Saturday, April 25, 2009
I followed the sound and emerged into a time of day long past my normal early-to-rise. From my front porch, I heard a distant rumbling. I smelled an encroaching desert that surely had not been present before...and there was the white mare, pacing.
She brought me an urgent message from her brother, the dark horse currently penned comfortably (or so I thought) in luxurious equine quarters on my land. Release me now, said the dark horse, whom I called Sweetness, as he was anything but.
I followed the mare in the direction of my beautiful stables, shaking my head and dragging my feet in protest, in spite of the fact that I knew she was God, and that what she says, goes.
"Listen!" I insisted to her twitching ears. "Sweetness is mine, he's legitimately adopted! I know he's stubborn and sort of crazy--he must have had a hard start--but he has a good life, with me. You can't expect me to just...just let him go!"
No reply. A wind was bounding across the land, a vast chunk of acreage I had both inherited and earned with blood, sweat and tears, having built everything on it with my own two hands, giving a home to all kinds of beings--animal, vegetable and mineral. I may as well have grown the wood and stone that these structures were made of. My whole heart, my place in the world, was here. And Sweetness...was a challenge, was a triumph, was a wild horse that I had gentled, an enigma that I thought I had come to understand. I had been on his back, without being thrown, without a saddle, flying across some plain. I had gained his trust and a sense of power, that way.
I could see him now, running across the confines of the corral, tossing his magnificent head. And the angel I had been sleeping with leaned against the gate, looking at me in a reproachful fashion. The mare joined him as he pointed to a place which was broken and splintered--again, as I had mended it many, many times. I sighed, embarrassed. I never realized the fastidious repair jobs were so obvious.
I watched Sweetness dancing from side to side, watching me intently. I saw burgeoning volcanoes, shifting earth and tidal waves in his eyes. Looking past him, I could see these same events just on the horizon of the one spot on Earth I thought was safe from change. My heart broke, and I admitted, maybe out loud, that I had seen these things in the beginning, but thought I could "adapt and overcome" with the right structure, the right attitude, the right words. The right feelings.
But Sweetness said, with just a look, I am finished here, with you. I knew he could have gone long ago, without any permission--that he could easily have turned to my destruction, any one of those times I was busy picking myself up from wherever it was he had tossed me. I was to open the gate, although it was now undeniable that nothing could hold the dark horse.
In obvious relief and approval, the white mare and my winged lover moved aside as I unlocked the symbolic barrier. I felt as if my fingers were numb, fumbling with the latch, fumbling with my own humility. The sky was beginning to match the color of my captive's hide, and muscular clouds rippled in anticipation. At last the thing swung open, and Sweetness bolted for the wild, without even an iota of hesitation or gratitude or recrimination. He was gone so fast that I wondered if I had imagined him.
I stood there, bereft. God and her angel watched me in silence. Hail fell, briefly.
I began a walking survey of my holdings with a heart that had somehow changed careers to become a vital pumping station for the ravaged mind, which had become a wasteland in some natural cycle, formerly denied. Ah, hell. The rabbits were dreaming of long tunnels and snug burrows with soft piles of their own kind. I let them go.
A pair of doves had already escaped through a tear in the wire of their aviary--gentle doves with gentle voices I had loved. The goat didn't seem to care whether he was untethered or not. Nothing bothered the goat. He was a Zen master. The cat had become feral, and the dog was howling in a rusty wolf-voice at the storm.
Nothing was fastened down. Nothing was the same. I had believed my outpost to be unique, protected and worthy of continuity. My founding fathers, my hard work, my attending to the reparation of mistakes, my contributions to charity, my long hours spent with the screaming banshees of my own emotions...did nothing count?
"God doesn't count," said my angel, after he shut the door against the din outside and the rushing sounds of grief. "Horses don't spend much time with numbers." His tone, as he shook drops of water from his wings to the wooden floor, was patient and kind and smiling. My heart held each drop, suddenly, like vast lakes, with room left over for lack of fencing.
One and one is...one.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Is this what it means to be human?
