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I have recently embarked on an amazing course with Kim Rosenwhere we are exploring using poetry as medicine, for transformation and healing.  Each month we have to choose a poem to work with. This month I am working with a poem by Federico Moramarco called One Hundred and Eighty Degrees, which I only discovered very recently. The lines that really grabbed me are:

But if you’ve arrived at this line, maybe, just maybe, you’re open to that possibility, the possibility of being absolutely completely wrong, about everything that matters. How different the world seems then: everyone who was your enemy is your friend, everything you hated, you now love, and everything you love slips through your fingers like sand.

It seems to me increasingly, that everything I think is wrong… not in the way of right and wrong, like there is a right way to view things and a wrong way, but actually just wrong, because everything we see in the world is through a perspective that is filtered through our own misguided belief system. A belief system that comes in place to help us belong to the group, the pack, or to stay safe in our family or working environment.   I am only going to talk about myself in this as that is the only experience I actually have a deep understanding of, although I do think my experience may be a little more universal.

Increasingly, I am becoming more aware of the conditioning I have and how that impacts the way I see the world. Conditioning that actually has nothing to do with me, in the deepest sense of what ‘me’ is. If me could have a capital it would… Conditioning that I picked up on the way, by a response to an experience or someone else’s words, conditioning that probably came into place to protect me in a given moment, but then stuck. The inner movings of my deepest consciousness do not actually care if I earn enough money or not,  or if it is right to do a shoulderstand before the headstand or after, or if eating meat is good or eating meat is bad. It is not concerned with an idea of righteousness, with ideas that we are doing well in life if we have plenty of friends, or if we have good job, or we believe in a certain god or we achieve what it was that we thought we needed to achieve. The anxieties that I, so often, wake up in the morning with, that are saying in quiet words in my ear – you are doing this wrong – do not actually come from anything worth listening to, that they are actually not an authority on anything but fear.

What I am realising slowly, is that literally none of this matters. It amazes me how often a thought pattern, that I absolutely completely believed in, based my whole sense of self on, that I held onto as if my life depended on it, falls away. In its place, I discover that I am still alive and in fact happy and, usually, completely liberated by its loss. There is a wonderful freedom in realising that these beliefs, that I hold on to so dearly, do not in fact support my ability to live in the world. That actually as I let go of them one by one, I am happier, freer, a little more peaceful.

A few years ago I wrote a poem:

How I long to not know anything, to be guided by the gentle expansion of nothing, another human’s eyes resonating neither right nor wrong, simply to see beautiful eyes looking back at me,

How much does my heart beat its wisdom of unknowing, Its gentle path whispering like a sweet song on the wind, A breathless wonder echoing in my ears,

How I long not to know anything at all, But to simple listen to what is not even here.

This is almost a prayer for me, I really long to not know anything, to not shut down to someone because they see the world differently from me. To not need to argue with someone so that they sign up to my conditioning and belief system. It seems to me that all these things are just ways of not being fully here. Ways of not meeting people, not seeing the beauty that resides in the momentary awareness of another persons presence in our day. I really do long not to know anything, and be present with what is actually here.

So thank you Federico Moramarco for your wonderful poem that has got me thinking about allowing myself to be completely wrong about everything that matters.

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Frances Narayani Baker
voice facilitator, kirtan singer, teacher

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