A Labor In the Dark

Here is how Martin Buber, the Jewish theologian, describes the compulsion of the mystic to capture the fleeting unity of consciousness:

YES IT IS TRUE; THE ECSTATIC [MYSTIC] CANNOT SAY THE UNSAYABLE. HE SAYS THE OTHER THING—IMAGES, DREAMS, VISIONS—NOT UNITY. HE SPEAKS, HE MUST SPEAK, BECAUSE THE WORD BURNS IN HIM. . . . HE DOES NOT LIE WHO SPEAKS OF UNITY IN IMAGES, DREAMS, VISIONS, WHO STAMMER OF UNITY.. . . HE SAYS THE FORMS AND SOUNDS AND NOTICES THAT HE IS NOT SAYING THE EXPERIENCE, NOT THE GROUND, NOT THE UNITY, AND WOULD LIKE TO STOP HIMSELF AND CANNOT, AND FEELS THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF SAYING IT, LIKE A SEVEN-LOCKED GATE WHICH HE RATTLES, KNOWING THAT IT WILL NEVER OPEN, YET HE MUST GO ON RATTLING IT. FOR THE WORD BURNS IN HIM. ECSTASY IS DEAD, STABBED IN THE BACK BY TIME, WHICH CANNOT BE MOCKED; BUT, DYING, IT HAS FLUNG THE WORD INTO HIM, AND THE WORD BURNS IN HIM. AND HE SPEAKS, SPEAKS, HE CANNOT BE SILENT, THE FLAME IN THE WORD DRIVES HIM, HE KNOWS THAT HE CANNOT SAY IT, YET HE TRIES OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL HIS SOUL IS EXHAUSTED TO DEATH AND THE WORD LEAVES HIM. THIS IS THE EXALTATIO OF THE ONE WHO HAS RETURNED INTO THE COMMOTION AND CANNOT RESIGN HIMSELF TO IT; THIS IS HIS INSURRECTION, THE INSURRECTION OF A SPEAKER: RELATED TO THE INSURRECTION OF THE POET, SLIGHTER IN POSSESSION, MIGHTIER IN EXISTENCE, THAN HIS. THIS IS THE BENDING OF THE BOW FOR THE SAYING OF THE UNSAYABLE, AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK, A LABOR IN THE DARK. IT’S WORK, THE CONFESSION, BEARS ITS MARK. (9-10)

I would venture to say that we all know the burning of the Word. We know the work in the dark. And indeed, such confessional work bears its mark.

Like prophets, we go into our caves. We know the peace beyond the commotion of the every day, and we cannot entirely resign ourselves to this ordinary commotion. There is something deeper. Something below the surface, beyond the clatter. There are ways to transcend the commotion and seek an inspired insight that transforms human life.

The Ethics of Attention

“The great human error is to reason in place of finding out.”

—Simone Weil

She was a force.
She shames me.
She lived her philosophy.

She defined the price and purpose of philosophy. Attention for Simone was a crucial skill to develop if you were not going to live at the mercy of the the forces around you.

How to properly focus your attention was key to her philosophy.

A different experience of everything you do is available to you…right now. Or you can just accept your default perception.

You have to be open to receive what is beyond the circumstances of the moment.

This requires for you to pay attention to what is happening around you. Most just settle for their default state of attention.

Simone’s attention saw the world as sacred.

She didn’t care about becoming a famous philosopher, she was too busy living her life.

She became a teacher. She encouraged her students to think openly.

Staying open is the key to everything!

What if there is no single right answer, so common in life.

People find a position and then just vehemently defend and die on that hill.

A shame.

One must avoid this collectivist thinking.

Acknowledge at the beginning of any conservation you only have a partial truth and that there is always more to learn.

Don’t chain yourself to a fixed position. How to pay attention?

The middle path between no activity and too much activity, is to put in effort, but you remove your own prejudices from your experiences.

You look and listen and wait.

