Sunday, August 7, 2011

Nothing was delivered / Something was delivered / Yoga Nidra

A few days ago when walking in the woods before work, I saw a man and a woman about my age (almost 62) walking slowly with trekking poles, coming up the trail from the fishing pond in Whatcom Falls Park. We smiled and said hello as we passed on the trail. When I reached the little bridge at the far edge of the fishing pond, I stopped to look over at the water spilling over the small dam and then turned around to go back home the same way I had come. It wasn't long before I saw the couple with the trekking poles, ahead of me on the path. As I approached them, I was looking in curiosity at their trekking poles. Just as I was about to pass them, I looked up and noticed that on the back of the man's dark blue T-shirt was a fairly recent image of Bob Dylan in concert with the words "Bob Dylan" above the image.

In wonder and delight, I said, "Bob Dylan," and they both turned around to look at me. The man said that they had seen Bob Dylan in concert in the last year. He said that he loved Bob Dylan's music but that Bob Dylan shouldn't be touring anymore. He said the concert was awful, and that he felt ripped off. He said Bob Dylan should just give it up. He sounded both angry and sad.

As far as he was concerned, it was the "Nothing Was Delivered Tour" (lyrics and audio clip).

A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine died peacefully in her sleep at 86 years old. She was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and had been sober for the last 14 years of her full and rich life. She was one of the few women of her generation to earn a PhD and had a successful career in her field of psychology and active retirement years. She was a professed atheist, but said that even though she didn't believe in God, there was something that had removed the demons that had haunted her until 1996, at age 72, when she realized that she was a real alcoholic and, in her words, "It would be insane for me to take a drink."

Part of the Yoga Nidra meditation I have been listening to suggests considering that both of the following thoughts are true in the same moment:

Nothing needs to be done.
Something needs to be done.

Bob Dylan said:
"Nothing is better, nothing is best
Take heed of this and get plenty of rest"
(lyrics from "Nothing was Delivered")


"Sometimes somebody wants you to give something up
And tears or not, it’s too much to ask."
(Bob Dylan, lyrics from "Floater (To Much To Ask)"

As Solitary Walker commented on my last post, "And 'nothing' is always 'something', after all."

And that seems to be what Yoga Nidra is about.

("The Composer," drawn with chalk pastel on paper by am in the early 1980s)


Loren said...

Paradoxes do make us break out of our rational cells, don't they?

Either/or thiking is far too simplistic to deal with real life, even though it is sometimes a necessary tool.

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree, Loren.

And am - this is a superb post, one of your finest, and one that speaks resonantly to me.

Thank you for it.

(Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler are coming to Nottingham in October and we have bought tickets. Though they haven't been delivered yet!)

bev said...

Lately, I have been thinking of how finishing things has become rather meaningless to me. This is not really a revelation for I have always felt that what matters most is process - experiencing the world around me, coming up with ideas and then acting upon them - and that arriving at an ending is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be and is almost inconsequential. . It is the beginning and the working phase that hold the greatest meaning -even though they are rather like "nothing" in relation to something tangible - the finished work. Seeing that all of the work that my husband and I did - building barns and a studio workshop, raising really good dairy goats, his employment, my freelance writing and editing, etc.... It is all gone now - vanished with time and with Don's death. I feel no great sadness over most of this other than that we both worked too hard and for too many hours a week for companies that, n the end, by their actions, proved that they did not truly value the people behind the work. Anyhow, I have been pondering the importance of something - and thinking that nothing is probably even more meaningful.

Taradharma said...

To borrow from Robinson Jeffers, "It's a little life but how beautiful - and complex - it is."

Your friend's giving up alcohol at 72 is a very hopeful story -- I have experienced in the past few years how devastating alcoholism and addiction is, not only to the one ingesting, but everyone around him or her that cares about them. It's a horrible affliction and one that is difficult to overcome. So bully for her; it seemed to serve her well in her remaining time on the planet.

Anonymous said...

for me nothing was delivered was delivered via 'sweetheart of the rodeo' always a gem. enjoyed comments from your thoughtful followers.kjm

am said...

Loren -- Yes. We need to use all our tools, don't we?

Solitary Walker -- You are welcome! Good to know this post spoke to you.

Mark Knopfler is another favorite of mine. Good to hear he is working with Bob Dylan again. Look forward to hearing about the experience you and Carmen have there.

bev -- "Anyhow, I have been pondering the importance of something - and thinking that nothing is probably even more meaningful."

Thank you for your extended thoughts on something and nothing. It's an ongoing meditation, we all seem to be having, isn't it?

Taradharma -- Robinson Jeffers is one of my favorite poets. Thank you for bringing him into this picture.

My friend first tried to stop drinking around 1980 and found that she couldn't stop until 1996. It was her friends and family who wanted her to stop in 1980, but she wasn't ready. A.A. welcomed her whether she was drinking or not and never gave up on her and she was deeply grateful for that. It is a hopeful story, isn't it?

kjm -- Is this the version you were referring to?

Great song. Many versions.

Thanks for stopping by!