was an adaptation
to a shocking break
in relationship …
… a way of holding a loss
that was often said not to be a loss”
The Birth of Pleasure-Carol Gilligan
I rather think so.
A people living with a loss so severe that they became a race of wooden dummies.
“Trauma is the shock to the psyche that leads to dissociation: our ability to separate ourselves, to create a split within ourselves so that we can know and also not know what we know, feel and yet not feel our feelings“.
“The symptoms of dissociation such as loss of voice, dizziness, a sense of dislocation, feelings of alienation, of not really living one’s life, …
… are often revealed through the body.“
What could make the human spark fossilize? How on earth did we solidify into the Wood People?
Could it have been …
by arboriously swallowing the fruit of holy trees, even though we know …
that wood is not meant for human consumption?
Did stories carved from certain trees play an instrumental part in hardening the Western spirit?
Let’s have look.
Certain tree number 1.
TREE of KNOWLEDGE
Certain tree number 2.
TREE of SACRED WOOD.
What effects did the stories of these two woods have on humanity?
None. Until we swallowed them.
Then, they set to work undoing …
… our genius for creation.
This is the wound I think we sustained which turned us into the Wood People.
For the duration of this article, we shall run wild with the idea that the humanity & the human soul live via acts of creation – large, medium, small & tiny.
“Umai’s voice is soothing, and I hang onto every word as she continues. “The next thing is the greatest secret I could tell you. We have the task of building two things while we are in our physical lives. Our first task is to construct the physical reality in which we live. The second task is the creation of ourselves – of that very self that lives within this outer reality.
Both task require equal attention. Keeping the balance between them is a very sacred & demanding act. As soon as we forget one task, the other can capture us & make us it’s slave forever.” Entering the Circle ~ Olga Kharitidi
Let’s return to Eden for a moment.
The (swallowed) story tells of a young couple who have all they could want & are blissfully, innocently happy. A serpent suggests to the lass that she will become all–knowing if she eats an apple. She takes a bite & shares it with her pal. God gets grumpy & ….
Hang on, hang on a minute, that can’t be right;
“The story tells of a young couple who have all they could want & are blissfully, innocently happy“.
Surely here lies a lie.
Unless you’re suggesting to me that Adam & Eve were not human?
Nope, everything seems to be in order.
The In-the-Beginning story tells of a god who created, & of the contented human beings who lived happily within said creation.
Now something definitely is out-of-order;
“There is a deep longing to create that resides within the soul of humanity. Beyond our natural instinct for survival … we also have a natural instinct for building, organising, forming, & creating …
… This instinct is independent of our survival instinct.“
The biblical story continues by telling us that it was a greed for information that caused paradise to go bye-bye.
However … if we’re talking about humanity, then this equation simply does not add up. Nowhere in this Western foundational myth is there the slightest recognition of the foundational nature of humanity;
“To be a creator, one who brings into existence creations that previously lived only in one’s innermost dimensions – is our truest nature.”
Creating – Robert Fritz
I heartedly concur with Mr Fritz.
Our truest nature is quite simply ‘that we ARE Creators’ … & through our creations we breathe/inspire life into ourselves & this world.
The Adam & Eve story denied creatorship to humanity – they got dominion over animals, gardening rights & stewardship of Eden.
They were directed to respond to life;
“We have been thought to think of ourselves as rearrangers, responders, reactors; as merely outcomes of our DNA code, unconscious drives, conditioning, astrology, numerology, environment or culture. Yet if that is the case where does music come from? … as all composers really know yet sometimes do not like to admit, music is not needed; it is simply wanted because we happen to love it.“
Mind you it wasn’t just the Christian religion that circumcised human creation, you can check out a whole heap of mythology & find similar response-activated tales.
doing the bidding of the gods in order to achieve their wants.
Before I stomp into Hollywood I want to try & explain why I wish so dearly for you to consider creating.
As a young human I was an abject failure in the realms of awareness & courage. I never thought to question the religion that crushed me. I didn’t try to break out of the prison that was my home or away from the death grip of my parents.
But in one area I did dig my heels in. I fought the loss of creativity. I felt the plug being pulled as I reached my teenage years & deeply resented it. In the end I didn’t know how to keep hold of it & it got away from me.
But I held on to the mourning of it.
In a way impossible to explain, I can say that I understand the following equation;
Creating = Life
Now let’s look at a place that understands this knowledge intimately & has worked ceaselessly …
… to extinguish it.