I am in awe of her focus, attention, and openness.

Amor Fati – Accept what is necessary

What Makes One Great

“If, at some point in your life,” Marcus Aurelius wrote, “you should come across anything better than justice, truth, self-control, courage—it must be an extraordinary thing indeed.”

I think the greatest lesson in life is beyond all work and play, it’s learning to love and be loved.

It’s the only true thing in my experience.

Do not seek for your own gain, seek to lift others up and you will be great!

Leaders, serve the people you lead. Seek their best and not your own. This is true capitalism.

We have certainly lost our way to greed and progress and fear of not having what we want.

I have found nothing greater than forgiveness, kindness and patience. Lifting up the least of us, makes us great.

Make yourself available to invest in others and you will be great.

I’m just a dreamer you may think, no, I stand in the sun sunny I know the hard won freedom of true love.

One has to learn to love themselves first and best and from there, give from an overflowing abundance.

This is all I have really learned of value in my life and I will never cease sharing it, until my dying breath.

I am crazy 😜 for love and that is my only truth.

I’ve Got The Music In Me

I ran from love terrified
Until I could go no further
There I collapsed…finished
But I heard something
In my dirt filled ears
Lying in the land of the dead
It was the softest music at first
Like nothing I had ever heard before
Slowly I began to feel the tug of gravity
Suddenly it lifted me up up up
Out of the dirt
All the way into the big endless sky
Suddenly clouds of dark matter split wide
A golden light
Unlike anything I had ever seen
Shot right through me
I felt love in every cell screaming
Love had raised me from the dead
Then I heard thunderous words
Echoing from everywhere at once

NOTHING COULD EVER SEPARATE YOU FROM MY ❤️

Then I heard every cell
In me singing
I found the music
Was always in me
I just never heard it
Like Apollo singing
Through the underworld
Nothing can touch me now
I’ve got the music in me

Deep Woods

Dive into the Mystery “Natura naturans…”

Lay down all you know

Take flight upon the dark wings of love

Behold Nature’s sheer fecundity and vitality

Drink deeply from her spring

Know the rapture of the Deep Woods

Hear the ancient music on the hills

Explore Nature’s uncanny ravines

Encounter maenades and goatbrides

Behold the terrifying Otherness

How to Be a Loser

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

—Henry David Thoreau

This begins my master class on how best to apply philsophy. Henry spent a long time in the woods, he went a little crazy. Bodhidharma stared at a wall for years. Cold Mountain lived on a cold mountain. Diogenes lived in a wine barrel. What do most of us do?

Consume and get fat and die of rich person diseases, most without a positive balance in their checking accounts, how absolutely ironic and funny.

Give up the ghost, you are already dead.

Let’s start there, you are a goner. You are not going to win life. Your purpose isn’t to be free or have a happy life or be rich or poor, it’s to spread your DNA and die, to be consumed, to allow the next wave of being.

But let me tell you something, this is the doorway to joy, to Eden.

Failure is freedom!

I feel most folks are utterly asleep and full of 💩 There, I said it. We live in a fishbowl full of turds. I don’t want to be a winner. I don’t want fame or riches. I ain’t gonna start a YouTube channel or TikTok. I mean, I have a YouTube channel that gets 1-100 likes mostly per post. No one likes what I like really and that’s just fine by me.

“The straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat— you know when they are in the room with you.”

—Marcus Aurelius

I’m weird, a misanthrope, a smelly 🐐 but I love life on this little blue marble, I really do. So I ain’t all bad. Hell is other people Sarte mused and he was close, what he should have said is, hell is yourself, enjoy your stay.

I was one of the walking dead 💀 how did I find my groove, I failed and failed and failed. I became a bum. I wrote my heart. I puked my guts out. I read broadly and saw I was just another bastard. Welcome to the party.

The funniest thing, once you finally embrace the above and stomp around and splash in it, a funny thing happens, people hear you and see you. Your worst fears realized. They want your freedom. Some hate you for it, others sit at your feet.

