Is sex a mystical gateway, to a boundless place of untold pleasures and exquisite pains, in your life?
Sex, I think, is different things at different times of our lives. It reflects what we are seeking, at that juncture, and therefore, who, we are attracting into our life. For it is a union of energies after all, and as they say in the song, “it takes two to tango, baby.” Occasionally that saying has some negative connotations, and similarly our sexual experiences can at times be defined by our partner’s energies, for good or bad.
Making love, having sex, it is a moment when we return to our interior universe and tune into our sensory responses. It is an intensely personal experience, which is also shared, in an intimate revelation of our essentially animal natures. We roar and groan, grunt and gasp, in a symphony of respiratory action, for our ride to pleasure is carried on each breath. It is that breath, which makes sexual activity a possible doorway to the divine. Reading Tim Winton’s novel, Breath, you can sense the parallels between experiences of the ocean and sexual experiences. Metaphorical language used to describe the tumbling; submerged qualities inherent inside a wave are similar to the ocean of bliss, inside us, which can well up during sex. At times we are letting go to the inextricable force of the sea, as we must’ let go’ to the surging currents within our sexuality. We ride upon, and inside, our wave of ecstasy and our breathing triggers the biochemical reactions, which can awaken orgasmic brain activity.
Sex is most often heightened at the beginning of a relationship, when two individuals come together as strangers and begin a process of removing outer signs of independent identity. Clothing, which like a uniform represents each individuals place and possibly role in society, is stripped away and they stand naked before one another. Clothing can hide essential truths, about who we are, and allow us to pretend to be someone we are not. Sex asks of us, right at the start, to play the hand we have been dealt by nature ( I suppose cosmetic surgery has interjected here). Sex asks us to bring the bare truth to this union, as the key to opening a doorway to bliss. Our feelings, at the beginning, can be on a knife edge, as we show parts of ourselves, normally well hidden, and vacillate between hopes and fears, regarding our acceptance by the beloved. We are not only showing our arse in public but celebrating its function and uses with another. It is a merging process, as we share and discover our erogenous nooks and crannies with another. Our normally vigilant guard comes down and our pupils dilate, as we hold the gaze of our lover and drink in the cause of this new delight. There is the magic of the unknown in the air and it is charged with the frisson of the archetypal merging moment. There is glory and boldness, and there is surrender and humbleness, there is the charging of the stag with antlers aquiver, and the dissolving into an endless ocean of energy. There are intense moments of you and equally intense moments beyond you. There is the ride and there is the fall.
Once committed to the fruitful sexual act, and thus rewarded with acceptance by our new sexual partner, we bring a sense of hope and with it the possibility of a clean slate, in regard to an ongoing mutually rewarding physical and emotional relationship. For ‘gateway’ sex, as I call it, is a magical, sacred space and we can only access it when we have hope in our heart. The sexual realm, can ask all of us to embody archetypal energies, no longer displayed by our genders in the modern age. It can create a dichotomy or unresolvable dynamic tension, where what we play out sexually can never quite fit into the rest of our lives. It has a special place and demands distinct rules around it, for it to survive and prosper in the twenty first century. So many relationships break down here, as the magic fades in the harsh light of the day and countless tiny grievances mount up to close his or her heart away. Once that heart and hope are locked away then sex becomes a macabre shadow dance, where the bodies go through the motions but with no soul at play. It can be like someone has switched off all the nerve endings, and more importantly all the meaning, from the activity. It is like making love whilst encased in a thick glove of suspended despair. The individual has returned to that individual space and no merging is possible anymore. When love dies it is a very sad day and our consciousness’s run endless reruns of sepia tinted memories to drive all joy away. Grieving the loss of love is probably the most traumatic experience we all will experience in our lifetimes. Like the bush after a fire, everything is black and burnt away. There are skeletons of trees, which mark how high our joy once reached. The echo of love’s laughter keeps the birds at bay. For a time nothing new will grow here and the skies are always grey.
Many of us have put away the magic of sex into the bottom drawer of an old cupboard, which we never use anymore. Somewhere inside of us we have sworn off this disrupting force and condemned that last great hurt to be the final one. We may masturbate our selves, often or not, but without the emotional commitment of another’s fumbling touch. Sex is a momentary relief to help us get to sleep or a frustrated release that doesn’t stain the sheets. Layers of emotional scar tissue have built up hard upon our souls and the smile we may offer another is firmly closed indoors. When, and if, love returns to these shores it faces a long thaw and the messianic job of raising Lazarus from the dead. I know from my own personal experience that there can be a physical delay in being able to respond sexually after a long lay-off. It is like those layers of calcified hurt must be given time to melt away before my penis will trust enough to fill with blood and stretch out to meet the new day.