There are numerous methods the entertainment industry use to slaughter the living. I’m only going to look at one because my desire in this article is to honour this understanding;
Life = Creating.
How do we get creating? Let’s start by evicting oneness & calling home, separation;
“Separation permeates the creative process …
The most obvious aspect of separation is that which exists between the creator & the creation.“
In Robert Fritz’s book Creating (all the quotes in green in this article), he expresses most wonderfully his understanding of separation as an essential to life.
“You are separate from the raw material of your life, which includes your circumstances, your experiences, your feelings, your opinions, your desires, your past, and your present. Your life is a work in progress, but it will be hard to move with the same ease in your life that painters have as they move toward & away from their canvases with their brushes loaded with paint, if you can only stand close to yourself …
… Most people stand so close to themselves that they often confuse who they are with what they have done, are doing, or might do in the future.”
“The foundation for a relationship of any kind is separation.”
“If separation is required to establish relationships, then how is it ever possible to have a relationship with yourself? This is a superb question in an age in which you are encouraged to become one with yourself, integrate yourself & attain transcendental wholeness … It can seem like heresy to talk of separation with these people who are working diligently to end any form of separation. Yet it is necessary to master the principle of separation if we are to create the lives we want to create.”
If we came here to live, we must reactivate our desire & ability to create.
“We have the task of building two things while we are in our physical lives. Our first task is to construct the physical reality in which we live. The second task is the creation of ourselves – of that very self that lives within this outer reality.”
One way to rekindle this is through the experience of separateness. Another is by learning to live, at least a little, with solitude, spaciousness, blankness, the unknown, ‘ma‘.
“Although the unknown is not really a threat, many people treat it as such“
It seems to me that one of Hollywood’s assignments has been the destruction of our connection with the unknown – the all-pregnant place of pre-conception.
A long time ago, a cheery campaign of slaughter …
… was set in motion.
Please, please tell me
that you didn’t think
the plethora of
bosom buddies …
were put in place
for your benefit or entertainment!
The time has come to question friendship.
~ ~ ~
Much of what we know we know about the glory of friends …
… came via silver screens.
Friendship has been heart-warmed into us for years.
Wondrous movies oozed out of Hollywood, coated in syrupy-feel-good themes
We learned that the pain of the world recedes …
… once you find/earn friendship.
We learned that loneliness leads to despair & thence to desperation …
‘Tis better to have loved a ball & lost,
than never to have had a friend at all.
We learned that the realm of the friendless is the realm of weirdos?
And that aloneness leads to weirdos, weirdness, psychosis & of course …
… mass murder.
A psychological & commercial equation was formulated;
Human worth = friends
Many friends = great worth
Great friends = great mental/emotional health
But it was all a con job. A superbly executed con job that resulted in the fear & loathing of aloneness.
Friends are now the most important fashion accessory you
can must own.
But let’s just return to those pesky friendless-mass-murderers for a moment.
“With every high-profile murder one expects to read somewhere in the news accounts some rattled neighbor saying the suspected killer was “a quiet man who kept to himself.“
Why is it we seem to notice only the fact that office shooters and homicidal maniacs are quiet and keep to themselves?
History books are riddled with harmless, unindicted men of genius who were not constantly inviting the neighbors over for barbecue and brewskis.”
Why might we have had the bejesus scared out of us, about solitude?
What possible threat to the system is there from people who are content to join with ma?
“Kant, Kafka, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and countless other intellectuals … kept mainly to themselves. Emerson called solitude the stern friend of genius, and the bachelor Voltaire, certainly no solitary man, told Frederick the Great that “the happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.” Link
Why would genius walk among sad, lonely humans?
For a creator does not live a life alone. He/she lives in an ongoing state of conception, development & birthing.
When I write I feel as if a friend who understands just what I’m attempting to do, works with me – I am never alone when I write. When the article is published I can feel alone, but never when I’m creating.
Creating often requires solitude, to be in the presence of ma. Just as a pregnant animal may disappear from her pack to give birth, so too do creators need to withdraw from life, to give life. Cooking, cleaning, earning money, eating & drinking can go by the wayside.
Creating is exquisite, magnificent, scary, & life enhancing beyond any words. It turns on your world & you live.
No amount of reading & absorbing & talking of information can ever equal even one act of creation.
I believe we become the Wood People when we turn aside from creating our own creations.
No creation has to be good. What you create might be considered rubbish by others, yet this matters not. You are reclaiming your life – that is what matters.