I can imagine a time long past (or far into the future) when it was easier to drop out of the layer of insistent chaos; when there were much longer gaps between news events and much less advertisement of everything that is supposed to make one an ideal example of the species. In spite of inundating ourselves with goods, services, information and all kinds of technology, we live in a culture of perceived scarcity, which we help to create by believing those messages screaming that, not only do we not have enough of anything, we aren't enough, either!
It is the special talent of marketing experts to create a kind of fear, emptiness and lack of trust in our own world, which then must be filled or resolved with some product. Being the pattern-loving creatures that we are, we as parents, teachers, clergy, and salespeople of all kinds have attempted this kind of influence upon our children, charges and friends in the name of whatever we feel is "good for them"...so perhaps this tendency is just one of those interesting human traits, taken to an extreme in our society.
The whole business today can be exhausting. It feels like an onslaught of voracious insects accompanied by a tremendous drought. But there is nothing "real or true" about it. When did being human become a control issue, a sales position, a currency? Why do we feel the terrible, aching need to either pursue or defend? And why do we insist upon interpreting the activity of "other species" or the movement of events through our own grasping or fearful language? Is it something that just can't be helped--a biological "drive", a viral replication of an invasive thought?
I'll stand in that "position" as a human being until I drop dead (whatever that means!).
If I could sell what my body/mind/heart "knows", I could pay off my suddenly challenging mortgage today, and buy an island tomorrow...but this brand of being resists all labels and is literally priceless. So instead, I cram this writing into a demanding schedule out of sheer, overwhelming love for the process (words can be fun!) and the barely-hidden fragility evident in my people, in my species. I suffer and laugh with you, as you and me.
Walking on the beach or in the woods or down the sidewalk, I listen to the rhythm of the body and the pulse of the mind. Noise falls away; soon it is evident that underneath the clamor, there is a mute energetic motion, which lurches dumbly and blindly in fight, flight or fascination. And underneath that, there is a kaleidoscopic, shifting, ordered-and-organic, geometric-and-spontaneous patterning happening. And underneath that is an entirely uncommon world, although I easily feel it beneath my feet and breathe it in and out of these lungs. It's an "experience" in which I am no longer "human"--I am unspecified, unclassified, undone. I am absolute, immediate and so thoroughly perfect that there is no lack, no need, no transformation required. The concept of having or being "enough" does not even arise.
This is not dead silence or blank mindlessness, either. This is a dropping of an illness, a disease, a total shedding of a thick, itchy skin. What emerges is vibrantly colorful and prone to singing. The clarity of total health reveals the necessity, the fitting-in of the unconscious disease...which is known at once to be dreamlike.
There is no want in that "state". Every need is fed, even within the feeling of hunger. It is not a practical way of being in a society set up for competition...but wandering into that range of being (as opposed to "achieving" it) is the same as discovering a vastness that has always existed, dwarfing the idea of "human potential" as sunlight pales a candle flame. Really.
Also present is the understanding of absolute limitlessness, a total lack of boundary between anything and anything, because I am all things, all states at once. There is nothing to be said, no urgent speech required, and I am communicating as communication-in-essence.
Sitting in the sand or on a tree stump or on a park bench, I am a cosmic dimmer-switch, and can dial myself fully open or down, down, to the level of balancing my checkbook or struggling with a relationship. The full range of choice becomes available, but the reality of light remains. Who chooses is an unnecessary speculation. It is obvious. All the thousands of years of mythical and legendary god-becoming-man-becoming-god, all the shapeshifting and alchemy taking place behind the scenes makes perfect sense, to both the logical mind and the mind alert to rampant beauty.
Exploitation is not possible.
Shoring up an ego is a total "waste" of energy.
Common sense is, if anything, strengthened by the vast increase in sensitivity to the flow of events. Therefore, nothing is problematic.
People have asked such things as, "If this is true, why stay in the typical world? Why go back to the mortgage and the daily issues? Why even bother yourself?"
I am voluntarily attached, while also knowing I am free. I make no excuses for this attachment or disinterest...it became voluntary when I realized that I am responsible for everything, and response-able to everything. Oddly enough, there is nothing left to justify. For every effect, there are myriad causes.