Returning now to that time, when we have just established honest sexual union with our new partner and that sense of being ‘in love’ is reciprocated. Can you remember what it is like? When every part of their body is simply amazing and emanating some intangible quality. To touch their skin is the greatest pleasure you have ever known and it is all holistically connected with some cosmic secret that you just had no idea about before it happened. When you wake up in the morning and glance over at this beatific being, lying next to you and the realisation hits that you and, he or she, are ‘together’. This is the magic realm and it is often bitter sweet for our cynical selves to recall this state of ‘in loveness’. We have developed the habit of ‘putting down’ such heightened states labelling them as ‘the honeymoon period’ and quickly assuring the occupants that it will be over before you know it. You cannot stay too long in fairy land and Peter Pan must grow up to face the grim realities of a real relationship. Yet today, even in the age of ‘fast food’ marriages and divorces, we still clamour to be ‘in love’ and now the Internet has brought the supermarket experience to shopping for love and relationships. In aisle one, we have forty five year old, divorced Capricorns with a penchant for reading the newspaper on the loo; in aisle two……..
How do we integrate magic into our hum drum lives? How do we honour the gods in our lovers and in ourselves? Can we maintain a sense of reality? Can we go to work; support the family; clean the bathroom; listen to the gripers and whingers in the average world; and still delve into the delicious, dripping divinity of another realm?
Is sex a mystical gateway, to a boundless place of untold pleasures and exquisite pains, in your life?
One God One Dollar
Today in the harsh daylight of our overcrowded cities, in developed nations around the globe, we are encouraged to worship only one god, the holy dollar. People are rushing about in their cars, and on public transport, to reach their destinations, their places of work and of investment, where labour and lead may be turned into gold. Sitting at terminals, tapping keys, in the hope that interest rates will rise or fall, that the market will strengthen their position; and that bears will turn into bulls. If you can imagine an animated city scene, with hundreds of besuited pedestrians crossing the pavements, all with a cartoon circle above their heads, showing their thoughts as a dollar sign. This is the charge of the light brigade, where horses have become mobile phones and helmets and swords, iPods and sunglasses.
Newspapers, and online sources, today are filled with economic imperatives, and this obsession, which began in the late nineteen seventies, has become the overriding concern for dad and mum; and their kids. Money is on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s mind, how to get it, how to make it, how to keep it; and how to hide it. Everyone’s become a banker and governments are complicit in this – the tax department has driven these changes , as your tax return became more and more complex, you had to think like an accountant to make sense of it. Paul Keating, as rock star Treasurer, had a hand in it, as he, and PM Hawke, deregulated the banks and made public announcements about “banana state economies.” Suddenly everyone had to get up to speed on the balance of payments and interest rate figures daily made the front page. It was like a crash course in economics, skewed with the dramatics and sensationalism that sells papers.
There are and were positives, about this new found economic literacy amongst the hoi polloi, as people are always empowered by knowledge. In this new era of freedom, individuals and groups, were able to break down decades and centuries of banking obfuscation, to achieve their wants; even women, who had been particularly disadvantaged by the prejudices of this male dominated industry. Economic growth came spurting out, after years of lazy conservative rule, people got money and invested it in new businesses and real estate – the housing market exploded. Of course we got some excessive behaviour, Alan Bond, Christopher Skase etc but generally it was much more for the good, as a greater number and spread of people were enabled to become productive.
However, and I will use a controversial analogy here to illustrate my point, the economic awareness grew and has now become such an overweening thing that it has strangled all other gods. I liken it to the historical journey of Western women, from their hair covered and protected imprisonment in wifely roles, through the suffragettes and then the women’s liberation movement, up until now in their emancipated state from legislated prejudice; but still with the biological necessities to be women. This potentially challenging, dichotomous position is most dramatically seen in the form of the traditionally attired Islamic woman, as she represents the other extreme pole, as if she has just stepped out of the pages of history into the twenty first century. I respect the fiercely won freedoms of today’s Western woman, but also see the conflicting impact that the demands of the world have made upon the inner life of some women. In a similar vein, today’s awareness of the economic imperative has damaged the inner life of us all, removing perceived value from other pursuits not so closely held to the material bosom.
