Transcendental Smell


There’s a certain smell that arises in the morning air after a long rain, when the moisture and temperature conditions collide to make magic.

I first noticed it as a child in my grandmothers back garden. I had such a powerful experience that when there’s such a whiff now, I am transported not just back to that time but into the same beyond that it originally took me. A place where the smell in the air and I were not separate. Where does the smeller end and the smell start, where does the smeller start and the smelled end? A smeller and the smelled in unity 😂

I have a sense that we have many such experiences of completely forgetting ourselves as separate from the world and people when we are children. A complete unity with what we are doing and experiencing was so natural.

We start as babies not even knowing we are in separate bodies, and thinking that the person walking into the room is part of us. Gradually we are shown our toes and hands and how a sense of volition seems to work, by putting square not round blocks into the square holes.

Then we hang out in this world as if we are separate from others, from everything. And it’s hard work having to fashion some sort of idea of a separate self and identity to travel with. There’s the experiences in the hands of others that are added to the mix too….wanting to coalesce into an identity that seems to be solid and real.

I’ve tried and tried to improve this ‘self’, to mould it into being nicer, calmer, more benign, and less selfish, irritable, greedy. A self improvement project arising from a core sense of a deficiency of self. The self compassion and kindness I learned towards this imagined self was very helpful to relax the contracted sense I walked about with.

I gathered some garments around me to taylor some sense of identity, a couple of recognised roles, ‘I’m a this and a that’. Some selection of preferences and aversions that together I’ve considered make me somewhat special and unique, and so maybe more secure that it’s only my identity and nobody else’s. It always really annoyed me especially when younger, when people copied me, as I thought they were stealing a bit of my identity!

I suppose I’m in the process of realising that what I was looking for was right here all along. And the dismantled identity project now sits parked in pieces on a shelf, no longer required. A gradual shedding of an idea of a self that covered over a more direct and intimate way of being in the world.

Not separate after all. Waves of peace and well-being arise naturally. Normal life continues, bills are paid, showering, clients, employees all attended to. With less terrorisation of the nervous system by imagined calamities. What a beautiful glimpsing of life. Appreciation of these moments of grace. A savouring and appreciation. Unconscious unity to conscious separation and then into conscious unity. It’s great when the fear subsides isn’t it!

A therapy client on zoom shortly, then a visit to the men on site late morning. And probably a park and lunch experience.

The beloved grandmother. Good vibes.

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