We bought into the idea that creating belongs in the hands of gods or ‘artists’ or talented people. Then we sold out our relationship to our self & opted for trendy friendship to fill the emptiness. It can’t.
Don’t get me wrong, friendship is truly wonderful. But much of what passes for friendship now is a joke.
What creations do you offer your friends to inspire & light up their lives?
Does your companionship add to their experience of life?
Do you care if they truly, wonderfully live?
Or do you re-enact sofa-gathered-death-discussions of tv shows, sex, disasters, fashions, conspiracies & gossip?
I suggest that friendship sitcoms = death
A woman I once called sister-in-law now lies cold & still by her own hand. She shut herself off from life for years, but oh how the tv was her loyal friend. I have always remembered the strange point where she & I seemed to part ways. When Friends first came out I thought it was crap, & said so. She in her turn seemed to take a very deliberate step into its oncoming path. Do I blame Friends for her suicide? Of course not. Do I think it (& all the deathcoms like it) played a part? Most assuredly.
I did a little personal-style sleuthing of Friends to see if anything stood out – weird connections with recent writings appeared.
along the Celtic Rebel‘s line of research.
Whatever Friends was about, it was far from user-friendly.
“When you create, the power is not situational … nothing forces you to make the choice to create what you want to create, and nothing can take this power away from you“
If creating is something you want (& I rather hope it might be), I recommend Creating & The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz.
Distill – (verb)
“to subject to a process of vaporization and subsequent condensation, as for purification or concentration“
“to distill out impurities … to extract the essential elements of“
Let’s go back now & finish what almost got started in wipe out
I’ve tried to write this article without the following story, but it just wouldn’t work – so if you wish to bear with me, I think there is much treasure contained here, often via the wisdom of others.
~ ~ ~
For me, 2011 has been a gruelling year that began way back in last year.
At the beginning of 2010 I was made redundant after ten years in one company. It was shocking, unsurprising, meanly done & a blessing.
I was absented from the force-of-work for a time-rich six months.
Later in the year I began a new job & presumed all would be as well as could be reasonably expected.
Oh did I get that wrong.
It began with panic attacks & bouts of severe drowsiness. My emotions went haywire. Eventually I found myself inside a sickness that encompassed all of my self.
A ridiculous number of childhood memories were stirred.
It was only when I’d been well & truly gutted that release came. Sitting at my desk one morning trying to force myself to work …
… up bubbled the knowledge that I would be handing in my notice that day. I was amazed at the clarity & finality of that thought. It only took 10 minutes to create it in reality.
Financially it meant ruin.
Then out of ‘nowhere’ came $1100 – an under-payment made visible by my resignation.
It seemed to me that I now had a little window of opportunity in which to face & heal my stirred-up past.
I set out to re-walk every route I could find. I felt every feeling I could feel. My sister & I re- connected & remembered with new levels of depth & clarity. She even paid for me to see a therapist whose work I was interested in.
I got clearer. But nothing seemed to shift.
I also got poorer. Very scarily poor.
One night I went to bed in utter despair, feeling that it had all come to nothing & I had failed. I’d done everything I could think of & feel, to undo the killing bonds & binds of the past, but still they remained securely fastened.
There was no more money, our fridge was almost bare, I was failing my son. I had thought I would have some kind of healing experience that would allow me to move again, live again. Everything that had happened seemed so geared towards me facing & healing times past & times present.
In an attempt to shift the despair that night, I turned to a book I’d been reading on & off – Creating by Robert Fritz.
That was how something small & colossal happened.
It was just one new thought.
How was it I had never noticed …
… how upside down I’d been attempting to live?
“Almost every visitor who came in, felt dizzy and nauseous because of the building Upside Down“
The tale I read that night in Creating, was of a woman who had tried to sell her house & had been tricked by a broker. She went on to blame herself severely for ‘her failure’.
“She was attempting to manipulate herself into successful actions because of what her real opinion of herself was. As it turned out, her opinion was that she was a bad person who needed to be continually monitored to keep herself from failing. The opinion was not obvious to her until we explored her thinking.“
The author continued this tale by suggesting something that I have never heard anyone suggest before’
“What is wrong with having an opinion that your are bad, or unworthy, or insignificant?“
In the tale of the failing woman, he suggested that she express her true opinion of herself. Several times & in front of a group, she repeated;
“I am bad“
and then …
“I feel different”
“Can you describe the difference?”
