I, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM
a soul's soliloquy
by Jack Haas
a rare, online book
"Each spark descended into this world- indeed a profound descent and a state of true exile- to be clothed in a body and vital soul ...so as to join and unite them with the Light."
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liady
ďMan as he now is has ceased to be the All. But when he ceases to be a separate individual, he raises himself again and permeates the universe.Ē
"Be- and at the same time know the condition of not-being, the infinite ground of your deep vibration, that you may fully fulfill it this single time."
Ranier Maria Rilke
PART 1: THE NIGREDO
How to begin? What to say? Why to say it? To whom should I confess? To whom can I confide? Who will care? Who will listen? Who will understand?
Life never follows an intended course, for there is no course, there is only life: The sun shines, the trees twinkle, the trumpets play Taps at a hero's funeral. And yet no one is there to hear the music but mourners. It seems such a waste. Though it isn't. It just seems that way.
But let me explain, oh let me hopelessly explain why I cannot explain what I cannot help but try to explain. Bear with me, wonít you, as I suffer to forge the ominous building-blocks by which I might complete this structure.
It is like this: when the world you have loved, and lived, and laughed in, eventually crumbles helplessly about you- as it is certain to do with all of us sooner or later- and you stand shaken in the harmony of your song's last note, and the light's last flicker- it may happen that you will flinch for an anxious moment as if to right it all again, but if you're quick enough (and at times I was quick, and ruthless, and wild from the passion of my spiritual dismemberment, and wholly determined, if nothing more, to be myself, and only myself, through to the bloody bitter end) ...you let it go.
For it is in that moment- as the chastening reaches its cold zenith, and the degradation its dark nadir- when it all comes down, when you've lost everything you ever had- the hopes, promises, truths, pleasures, and words are all gone- and you're alone somewhere in the darkness, horribly alone- dead and yet living- and none of your life makes any sense, none of it, because all of your caring has only led to loss, and even your own earthly soul has not the eyes to see you truly, nor the heart to feel your lonely anguish, that is when, as I said, the best thing to do is ...to let it go.
I let it go. I let go. And that was the finish and start of me.
And yet, in the wash and fire of the spirit's healing, in the sacrificial disembowelment of the mind, in the fiery assumption of the grosser self, when you know you're done for, because the Word itself hovers hopelessly above the willess flesh- when the shit has hit the fan, so to speak- let me tell you from experience- you stay put.
I let it go, and I stayed put. I went still and cold in the limitless reaches of meaning and mystery, where the atom consumes the universe, and the self devours the whole.
It's a bloody crazy mess to relate, but things change instantly when you're finished with life and yet living. Let me tell you, the weirdest thing happened as I became emptied of the last vestige of recognition, purpose, or need- suddenly I ...I ceased without ending, and remained while still going on. I don't know how to say it better. It cannot be said. You see it's all, like I said- itís crazy.
What happened is that I finally realized that everything in life is wrong, that it is intended to be wrong, that god is insane, that men are as devils, and that it will get far worse before it gets any better. And, given this unequivocal supposition, easy enough it is to recognize life as naught but a terrible joke.
But, then, after all ...a joke it is.
So with that matured understanding it occurred to me that it is up to each one of us to choose how we take the joke- whether we walk through our days with a foul and bitter scorn, or skip merrily through them with a hearty chuckle.
That is what I came upon. And what happened to me is ...I began to laugh.
For if truth be known, the last straw does not break the camel's back ...it gives it wings.
Oh to be sure, it happens to all of us eventually: you come innocently into life, laughing and playing and clowning about, the world pushes you forward, the days blend into years, everything appears to be reasonable, actual, and true, but then one rainy afternoon you stop suddenly in the tepid process of the day, you sit gently down for no reason, stare into the senselessness of it all while the tortured miracle of life blurs away before your trembling eyes, and you begin to weep and weep and weep from all the hidden fault and pain, and you wonder who the hell it is you really are, and you do not know, and itís all gone, all of it, and the whole show has the numb, eternal ache of a phantom limb you never knew you had.
And then just as suddenly the implausible absurdity of it all cascades like benedictions down upon your fallen soul and an unknown smile is be born within which flips the madness over lifting you up agog and howling. That is what happens.
Indeed, until you have laughed yourself silly from loss, you have lost nothing, and neither have you laughed. For it is only then, through the perpetual gloom of becoming, when the impotent conciliations run turgid, and the swollen vein runs dry, that the folly may begin to delight itself, and that is when you begin to laugh, and laugh, and laugh, and not even know why you're laughing.
Existence goes as such, whether you desire it to be so or not; most people come into life without asking, and leave without knowing why. They laugh, strive, want, suffer, and cry. But for the cursed or blessed few, there are times, like I said, when somewhere in between it all, amongst the cacophony and the void- when the hold you had on life, or the hold life had on you, weakens as if from sublime intent- ...you begin to remember. And in that remembrance you forget without caring.
You come out of it. You come out wild and crazy, you come out hard and ambivalent, finished and yet hardly begun. You come out through the threshold of indifference, of care, of suffering, of life, of death, of meaning, of meaninglessness, of noise, and of silence. You come out from nowhere, out from a person you never were, to a person you no longer are. You run free at these moments when what always mattered finally ends, when life breaks stride with the current of its own disbelief. Out and out you come, all the while falling inward. Falling into the self beyond the self, into the centreless happening where nothing and everything occurs. You come out into it all, broken away from the tether of purpose, the chains of need, the bonds of striving, the shackles of the trapped and abandoned. You come out and the wind licks your wounds through the blood of your losses. There is no need to haunt the world ever again, nor find yourself simple comforts or worth. You belong to no one and nothing, not even yourself. Beyond salvation and damnation, nothing can stop nor hold you now. You are free. And it doesn't matter. And that is why you are free.
That is what happened to me. Everything vanished except ľthe inexplicable; all I was left with was a formless, passionate, intimate ...faith. I have no better way to poorly describe it. All I was left with was the living mystery called life. And that is enough. Let me tell you- itís all more than plenty forever and now.
And so, while you read what follows, understand that I have left the world behind, that I have crossed the line, so to speak, and am not coming back. That I refuse to come back. That I am finished tampering.
Know that I am somewhere far-off on the northern, wild coast, forgetting and forgotten, alone and not alone, sane and not sane, alive and not alive. Know that I am in agony from the impossible beauty of it all. And know that I am laughing.
Early writings by Jack Haas: a rare, online book.