As Science, in the service of money, has slain the Christian religion, condemning it to the irrelevancy of a surfeit of poorly attended suburban churches clamouring for ageing attendees, the great god avarice has filled the breach. Materialism, what you can buy with money, has taken hold of head and heart inside the majority of us all. What is the holiest, most sacred, thing that you can purchase? It is of course the home, a house or flat, villa or apartment, but a home by any other name just the same. This haloed quest, the often life time journey devoted to owning your own home, is, in Australia anyway, a culturally approved goal that lies beneath the day to day activity of millions. It gives meaning to life to many of these people, and I imagine the banks must really love it. It reminds me of the association between diamond rings and marriage; doctors, pharmaceutical drugs and illness; and other firmly entrenched cultural beliefs. How do you get people to work all the time and do it more or less willingly? By making what they want so expensive that they have to. If the average home is priced around nine times the average income, and you have to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars from the banks at substantial and fluctuating interest rates, then you are going to be tied into working for a very long time. Mentally, by the time you have paid off your house and loan, you are often so brain washed into that behaviour that you go on working anyway. Homes bought as investment properties, charge rentals at a market value so determined, that they can pay off housing loans and or profit accordingly – thus making shelter/housing expensive for everyone. The goal for many in owning their own home is financial freedom, which often really means, once achieved, becoming a landlord and profiting from others, for money as they say does not stand still and you will be advised by those who work with money to invest your new found freedom in more real estate; and the cycle continues.
Going to work every week day, and often doing something that you dislike in some way, treating another human being in a less than human way by focusing on the money at the expense of everything else, damages the soul some say. You might go to your doctor and complain that you are not feeling, dare I say it, happy, and he most probably will tell you that you are depressed and prescribe an antidepressant.
“Over the last 30 years, rates of depression have been steadily increasing in Western societies. In the last ten years, consumption of antidepressants has doubled in the most advanced Western countries. Today, more than 11 million Americans are taking antidepressants. The estimated number of people in Britain taking antidepressants is two million. In Australia, 66 percent of those seeing a GP for the first time about depression have a chance of being medicated – in most cases with antidepressants. These data are so stark that most of us and our institutions prefer not to think about them.”
Dr David Servan-Schreiber, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Pittsburgh University School of Medicine
Author of Healing Without Freud or Prozac, 2004, Rodale.
Then, in a tra la la drugged state, not caring so much about a lot of things, unable to achieve an orgasm, you will keep on doing what you were doing, working in much the same way and edging hopefully closer to that nirvana, called financial freedom. When you set out on the journey as a youngish adult, I imagine that the many things you associate with financial freedom will change over the years and that when you get there, often decades later, you will be a completely different person. It is like any long journey, in that it is better to make the experience of your journey your succour than the goal itself. Otherwise you are training yourself, every day, to switch off subtly and desensitise yourself to life, killing yourself a little bit each day in the hope that when you get to the end you will be able to turn yourself back on; and enjoy that wonderful financial freedom you see in the scenes depicted in those TV ads for the banks.
If you read a little history and have a good look at the Christian religion, you will see that belief in god, for much of their sixteen hundred years in power, was not optional. From the time of Constantine, the Roman emperor in the fourth century AD when Christianity became the state religion – the Holy Roman Catholic Church, if you did not believe in a Christian god, and their version of that Christian god, you were very likely to be put to death. This heavy handed approach began to soften after the Renaissance in the sixteenth century, but life remained very hard for those who did not acquiesce and worship in the prescribed manner. Jews of course were murdered, exiled, banned and generally hated since the time of Christ. The crusades slaughtered millions of Muslims over centuries and religious pogroms have continued the genocide of both Jews and Muslims by Christians. I always smile when I remember Sunday School, and the things I was told about the poor Christians being thrown to the lions by the Romans, of course this was true for the three centuries it happened, but nobody was teaching the children about the next twelve centuries of Christian atrocities committed against the rest of the world; and also within their own communities in the prosecution of heresies. History always favours the victors.
Within, and despite all this bloodshed, many people had an experience of god being present within their lives. It seems in a lot of instances to have provided these individuals with a sense of belonging to something divine, which was beyond the reach of those with the swords. I would posit that the very threat to some people’s belief in god, through perceived heretical accusations, as in the time of the Cathars in France in the thirteenth century, and in the very bloody later schism between Catholics and the Reformation Church in the sixteenth century, to name but a few, intensified their experience of their religion and god. Nobody loves quite so much as when that love is threatened and or about to go away. Religion, and or belief in god, is always like that enormous elephant in the room, which will not go away.
