Vast, empty corridors stretch into infinity, with doors every few yards on both sides. Silence rolls ahead of the quiet footsteps that pace down the hall, seeming to absorb the slight sound of the soft shoes worn by the tall, darkly humanoid being who paced there. Shimmering pillars of moonlight shone through the windows that marched between the doors on the east side, throwing shadows across the floors and walls as the trees outside trembled in the soft breeze. No other movement, and no other sound invaded the space around the walker as he moved toward a door on the inner side of the hall, where a light blazed from under the bottom edge, glaring against the softer moonlight on the walls. Even as his hand moved toward the handle, the door opened wide…..
And then I woke up, and smelled the coffee…. Not too shabby, I suppose, but I never know where to go from where I stop…. just as well, then, I guess, that I don’t keep going, so I don’t end up somewhere I hadn’t planned to be…. Boy, this waking up business is getting complicated…. It has been some time since I felt a shortage of material, but there seems to be a large void spot in my head today, soaking up any directed focus I try to put out. It being Sunday, the library isn’t open but a few short hours this afternoon, so I have plenty of time to get this done before posting. That is a good thing, considering how it’s gone thus far. I can see already it will be one of those days when I spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for inspiration to strike, hating every moment until something pops up that I can use…. It’s that purpose thing I told y’all about the other day; us guys just feel better when we have a defined purpose….. even in the small things in life….
Without a defined purpose, like most men, I tend to wander around like the proverbial bull in a china shop, crashing into delicate items left and right, creating havoc. That is what it feels like anyway, a sort of out-of-control rushing about, with shattering glass sound effects and the whole nine yards. It’s probably not as bad as it seems to me, but, mine is the only perception that counts, and I don’t much like it…. However, there have been any number of times during life when I’ve had to do stuff I didn’t much like doing; we all have that cross to bear. So, I guess I’ll quit whining about it, and get on with the search for material I can turn into a Pearl. There has to be something out there I can use; Smart Bee has never failed me yet, and I don’t expect it to do so now….. fool that I am….
So, without further ado, shall we Pearl?…..
“If you disclose your alms, even then it is well done, but if you keep them secret, and give them to the poor, then that is better still for you; and this wipes off from you some of your evil deeds.” — Koran (c. 651 AD)
“Don’t let your mouth write a check that your tail can’t cash.” — Bo Diddley
“It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.” — Bertrand Russell
“It is as useless to argue with those that have renounced the use and authority of reason as to administer medication to the dead.” — Thomas Paine
Okay, so here’s the deal…. The three first pearls in this group were collected in one swell foop, all together. The fourth one I added this morning. When I saved the others, I didn’t know just why; the three quotes don’t seem to have much of a connection, though all are good trains of thought around the subject of righteous behavior. The last one almost ties them together, but actually speaks to a different subject altogether. So…. it’s a wash…. none of it means anything, and I’ve wasted the time it took to put them together. SIGH…. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a spectacular failure of systemic nature like this one. All the usual lack of control I use to semi-direct the subject matter had no effect at all….
Sure, all four of these are pretty good pieces of advice, or good knowledge to possess…. but they don’t do anything special, and they don’t fit together like I intended…. I’m not sure now what I ever intended, as those first three, looked at now, have very little to do with each other, and certainly don’t stretch to cover a portion of reality that means anything important. The last one is damn good, for what it is, and shows us that we are not the only culture to have to deal with the deliberately ignorant; they’ve apparently been around, bugging the rest of us, for a long time. But, it doesn’t tie all the others together into a neat little lesson for the Gentle Reader, not by a long shot….
Hell, now what? I guess I’ll try to find a closing pearl that can save this section from complete uselessness….. Hmm, how about this?….
“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential — for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.” — Soren Kierkegaard
Now THAT’S a pearl! And, now that I see it clearly arranged, it actually DOES save this section from uselessness. It issues a joyous peal of hope, that passion for potential, that is exactly what I try to capture in a POVW (pearl of virtual wisdom). The last line says it well, and goes a long way to pulling the entire exercise in imagination together into a coherent mass…. A bit jumbled, and tumbled, but coherent. What we are trying to do here at Exploring Consensual Reality is just this, to bring the joy of the elevated spirit and mind to life, to give everyone who reads this, that sparkling, electrifying connection with the potential that exists in every single moment….. Grab on, ffolkes, and hang on for the ride of your life…..
“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another.” — Kenny Ausubel
“When you said “HEAVILY FORESTED” it reminded me of an overdue CLEANING BILL.. Don’t you SEE? O’Grogan SWALLOWED a VALUABLE COIN COLLECTION and HAD to murder the ONLY MAN who KNEW!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
I’m feeling a bit stressed today, for reasons best left alone for the time being. But, it gave me an urge for some Emily…. so, here she is….
To my quick ear the leaves conferred;
The bushes they were bells;
I could not find a privacy
From Nature’s sentinels.
In cave if I presumed to hide,
The walls began to tell;
Creation seemed a mighty crack
To make me visible.
One wasn’t quite enough, I wanted more, so…..
Delight becomes pictorial
When viewed through pain,–
More fair, because impossible
That any gain.
The mountain at a given distance
In amber lies;
Approached, the amber flits a little,–
And that’s the skies!
