Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We can do this -- 1 / Cesar Chavez, anonymous, Allen Ginsberg, another dream in the time of social distancing

You are never strong enough that you don't need help.
(Cesar Chavez -- who would have been 93 years old today)

In Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kasantzakis describes an encounter between his principal character and an old man busily at work planting a tree.  "What is it you are doing?" Zorba asks.  The old man replies:  You can see very well what I'm doing, my son, I'm planting a tree."  "But why plant a tree," Zorba asks, "if you won't be able to see it bear fruit?"  And the old man answers:  I, my son, live as though I were never going to die."  The response brings a faint smile to Zorba's lips and, as he walks away, he exclaims with a note of irony:  "How strange -- I live as though I were going to die tomorrow!"
(The person who wrote this wishes to remain anonymous)

The thing is not to cling to thoughts but to let them go.  By letting them, go, they are replaced by other thoughts until you become aware of thought following thought.  As the immortal bard, Shakespeare, said at the end of the last play, The Tempest, when Prospero goes home, having burned his magic books of ego and thrown away his magic wand of power, "to Milan [I'll go] where every third thought shall be my grave."  You become aware of your thoughts in that sense.  Shakespeare was aware that there's one thought, and then there's another thought, and then there's another thought, and there's a space in between.  So you become aware of the mind thinking and the thoughts passing through.  That gives you a profile on your thoughts, so to speak.  Not that you have to think of them, or inspect them, or grab them by the tail.  You become aware that all those thoughts are passing through your mind.  You look at them from the outside almost.  You become the observer of your own mind, which is useful for an artist.
(Allen Ginsberg)

More progress on Mandala #47:

From another dream in this time of social distancing:

R appeared out of nowhere on a street in Bellingham near downtown ... I was not surprised to see him because something in me never stopped hoping that he would return from Vietnam unbroken ... with a few more steps, R and I were standing face to face ...  I said, "We are much older now"... we hugged for a long time and I felt the warmth of him.  We stood back and looked at each other again.  I said, "We can do this." R said, "Yes."

Where do dreams come from?  I trust the mysterious giver of dreams and know that my deepest feelings, wanted and unwanted, are guides to balance and wholeness.  Often I need help in identifying what I am feeling.  I need to try on different feeling words until I find the ones that fit.  What I felt in this dream was "energized."


37paddington said...

You must R don’t you. And yet he is with you still. Such a tender dream.

Tara said...

this post is filled with words of wisdom. your dream is beautiful -- I see it as integrating so much of who you are and what we are in the middle of. And of course R is still with, always. I recently had a dream with S in it and I ask him if he knew he was dead. "Oh, I know! Now we can always been together." Wowie. I woke up feeling energized, as well.

Your mandala is coming along. Do you use a magnifying glass to work on them? My eyes are bad these days, I can't imagine doing detail work without eye support!

37paddington said...

"must miss." typo. sorry xo

am said...

37paddington -- It's paradoxical. I miss him and yet feel that he is still present. It just occurred to me that when I first met R while walking by the ocean when we were both just 17 years old, he appeared out of nowhere and embodied a warmth and tenderness that I had never experienced before from another human being.

Tara -- Thank you for telling me about your sweet dream of S. Such a gift!

Good question. My new prescription glasses are all I need to work on my mandalas. Last year after I had my second cataract surgery in August, my old prescription glasses no longer made it possible for me to see well enough to draw or see my laptop screen clearly or read easily. I waited until January 2020 so that I could get an optimal new prescription lenses. Before my cataract surgery, the vision in my right eye was becoming more and more affected by the cataract. What with this and that last year, no wonder I only made 4 mandalas!

My life so far said...

What a lovely dream.

beth coyote said...

This is a beautiful post. Thoughts coming and going like clouds, memories coming and going like clouds. As my beloved teacher reminded me, "Today you are alive" as I dithered about covid 19 and the fear/panic facing mortality can bring.

All we have is today, right now.

The mandala is emerging, slowly.

X Beth

Anonymous said...

I love reading your dream of R. I love that hug, those words, that moment. This is that love that transcends all. Thank you for sharing it and the photos of the clouds there. Hope all is well. Stay safe and healthy.