“Superstition requires credulity, just as true religion requires faith. Deep-rooted credulity is so powerful that it may even, in false beliefs, be thought to perform miracles. For if anyone believes most firmly that his religion is true, even if it is in fact false, he raises his spirit by reason of that very credulity until it becomes like the spirits who are the leaders and princes of that religion and seems to perform things which are not perceived by those in a normal and rational state.”
Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535)
De Occulta Philosophia
I ask myself, a lot, what belief in god really is. Rationally there is no evidence for the existence of a god, and in my historical search so far, there never has been any evidence. In Christianity’s case, we now clearly know that the gospels in the Bible, which were written between seventy and up to two hundred years after the time of Jesus, are not reliable historical accounts and indeed are more like PR releases or overly favourable biographical sketches, designed to sell Christianity to the Roman power elite and others. The account of Pilate for instance, is completely fictitious and reworked by the writers of the gospels to exonerate the Romans from the execution of Jesus and to put that blame squarely upon the Jews; which has had onerous historical consequences to put it mildly. Christianity is not alone in creating fictions to make it divine and more than merely human, in PR and sales there is a great and long lasting tradition, which is about making your product uniquely special and divinity ticks all those boxes. The tablet which held the ten commandments, where is it and who else but Moses really saw it and if it was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, where is it also? The Mormons then, through their prophet, Joseph Smith Junior, and I imagine from his impression of the historical precedent set by Moses as reported in Exodus, had a solid gold tablet from the Angel Moroni containing their scriptures, which conveniently only Joseph actually saw. Now Christians, who believe in Jesus rising bodily from the dead, often chuckle softly at the unrealistic beliefs of other religions, whilst having no problem with the outlandish collection of miracle stories and the like contained in their Bible. When we inherit beliefs from our parents, these loving and respected beings, and they likewise inherited their beliefs from their parents and so on, it is easy to understand why these often ridiculous beliefs have lasted so long. It is hard to shoot down the firmly held beliefs of your elders and those whom you love; many people choose to turn away from confronting the elephant in the room.
Buddhism, both the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism, are also a collection of stories tinged with the magical properties of the divine. Siddhartha Gautama, the Nepalese prince did exist historically and most probably did venture out on a spiritual quest, but then the story tellers take over and we are regaled with unearthly feats designed to impress the uneducated masses. Hinduism is a fantastic collection of wildly colourful stories, creation myths involving gods and demons, many of them extraordinarily beautiful.
“An ancient Hindu warrior-king named Muchukunda was born from his father’s left side, the father having swallowed by mistake a fertility potion that the Brahmins had prepared for his wife; and in keeping with the promising symbolism of this miracle, the motherless marvel, fruit of the male womb, grew to be such a king among kings that when the gods, at one period, were suffering defeat in their perpetual contest with the demons, they called upon him for help. He assisted them to a mighty victory, and they, in their divine pleasure, granted him the realisation of his highest wish. But what should such a king, himself almost omnipotent, desire? What greatest boon of boons could be conceived of by such a master among men? King Muchukunda, so runs the story, was very tired after his battle: all he asked was that he might be granted a sleep without end, and that any person chancing to arouse him should be burned to a crisp by the first glance of his eye.
The boon was bestowed. In a cavern chamber, deep within the womb of a mountain, King Muchukunda retired to sleep, and there slumbered through the revolving eons. Individuals, peoples, civilisations, world ages, came into being out of the void and dropped back into it again, while the old king, in his state of subconscious bliss, endured. Timeless as the Freudian unconscious beneath the dramatic time world of our fluctuating ego-experience, that old mountain man, the drinker of deep sleep, lived on and on.
His awakening came- but with a surprising turn that throws into new perspective the whole problem of the hero-circuit, as well as the mystery of a mighty king’s request for sleep as the highest conceivable boon.
Vishnu, the Lord of the World, had become incarnate in the person of a beautiful youth named Krishna, who, having saved the land of India from a tyrannical race of demons, had assumed the throne. And he had been ruling in Utopian peace, when a horde of barbarians suddenly invaded from the northwest. Krishna the king went against them, but, in keeping with his divine nature, won the victory playfully, by a simple ruse. Unarmed and garlanded with lotuses, he came out of his stronghold and tempted the enemy king to pursue and catch him, then dodged into a cave. When the barbarian followed, he discovered someone lying there in the chamber, asleep.