I see some people calmly wander off when they trip over the true extent of themselves...maybe they return, maybe they don't. They are motivated by love. I see people throw themselves into whatever they feel constitutes complete service to the "betterment of humanity", out of utter compassion and love. I see people pointing to the very limiting (if comfortable) blind stupidity society exhibits while it panders to fear--the pointing may be done through humor, serious warnings or creative action. But it stems from love.
Whatever route the attempt at communication and opening takes, ego (as a valid method) takes a back seat, becoming a purely logistical function, a practical tool, a way of negotiating the consensus dream, if that's what someone wants to do. It takes a back seat because love becomes the driver.
Maturity appears to be a process of opening to the actual, which includes rather than rejects and loves rather than denies. What is real is all-encompassing. It attends to all the dynamics of a situation, is aware of itself as occupying both "sides" in any apparent conflict. Resolution is a natural thing. Sometimes it isn't peaceful or painless...but mature resolution has no need for excessive suffering.
Perhaps one of the landmark signs of maturity is the willingness to exchange a highly developed and sophisticated sense of identity--and all its righteousness--for something much more flexible, pliable and easy. Anything else is in opposition to the Nature, human and otherwise, that we are. This kind of fighting isn't implicitly wrong, but just the long way home...through a wasteland full of very harsh lessons. Necessary, maybe, up to a point...past that point, true suffering sets in as the final call to be real.
What does it mean to be human?
What does it mean to be?
What does it mean?
What does it?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
By not exercising this spacious temporal vision, we become myopic and lost within the maze of our own tiny and temporary measuring devices...we crash into the edges of our mental maps.
We spend our time measuring out our lives through various entrancing concepts, large and small. It is a powerful gift! The measurement--the defining--can be done through something as huge as the idea of species or culture, or as small as a word in the back of the mind. We measure in an attempt to "succeed" at our lives. Grades, intelligence quotients, incomes; religious, political or other social movements; waistlines, biceps, gray hairs, approving people, how many nights we haven't slept, how many dreams have not come true, how many scary things we manage to avoid. We measure everything against some ideal self, relationship, society or world, which we hope will bring more security, a better sensation, greater power. And when the numbers and words, or systemic promises collapse back into themselves, as they inevitably do, we call this "failure".
Meanwhile, an underlying support system breathes. A perfectly adapted human body carries on with its dying/healing. A multidimensional universe whispers, points, invites.
It does this in great part through that natural and regular cessation--"failure". The end of a method, a season, an idea, a habitual way. The end of the road, the end of the chain, when the suspicion that we are fooling ourselves morphs into a full-blown certainty. Now what?
What do you do when you find that the idea, word, number, marriage, career, diet, nation, belief, escape, intention, emotion, goal, or whatever it is you lived by is not the thing? Most people, having hit the end of the chain, spend several minutes (or years) flat on the back staring sightlessly at the sky, recovering the wind which was mysteriously knocked out of them. Eventually, being naturally resilient and generally optimistic, they stand back up and attempt to determine the source of the problem. Ah, yes...the chain. I was running clockwise around the stake, when I should have been running counterclockwise! Of course!
Some people manage to yank the stake out of the ground, and spend their lives dragging the chain behind them or wrapping it around themselves (I am a chain survivor). Some people take the chain apart in an attempt to determine whether it is necessary or not to survival...how to make a weapon out of it...what exactly is it made of?...obviously, chain equals god/no god, reality/nonreality. Some people grow tired and despairing enough of the damn thing to hang themselves. Some count the links, backward and forward, until they can at last escape the counting. Some do all of the above.
A few of us, having landed for the first or hundredth time like a cartoon dog in the dust, open our eyes to the sky, and find ourselves beholding...ourselves. There is an astonishment. Standing up, looking around at this precious place, there is no chain, anywhere!
It's worth a laugh or two...maybe even a lifetime of laughing. And there is some initial sadness, because so many obvious things were missed...like the heartbeat of Everything. But it can no longer be overlooked or underseen. Because every iota of being is your face, in your face. The only unceasing, immeasurable thing. The only inseparable, incomparable fact. It becomes obvious that, whether you happen to be standing in a cellar full of rats or in the middle of a wide green field under the brightest sun, awe is the most authentic response, an emotion that simply can't be weighed.