Well, I don’t have anything to offer the little birds but a kick in the ass out of my nice comfy nest.

There you go, that’s lesson one in how to be a loser.

dirty dishes

there is something in me yearning

wanting to break things

to be free

making connections I can’t imagine

X

a portal…

everything around me seems totally solid one second

the next, it appears to shimmer transparently

like a gossamer dress

something tells me…let go

i want to knock all the pieces off the table 

mix it all up

rearrange things

knock around

be a punk

quit it all and wreck it

build it up again

chaos has a hand on my shoulder

an angel on the other

i feel my whole soul

as the world hurls into chaos

i feel myself moving with it

it feels dangerous 

part of me loves it

another piece is terrified

people collecting awards for acting 

what a con

what a joke

people acting holy and appearing pure 

insides filled with black tar

so many pretty faces 

so much ugly pain

one realizes they have to take the beauty where they can find it

dwell with it 

be in it

will that keep all the tar away

all the uglies 

no, we dwell within the ruins 

i don’t know why I say these things 

why I should feel so split

crazy perhaps 

mad

mad for life

mad for death

mad for LOVE

Silly Musings on Keeping Your Hands Off

“The arising and the elimination of illusion are both illusory. Illusion is not something rooted in Reality; it exists because of your dualistic thinking.

If you will only cease to indulge in opposed concepts such as ‘ordinary’ and ‘Enlightened’, illusion will cease of itself. And then if you still want to destroy it wherever it may be, you will find that there is not a hairsbreadth left of anything on which to lay hold.

This is the meaning of: ‘I will let go with both hands, for then I shall certainly discover the Buddha in my mind’.”

‘The nature of the Mind when understood, No human speech can compass or disclose. Enlightenment is naught to be attained, And he that gains it does not say he knows.’

-Bodhidharma

—from The Zen Teaching of Huang Po

I’ve been studying the early sources of zen, which is the Japanese name and Buddhist/Indian sources. I use the lower case there because what is written is not Zen. You can’t really study Zen on anonymous social media sites. But the discussions can be interesting and revealing of our dualitic thinking.

Anyone claiming truth is making a power play.

No word can reveal this, silence enshrines it. 

Piercing sensory perception and conceptual thought brings an immediate end to illusion. This is directly seeing and perceiving with the mysterious intuition. This awareness is not exclusive to Zen. Plotinus and Eckart seemed to have come to the same place as the sages. 

Hands off, yes, indeed. 

—-

I think this is where the best art comes from.

Feeling this fire is one aspect, but walking into it is a whole other experience.

Walking into the fire is an act of self immolation, sacrifice and an overcoming of fear and is maybe the only courageous thing we can do.

No longer bound by talent or skill or lack thereof, but truly transcending these. 

I would say walking into the fire is an act of faith as well and opens a portal to nowhere and everywhere.

The raw expression of Jack Kerouac from ‘On the Road’ or the writing of his insane mad friend, Neal Cassady, being western examples.

An enlightened, if sad teacher, Harold Bloom, explored the American Sublime deeply through our literature. I like his thinking on these subjects. He’s a bit too brilliant for me though 😉

Reading Jack Kerouac again and Neal recently and Bloom’s Opus, The Daemon Knows as well as the old zen texts.

Jack and his band of merry fools were maybe Holy Barbarians.

Something in their Barbarian ways speaks deeply to me.

I spent my own wild crazy days on the road. 

Now I just enjoy sitting in the garden. 

But that fire lifts you up at key times and can consume you. 

It is too intense to live in. 

The Open Road somehow feels like a quick path to death. 

How many artists have been destructively consumed by the fire of their passions?

But our deeper passions can save us.

Compare these artistic shooting stars to the sages who lived to 120.

I can’t say one way is better than the other.

But I’m in no hurry to shuffle off this mortal coil. 

https://www.christies.com/features/neal-cassady-long-lost-letter-to-jack-kerouac-comes-to-auction-7393-1.aspx

Blow your horn!