“Oh!” thought he. “So he has lured me here and now feigns to be a harmless sleeper.”
He kicked the figure lying on the ground before him, and it stirred. It was King Muchukunda. The figure rose, and the eyes that had been closed for unnumbered cycles of creation, world history, and dissolution, opened slowly to the light. The first glance that went forth struck the enemy king, who burst into a torch of flame and was reduced immediately to a smoking heap of ash. Muchukunda turned, and the second glance struck the garlanded, beautiful youth, whom the awakened old king straightaway recognised by his radiance as an incarnation of God. And Muchukunda bowed before his Saviour with the following prayer:
“ My Lord God! When I lived and wrought as a man, I lived and wrought – straying restlessly; through many lives, birth after birth, I sought and suffered, nowhere knowing cease or rest. Distress I mistook for joy. Mirages appearing over the desert I mistook for refreshing waters. Delights I grasped, and what I obtained was misery. Kingly power and earthly possession, riches and might, friends and sons, wife and followers, everything that lures the senses: I wanted them all, because I believed that these would bring me beatitude. But the moment anything was mine it changed its nature, and became as a burning fire.
Then I found my way into the company of the gods, and they welcomed me as a companion. But where, still, surcease? Where rest? The creatures of this world, gods included, all are tricked, my Lord God, by your playful ruses; that is why they continue in their futile round of birth, life agony, old age, and death. Between lives, they confront the lord of the dead and are forced to endure hells of every degree of pitiless pain. And it all comes from you!
“My Lord God, deluded by your playful ruses, I too was a prey of the world, wandering in a labyrinth of error, netted in the meshes of ego-consciousness. Now, therefore, I take refuge in your Presence – the boundless, the adorable – desiring only freedom from it all.”
When Muchukunda stepped from his cave, he saw that men, since his departure, had become reduced in stature. He was as a giant among them. And so he departed from them again, retreated to the highest mountains, and there dedicated himself to the ascetic practices that should finally release him from his last attachment to the forms of being.
Muchukunda, in other words, instead of returning, decided to retreat one degree still further from the world. And who shall say that his decision was altogether without reason?”
The Hero With A Thousand Faces, 1993, Fontana Press, pp 194-196.
I would say that the original author of this story was probably a new parent, indicated by the hero wishing for eternal sleep over all other riches LOL. What it also tells us, is that the successful religions, which have been taken up by kings and therefore the state, all have messages at their heart which assure the listener that the rewards and sufferings of life are nothing in comparison with the promises of divinity. These are not their only messages, but clearly that message would resonate with the suffering masses – to hear that all life, good and bad, is an illusion, would be a panacea to the many who were decidedly short changed by the distribution of commonwealth. It is kings who have driven religions and enforced participation in their rituals, and kings who have controlled and censored the scriptural content of these religion’s holy books. Kings have had much more need of religion and its ability to control the behaviour of adherents, than have subjects had need of religious beliefs.
The belief in a god, who will upon the death of the believer, even things up in terms of getting a fair share of the goodies, in heaven or some paradisiacal garden in the afterlife, has had broad appeal among the disadvantaged. I think we see that now in the fervent take up of extremist Islamic beliefs, many of these adherents are poor and have been racially slighted in the countries they reside in, and they believe that their actions and belief in a vengeful Allah will deliver them to paradise. The African American slaves took the Christian message of the meek inheriting the Earth to heart; women, who have been down trodden and abused by men, have found succour in religion, and it is often a belief which burns brightest in the hearts of mothers within a family; perhaps as salve to the tragedies that historically affected women through the deaths of their children. To believe in something better than avarice, competition and bloodshed is an understandable wish, if Darwinian evolution can only provide that the strong/intelligent will prevail, then it is perfectly understandable that humanity would invent a god that possibly offers the mercy of something else with a kinder face. Although the original incarnations of the old testament Judo-Christian religions were decidedly brutal.
“The great unmentionable evil at the centre of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal – god is the Omnipotent Father – hence the loathing of women for 2000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates.”
