Unseen, unheard, melodies of haunting beauty didn’t play, yet echoed hollowly down the empty hall, uneasy and cruel, just as if invited to sup with the family. Smitten with the pungent sight of naked ambition, all those with a wilted rose, sly ambition banked to a glow, smiled with careful cheer, swamping the object of their devotion with a sea of broken lies. No one speaks, no one cares, no one asks, yet, the music continues, playing silently, unseen, while the night slips further along toward the day……
Spending the mornings in my head can be a strange experience, especially when I wake up with stuff such as the above passage floating in front of my inner eye, insisting on being transcribed onto the page before I’ve even had a sip of life-giving coffee. I wouldn’t mind as much if they would at least wait until AFTER I’ve gotten dressed, at least a robe and slippers, before they set up such a clamorous bid for attention. But, noooooo, they have to start NOW, often shouting at me before I’m fully standing….. just like a damn two year-old, no impulse control. Makes me want to paddle their diaper….
See, I told you it could get strange….. let’s avoid any further nonsense, and Pearl, shall we?…..
Amor, ch’al cor gentil ratto s’apprende,
prese costui de la bella persona
che mi fu tolta; e ‘l modo ancor m’offende.
Amor, ch’a nullo amato amar perdona,
mi prese del costui piacer si` forte,
che, come vedi, ancor non m’abbandona.
Amor condusse noi ad una morte.
Love, which is quickly kindled in a gentle heart,
seized this one for the fair form
that was taken from me-and the way of it affects me still.
Love, which absolves no loved one from loving,
seized me so strongly with delight in him,
that, as you see, it does not leave me even now.
Love brought us to one death.
— Dante, La Divina Commedia: Inferno V, vv. 100-106
I have never made it all the way through Dante’s masterpiece(s); time and circumstance have conspired to keep that from happening over the years. But every now and again, I come across parts of it, and have to say, I am more than just a little impressed. I don’t speak or read Italian, though having Spanish, a little French, and a little Latin, from whence all three languages sprang, it isn’t totally incomprehensible. I can usually figure out the subject under discussion, at least, of what I read in that language, although any deeper meaning or details are mostly indecipherable.
But one doesn’t need to understand every word to enjoy passages such as this. Read aloud, the poetry assumes a new power, aided by scansion and meter, faultless in its structure and rhyme. Read silently, meaning almost jumps into the mind, but is made moot by the beauty of the verse’s sounds as they strike the welcoming ears of the imagination.
Then, of course, one turns to the translation…. and the amazement deepens. Though not as structurally sound, the sheer strength of the meaning that is now clear turns what could have been mundane into the spectacular. I don’t know who made the translations I’ve seen, but they are indeed masterful translator(s), and excellent poet(s) in their own right. The scope and power of the full concepts that Dante put into this, his life’s crowning achievement, comes through clearly in the translated work, and easily lives up to the high standard set by the original piece in Italian….. Good stuff, as the boys downtown would say…..
“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” — Lao Tsu
On certain occasions, as I am lying on my bed, on my back, I can fall into that twilight-zone-like state of drowsiness that steals over the entire body/mind at such moments, just before falling into sleep. Not every time, but significantly often enough, at that precise moment, my entire nervous system experiences a powerful surge of energy, emanating from the base of my neck and spreading instanter to every square nanometer of the network that suffuses and permeates everywhere in the body.
Every muscle in my body gives a huge jerk, whether contracting or expanding is unclear, as it happens so quickly that it is impossible to tell anything other than having just bounced two inches into the air with the force of the muscular spasms. It begins, full power, then ceases instantly, with a strong impression of a silent bang! The experience has never repeated in the same day.
If that isn’t odd enough taken alone, there is also the surprising fact that the mind/body never seems surprised that it happened, feels no tension or panic that one might expect at such an unexpected shock to the system, and the state of drowsiness is usually easy to fall back into, with sleep following momentarily. It’s as if the entire instant spasm served as a purge of the energy that had accumulated, energy that was blocking my path to the other side of consciousness, clearing the entire system of unwanted and unnecessary dross, rather than being some sort of epileptic seizure-like activity that places stress on the system, as might be otherwise surmised. One of these days, I’ll remember to ask my doctor about it when I’m in there for something else (knock on wood…). Not much I can see to do about it until I know more; worry has killed more folks than ever bled to death…
What, you may ask, does this have to do with knowing one’s self well enough to not want more than enough? Nothing. The quote was there already when this train of thought interrupted the movie I was watching last night, and I needed a place to write this down. Don’t fret, I’ll find the appropriate quote, illustrating the last line (the only part that really has anything important to consider…) and add it here at the end. What Lao Tzu said doesn’t really need my help anyway…. it can stand alone just fine…..
“It’s like brother Nietzsche said–being human is a complicated gig, so give that dark night of the soul a hug and howl the eternal yes.” — perfectly attributed to Anonymous in my source.