Rage rage rage against the dying of the light.

Love Tears Me Open

I woke up tonight after a dark dream. 

I couldn’t sleep and the Lion told me to offer myself as a lamb to itself. It said it is all that is moving. It told me love kills. To take my small flame I have cultivated and merge it with the only real 🔥 

And I wrote this with some help from my friends…

“Love is like the lion’s tooth.” —W.B. Yeats

I’ll tell you a secret about love
  Life is love and love is life
  A riddle and plainly known

I’ll tell you a secret about love
  You can cultivate your little flame
  But love will kill you when you come close

I’ll tell you a secret about love
  Though love may slay you as a lamb
  You shall be raised up a lion

—smelly goat

“You that come to birth and bring the mysteries, your voice-thunder makes us very happy.  Roar, lion of the heart, and tear me open!” – Rumi

Only now do I realize I have prepared myself as an offering to the Lion. 

The Ruins of Love

Sufi Pt 1 Lyrics…

My secret beloved
Send me a secret message
Give me your soul
Give me your life

Wander like a drifter
Now on a journey

Walk into this fire embrace
Be like a salamander
Come into a source of flame
Fire transmutes to a rosebud

Don’t you know that my thought
Is better than the queen of roses?
Don’t you know my heresy
Is the essence of spirituality?

Then surrender your spirt
Surrender your life
For God I know
That darkness is better than a cage!

Walk into this fire embrace
Be like a salamander
Come into a source of flame
Fire transmutes to a rosebud

Don’t you know that my thought
Is better than the queen of roses?
Don’t you know my heresy
Is the essence of spirituality?

Then surrender your spirt
Surrender your life

For God I know
That darkness is better than a cage!

I know a palace is better than a ruin
And the owl in this world
Loves to live
In the ruins of love

I am always learning how to read better between the lines of language and life. Words are just representations. Of what, is the mystery. They are magick in a way. Evoking and caging sometimes something in us. I’ve practiced Zen now for a bit, this is the essence of Zen, to know our true nature where we are, nothing more, nothing less. 

I know a palace is better than a ruin
And the owl in this world

Loves to live
In the ruins of love

I studied these lyrics a bit years ago and meditated deeply on what is said and not said. I looked into the Sufi path and what they meant by flame and the beloved. I am not trying to be clever here, but I have felt all the deities are within us, drawn to the light/flame, as we are a shadow, a portal to the nameless faceless. The owl, in this world, loves to live in the ruin of love. I choose not to name or make distinctions. The deity is the one who I point at, when I point back at myself. This is cutting to the root. This is going headless. This is directly perceiving beyond words. 

I love Rumi, but I really know Shams, who was behind Rumi. Somehow I feel Shams is close to me and represents my secret beloved. He showed me to let the distinctions go. 

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, eastern or western…divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”

–Shams Of Tabriz

“The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”

That’s a koan. 

When I listened to this song first, I felt the flame 🔥 inside me leap. Yearning for freedom. I felt it. I felt like crying and laughing at the same time. Fire loves water.

Rumi said sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment, that’s got to be one of my favorite written poetic lines.

I think the lyrics point to the freeing of the flame within us, which is always free. This awareness transmutes us, by realizing our lives are not cages, that we are already free. This is the real Alchemy. This returns us to Eden. The world of matter is a ruin in away, a compromise, in between chaos and light.

Somehow it can know itself better in the ruin, but this world is a sham. It is not that the flame 🔥  needs escape, but that it simply is uncovered. 

The water is all around us, love is not the flame, it is the water, which the flame is attracted to. We would think flame fears water, and perhaps it does for awhile, then it seeks to dowse itself in love. When fire loves water, the universe turns differently.

If the bird can get just a glimpse of what is around it and within it, instantly it is transmuted and free. So the body is the cage. 

