Saturday, January 3, 2009

the door to freedom

when rene magritte painted "the door to freedom" in 1936, he might have been describing the shattering instant in which the distance between who a person is and who they are to be becoming is laid bare.

on the one side of the shattered window is a comfortable room.
on the other side, a grassy hill.
in the distance - the sea.

the glass shards contain elements of the image beyond the room.
the glass shards have fallen inwards creating discomfort in my room.
i am drawn to see the view beyond the window - the world beyond myself - and the shattered fragments of my understanding of that world . . . lying on the floor.

the air blows in . . . i imagine it warm and scented with grasses and wildflowers. sounds - the breeze, the rustling grasses, birds.

the light passes through the glassless window - clear and bright. it illuminates a dusty floor, the old paint on the walls. shabby curtains.

the opening in the window - like a star - pulls me through.
are those paths in the meadows?
does one lead to the sea?
i hope so.

it's a destination.
a formless destination.
broad . . . expansive . . . the opposite of this room i have lived in for all this time.

i have lived in rooms like this for most of my life. i have sought them out when paths to the ocean lay before me. those paths drew me like a moth to a light but they also frightened me. that expanse. that great unknown. so many fears, so many questions.
what is there when i arrive?
where do my rules fit? where do they go?
what happens to my expectations? what are they replaced by?

the not known often has greater power than the known.

the little rooms i have lived my life in are all labelled "what i know".

the oceans are all labelled "what i have been afraid to know".

the distance between what i know and what i am afraid to know is a measure of the suffering i have endured.

to cross the space between the two is to pass through the door to freedom.


  1. Wonderful post Steven.

    I am very interested in these questions that you have brought to the surface. I find it fascinating that what I fear the most is the abyss, the ocean, the great unknown and yet I feel that it is only from the abyss that a new life can emerge.

    I spend so much of my time and effort protecting this edifice I call myself or looking outside of myself for the answers as though they actually exist and can be known.

    It is only when I give up my self-importance, my habitual ways of seeing things and doing things. It is only when I can give up my passivity that something that is always present can possibly have a chance to enter.

    I forget this constantly because I am continually taken by all this external noise in and around me.

    I remember someone telling me once that we have everything we need right here, right now.

    It's like trying to find the navel between two worlds...

    I wish you all the best in 2009.



  2. beautiful written luke! i too believe that we have "everything we need right here, right now". it's the tools to use what's there that are either missing, undeveloped, or tucked away for some reason.

    accessing those tools - even knowing what those tools are - well that's a burning question!
    all the best to you luke.