Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

My “First” Enlightenment

August 30, 2010

Many, many years ago…

So long ago it seems as if it is a past life. So many chapters in my life have been read, re-read, read again and forgotten. This is one of those chapters in my life that I forgot existed. You might expect that the moment of one’s enlightenment would be never forgotten, but remembering such a moment is contrary that moment’s essence, and its life is lost in the annals of a memory replayed over and over. I had never re-read this chapter in my life (like I have so many others), but I stumbled upon it this morning while doing some preliminary plastering on my home’s exterior.

And so it begins –

I find myself sitting at the feet of a nameless master. But wait, I must step back a bit to explain how I got here.

I have always sought the most serious answers to life’s puzzling questions – serious answers to this joke we call life, and so, before entering college I decided to go to India to seek out those who knew. I travelled the countryside for months. I had meditated and sat satsang with yogis, sages and fakirs. I had seen it all, and yet still had not found what I was looking for.

I spent weeks at an Ashram waiting for Sai Baba to appear, hopeful that this God could answer my questions. When he arrived, I was granted private audience with him. While he explained to me that he was not the one for me, he said the One was calling and that I must go back on the road. I must continue my journey. Before I left, and in the typical nature of wise ones, Sai Baba muttered something so cryptic (I was rather young and naive) to me that had me wondering as I walked out the door, “Is this God bisexual?” This, in and of itself held no import to me whatsoever, as I had met bisexual Gods before, I just never quite understood them. Gods and men all have choices to make, and it is far from me to judge another. I later learned that this God has controversy follow him like flies follow un-showered Frenchmen (of which there are many – flies and un-showered Frenchmen).

I encountered Babaji some weeks later, and he, too, said he was not the one. I had to ask him in reply, “If all are one, how can you  not be the one?”

He smiled some cryptic smile as his sparkling eyes bored deep into my soul and I ended up with the biggest headache I ever had. He told me to go to the Ganges and bath so I would be clean for my meeting with the one True One. I went to the Ganges, high in the foothills of northern India, and bathed in the holiest of earthy waters. I ended up with dysentery.

After this, I continued on my journey, asking many where I might find the one. People would say, “Ahhh, you seek the Silent One! Continue on your path, young man – he awaits you.”

Weeks had passed as the blisters on my feet grew into slathering, oozing , puss-filled monstrosities fusing with the cotton fibers of my socks. Weeks of doubts, wishes to be elsewhere, hunger I had never known, and sights to behold unfolded before me. I knew I would soon be dead if I could not find the One.

One morning I entered a small village ready to give up on my dreams of understanding all there was to be understood. I asked an old man about the One. He pointed. There was a door. I went through the door. My eyes fell upon a not so unusual sight of a man in robes meditating on a cushion. Could this be the One I sought? Could this be the One that awaited me – that One who knew I was coming to see him? I sat down silently before him and waited.

Silence.

Hours pass – he begins to snore.

More hours pass – he stirs.

A little movement under the folds of cloth that covered this wise one, and some low moaning begins. Chanting, or maybe only the response of one whose legs are stiff from having not moved from the typically uncomfortable full-lotus position?

I could take it no longer, and so I spoke as this moaning (chanting?) continued getting louder. I asked expectantly and abruptly, “Are you the One I seek?”

His reply?

“Shhhh…. I am Master Bei Ting.”

I knew I had found the One.

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Corean Injections and Pushing the Word

June 8, 2010

Cover me, when I sleep
Cover me, when I breathe
You throw your pearls before the swine
Make the monkey blind
Cover me, darling please
 

Shock the Monkey – Peter Gabriel 

 

Like a good song, the word will always start having you think you know where you are — where you think you’re comfortable. Even the experienced and jaded would admit that, but, like a junkie wanting to shock the monkey, you want that jolt of adrenaline, that push (or pull) that takes you over the edge. You want to be challenged, but you keep this dirty little secret buried in the depths of that sponge-like matter called your brain. 

All your most bland desires would have you believe this little lie of comfort and calm, and so you would visit grassy, tree-lined fields where birds are singing. A lazy brook bubbles in the near distance accompanied by a sleeping frog’s croak and the drone of a non-existent chicada. Mushrooms open their caps in the glory of the morning gaining sustenance from essential alchemical elements — the clarified dews, dappled sunlight and cozy cowpies that have brought them here only as potential. They blacken before your eyes in response to your presence, while not so far away, but across the great water, lies a city of roses where color abounds by the dictates of man who attempts rather successfully the governing of nature. 

What is this that man does? 

You are tossed far to the south, quickly and not so gently, into a world bursting with chaos, motion and noise. Freeways, traffic and the stench of fumes spewed from tailpipes — everything here is attached to wheels and geared for activity, for the wicked cannot be allowed to rest. Panic, fear and aggression unheard of goes unnoticed by those who live in this arena, their senses dulled into a sleepy apathy when a gunshot sounds, and now, 

You are in the stars, behind and beyond the glittering sparks that you have dreamt of in your reverie for better things. This is the deepest, darkest and coldest reaches of space, and yet you feel no cold, and the light shines beyond all things. What is this, but vaguely familiar? All is indistinguishable here — unnamable, ineffable. Suddenly there is a form — a middle-aged troubadour skips by you singing a song of times coming by. He skips onward towards his inevitable demise while a small dog nips at his heels, warning him of his doom, but this is a jump, a jump into an abyss that does not kill — it is a jump that can only liberate. Fear is no more, and the wheel of fortune spins on….