Out of this pure subjectivity grows a love that can't be shaken, that has no opposite. The universe stretches and settles into actuality. Failure arises as a story, like success. The story takes its place as one of the myriad beautiful myths we weave to our satisfaction, for our secret delight, in a blatant timelessness...from which the stability and clear health of our Origin in all its motion can be understood.
There is only one response...
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Most of us at this time feel "assaulted" by life (this is evident in the amount of assault going on everywhere!). Within this social and political "system" (which is, at the root, a psychological belief happily fostered for profit by insecure and power-hungry egoists--bless us all!), we attempt to live in some form of sanity while being bombarded from all sides by huge demands on our time, intelligence and bank accounts. Truly, it's enough to make a sensible, sensitive human want to stop the world and step off.
Our local and extended organism knows perfectly well how to deal with multiple issues and tasks, all the necessary angles of being embodied. Our big brains, however, aren't here just for competition and defense and "survival". They are equally, and perhaps even more adapted to expansion of experiences like love, giving, learning, and playing. You know--nonprofit goofing off, meaning-making activity, development of renaissance skills. Things that feel good.
Consigning our relatively fragile, individual selves to lifelong mental and physical slavery results in a natural occurrence we call "illness". It manifests in many ways, from lingering fatigue and cynicism to outright consumptive disease. This makes perfect sense, when a person lives solely according to ideas of cause-and-effect. When we mentally and emotionally place ourselves on a battlefield, within an impoverished paradigm, war and destruction happen. Alas, many of us view ourselves as either reluctant or enthusiastically hardened warriors, even addicted to the adrenaline rush of impending doom...so much so, that we create problems where there are none. It's difficult to believe that we are lovers, as well as fighters.
But the mind and body are always wanting to heal. The natural tendency is to repair, resolve, make whole--that is, accept the wholeness that we are. The entirety includes every experience, even those we label "problematic". An acceptance of experience as what it is creates no problem.
I am very interested in radical mental health--in promoting the concept of a non-problematic existence. That is, living in relative joy. Currently, our default mode is suffering--not physical poverty, necessarily, since most of us have a layer of bodyfat and and quite a pile of stuff--but a pervasive, painful psychological suffering that is simply a slow suicide. For all I know, that's exactly what it is--a huge part of the current dream killing itself off. My instinct, though, as a lover of life, is to point out to those I care for that we might as well be ingesting poison along with the status quo models of living.
A while back, I had a very painful surgery that effectively took me out of the world for a time. I had to prioritize my days so that I eliminated unnecessary tasks, allowed people to help, and made time for my body to heal. It was an absolutely vital and wonderful experience, being forced to be "down", quiet and patient. During the healing process, I had to pay very careful attention to how I moved, what I ate, even how I breathed. The relief of being so unburdened--of having an "excuse" to just live outside the schedule--was very revealing. Take away the physical pain, and it would have been the ultimate life! Suddenly, there was mutual attendance and voluntary cooperation in the family; there was the joy of napping, of noticing my range of motion and the distance I could walk; paradoxically, I hadn't felt so free since childhood, even though the physical limitations were more extreme than any I had previously known. I wrote often and spent more time drawing and painting and listening to music--activity that, for whatever the reason, is positively essential to my expression here.
I got to be "myself" long enough to recognize what authenticity in my physical body is like. Even though my task load has resumed, it is not here in the same way. Nothing is here in the same way. But do we really have to be sick, to get the flu, a clinical depression diagnosis, cancer, alcoholism or a jail sentence in order to realize what is most important to being?
Maybe so. Maybe not.
When various indigenous cultures are observed, there is often a kind of astonishment that there is not more "work" involved in scratching out a subsistence from environments we might consider to be harsh or dangerous. People seem to spend an awful lot of time celebrating, singing, dancing, crafting, formally ushering in the seasons and cycles they are a part of. They simply don't kill themselves with stress diseases, or the idea that profit is to be had at all costs. They don't look at life in general as an incurable problem. This isn't due to a lack of sophistication or intelligence--this is a sign of it!