The belief in god has been used by the strong to justify their rule and control over others, the divine right of kings to rule, and the same belief has been employed by the weak to salve their hurts and pains in the hope for a better deal in the afterlife; it is a flexible beast this elephant. All religions seem to make a heap of promises, which require your extinction before they pay out on them, and as nobody has as yet returned from the dead (Jesus excepting but then he works for them) we are none the wiser when it comes to knowing their truth and efficacy. The poor and down trodden masses, who were forced to subscribe to the state religion – the Holy Roman Catholic Church – would have taken what message of hope they could from their time in church. The church collected taxes from these same people and controlled their lives as much as the king, for hundreds of years people were expected to go on a religious pilgrimage during their lives and if they did not they were expected to pay the church the equivalent amount of money they would have spent on their holy journey. Representatives of the church would sell common folk religious relics, purporting to be splinters of the cross that crucified Jesus and the like, and absolutions; so you could buy a piece of heaven, a bit like you can buy financial freedom through home ownership today.
I would say that in our relationship with the new religion, materialism, we have done away with a good deal of hypocrisy about money and its importance in our lives. When I was growing up it was considered rude to ask direct questions about money, which set me back somewhat for many years when it came to negotiating transactions. It was bad form to ask how much something was worth – shopping could be a struggle – bad manners to ask how much someone earnt for a living – life was a bit less exacting I suppose – I imagine as it was before the advent of the electric light, when the edges of existence were not so pronounced in gaslight and candle light. Not a bad thing sometimes to have a bit more mystery. There was however a great deal of downplaying falsely of the importance of money and this was simple dishonesty in many instances. A bit like not being able to talk about ‘fucking’ and always having to say ‘making love’ when referring to sex, which was also the case when I was growing up, at least in polite society or with a lady. But sometimes ‘fucking’ is a more correct description for the activity and incorporates more of our animal natures, whereas ‘making love’ is a far more ethereal term, non-corporeal in fact; and “fucking” is after all only a small part of making love. There always needs to be black and white in the equation, otherwise if we are forced to pretend to only live in the light, we will get corruption, as we do with celibate priests and all those who deny the darkness and their shadow side.
Similarly we need the balance of spirit, inchoate things inside of us, anti-matter if you like, especially now in the time of money. When the zeitgeist is the passion for money and the things that money can buy and people are marching to the consumerist beat, for technological toys like IPhone’s and other gadgets, then the opposite pole becomes so very important. Familiarity breeds contempt and that is what is happening, and will happen even more, with materialism, its strident voice drowns out the sensitive and the mysterious. Science like a Krispy Kreme doughnut has deliciously explained the how but has nothing at its centre to explain the why – consciousness continues to elude neuroscience and all other branches of material knowledge. We need to realise that just because we have named a street on a map and given a moment in time a precise number, that it does not truly define the reality of that particular space and moment. We have killed the mystery, the unexpected nature of existence, by naming and measuring everything and then agreeing amongst ourselves that this is its only reality – we have turned symbols into things and references into realities. No wonder so many people are depressed, having lost contact with the earth beneath their feet, because they are walking on a line on a map inside their head.
I wonder if you or I were to go and lie in a dark cave for a year, a space with no light whatsoever, but with enough warmth, food and comfort to sustain us, and we had no contact with the outside world for that entire year – how we would be on our emergence from the cave after the year? Would our consciousnesses be changed, affected, transformed in any meaningful way? What would we encounter within our own psyches and would the zeitgeist of the times slip away? I imagine that our thoughts would continue to go around and around, as they do, chasing their own tails and tales. But after awhile, with no points of external reference, with which to reinforce their existence, these thoughts would, I suspect, evolve or devolve. Perhaps as in a spiral motion returning to their points of origin, regressing to where they came from – things someone said that we appropriated; wisdom from mum and dad; teachers and mentors; books that we have read; Sunday School scriptures; and finally back even further as we lie there in the pure blackness. We would, I suspect, begin to break down all thoughts and all the things we live by, our moral compass so to speak, our very own philosophy of life, and things would be reduced to essentialities and much of the guff would simply fall away. Close your eyes now and drift away.
Too many words!
Too much copy!
A typical refrain heard these days when working on websites. The call for less copy is loud and clear, but I ask myself why? The answer I think is because we are full to bursting with information and there is an endless supply of it in our lives. Technology has placed so much information at our fingertips and in front of our eyes. So people are copy shy, traumatised by an excessive exposure to too many words about too many different things. Inside we are cringing as another PDF opens up before us on screen, inviting our attention to read these words about another diverse subject. We are struggling to stay on topic.