“Yes, I feel strange, a little numb, very energized, very open; for the first time in my life I feel free.”
“Now that you have seen your opinion, do you think you will change it?”
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. I may think that I am bad, yet I want to do good things – but not so I will change my opinion.“
My life changed course once I entertained the idea that my opinion of myself should never have been connected with my life & my ability to create.
What perhaps touches me the most deeply though, is that my desire to heal created an almost bizarre result. You see I’d received enough ‘training‘ from movies & books to know that healing works by having something shift within …
… & then some kind of freeing-emotional-epiphany ensues that allows the person to feel good about & accept themselves.
But maybe that’s a bunch of mind-programmed bollocks.
My intention ‘to heal’ most certainly did not lead me to any emotional-cathartic-healing-release, instead it picked me up & threw me boldly & bodily into creating.
“Love is what creating is about … Love is often thought of as a passive response to something or other – something we “fall into” … a response and not a cause …
When you are creating it is the other way round. The love comes first … In the creative process, love is generative rather than simply responsive … a creator is able to love something that does not yet exist – even in the imagination – and bring it into existence. From nothing something is formed.
The reason I create is simple: I want the creation to exist. In fact, I love the creation enough that I will take whatever actions are necessary to bring the creation into the world. That is how it is for all creators, although we have been taught not to admit it, for when we talk like that, we can be accused of being elitists, mystics, or fools.”
from Creating by Robert Fritz
Instead of curing the past, I entered the present.
In my previous article wipe out I mentioned a god-like-seven-day commitment to creating – this was an exercise suggested in Creating. Within one week I painted, sculpted, baked, sewed & glued a range of never-before-seen-items into existence.
It was not easy.
When time was running out on my Sabbath, I thought of writing a poem.
A nice short poem.
I seemed to recall that haiku were nice, short poems.
I seemed to remember wrong;
“a major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons“
Haiku it seemed, were not going to be on the menu that day.
.. and yet …
Had I not just spent six days rekindling my ability to create?
So it was that I (respectfully) committed haiku treason & in doing so discovered treasure.
frozen metal mother with grip of death
father looks on, awaiting his leave-taking
That was what I wrote.
In the space of a few minutes one non-haiku allowed me to put into words what a life-time of explanation-struggling had not.
I’ve written other’s since then;
fire grows cold
dampness gathers stones
~ ~ ~
was that prison or home?
those uglied walls
and cold, cold hearth
~ ~ ~
dismissed in sight
~ ~ ~
Years upon years upon years of struggle to translate experience into words & therefore understanding, were soothed.
What had happened?
How could a tiny poem achieve what an entire arsenal of language, could not?
Distill – (verb)
“to subject to a process of vaporization and subsequent condensation, as for purification or concentration”
“to distill out impurities … to extract the essential elements of“
A culture with unusual perception created the tiniest of poems, haiku.
Their vision also allowed them to see & allow something we could not …
‘the nothing that is so richly, something’
“when something unknown or unplanned can emerge and be felt“
“the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements“
In the West, we took a different quite a different view …
… we chose blindness & declared the right to alternately shun the invisible & rape & pillage it into visibility & measurability.
So what happened with my non-haiku?
I think that by distilling my words & ignoring the rules of grammar, ma was able to speak.
Just for today, let’s suggest that emotions are ma‘s language or the closest thing she has to language;
“Emotions are in two realms. They’re in the realm of the physical, the molecular, the material, and they’re also in the realm of the spiritual. It’s almost like [they are] the transition element …. that’s why they’re so critically important.”
“our emotions and feelings function not only in the physical realm, but also in a realm that often eludes rational understanding.”
Juts for today, let’s suggest that ma is the formless, the void, the invisible – that from which creation springs.
“In the beginning there was no earth to live on, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a woman who dreamed dreams“
What would happen if we stuffed a wordy, grammatically-charged language upon a race of people & trained them to see only the visible & the measurable?
Might they become obsessed with mortality & death?
Where would they find life when they can only worship form?
“Walls with windows and doors form the house,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the house”
“Ma means empty or distance or blank … blankness. Even in daily conversation with Japanese there are lots of ma. I always sense the difference between that kind of sense of time in conversation with American people – you need to keep talking … I think the people are a little afraid of having ma … but somehow my people have a sense to enjoy that kind of blankness“
So let’s return & play with the possibility that the formless is able to speak through the language of emotion.