I do not "romanticize" a life independent of the tender loving care bestowed by modern society and government...ha...because the tribe has its own set of difficulties, even without persistent destruction all the way around. Living close to the earth is not "easy" in the sense that we understand ease. But action aligned with love, connection, pleasure and learning has an inherent feeling of authenticity, balance and worth for a reason. So, I am happy to be living from a perspective which is indigenous--not to a geographic location, but to being.
There is within us a feeling, a recognition of anything forced or not naturally occurring. It arises with a direct path to origin, whatever that may be for each of us. Acknowledging both is a spontaneous healing, a return to an innocence that readily enfolds and unfolds our true potential as This...body, mind, and heart.
Oh, and it feels good. :)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Autopilot fully engaged, it seemed the same landmarks, the same thoughtless drivers, even the same scenes (whatever the season) were there for me to negotiate while I slept.
Suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, I would awaken. The mental blanket yanked away was never a cause for irritation--just a kind of shock and awe--because the world would change entirely in that fraction of a second. Everything I saw, heard, or sensed on any level became new, as if I were an alien from some cold, dark planet dropped into a glowing experience by a mysterious force.
I still knew my name, destination and such, but everything was different--the way light fell, the details, the clarity of sound. I felt like a tourist stumbling into the "real" culture outside the over-hyped commercial, on an adventure in a wide open space and time. No obligations. No mechanistic schedules. Endless potential for discovery. The road between my routine point A and B might as well have been an exotic paradise...
Once, the sensation was so strong that I pulled over and got out of the car. There was a marvelous crunching sound of gravel under my feet, and when I shut the door, that sound was like an inner massage. Everything had a most satisfying texture. Looking down, early morning sunlight glinted off tiny pieces of broken plastic--blue and yellow gems, is what they were. What a place! What an amazing ride! I was ten minutes late (smiling unapologetically) for work, that day; I did my job with the certain knowledge that, if I wanted to, I could walk out the door and never look back. This allowed a generosity to flow that was previously not there, and the distinctly sweet scent of freedom to surround me through my entire shift. It was a taste of clarity that ultimately did lead me elsewhere, peacefully.
This phenomenon occurred randomly--sometimes during housekeeping or childcare or gardening (I can never forget the first time I saw the true color of my knee-high corn!)--or even in the midst of conversation with someone, when their startling beauty would be immediately apparent. For a long time, I thought of it as some descending alteration of my experience, maybe a weird energetic wave that affected what I "normally" saw. It was frightening, to a degree, because it wasn't something I controlled. I used to wonder if it was a clinical mental dissociation, a "negative" disconnect from reality.
Now, having pitched that particular fear back into the universal compost heap, I see that what I understood to be "me" was, in fact, a kind of chrysalis state; the times of bright clarity and innocence were the stirrings of the winged life...the "real" state of affairs in which I participated constantly and which arose with me each day. I simply was unaware of the fullness of being.
The American dream (which can turn into an utter nightmare!) of "the good life" is a story about an unsuspecting individual who devotes plenty of time to things called "hard work" and "sacrifice", in order to get stuff for entertainment, time to play and some form of love and acceptance. Everything must be earned, sayeth the parents, the school, the church and the government...everything worthwhile must be paid for. Being "yourself" is not allowed unless you have somehow "proven" it; there is always some kind of social meat-grinder that one is expected to throw the life into, whereupon a good human cog in the machine will be rewarded. With lots of sparkly stuff, and a vacation, and maybe health-care.
This is the autopilot program we are typically fed from tiny childhood. Of course it is not a plan any sane being would choose--to needlessly put off authentic happiness and fulfillment for duty and obligation--only to be turned away at the door when the time is supposed to have come! Excuse me while I rant, but why was I never told that the eight-year-old delight I felt while running barefoot down a dirt road in the summer sunshine, birds busy, rattlesnakes warming up, plans to head down to the creek forming, was a real and permanent option for living? The obvious answer lies in the current stressed-out, psychotic state of the human nation. Happiness is not taught in our various institutions. Contentment is not emphasized in high-school career class. Unconditional love and bliss, as my mother told me once, belongs only to "saints".
Quite naturally, we resent the "forced" conformation. Most of us will happily sacrifice time, energy and ego for a cause dear to us, or just doing something we know, without any doubt, is worthwhile. That's what intuition and guts are for--to tell us about what is worthwhile.
