Today I learned the secret of invisibility from an old homeless man. "So disappear," he ordered himself.
In the forest too, Modernity can be defined by the disappearance of wildlife from humanity's habitat and by the reappeance of the same in humanity's reflections on itself: in philosophy, psychoanalysis, and technological media such as telephone, film, and radio there are always people with "the anxiety to speak," as Thomas Merton wrote. Or the roar of a distant motor vehicle, a freight train's whistle winding through the space between trees, or a helicopter beating the air and the canopy overhead. One can no longer hear the "silence in which grasses crackled underfoot, a cricket deafened a man, leaves rubbed together in a chance breeze, and the voice of a god whispered softly."
A woman talking into her cell phone: "Where are you?," while gesticulating with a free arm. Her dog barks. I wonder if hares use loops, backtracks, checks, and a clever trail to try to outwit the pack. Smart use of water obstacles, heavy shrubbery, unexpected changes of direction, etc., will make it very unlikely that dogs see us as the ghosts we are.
"The ghost of the land looks just like its body." Who's seeing the dream when the dream itself is me?
What begins when religion evolves into symmetry? What flows when visions become dry ink? From behind the scrim egos pop out like pustules. One gets the ambiance of spirituality: incense, bells, singing, chanting, kneeling, bowing, praying, preaching, confessing the hunter knows that the animal doesn't hear him when it is dead; and even while it is being hunted there is no question of dialogue between hunter and hunted. Nevertheless the self-deception of talking with the animal exerts a grip, proven by the hunter's repentant words, while what is occurring is the reinforcement of systemized beliefs.
I read of someone lost among the arid mesas of New Mexico, and remembered not being lost but the borrowed VW bus breaking down on a hot and dusty back road in N. California, on the way to Kitkitdizze. After a short wait, it didn't surprise me when a man appeared and asked what was wrong. I told him that the primitive man who availed himself of dolls and drawings in order to bewitch was generally quite indifferent to the lifelike character of his magical instruments.The typical volt gives only a crude outline of the human body, and, what is most remarkable, the engine had suddenly stopped. "It sounds like the points need cleaning," he said. With a handy piece of emory board, he gently filed the distributor's points , and the engine jumped back to life.
When one walks the path and sees how everything grows as it would, the concept of "God's plan" becomes naive, along with competition, Social Darwinism, and Capitalism. What is just is. Fundamentalism, after all, is a misreading of the Void.
On the neurotic loop one always faces forward, never to the center. Stuck, then, the rollercoaster is the best litmus test for this challenge since it represents all of America's jittery ambitions, love of sensationalism and eroticized violence on the top of the loop, like stranded on a Ferris Wheel, the neurosis knots. Neurogastroenterology: the loop, the knot, the pattern, a carnival of dysfunctional rides.
Entering Oregon in late May, I drafted a flatbed truck piled with logs eight miles downhill through intermittent rain, cooling after a heat wave in California, to the outskirts of Eugene on a gray and deserted day; here, too, an area separated from the rest of the world; and here too, the protected/protracted/procured space in which a lonely body is breathing and moving about, letting the thoughts it harbors sift, shift, and stray through a road too narrow to pass that wavering truck.
How many tons of toxins are released into the atmosphere in ratio to a child's breath, or trees felled, or poisons poured into the sea? Damned by our fecundity—
A centipede looks both ways before crossing the road. Infinity doesn't make sense to the bridled brain; it's the same with origination. Faint light bends through lenses. Background radiation, allegedly from the Big Bang, adds to the equation. Reading illegible notes, what could I have been thinking?
The art of topiary treats bushes like pedigree dogs bred for showing their oddball shapes. Crossing a street, my old heart races against new models of powerful machines that look pretty much like last year's models. Have automobile designers run out of ideas? The return of the Model-T is only a matter of time.
So many bodies have been skewed on God's spit. I can still hear the screams of Giordano Bruno as fire orbited his flesh. Where did he go wrong? Sacredness of Earth, Cosmos, all beings everywhere; instead, throughout the ages the transition from one zone to another, be it physical or psychic, has often been realised via a transitory passage—the portal. This hole, perforation, or gateway demarcating two adjacent or concomitant worlds, commonly the terrestrial or celestial, has possessed various transformative and transcendental powers. Commonly linked to different spatial and conscious states through various mythologies, we got theocracy, hypocrisy, egocentric babbling. Admittedly, I hold a low opinion of people in high office.
Soen Nakagawa "slipped from a precipice and suffered a blow to his head. Lying unconscious for three days until he was discovered, Soen Roshi awoke, but as his friend Yamada put it, 'he was never the same.'" It's to teachers like the late Soen Nakagawa that I look for balance.