When we open our emails in the morning, we can be hijacked by an attachment, leading us who knows where. An innocent online petition to save some poor unfortunate can take us away for seemingly eons. We are like sufferers of some virtual Alzheimer’s disease, endlessly losing the plot in the subtext of a single email amid your inbox. Moments open up like Russian dolls in accordion fashion, spilling out to a digital infinity. When one thing leads to another, and another, ad infinitum – will we forget ourselves entirely and never make the jump back to where we started from. A bit like that line from TS Eliot “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
We hope anyway.
The danger is in not knowing. The solution is in not caring. Somewhere between the two is my reality.
We talk about the weather and whether these inclement conditions will continue. I arch my back and smile up at the ceiling, wondering if the spider webs and mould stains form some kind of map. You spell out the obvious in your inimitable way, preferring to utilise an army of words instead of the ones that answer.
Perhaps the day will offer a new pathway to consider, in my search for a beneficial sense of survival. I still cannot fathom the world outside my front door. Cannot find a nut to tighten or a bolt to screw, which will fasten me to that reality. So I sit and listen to vague ponderings inside my head.
Together we are alone.
Separating: facts from sadness
Sometimes you just can’t keep going the way things have been going. Despite the fact that you have not climbed the hill recently to have a good look around and that you are still mired in the darkness of everyday living. There comes a time when change itself is the essential and not what you are changing to. In relationship, the cost of living together has rubbed off the gloss of being alive and the grey complexities of modern life as a parent, has worked it’s pragmatic best to reduce your sense of self to domestic rubble. You are a husk of your former self and the only thing you know is that something is seriously wrong with this situation. Do you walk out the door or under a train? Do you suck it up for the thousandth time and pretend that living well doesn’t matter? Sacrificing even more for your children and the preservation of the holy family?
No. You seek the path of redemption through separation. Walking away and feeling less, but feeling one self and not the illusion of a constructed reality based around the other. You feel pain and imagine the life of the other, like an amputee feels the ghostly presence of the missing limb. Remorse wells up like an engulfing ocean and there are times when you cannot see the road before you, only the one behind you. How will you continue? Will momentum still carry you forward or will cessation occur? What words will emerge when answering your little children’s questions about their mummy or daddy?
Sadness. A gloomy hole has opened up before you and the light from behind is fading, faster than you can imagine. Too many memories are stuck in your craw like a feeding raven. Time, there is so much of it! Filling your day with meaning has become impossible, the hole is inconsolable. If the other is now with another, then there is a feast for food for thought. Seeing your children smiling in the eyes of their mother and her new lover. Imagining their happiness like an alien world on a distant shore, so far from your own state of being as to be quite likely impossible. Surrender is the only option in the face of this unquenchable sadness, as it sucks the light out of every crevice of your humanity. Death beckons like a comfortable place to sleep.
Like the heroic captain who goes down with his ship, you can go on like this for a very long time. Reliving each gory detail again and again! Some people make a career out of unhappiness. Conducting a polyphonic symphony of enduring sadness, which rises and falls, dips and dives into blackness without quite ever winking out completely. Where is your will to survive? What will you will into fruition? Like a spluttering soggy fuse, you can connect this sadness with the deeper unrequited love of your own mother and then take the really big dipper down, down to the fatal, rocky shore. Basket case. Outpatient. Disability pension. Permanent. Institutionalised. The long and winding road.
Eventually you reach the crossroad and decide to rejoin the rest of the human race. It is hard at first getting out of bed, hung over and disgusting. Feeling maudlin has become the norm, like wearing an old filthy bath robe around the house. Watching TV, movies with caricatures of life and love, is like a flickering mirror of what you aspire to in your own reality, and is perhaps part of the process of rectification. The long road back. Excercise, getting the sluggish blood to move around inside your body a little faster, is the next stage on the road to resurrection. Flashbacks can still sabotage things but the power of the phoenix flapping it’s wings begins to emerge and new life calls out to you. You get a hair cut and look at your reflection and this seems somehow profound, a new you is born once again. Suddenly the simplest things take on new meaning and you know that you have stepped out of depression’s shadow. The sun god Apollo is getting ready to launch your rocket and watch out world cause here you come.