It is almost mainstream knowledge, now, that money, fame or walking the party line won't necessarily ensure fulfillment, or even satisfaction. Still, the majority of people don't know themselves much, don't know that they want to risk being happy, because they believe it will be at the expense of the family, the company, the country, the post-death destination, the approval...so they freeze, in the headlights, with nothing but a program running where a heart is supposed to be.
With some luck, there may be a lucid moment before death, a moment of release and vision--if it is not drowned out by an intense regret for the true life unlived.
This is it.
On vacation, we are generally quite open to new experience. It's a good excuse to seek it out. We are also usually not on the clock; time seems much more flexible and forgiving. We come to the conclusion that it must be these unfamiliar sights, sounds and activities, maybe the energy of a slower-moving culture, allowing us to relax and be less reserved. But as it has been said, often and wisely: Wherever we go, there we are. We are always the one common denominator in our happiness, or lack of it.
Yes, life can be incredibly difficult, and a good deal of hard work. But working without feeling compelled to work makes a tremendous difference. Taking the risk of standing up for what you truly want to do--what you, because of your love, en-joy--is worth the initial fear. Allowing yourself to shine through all your locations, rather than putting this mask on, or that, because it is the dress code of the local ego society...well...the benefits could never be overstated!
Beyond these basic facts, there is an even more interesting thing, lying around in plain sight, sticking to us like cat hair on a cashmere sweater. Every day, we attempt to brush it off in favor of our superior intellect, in favor of the musts and shoulds and have-tos, in favor of the plans we made a thousand years ago or the aspirations "the world" has for us. It is a gift that is wrapped in the most common, ordinary and routine...in the most familiar thing we are. This. Anywhere, anytime, this. All of it, every iota, right now, at home in the bathroom or at work in the cubicle or at play in the ski resort. The precious vulnerability of love, the humbling futility of anger, the insane irritation and itch of just being...we can simply stop it all, right now, if we really, really want to.
We can chase relaxation all over the world, step away from relationship and toward what we think is righteous, sit for hours trying to invite a glimpse of ease and peace. Doing all this, will we ever be able to create a better version of the enchantment rolling at our feet, flowing through our veins and unfolding in spacetime through us? What happens if we just unwrap the gift?
It might be the best graduation or promotion or retirement ever, entitling the newly-winged to a free pass to the real thing, at last...a life to be felt, tasted, absorbed like sunshine, heard like bells, loved as fiercely as you are.
Now, that's a holiday!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Full value goes with full experience as Life, rather than as a hollow victim/victor apart from it.
We associate the concept "radical" with some kind of extreme departure from the accepted or the normal. But the Latin origin of the word means of the root. It (like all things) has a delightful paradox embedded in it.
A full life is a radical one, in the sense that it is consciously lived as closely as possible to the mysterious core of what is, involving a kind of intimate, radical awareness. In our current culture, such living is viewed as "alien" or "crazy" or "impossible". Even abnormal. ("Normal", by the way, originally meant from the carpenter's square...firmly between the measured lines.) Never mind that the results of this insistent openness are often greater balance, peace, compassion and stability.
Rather than some threatening action or stance, real radicalism involves following an experience down to its origin until such a response to any given situation becomes "natural". Soon, there is less tracing back to the root and more living as an entirety...from seed to plant to flower and beyond. Rather than identifying with one stage or another, it is obvious and understood that all arbitrary stages are to be found here...since, somehow, the tracing ultimately comes from, and leads back to, just this. And Here is indivisible. All-encompassing. Impossible to get away from. I became a radical human when I quit attempting to flee or fight, and surrendered to my impossibly extended existence.
I thought I knew love--what a beautiful, protected bloom! Radical love, though, involves exploring landscapes so harsh that it seems nothing can possibly grow there.
Radical forgiveness takes place in just such a landscape, where the light is relentless enough that you become a mere mirage on the edge of your own vision...and you understand that this Universe forgives everything, with or without your approval. Only then is that terrible thirst eased.
Radical aliveness ensues. I am my own rain.