This awareness does not make me want to fly away, it deepens my connection, Aslan, there is no where else to go, here we are. Allah is clothed by rational thought, occulted by matter, but known through awareness. The lion. In Hebrew, 

Aslan means ‘satan‘ which means ‘lucifer/first light in the morning’ which means ‘daybreak’. The circle is closed around the point, the central sun. Everything is contained within the circle. 

⭕️

I could not always see with my real eyes 👀 I was in a cage. But I embraced the prison and it opened to Eden through my heart, to the point, naked singularity. I can’t show anyone, I can’t really tell anyone, but like knows like. We can point to it. We can sing 🎶  about it. We can dance 💃 around it. Flame 🔥 joins with 🔥 And we embrace water 💧 seemingly a crazy thing for a flame to do, and then the universe turns differently for us.I was withering in my life 10 years ago, dying. But a great wind blew through me. It lifted me high into the air and brought me face to face with the ☀️ Our source, itself only a representation. Like words, all form is just a representation.

 What appeared to trap me, turned to dust and I flew for the first time. 

But I returned, and now I rest here, in the center of it all. I rest in the chaos, in the center of my life. I feel the heat, which is behind all form and I love it, for this is loving and knowing myself. I saw what was behind all esoteric and what was occulted, what was behind all religious and secular symbols.

Where you gonna go?

Where you gonna hide from love?

The morning light dawned inside me. 

I don’t cry anymore.
I’m smiling 😊and laughing with joy.
I feel Aslan within me, laying on the savannah, roaring within. This is the true path to god/love, an ever present connection, it ends where it began, full circle. I drink deeply now from this ocean, I could hardly believe it was real. I was dying because I was thirsting for this love, but terrified of it. This never dies. Anywhere this light breaks into the world, matter forms around it, cults form, religions are born. The matter longs to connect with it or naturally is attracted to it. So we have the planets rotating around the outer sun, as what is inside us rotates around the inner sun.

Bound by gravity. 

Bound together by love. 

Sometimes I do cry 😭 because it is too damn beautiful to contain. 

I weep blood into the dirt through my cries and words.

The birds are returning.

All deity reflects love. 

All deity seeks to free us.

We are only held back through this egoic force. 

In Rumi’s allegories, amongst the free birds, the Owl and the Falcon represent the two primary options once one is freed from the cage. The Owl lives in the dark, far from civilization, only relating with its own kind, whereas the Falcon rests upon the arm of the king, staying close to the power source and maintaining his relations and connection with any and all who venture to the court. The Falcon holds a pure, open vision, flying during the day and returning to his master’s arm at night, while the Owl lives in seclusion, coming out in the dark, lost without the guidance of a master. The Falcon represents a follower who has fallen off track, one who has insight but has pointed it in a skewed direction. Falcon as an exemplary option working in contrast with the Owl who has lost his way after enlightenment.

For Rumi, the last and most powerful bird is the Phoenix, a bird so exquisite it nearly plays the role of God himself. The Phoenix is rare, and when sighted acts as an omen, serving the purpose of reminding humans to stay in awe of God’s power. The Phoenix reminds one to soak up moments with the divine because they may be fleeting and far between. The Phoenix is quite likely an unreal creature and therefore its existence can only rely on faith. The Phoenix reminds us to have faith even when we cannot see it, to hold God close and be open to any help He may have to offer us because He is always there.

The pagan and the religious and secular all experience life differently perhaps but rotate around the same source, are of the same stuff. 

The fire is the force, the purpose, the will, that pushes us through life. 

The bird knows the way back. 

I can’t judge the paths others take in life, but I can see the intensity of the 🔥 within them. I call out to it in others. Tempt them to let it break free, as they tempt me. Passion reminds us of this contact with the unseen, it celebrates it in whatever form it burns. 

All words can provide guidance, but no answers ultimately. I feel that we all must search for the things that we love and feel passionately about and then follow them until death do us part.

I hope all can come to know this freedom.