Satisfaction with the pulse of my life slips away, as if in a clearing the muse I've been waiting for suddenly appears. The big questions walkabout on trackless land. Taking their bearings mythologically, they know where the old gods are buried.
My orientation is to bodies whose bones are incised with the alchemical picture of the psychology of Luna, in which salt plays a central role. For Luna. as the feminine aspect of the arcane substance, maintains a close relation to her prima materia, the sea, than does Luna, the mother of all things, who murders the sun in her moisture, possesses also the healing elixir of life, the wisdom of symbols that can't be broken. However, it's not the bones that count, but re-membering the marrow of this all-at-once life.
To approach maturity, some childhood needs are outgrown; others, whose range is diverse, are grown from. The former is a springboard: mundanity is used for impetus to enter a larger world. The latter is foundational: the culture of one's childhood acts as fodder from which an expanded world-view naturally grows.
Hazy morning. From below the veranda of the Japanese Garden, voices rise as if from Hell. Ah, it's the tennis courts! I can hear the balls bouncing off tightly-strung rackets. Looking further, the wild state is clearly a part of a poetic and mysterious universe. Our attempts to understand it on the aesthetic level alone is doomed to failure. My (Aborigine) friends tell me that their survival rests not only on fragile food reserves, but on their ability to enter into the Dreaming whenever the mountain is crowned with snow. Even in mid-summer it's hidden from view. Closer, a cold stone lantern scowls as a young couple saunters past it without looking, fully engaged in the warmth of each other.
In a dream,His eyes looked like flat turquoise buttons engraved with runes. Suddenly he was on top of me, pinning me down, his face close to mine, saying "I collect eyes, and I want yours!"
A few days later, reading Hayao Kawai, one significance of this dream began to focus. Kawai is speaking about a dream the Buddhist priest Myôe (1173-1232) had in which "he sees the famous priest, Kûkai, sleeping. Kûkai's two eyes looked like crystals, and they were lying beside the pillow. Kûkai gives them to Myôe, who places them in the sleeve of his robe." Kawai comments: "Here I need only point out that Myôe inherited, so to say, the eyes of his prominent predecessor, the tools by which one can see the world."
Then I thought about how I have always refused to "give my eyes" to academia. As a child I dreaded classrooms, formal settings of any kind. Thus, "Give me your eyes," is the need to see the body is constructed, dismembered, or repaired in ritual (indeed, the bodily changes of the life cycle-the moments of birth, growth, death, pollution, and purification-are often the key moments of communal symbolic action and reflection). The senses are reoriented and the bodily perceptions are corrected or rearranged through ritual contact with the sacred beings who appear through more eyes than our own. Injdeed, this is about the work I'm trying to do.
"Remember when the Goddess was born — the spider gave her protection."
Adolescence is a kind of purgatory, a liminal stage. On meaning is we clearly inhabit materiallandscapes that (excepting rare instances) we had little say in construction. These landscapes have walls, doors, windows, spaces of flow (roads, paths, bridges, etc.) that we have to negotiate in order that a soldier who returns home from war not psychologically wounded remains a life-long adolescent.
Waiting for the elevator that takes me up to ground level, I look north toward the mountain that blew its top and think of Tilopa, the Indian saint who lived with beggars under a bridge. Seeing the mountain hidden behind a scrim of clouds, I note that hiding can be a form of false humility. Thus, the man had been buried in a grave hollowed out among the rocks and covered over with earth from the living floor of the cave. Detailed and precise pollen analysis of the grave soil and surrounding levels showed that the body had been laid to rest in a bed of brightly-coloured flowers, probably woven into wreaths with a "hidden Master," willing to teach only those who arduously seek him out, may be hiding from himself.
"A monk was dispatched to a city carrying with him medicine for an ailing saint.... He made the long journey out of the north African desert, reaching the unfamiliar streets of the city late at night. Lost, he came across a sick beggar lying in the gutter. Without thinking, he applied the medicine to the beggar, who soon showed signs of recovery. Having nothing to deliver to the saint, the monk walked back to his monastery, fearing what the abbot would say."
We talk of an inside as if there is such a place separate from an outside. Instead, let's discuss osmosis, the moment of transgression.
The sense of a transcendental God, a stand-in for what is beyond the range of the brain, what we take on faith, doesn't have to be based in a human being. Anthropologists have found burials at least 100,000 years old which may mean that the people we call Neanderthal, like homo sapiens were is awe of the mystery of death. All spirituality turns on the conundrum which with death presents us.