The universal drive towards non-tension and peace is counter-balanced by the universal drive towards meeting life’s challenges and enjoying its satisfactions, which involves tension.
Yet we humans seem to be temporarily stuck within exaggerated and distorted versions of both drives, and so we experience the grinding discomfort of anxiety and the hollow despair of loneliness.
Getting beyond our fear and anxiety will allow us to freely express the longing of our hearts and the searching of our minds, and it will enable us to provide an environment for our children which is absent warping tensions, because they will feel our warmth and imagine with us the prospects of life, and they will perceive that they are provided for, even with little in the way of material possession, believing that life is good, and they will then be free to express their universal potential, experiencing the happiness or sadness, the vitality of each and every moment.
I thought of the post below while listening to Jerry Garcia and Dicky Betts playing very simple, yet really sweet melodies, everchanging, on a ‘73 version of not fade away, I suggest it, and I reposted the blog above which was inspired by listening to the guitar strains of Jerry.
I think it’s appropriate to be thankful for love on a day when many people are celebrating what they perceive as the coming back to life of the compassionate existence of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ.
This aspect of human experience, love, however, puzzles me.
The people who have transcended a self which is in need of validation, our spiritual teachers, apply their love equally, to all. The problem is that I seek what we think of as something special, a special love with a particular person. Yet I know the pleasure of compassion that can be felt outside of a sexual/romantic relationship.
I think that to conceive of a special relationship is an attempt to fill a hole of intimacy. Those who have transformed their perspective, there inner perceptual universe, have filled that hole by bringing their awareness into alignment with the external reality, and being totally connected, intimate with reality at all times.
I have only experienced that clarity, that connectedness with another human being several times, but I think the two times which felt the most intimate were sexual, yet felt like states larger than just desire, moments engulfed in joy, serenity.
Both experiences involved kissing, forget about intercourse, I was a dud, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much, but I did enjoy kissing. And the first memorable kiss was at the foot of a stoop in Brooklyn, with Carol, standing slightly shorter than me, beautiful, I met her working the Christmas season at Macy’s on 34th street. When she kissed me, with her face tilted upward, pressing against mine, her tongue was darting about my mouth, playful, intriguing, heightening the electricity between us, transporting me to the planes in my mind where I had experienced innocent, original fantasies of love, born in the bathtub where my mom placed me with other toddlers, splashing about, before construction began on my walls of self-defense, while I still felt bathed in compassion. The second memorable kiss was different, me lying on top of a woman upon the carpeted floor, lips brushing, then tongues intertwined, going deeper, slower, and when I pulled my face back slightly and hovered, gazing into her eyes, the rest of the reality disappeared, there was nothing beyond us.
In the sixties there was a term made popular by Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. The word is grok, and it means to fully understand, to merge with in every way, physically, emotionally, and consciously; Heinlein’s stranger from another planet didn’t understand human beings fully until he had experienced a sexual union. I think that in those two moments when I was kissing another human being I did experience a union with two other souls.
Yet those unions did involve empathy and compassion. And even though I have been totally frustrated sexually and romantically, for decades, I am getting better at sharing my compassion with any human being I become connected to in any way, even if it’s just a chance encounter with someone I will never see again, someone we label a ‘stranger’, even though they are a fellow human being. We all have the inherent capacity to feel connected to others, to feel empathy and compassion. To be kind and generous. That is love.
And as far as the sexual thing, which can be completely compatible with love, indeed a way to express and experience love, the question seems to be why sexuality has become such a problem for many of us. Fear is at the root. The anti-dote?
Maybe by finding the ability to connect from the compassion within our own self, and by finding ways to express that compassionate love, outside of romantic or sexual relationships, we won’t be so devastated by the impermanence - or the ups and downs - of the ideals of romance and the physical nature of sex. And then there becomes possible the wonderful combination of a romantic/sexual/compassionate loving relationship, a relationship which involves a sexual union along with a mutual trust, respect and understanding. Grokking each other in every way.
The magic doesn’t require a Messiah, it happens in the lives of all mortal human beings, when we open our hearts to the connection of compassion, and open our minds to a connected consciousness of the wonders and possibilities throughout our universe.
