Kitchen table philosopher JOSEPH RAFFA urges us to question our ideas of what we are.
Love brings the fresh, vibrant growth, the joyous outpouring of springtime. Love also brings the decay, the fading colours, the dying leaves of autumn. Without death there is no renewal. Yet mind holds to the past, fearful of letting go and surrounds itself with images.
Look back and you can see. A long trail of familiar memories rises to greet you. “This is me,” you say, “the core of what I am, myself, my journey.”
I was the child playing here and there – fresh as new spring growth, eager to break out and grow. Absorbed, I grew into every phase that opened out. Small child into older child. Older child into adolescent teenager, teenager into adult. I took all this to be what I am.
I see, I feel, I taste. Life’s experiences are my playing field. What am I without what I see, without this long trail of memories? Am I nothing? Look back, look now. And what of tomorrow should I still be here? My friend, my body will still be with me, greeting me as usual.
How the idea of what I am haunts me. Am I flesh, memories interlinked, accepted and acknowledged? Self here, self there, myself, me – what a torment. What is it in me that holds to substance, to form, to flowing experience? Am I nothing without all this. Or do I still exist? What do I hold to? Why do I hold on? Is it another of thought’s creations, an urgent desire driven by a fear of coming to an end as substance, as form? So that something of what I am continues in some way?
And when I say “I am part of the All, of a Universal Oneness.” Is this not thought reaching out to establish continuity in the Absolute? There is no home for thought in this – none whatsoever. It abides in silent contemplation. There is no establishment in this of thought created separation or conceived existence. Thought is a lesser state, beginning and ending. A projection from a secret source – itself unknown, its creations known.
How then can one speak of it? Draw back into the depths of what you are. Be the unknown for a moment. Then, you will understand.
- Joseph’s Kitchen Table Philosopher series of spiritual writing is available from Amazon.com and other online retailers.