Brown is beautiful – inspired by KC & JS

[5 minute read]

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
[T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding]

Our soul is our home. And it has infinite possibilities in the color brown.

To help someone is not to do it for them. It is to amplify their effort—their way. Effective therapists, true friends, confidants, and authentic lovers do not tell us how to feel or think. They do not even tell us WHAT we feel and think. They assist our growing awareness of what we have already begun to feel and think—our way.

Therapy is a tunnel that leads you from one cavern of perception to a new one. And when you do not feel at home in that cavern, you look for another tunnel to a different cavern. Successful therapy leads you through this maze of tunnels and caverns to a final destination. And that is in fact the very cavern in which you started: “… the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started…”

This is what non-dualism and mystics mean by having all that you need already. You have always had all that you need. But the human love of mystery and exploration drives us with a motor that can be summed up in “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” For, “We shall not cease from exploration…”

As we have visited these different caverns, we have discovered that the grass there is also brown. Not green. And when we return to our own cavern, and realize that grass only looks green from some other side, brown becomes beautiful. We can rest from the quest for illusory green. “And know the place for the first time.” We can’t “know” that brown patch if our eyes are restlessly aimed elsewhere.

Perhaps you have always felt like the loser in some relationship. The other always had to have the last word. The other got angrier and pounded their fists louder, and so you acquiesced. In addition to “loser” and “winner,” we use words like “strong” and “weak” in that context. And so perhaps you were the weak one. Perhaps the therapeutic tunnel you followed was to improve your self-esteem, to speak your truth, to “use your voice,” to stand up for yourself.

I suspect once you travel those tunnels and visit those caverns, and then you return home to your own brown space, you have grown in awareness that you were a loving person in your losing relationship. You acted with love by withdrawing from the dance that led repeatedly to unhappiness for both partners.

One partner must step out of the dance, or both partners get nowhere. Both believe their grass is greener, even though they know it’s brown. Even though they know? Yes, we know it in a way that we don’t admit to ourselves or to our partner, because in that dance, winning is valued, and losing is weak.

Apply those ideas to Jesus Christ. He was such a loser he never judged the people with whom he interacted. He was such a loser and so weak, they made him carry his own cross to his own death, and he did it willingly. What a weakling. What a loser. Why didn’t he stand up for himself and use his voice? Why didn’t he have more self-esteem? Because. Because ego is much less important than we initially believe it to be.

Ego is only a small part of our nature—but an important part, which tells us we are separate individuals from others. It’s an important piece of knowledge to have — that we are not identical with others — but we don’t *live* from that place of knowledge. Separateness is not life-giving by itself. It is not a large part of our nature.

The largest part of our nature is living from a place of love. Loving. Life-giving. Judgmentalism and ‘being right’ do not satisfy our full nature. Perhaps they are tools that keep directing us back to fuller awareness of our brown patch. Our very own home. The home of our very own soul:

It is judgmentalism that leads us into those tunnels in caverns, and so it serves us well by letting us explore to discover that we are most fully home in our full self:

Our soul is our home. And it has infinite possibilities in the color brown.

We value ego, and we also value being right, too much. But the worst of all illusory values is to believe that hurt and pain and suffering are things to be avoided. These are feelings from which we learn that brown is beautiful. We cannot know deep and authentic love without knowing pain, hurt, and suffering. This was the example of Jesus Christ. Awareness of suffering deepens awareness of loving.

Christmas celebrates the Incarnation—the start of the example of God’s becoming man. God suffers. And God suffers so deeply that we often say, God is Love. The example of Jesus Christ is an example that deep suffering always accompanies deep love. That pure love is always accompanied by pure suffering. There are long-standing wise traditions that speak about the suffering of God. In your own suffering, in your own soul, and your own piece of God, in your own “divine spark,” that same truth is what emerges from knowing and loving the color brown for the first time. From exploring all those other tunnels and caverns.

By surrendering to your suffering, you are following the example of the incarnation. And from that come the fruits of perfect love. Learn to be aware of how deep your suffering is, and you will also become aware of how deep you are as a font of love.

You were not weak. You did not lack self-esteem. You were, and are, a mysteriously wonderful example of love accompanied by suffering. The more you try to avoid future suffering because it hurt so badly in the past, the more you will avoid deeper love, and being a source of deeper love. Including for your own self.


Neil D. 2020-12-25

Published by Neil Durso

Just another mid-lifer sharing the journey...

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