of life, even at the most unknown, most uncomfortable hours, in those road exits where it is no longer the past that determines the future but the future that reminds us of another past. Trusting one's inspiration more than one's fear. To love, to love always and even more the moment that is lived. To create one's own path, to invent it, in this interdependence with the trees, the sky, the earth and life. What an idea to think that they might want to harm us! What a useless belief ! "The whole universe conspires to make us happy", said Paulo Cuelho. It is up to us to choose what we want to embody, what we want to see and live.
The next morning, I go back on that path, with a tight deadline. I have to be back by a certain time with a phone appointment waiting for me. I walk fast, proud to feel now familiar with this forest, to tell myself that I'm going to do this big and beautiful trick, right in this time. It stirs in me as if an imaginary audience had come to admire me: "how sure she is, how comfortable she seems, how privileged it is to be here...". Not embarrassed, I don't even realize it! My thoughts constantly bring me back to ideas, those of the morning and then those of a future that is being projected. I observe them but they come back in a boomerang. I imagine texts, I write them in my head, then the idea of choosing between two paths, like two doors that open up before me. Blimey! I say to myself. "Which one did I take yesterday? "Right or left? I'm trying to find the same destination, the same path as before. Like at the piano, I remember myself meticulous and obsessed in my hours spent with relentlessness to accept nothing but the exact reproduction of what has just been achieved. The brain is not the master, on the contrary, it is the servant. From the moment you allow yourself to be controlled by it, your thoughts, you become a slave to yourself.
It seems to me that the direction was this way, then somewhere else and finally I don't know anymore. I hesitate, I doubt. I can't find it. My head took over to detect exactly the clues of the path but it is impossible to reproduce it. Discouragement joins me with all its band of beliefs that annoy me when they come to stick to me like that to the skin. Exhausted by my mind, I hear the voices of my teachers, my parents, society as I have it, one day, small, recorded, pushing me down more than giving me back my confidence. Vicious circle. The control tower in turmoil. The pianist from Chopin's Ballads has lost her way. Please remind her of that! Memory lapse, clash in the middle of the stage. It's going around in circles and soon it's not worth much. After the struggle of impotence, fear is never far away. So I go back home, turning around, a little disconcerted, dubious, quite disappointed. Did I dream last time? Then I suddenly laugh! The witness came back... A burst of laughter burst in my throat! I understand then that I wanted so much to find exactly this path that I didn't see it. So many noises in my head didn't let my body do anything anymore. The day before, I was simply amazed, with no expectation, no destination other than exploration, that life was passing through me in every cell of my body, and now everything was created naturally. Today, I was trying to foresee, control, reproduce what has been, to grasp a score, forgetting that it is constantly being re-created and that an interpretation in its greatest truth can never - fortunately! - resemble the one before or the one after. Life sometimes also takes the form of a farce.
A WONDERFUL WORLD Wouldn't the art of wondering be a value, a state of being, a path to be brought up to date ? The artist wields wonder like the baker his dough. With evidence and pleasure. Sometimes ignorant, sometimes master. He knows that without it, everything risks at best to be already seen, at worst to be terribly bland. In this exploration in the forest, life makes me aware that I never try to reproduce. I like the idea that everything is new, never seen or done before. Wouldn't that be a definition of art ? Something new that is reborn, elusive, every time ? It's the critics who try to grasp the work. The public, the artist, conspire together to experience it. Like a meal, the recipe may seem familiar, but the way it is cooked and then tasted will be unique. As a midwife, a midwife linking birth and death, one understands that to be born or reborn one must die a little or, as Milton Erickson said, "One begins to die from the moment one is born". If wonder holds such an essential place in my internal cartography, it's because it seems to me a great key to everything, a door to multiple destinations. Halfway between curiosity and admiration, gratitude and learning, it necessarily brings us back to ourselves. Admiration is the prerogative of our time when we project outwards: an artist, a star, a work... In admiration we carry the Other on our feet. It is in the era of time. And this is commendable. Yet my heart opens more and more to a life of wonder, every day, in this movement that includes me totally in the object, in the experience, and of which, in marveling, I choose to create the wonder as much as the amazement.
OFFERING-RECEIVING For a long time I played the piano to please. So many times in a musician's life, from a very young age, you are told that playing pleases mom or dad, and then, as an adult, that it pleases the audience. Unconsciously, with the best intention in the world, you end up playing to feel gratitude because that is the recorded functioning. To play is to exist ! I play so I am. Slave of one's own confinement. One plays to obtain something by forgetting oneself and one tells oneself that one is playing for the other, in this rather gratifying impulse of a particular mission. We think we are humbled because the other person gives us this totally paradoxical image! For to forget oneself, one must already be able to expect neither praise nor criticism. Is one capable of going on stage being so full of oneself that the question of the Other and of looking at oneself no longer even exists ? After the concerts, I often felt a state of emptiness, an emptiness that called for compensation, a need to be nourished, me too, somewhere... I interpreted it as a natural state of "decompression" due to the stress of stage fright (another strange belief) and that we often used to drown with other colleagues in wine or other after-stage compensations. Offering what animates us would therefore be conducive to stress and then to the need for compensation ? By observing meditators, sages, healers, always available and yet so stable, by discovering the path of tantra, by initiating myself to "letting go", the feeling of fullness in the gift appears to me. A sensation I have never tasted before, a freedom in being, in the joy of being... The intensity is no less intense. It opens even further, towards ecstasy. I played out of duty, out of passion, out of expectation, out of despair. Saturated from the outside. Then I played because I had to play. Then I entered my interior. And I stopped playing. In the end I relearned to play, not for "for myself" as the somewhat overused expression would sound in our collective unconscious, but more precisely by being so full of myself, and so obviously in my place, here and now, that no other question, no other need comes into play. This is the way. And the goal is the way !
Like life, music is within us and the greatest exploration ever made is that, not of the cosmonaut on the moon, but from our head (the outside) to our heart (the inside). It is then an infinite, magical and powerful world that resonates, vibrates, waiting only for us to realize ourselves. I have this belief that we carry within us a talent of our own, a precious and indispensable facet of the world, like every star in the sky, like every instrument in the orchestra or every note in the immense symphony. The power of music is to remind us of this by connecting us to our heart, that place that is the guardian of our truth. At this time when it is no longer a question of running but of coming back to ourselves, I wish you, I wish us, the most beautiful, the most inspiring melody when we realize that we are alive! I also observe that this period of "everyone at home" is paradoxically a time when a feeling of interdependence has never been stronger. We are the world: a great work in which giving and receiving are one and the same impetus, as inspiration and exhalation give life to our own universe.
Wonderful & Inspiring month of April to all !
In creation and discovery In the here and now In the being Musically yours, Hélène Tysman
*Where are you running to, don't you know the life is inside you ?