(Honest… and it was also the very first quote that came in front of me, I swear…. serendipity strikes again!)
(Besides, this sounds just like something Ken Kesey would have attributed to Neal Cassady, or better yet, Jack Kerouac….. betcha….)
(Okay, outside, but solid, chance it’s from an obscure Allen Ginsberg poem, and Kesey stole it…. no way to tell now, eh? Huh, maybe Google knows….)
(Boy, trust Google, folks… it knew, instantly, that the above is part of a short dialogue by Chris, the DJ on the TV show, “Northern Exposure”, whose character was wont to such outbursts of philosophy….. the entire quote is worth seeing, and is included below for your perusal…..)
“There’s a dark side to each and every human soul. We wish we were Obi-Wan Kenobi, and for the most part we are, but there’s a little Darth Vadar in all of us. Thing is, this ain’t no either/or proposition. We’re talking about dialectics, the good and the bad merging into us. You can run but you can’t hide. My experience? Face the darkness, stare it down. Own it. As brother Nietzsche said, being human is a complicated gig. Give that old dark night of the soul a hug. Howl the eternal yes!”
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do..
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’
The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’
‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding..
You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!
Gotta love this! A story of perfect love, and perfect understanding of how the universe fits together with no visible seams….. don’t over-think this one, just enjoy it…… and spread it around, like the cracked pot you are……
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” — W. W. “Red” Smith
I’m beginning to understand this outlook toward writing more as each day passes, and the struggle to keep my Muse awake and interested in what I’m doing begins to tax my ingenuity to the limit of its ever-growing, yet still modest capacity. In fact, it is that struggle that keeps that capacity growing, always pushing me to exceed what has been written before, never settling for good enough, always wanting better.
There are times, all-too-often, when I sit and stare at the screen for what seems to be forever and two days, searching desperately through my head for something about which I can rant, or describe, or remember, or make up, that will satisfy the unending pressure I put on myself to create a worthy, stimulating piece of literature, one that will stand up to the test of time. And should I succeed in that quest, the net effect on my soul is the same as if I had copiously bled until I was nearly dead……. might just be easier to open up the vein, and have done with it…..
Spirit is the first differentiation of SPACE; and Matter the first differentiation of Spirit. That, which is neither Spirit nor matter -that is IT- the Causeless CAUSE of Spirit and Matter, which are the Cause of Cosmos. And THAT we call the ONE LIFE or the Intra-Cosmic Breath.
— Book of Dzyan (B.C. 3000?)
So, I’m sitting here, at a computer that has more RAM, and a larger hard disk memory than were available in the entire world just 50 years ago. There is more information listed in here, somewhere or another, than was commonly available in entire libraries at that time, and if one adds in the possible extensions to that information that are instantly available online, even the Library of Congress begins to look like the library of a simple country farmer in the 1800’s….. With all this information at my fingertips, I come across this quote, reputedly from a document that is more than 5000 years old. 5000 years old. That is a period of time that essentially covers the entire period of written human history; the Book of Dyzan is no doubt one of the earliest books ever produced, at least of those that have survived to today.
Taken at face value, without knowing the source, this statement could easily have been made today (from the sound of it, by a yogi sadhu, a disciple of the Dalai Lama, or a Taoist scholar with a flair for humor and metaphor). (Plus, it must be noted, whoever wrote this most likely did not indicate the need for using ALL CAPS to signify special meaning….. no keyboards, eh? Blame that on the faux intellectual geek who transcribed it….) It is clear that the person who composed this was definitely a scholar in his own time; the structure of the language, and the thoughts behind the expression in that language, whatever tongue it may have been, indicate a depth of education beyond the ordinary, even for today.
When one stops to consider that this visionary definition of perceived Reality was uttered and written down over half a millennium in our past, one must stand in respectful awe of the mind from which it sprang. The world of 5000 years ago was, indubitably, much different than today’s world; if nothing else, the knowledge society has gathered over that time regarding the physical world, and how it works, has altered society in innumerable ways, and gives today’s citizens many distinct advantages in terms of the effort required for survival. Yet this person, man or woman, created a statement of their vision of Reality that definitely stands the test of Time, as well as the test of how well it can be considered to be relevant to Reality, as far as the nature of that concept is understood to be consensual for all who reside there……
I’m hoping that there is some sort of positive karmic value to the effort I put into this each day; I don’t see any particular reason it should be so, but there is also no apparent reason it should not be, either. To certain philosophical disciplines, this would seem to indicate that this is most likely an activity that is neutral in that respect.
But, that does not take into account the power of Murphy in Reality, or the value for me in making the effort with the intent toward right action, even if it fails in its intended purpose. With those in mind, it makes sense to hedge our bets, and ease out of the game before it gets more expensive than I can afford….. and if you followed that, you’ve been reading my work probably too much….. 🙂 I had a good time this morning….. hopefully you will, too, when you stumble into my lair, unsuspecting of what is to follow….. Y’all take care out there…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.