Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bob Dylan and Walt Whitman as Inadvertent Yoga Nidra Teachers and Fierce Grace and White Horse With One Ear (Drawn From Memory) / Black Horse Blues

Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinkin' fast
I'm drownin' in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothin' but affection for all those who've sailed with me
(lyrics from "Mississippi," by Bob Dylan in 2001)

It is said that Yoga Nidra helps us develop a deep capacity to meet any and all circumstances we may encounter in life.  Part of the Yoga Nidra practice is a welcoming of contrasts into awareness -- a splintered sinking ship along with a heart that is light and free and not weary, and eventually being able to experience them as one -- to experience fragmentation and wholeness simultaneously.

Throughout the decades, the songs of Bob Dylan have explored contrasts as they coexist as two necessary parts of the whole:

"She knows there's no success like failure and failure's no success at all."
(lyrics from "Love Minus Zero / No Limit, by Bob Dylan -- 1965)

"I've been meek and hard like an oak."
(lyrics from "Buckets of Rain" -- 1974)

"I came to a high place of darkness and light.  A dividing line ran through the center of town."
(lyrics from "Isis" -- 1975)

"Alarm bells were ringing to hold back the swelling tide.  Friends and lovers clinging to each other side by side."
(lyrics from "Tempest" -- 2012)

As many of you know, with my experience in 1970-1971 of having lived with a dearly loved man from the early December morning he arrived home from Vietnam until the following May, I am a veteran of that shattering aftermath of war, and I continue to come to terms with the depth and breadth of those life-changing months and am just now beginning to appreciate the Fierce Grace that came to me at a young age.   I thought I was alone in what had happened to me and the man I loved and who loved me.  Now I know I wasn't alone.  Never was.

Recent drawn-from-memory sequence with my PC's "paint" program -- printed and scanned to my MacBook:


A Yoga Nidra pairing of contrasts could be the above sequence of drawings, done in the present time of relative tranquility, with the drawing below where I faced ongoing emotional turmoil over three consecutive Augusts, dating the scratchboard drawing three times in frustration at not being able to find my way.  The third August was four months after the death of my beloved friend and veteran.  Nearly five years have passed since his death.

I like the way the drawings look together on this page and how they interact in the context of Yoga Nidra.

Walt Whitman could have been talking Yoga Nidra when he made this acknowledgement of the truth of human wholeness:

"Do I contradict myself?  Very well, then I contradict myself.  I am large.  I contain multitudes."


Anonymous said...

really enjoyed this series. kjm

The Solitary Walker said...

This is a beautiful post, am. And that version of 'Mississippi'... oh yes! Interesting and valuable to relate Dylan's reconciliation of contrasts to that yogic practice and to your own life.

Have a peaceful Sunday.

Sabine said...

I was clearing up a DVD recorder we are giving away and started watching our old recordings. One of which was the Deja Vu movie of the CSNY tour in 2006. My sheltered life has never been touched by war in any shape of form apart from maybe my mother's messed up life and I can not even start to imagine the wounds and scars you are writing about so carefully and so movingly.

am said...

Thank you, kjm, for continuing to stop by and for your appreciation of what I do here.

Thank you, sw/rw. Your recent posts on your Words and Silence blog have been part of a recent renewal of my creative energy.

Thank you, Sabine. I haven't seen the Deja Vu movie but just now saw the trailer on YouTube. I see that our public library has a copy, and I put it on hold.

My perception is that war touches the generations that follow. I have seen that in your recent writings about your grandfather. My grandfather's parents came from Germany in the 1800s, and my grandfather served as a doctor in the U.S. Army in the last days of World War I in France. My mother's early memories of her father could have been his return from the war when she was 2-1/2 years old. It is unlikely she had any memories of him before he had been to war. When you have written about your mother, I have seen similarities to my mother.

May we all have a peaceful Sunday.

Sabine said...

You are right, of course. But in my case, I can just go away, I can (and did) simply decide to leave my mother behind, to not look at the books and copied documents about my grandfather, and I can feel nothing about it. Nothing. The scars are my mother's and maybe I should be more than grateful that there was so little love between us, not enough for her scars to devastate me as well.