Let’s also suggest that memory speaks through the language of emotion – or perhaps let’s suggest that memory IS emotion.
A storied recollection for you.
There was a movie I watched when young that haunted my memory for years. I sought it occasionally without success.
I remembered that it was called “Swimming All the Way Home.”
I remembered it was about a man who undertook a long journey home & planned to swim through every swimming pool along the way.
I remembered the despairing ending when he gets home to find his home in ruins & all his family gone. I especially remembered that last bit – that was what haunted me.
I remembered that when he reached his home, it was in a field & looked …
… quite like this.
I finally found that movie a couple of months ago & re-watched.
It was called “The swimmer” – & not – ‘Swimming All the Way Home“
The journey was undertaken in one afternoon in his neighbourhood & not over a long time & area as I remembered.
His home was not a rundown cottage in a field, but a palatial affair with tennis courts, large grounds & …
… fancy gates.
Was my memory flawed?
Yes, according to Western measurable facts.
But No, according to the language of emotion.
The rundown shack of my memory had far more significance to me of heartbreaking abandonment, than any flashy house with token broken window.
If memory replays through emotion, what language could we use to translate emotion into words?
It sure ain’t English as we know it.
How often have you tried to express your emotions in English & succeeded?
How often have you tried to express your emotions in English & failed?
So what if our meeting with ma requires the lightest touch, the gentlest gaze, the fewest words?
What happens when we di-still the chatter & do away with grammar & language rules.
Who needs three wishes then,
… when three lines of poetry can carry you back to your self & your ma?
I thought perhaps
do with …
‘cos so long ago
wandered off …
… and we don’t know where to find her.
~ ~ ~
“There is no equivalent single-word term for Ma in the English language“
~ ~ ~
“The Sense of Ma, an enigma of Japanese awareness, has baffled architects, philosophers, painters, musicians, and actors from all over the world“
~ ~ ~
“I have a feeling that it’s one of those things that the locals understand intuitively but cannot quite explain and that Westerners overthink“
~ ~ ~
“… the combination and integration of space and time. Ma deals with intervals of space. This points out a fundamental difference in the mindset of the general American public and that of Japan. To the American mind, this is the best explanation. The one word ma has two meanings: an interval of time and an interval of space. When talking about space from a Japanese perspective, time is an integral part of the experience of space“
~ ~ ~
“Ma does not exist between sounds, but sounds exist to define ma“
~ ~ ~
“the space and time between the movements when something unknown or unplanned can emerge and be felt“
~ ~ ~
“a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but rather the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.”
~ ~ ~
“Ma is not … created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements“
~ ~ ~
“In his 2001 book The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher discusses the importance of exemplifying “space” as a substance“
~ ~ ~
“The Taoist philosopher Lao Tse wrote extensively on the concept of Ma including his poem The Uses of Not :
Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
but the empty space between them
is the essence of the wheel.
Pots are formed from clay,
but the empty space between it
is the essence of the pot.
Walls with windows and doors form the house,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the house“
~ ~ ~
“dynamism in repose, an interval or gap between two things that does not separate but binds and relate“
~ ~ ~
“the more one concentrates on the objects, the more one perceives MA, or an “active absence“
~ ~ ~
“In Shakuhachi music, it … is not merely a pause or rest, but rather silence as an equivalent value of sound“
~ ~ ~
“… sense of silence. Sense of space“
~ ~ ~
“Ma is created by those appearances that one might refer to as “consideration” or “allure” that appear in the vicinity of people, things, sounds and pictures … This concept of ma is unlikely to emerge in the Western world, where absolutism is the dominating principle
~ ~ ~
“The names, the existence, and the periphery of separate parts of the world are unclear. It is not clear precisely where a mountain ends. People possess a sense of appearances and territory in their vicinity, and there are no clear borders existing between people and things. Ma results from this gathering together of appearances on the periphery“
~ ~ ~
“the concept of ‘ma’ carries great value and can not be regarded as ‘nothing’ or ‘empty’, but rather as an enormous potential
~ ~ ~
These have been some other people’s thoughts on something we probably can’t grasp …
“I’m sort in inclined to say that if you can’t translate the Japanese wiki entry on 間, you shouldn’t write a wiki entry in English … You can’t “understand” a language without actually understanding it. You just can’t. It’s unfortunate that the English-speaking culture propagates the idea that you can understand the meaning behind a foreign language without actually speaking it.“
… but we can certainly play with the concept & quite possibly enrich ourselves along the way.