(Radical splashing in puddles often follows...for no good reason other than making a thousand tiny rainbows, or defying chronological age, or changing a sidewalk sea into many sidewalk ponds.)
All of this takes place quite effortlessly through the radical change going on everywhere in and around whatever we take to be our boundary of the moment...whether we like it, or not...with or without our attending.
Attending the process is the difference between talking about the quality of a diamond, exclaiming over the clarity, depth, and fire, attempting to place or manipulate value--and becoming that which scintillates. I am my own spark.
Radical attendance takes place when even the ego understands that it is far less than a servant, and far more than some Divine manifestation. There is no self to serve, after that; observing oneself becomes lambs eating spring grass, having a financial discussion with your mate, dreaming of closed doors in big houses.
Radical service is fulfilled in the loving notice that life lavishes on itself; every blink becomes some kind of prayer. Breathing is as good an offering as any. The response, here, is immediate and perfectly beneficial. I am my own symbiotic relationship. :)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:
All life is being lived.
Who is living it then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?
Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?
Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances
or streets, as they wind through time?
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I was reading an interview with an artist, recently, who, while discussing a certain large and brilliant watercolor piece, wondered if "it is really only one painting", considering the fact that everyone views a work of art differently...in an absolutely unique, unmatchable way. This ensures that there are as many interpretations of it as there are viewers. Of course, this extends to all perception.
We can agree on our common descriptions, the mode of language around the painting of a vase full of roses, or the sound of a crying child or the texture of velvet. The "sensed object", or "objective moment of creation" appears to stand on its own...but we "make" it happen, bring it to life with our senses. Or does it bring us to life? What is it that "triggers" us to attend, focus, bring all of our senses to bear on an experience?
Glancing up from my magazine, I wondered just how many couches appear in a day in my living room...how many limitless versions might there be of that situation--"couch"--that I perceive? It is the couch I almost broke my toe on...the couch I recline on when my feet hurt...the couch I wish I could replace with a nicer one. Is it even possible to know what an original version of anything is?
Some folks consider these lines of questioning pointless and impractical. But this kind of digging below an obvious surface--paying more thorough attention to different aspects of Being coming into play--practically guarantees a life saturated with beauty and interest.
As an artist familiar with creating something from nothing, I realize that I really have no idea how this process happens. I can only talk about it after the fact, isolate with a language the "creating" from its field of Entire Universe, seen and unseen...with memory, imagination, intuition, psychic nudge, yesterday's chocolate. I can break it into "steps", starting from when I set up a canvas or picked up a brush or took my first breath in 1964.
But the steps are all arbitrary, and while in the midst of applying paint, I have no conscious reference point. I am not separate from the process. The thing makes itself, somehow. There is no "I" to decide where to put a tree in a landscape--the decision began when spacetime did...if it did. :)
As far as a "prompt" for a particular work...I don't know that, either. What I am is a motion, which I "stop" for mental description, which is also part of this eternal movement-as-something.
I can say that a painting is "finished" when I no longer change its physical characteristics--but every person gazing upon it continues its life, makes it new, makes it all over again. It is never "mine". Neither is the couch, or my child, or these thoughts. Only the absolute entirety of existence and nonexistence can be mine. Once I break it up, it no longer is. Then it belongs to every/one.
There is only one original version of anything...so original, that language can't explain it. You.
So what is it that we do all day, all our lives? What is this enchanted thing?
We create everything from nothing, as if that's what we are born for.
Friday, April 3, 2009
This is a short post (did I just hear a sigh of relief?)...because the sun is coming out and I want to go outside. :)
All the time, I run into well-intentioned statements regarding How Things Really Are. The current general outlook is that we are all part of a whole. In religious terms, we are all somehow part of God; in scientific terms, part of "the field"; in New-Agey language, we are each a ray of the Light.
I am urging everyone to go the last step. You are The Whole.
You are not a-part. You are IT.
A separate Being has not partitioned itself into different rooms...you do that, in your mind. Every wall is a few words--an imaginary moment. So sit down for a second (in the sun, if you can), be still, and understand that this is all there is, no limitations. No words. No time.
Later, you can chew over things as much as you want...with the understanding that your teeth can't bite themselves!
Love all of you...