Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Architecture of a Cloud

Many anonymous sensual contemplatives have said, in so many words: "If you can't figure it out, feel it out."

Naturally, I am in total agreement with this instruction, especially now--being alive seems so utterly complex, the plot so convoluted, that getting to the bottom of anything is like trying to stuff clouds in a box.

Clouds...tiny water particles forming where heat and cold meet. Freezing, melting, appearing and vanishing. Taking on the color of the world. Soft and fluffy as a lamb's tail or able to carry a death charge. Concealing, framing, revealing. Sort of like Being, no? Being human, being world, being universal.

The intelligence of clouds is such that they cannot be preserved or confined; holding them within something tends to transform them into a contented puddle somewhere, happy to evaporate or join some larger body. Our systems are catching on to this easy morphing in a crude and clumsy fashion (think "cloud computing")--and indeed, if we could view ourselves and our universe from the very edges of The Big Picture, we would see everything--from our local bodies and land to very nonlocal-seeming galaxies--as appearing and disappearing particles, gathering and dispersing, flashing the colors of a greater sun.

In case this view seems incredibly impractical or suited to poetry and romance rather than the "real" world of harsh edges, I might point out that intellect has not made it to the bottom (or the heights) of life or humanity. That particular journey is more the imperative of the heart, which (sometimes to our great frustration) does not seem to depend on the intellect and its narrow languages. Without some kind of feeling, mind starves and falls back on rote, on eating cardboard, on mechanical motion, like an angry anorexic in prison. Feeling seems to become the untouchable scenery outside the bars, the damn free birds flashing by, uncaring people who don't even spare a thought for the inmates just out of reach of daylight.

Too many years of this self-imposed sentence, and any release is just a binge and a crime-spree that lands the psyche right back in the familiar confines of walls, rules and routines--a punishing life. The reasons given for this are varied and suited to individual stories and levels of comfort. It's as if the prospect of full openness of feeling, of admitting responsibility to and for lambs and storms, is simply too frightening to such a person.

I think, if only--if only!--he or she would rest for a moment without the defining, rearranging, lockpicking tools of the mind, the walls would begin to evaporate as they do in the face of effortlessness. Sometimes we are so enchanted with our human ability to build, contain and reinforce thoughts of ourselves that we forget to feel.

But like clouds above, feeling goes on all the time underneath, a vast and often unused source of intelligence and vital, energetic "fluid". Feeling is not confined to the local, and is naturally shapeshifting and limitless. Feeling is immediately apparent in any pause in inner or outer language, and is so thoroughly evident to an open heart that it is understood as the medium for all expression and impression.

I am not speaking of "a feeling", as in a bracketed and named emotional response. Feeling is not just the content, images or words which arise in answer to a question, as a solution to a "problem" or a direction in which to travel. Feeling is also the context, and the very ability to feel, the very fact that we are as much heart as head.

Feeling has a "pure" form, before taking on any intent or movement away from itself; this is experienced and inadequately named Bliss or Love. Traces of this bliss remain, even in intense suffering.

Returning to the ruins of a former prison is perfectly alright, and can be quite an adventure. The willingness to become immersed in such intensity is a direct invitation to be "carried", expanded, uplifted. After that, one can never actually believe in imprisonment again. Period. So much sky, where there used to be ceiling...and what appeared as desperate graffiti before is now poetry, lying in heaps in the long grass.

Colors change with the reflections of yourself, you of permeable edges, open borders, shifting density...

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