This is what they mean when they talk about reinventing yourself. You feel younger, rawer and are engaging with the universe once more. Smiling at people who work in shops and sensing when you make a difference to someone’s day. You feel like you are back, but better than before and as you edge your way into intimacy again, you swear that you will stay conscious and not let the magic fade away. You stand up and salute the brand new day, with the promise of lessons learnt and not letting the inconsequentials get in the way. Your mind still has it’s cynical say but you are not listening quite so closely today. The rapture is elsewhere and hey, a lot of this rhymes by the way.
There is still a hell of a lot of adjusting to do, especially with the kids and their expectations of uniformity and being like everyone else. Blended families are challenging to new relationships, and you sense real sadness within your children at mummy and daddies failure to be together. But we all eventually move on and isn’t it a whole lot better to model real love and inspire with the gratitude of feeling joy rather than discontentment. It works through being inclusive and embracing honestly all aspects of the new life, partner and their children. It is a constant work in progress.
Quick and Easy! November 6, 2009
Quick and Easy – Transformation Guaranteed!
We have all seen these words splashed across advertisements, books, and websites; and heard them coming out of the mouths of sales people everywhere. There are doctors, naturopaths, therapists, and other ‘so called’ health professionals, extracting dollars through the promotion of pills, courses and products – all claiming to do the hard work for you. Well it’s not true! There are no quick fixes in health, weight loss, and just about anywhere else in life. Ask yourself honestly, have you ever really taken a pill and instantly achieved whatever it claimed to do for you? Of course not, occasionally they have been an accessory and encouragement on the road to your goals – a bit like gym clothes really.
If you want a few guidelines in life that really stack up, this is point one – there are no quick fixes. Now immediately you have one structure in your life to guide you away from delusional situations, involving those who claim to be able to facilitate change in your life, instantly and without some sacrifice. This is not a case of mere exploitation with you and me as the victims; no we are actively involved in the whole fraud, because we want a quick fix too- as we do not want to do the necessary hard work to achieve change. We want to have our cake and eat it too – and we want to be thin and attractive at the same time, as we want to stuff our faces with cake. This is the modern dilemma of humankind in the consumerist age.
Quick and easy meals! Just 4 ingredients! Dinner in 5 minutes! Cookbooks around the globe are emblazoned with these headlines. What is the mass appeal of this message saying about us? Well maybe that we don’t enjoy cooking and that we would rather be doing something else. There are a number of issues here of course – mothers who are traditionally coerced into cooking meals for an often unappreciative family audience; singles who would rather work or play elsewhere and do not enjoy cooking for one; and those who do not know their tastebuds from their haemorrhoids, to name a few. However health is derived from a good nutritional diet and if we continue to take the easy option, popping a few multi-vitamin pills to prop up our neglected nutritional selves, we are heading for a state of disease. Quick and easy cancer in just a few years!
Become a Reiki master in 3 days! Learn to heal your emotional self in one weekend! Re-birthing in a single session! Wow when I flick through the pages of the monthly, throwaway, holistic journals I can see how easy it all really is. World hunger, victims of the devastation of war and suffering watch out – there is a Reiki master waving his hands right now. Refugees from the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, where our Australian soldiers are fighting now, are however not benefitting from these ads for instant transformation – in fact they cannot even get into our country.
Horny goat weed; fat blaster; tiger penis; snake oil – products packaged and sold in pharmacies, multi-level marketing pyramids, and TCM shops around the globe – all promising transformation in exchange for money. The health industry! We have doctors and pharmaceutical companies (who now own all the vitamin producers) on one side, ready to chop you up and medicate you with anti-depressants, and on the other side we have a mish-mash, containing a few good hearted healers interspersed with the providores of the all natural, quick fix, in various forms. The former bunch do not respect you at all and see you as meat, muscle and bone and the latter are predominantly ineffectual and unrealistic in their claims for you and for themselves – because in many cases their training has been as inadequate as the one they are now selling to you.
All however is not lost. Put down the newspaper, magazine, and mouse. Close your eyes and ask yourself – really ask yourself, where do I go next? What is the next step for me? How can I heal myself? Keep asking the questions – this is no quick and easy solution. Meditate upon them and follow your fears into the unknown. It may take a lifetime but the journey is worth taking, and really you don’t have a choice anyway. It’s your life after all!
I plucked a fool from my deck today. A smiling, simpleton stepping over the edge into an abyss. My heart feels like this fool when I reach out to you my love. It shakes inside and fears the worst, when I attempt to reconnect with your heart. Embarking on a journey, destination unknown, even though the bus is going to the terminus. No matter how many times I say the words it still feels like the first time. Please be gentle with my heart and love me.