>At some point attraction stops being a choice.
Those who are attractive are the people who spend time, regularly spend time figuring out who they are and where they are. Not so much plotting the future, but rather deepening their stance in the present. Making sure their presence is a present for others by, strangely, being deeply present to them.
When you stand before a beautiful work of art – the beauty makes you speechless, perhaps for a second perhaps for days.
When I stood before Monet’s Water Lillies in the museum in London, or Rodin’s the Lovers, eternally kissing and embracing in marble, oh I was lost. There was never enough to look at! I can close my eyes and see it, in detail, it is not as if there are new brushstrokes or chisel cuts, but it is so profoundly itself that it is mesmerizing. Or when I read:
Every Angel is terror. And yet,
ah, knowing you, I invoke you, almost deadly
birds of the soul.
What would I not give to write those lines!? Or when I was in a very stressful job, riding the commuter train into London on one of those dark and cold and damp days which only the English know how to create. And around me were other malcontented commuters all dressed in their proper greys and blacks and browns. And then I read:
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.
I was not the same. As when I heard for the first time:
And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy – punch a higher floor
And I got it, I truly got it! I got it why rock and roll is so dangerous and why every dictator in the world wants to ban it! And probably why Plato banished poets from his Republic. And why the arts get little funding, or funding with strings attached from presidents and kings. And when I try to explain it all these half-asleep people nod benignly at me. They do not hear my roar, my bellowing roar deep in the pit of my heart, that furnace! Do you hear it?
And that moment comes, those moments come, you come to a standstill and can stop pretending, attempting, reaching. You can just be yourself because the beautiful presence before you is just being.
All of this is even more electrifying when it is another person, and not an object. Oh, objects can stare back, and when we notice the object looking at us it is a scary thing. Nietzsche said “When you stare at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” He was right that old, crazy fraud.
But when someone stares back it is at that point that attraction stops being a choice.
And by stare I do not mean the hard-and-frowny stare, unblinking until tears roll down your face. It is not a game of chicken. Rather it is an encounter, subtle and gentle. More like the slow removal of a veil from the virgin’s face – where she is expecting, trembling her first ever kiss.
Ever been in that place? Can you feel it now, as (perhaps) a warmth in your heart? How things which seem difficult and things which seem painful, don’t quite disappear, but are transformed into scenery, into backdrop. Sometimes these moments when, soul-to-soul, you surrender (in spite of yourself) into an intimacy which a lifetime together may never ever reveal. And we seek it, oh how we seek it! We are all born to be known. To be revealed to each other in a nakedness of heart which is simultaneously intoxicating and devastating. Because we are fundamentally known at our deepest center.
And so I have no choice. I simply have no choice. Before you.