Find people who understand your thoughts and feelings, instead of people whose thoughts and feelings you mimic, in order to enjoy the comfort of security in your group, whether it is a group of your own choosing or one into which you have been unwillfully inserted.
was sitting on a bench eating my halal chicken over rice, with salad, and a lot of onion, I always go extreme with onions, and I was doing a crossword puzzle. A guy sits down on the bench next to me and starts doing what I’ve blogged about, coughing, burping, and then I hear him talking to me, and I’m thinking, “this guy is playin’ attention games,” and he says, “Hey, sorry if I’m blowin’ smoke in your direction,” and I replied (not having really noticed the smoke anyway) ”If you’re sorry then you should stop doin’ it.” He said, “You’re right,” and got up and left. Maybe it was the onions.
I was thinking about what I really want and realized that I have to make it happen, like Eckart Tolle separating from the harshness and shallowness of the social reality, and like Twilight Zone characters wishing themselves into paintings and other circumstances. That’s a radical break. But how do we mere mortals separate from the harshness and fill the shallowness without sitting in a park for three years or sitting under a tree for years, like Buddha was supposed to have done?
The old cliché about wishing upon what you want, but being careful about what you’re wishing for, holds true, but the wish must also be acted upon, that’s the crux of Tolle’s physical act of severing ties to an active participation in the social madness. And the wish is made into reality with the energy of our heart, soul and mind, when we want something with every fiber of our being.
Attitude - a strong word denoting a perspective (internal mind) and a countenance (external mind translated into external appearance).
Anger. A genie in a bottle. The positive side is a motivation for us to assert even more strongly our empathetic response to the hurtful truth of our social reality. I really do believe that the stimulus for our anger can be something beside selfish need, something involving empathy for a hurt to human dignity, involving compassion.
I’m kind of in awe that many of you guys have been intrigued by all these words, over more than a year, and are still freakin’ interested, it’s wonderful, and its kind of humbling because I’ve been writing for almost twenty-five years, and even just two years ago no one could read what I was writing and understand the ideas I was trying to convey. People did understand the ideas, more or less, when we had discussions about them. But I was writing essays from fifteen to fifty pages, so people’s eyes glazed over at first sight of the frightful mass of paper, that’s why I appreciate your reaction so much. And I hope that it’s because somehow the words have touched upon a subconscious nerve which stimulates our perception of the social reality, that somehow the words have illuminated how our sensitive minds often distort that social reality into the razors’ edges between good and bad, life and death, lightness and darkness, cooperation and competition, kindness and hurtfulness, love and hate.
It is difficult to balance one’s self in a precarious social reality. The heart of the Abner Bendix character is that I was not doin’ too well in describing that dance, when it was simply me, as one person, presenting the material. The catalyst to change between my old writing and the stuff you guys have been so kind to read was meeting two people, integrating their experiences into the world-view which has been put forth, and putting the ideas into words they felt on a personal level. I am the one who does the original writing and subjects it to the scrutiny of analysis and dissection. But for 23 years, I didn’t have that. I showed the writing to people but it didn’t really work. The first person I met who really saw himself in an essay, two years ago, filtered the ideas through a perspective which conformed a little more to society’s standards, yet still had issues with anxiety. And the ideas resonated, in his word, with what he had been feeling. He processed the ideas through a perspective of someone rationalizing a bit more, but he’s also a lead member of a rock-and-roll group, and an actor. He was the first person to see the magic in the ideas. He used the word magic. And he has done all of the video presentations and audio recordings. And I had to put the ideas into words he understood, which made them more to the point, like on tumblr, less words. The second person, who I met 7 or 8 months ago, also has had anxiety issues, has described himself as ‘spacy’, and so the paradigm was assimilated by another personality type. He has composed a score for guitar back-up to a spoken-word presentation, which we’ve been practicing. And for the first time, this person has subjected the ideas to a philosophical examination, and has helped to clarify many of the terms and understand the sometimes vague distinctions between words being bandied about by all of the spiritual teachers. And less words, more direct to the underlying forces, mainly involving three sources - tension/non-tension, frustration/satisfaction, and distrust/trust..
To me, they have been two little miracles, and it’s been such fun to take the ideas and writing where they will go, wherever that may be. Thanks for reading.