The fear is pervasive in this place. It is persuasive in this place of final release. You have suffered here too long — for ages and eons of time. You have suffered with those of your tribe, with those you never knew until the suffering began. Uniforms have pushed you beyond abuse, starving and torture until they pushed you into this heartless and demeaning process of death. There is only pain and the taste of choking, putrid gas and vomit coming up your throat from the depths of hell and you explode into countless sparks of the brightest light you have ever known, and it has begun. 

You’re standing in that grassy field once again, but time has passed. The sun has gone low into the evening haze of the diminishing day. It is the crack between the worlds — and you know you have lived many lives. You have experienced all things and you are expelled again, 

Expelled into a world where image exists as song, a song which is built upon word. You have been taken away to places where only life, dream and mind can take you. You have been safely delivered back into what is your place. This is your good place — your safe place. This is the place where you think you know what is going on, and while worlds and realities continue to spin around you in eternal existence, you have important things to do, and your diversions fade away into the reality of  work, chore and responsibilities. We must be realistic…. 

Time and time again you have been given a gift. Time and time again you have taken these journeys and become one with all that is, one with the jazz of words and the jazz of life itself. 

The jazz of your mind…. 

And while Chick plays on, you obsessively shock the monkey back into its sleep once again. 

Sleep, little darling. Sleep.

 

When Your Writing Slumps…

May 13, 2010

Slumps — this is what a soufflé does when it fails for reasons unknown.

So what do you do when your writing slumps, otherwise known as the dreaded “writer’s block,” also for reasons unknown?

Well, if reasons are unknown, then there is no reason to look for any because there probably aren’t any to be found. This being the case, there is only one thing you can do with this slump, you can write about it. Drop everything you’re supposed to be doing, everything you’re supposed to be writing, and forget about it. Then you just pick up a pad and pen, or just fire up the old machine (which is probably on anyway), and begin writing. Write about how empty, dry and desolate you feel because you are not fulfilling your purpose in life.

Or, begin by writing about how you have absolutely nothing to write about.

Or, begin by documenting the events that led you to this state of being a miserable wretch.

Or, accept all this and just move on. Begin having fun doing what you do best, and that is writing — even if it is not the writing you are supposed to be writing.

Just dive into those words that come to you. Leave these words uncorrupted as they fly through the portal of you imagination into reality. Write as you have forgotten how to write, free and spontaneously,  flowing and going with the words as they pass out of your mind. Go … go … go into that night where there is no light but the light of the written word. Go … go … go with your words as they spin tales of woe and peace. Go with them as a passenger on a mysterious journey without any destination.

Go … go … go write what you will. Go back into your work with a pen in your hand. Go back into your work where your only need is the need to write and the need to share.

Go … go … go where you go without a care in the world. Go away with yourself to a place in your past, a place where you first wrote your name — that place where you first felt the joy of success. Go back to this day, for this is the day when you began to write —

and so begin again today.

To Contract or Not Contract

April 21, 2010

Contract? Contract what?  

I would have never thought about it.    

I would have never thought about it at all, if it were not for my own taking notice of the way words come out of me. I am, of course, speaking of the written word, for with the spoken word, I do absolutely horrific things. The rest remains to be seen.    

In the now old and classic sci-fi series “Star Trek – the Next Generation,” Data, the fleshbound robot, was completely unable to contract any words whatsoever. He dreamed of being able to do so, for he thought it would indicate a certain level of human-ness within him. It seems he so deeply desired to be human, that he didn’t even realize that his dreamy “desire” is most certainly a human quality.    

Needless to say, he got his wish, and started contracting words. While this was extremely important to him, and fascinating (if not baffling) to him when the first contracted word came out of his mouth, I certainly don’t remember how he obtained this “skill” – but he was now more human, and thrilled about it. Apparently contracting words is specifically a human quality, since snakes and birds do not do this.    

While expansive and contractive vortexes might look alike - they are not. It depends which direction you are going.

 Contraction is not an activity restricted only to vortexes, but we are creating a vortex that compresses our expression each time we do contract a word. I have no preference of compressive over expansive vortexes, but I do have a preference for not contracting my words when I write.  

I do, personally, find a lack of contraction much more powerful in delivery than using contraction (I will not mention the language of text messaging here – for it does seem to have its place). Non-contracted words punch harder with delivery – these are words of a higher octane. 

I must say that I am completely adamant about not contracting my words, ever. This just cannot be done in my little world — it is a matter of style. 

 In fact, at this point in my life, I would gladly say that I have been reborn. In fact, I would gladly (and religiously) say that I’ll never contract another word again. 


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