~~ Emily Dickinson
Okay…. I’m not feeling all that well after all; since I started this a couple hours ago, my body has decided to give me a few symptoms to deal with, (which I won’t detail…. too graphic, and unnecessary….). What it boils down to is that I’m not up to a lot of sitting and cogitation right now…. so, I’m going to fall back on some of the stuff I’ve written previously…. About a year or so ago, in a form of self-therapy for some depression I was fighting to overcome, I wrote a four part series of short pieces that described my life, and the events that led to my acquisition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is what I have as a complement to the relatively constant physical pain with which I live…. I’m just lucky, I guess….
Any who, I’m going to reprint those four articles, beginning today, as the third section of the daily Pearls. As I created these documents, I re-lived a lot of the events, which was both painful, and helpful…. I’m hoping that doing so again will also help again, as the darkness threatens to creep into my head, and I cast about, seeking the light…. and, it can’t hurt, so, I’m doing it anyway…. So, here is part one of what I called “Repercussions”….
REPERCUSSIONS, Part I
When I was four, my father was stationed in Japan with the US Army, at a base near Okinawa. He was there for about 18 months, and the rest of the family, my mother and, at the time, four kids joined him there for the last seven months of his tour of duty. During that time, I was made aware, simply by traveling to and living there, that the world was much larger than I thought, and there were a lot of different kinds of people living in it. He was an officer at the time, so the six of us lived in a large house on base, with two Japanese housekeepers. Learning about Mariko and her sister, whose name escapes me, taught us many things about Japanese culture, and my mind grew in leaps and bounds.
One of the things we learned were some basic Judo (the gentle way) techniques, by one of Mariko’s friends who was member of a dojo (school). This exposure to the martial arts stayed with me, but after returning to the USA, there was little opportunity to pursue the arts further. Especially when my parents had another child, and money became a permanent issue in the household. But I never forgot Mariko, (who made the best cinnamon roles ever), or any of my experiences in Japan.
Much later in my life when I went to college, at the University of California at Berkeley, Judo was offered as a physical education course, and I at last had the opportunity to study in earnest what so long ago had made such an impression on my young mind. I took the course for 3 quarters (UCB had switched to a four-quarter-per-calendar year schedule some years before my admission), much as a duck takes to water, and after less than 9 months I had been awarded a second-degree brown belt, Nikkyu, one level below a black belt, 1st degree.
I loved the arts with a passion I had not felt since I first discovered science-fiction at age ten. It was, perhaps, a lesser passion than when I discovered that girls weren’t so yucky after all, but studying the arts became a significant part of my life, and I have studied one art or another ever since, a matter of about 42 years. After Judo, I took some lessons in Karate (the empty-hand), Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan styles, a little bit of Tai Chi, and some Aikido.. Then in my late twenties, I joined my first class in the Chinese art of Kung Fu. All my other exposure, Tai Chi aside (which though useful in that respect, is an art not primarily designed for use in fighting), had been to arts developed in Japan and Korea. I learned that all of those arts had been patterned after the precepts of Kung Fu many centuries before.
The origins of Kung Fu are shrouded in some mystery, but the consensus is that the monks of the Taoist temple of the order of the Shaolin were the first to learn the basic art, and developed it as a means of protecting their temple from the degradations of the numerous marauding warlords fighting over the various geographic regions in China. It is said that the art was brought to them by none other than Bhodi Dharma, an ancient warrior of India who traveled all over the Far East during his life, using his unspeakably powerful skills, developed by him during many years of studying Yoga, to protect the weak and oppressed, much like a wandering knight in Europe during the age of chivalry.
The Shaolin monks developed the skills they learned to such a high degree that the temple was eventually destroyed by warlords who had developed cannons, because they feared the monks so much. The monks scattered over the rest of China taking their skills with them, teaching them to the people, and to monks at other temples. It was said that a Shaolin monk could disappear from sight, could walk through walls, and fly through the air, and their reputation protected them probably as much as their fighting skills.
In the 1970’s there was a show on TV called Kung Fu, loosely based on a figure in Shaolin history, their greatest warrior, whose name on the show was Kwai Chang Caine. Though subject unfortunately to the occasionally bizarre demands of Hollywood culture, it was nonetheless a relatively accurate representation of how such a monk would have approached the new culture in the United States, and gave a good idea of how effective the skills learned by the monks could be, even against superior forces and weaponry.
When I was first introduced to Kung Fu, it seemed as though all the other arts I had studied became irrelevant. I had graduated from the high-school level of Karate and Aikido to a more advanced university, that started with basics, then led the student into deeper and deeper knowledge, not just of the techniques of fighting and training, but knowledge of both the body and the mind, which are never considered to be separate entities in Chinese culture.
The techniques learned became only a part of what one learns; much of the rest of what is taught was concerned with learning to control one’s mind and spirit. The first lesson was the most important one, and it consists of one concept…..restraint. Simply put, we do not learn these skills to fight, but to grow; to learn how to accept the danger that exists in human society without being paralyzed by fear, allowing one’s higher principles to guide action for the betterment of all creatures.
Learning Kung Fu, as well as the other martial arts I studied, was a seminal part of my own developing philosophy of life, and has been, in my mind, an invaluable tool in my own growth. But learning the arts, as I was later to learn, would have repercussions so powerful, and so all-encompassing, that they would send shock waves of pain and anguish down every step of my path in the world; repercussions that would stay with me for the rest of my life…..
To be continued…….
Well, I kind of feel as if I’ve cheated a little bit, but, given the way I feel physically right now, that’s just too bad, so sad, because it’s done now, and nothing will make me go back and do it over. It will be all I can do to get down to the library to get this posted later, so I’m going to go deal with my physical issues, and hopefully get past them….. I’ll be fine, it’s just miserable for a while, until it all passes…. life goes on…… Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.