Wednesday, 30 March 2011

When I Waked, I Found this Label on my Bosom.

There are so many assumptions, so many givens, so many "truths" we hold as absolute without being truly conscious of it. There are as well beliefs we consciously take on board so as to busy ourselves constructing the one true way to live, the correct prescription for life, the right things to do. There is the subtle interplay of conditioning and experience, fears and hopes, aspirations and defeats that come together in a beautiful, intricate culmination of a thousand causes and conditions that always are this one and endless moment. Some of us believe in reason and science, in observable reality, a reality that is reasonably objectively agreed upon; some of us see angels and feel energies and hear colours that are no less real, but perhaps not as objectively identifiable. These things all are, and are not; there is immediate presence before any analysis, or labelling, or judgement.

The words we use to label what we observe are often multifariously defined. The labels we hold sacred can fall apart somewhat; a quantum physicist struggling to pin down the movements of the ever tinier parts of an atom finds the labels "to observe" and "to effect" surprisingly interchangeable. We are boxed in by our beliefs, but also free within them, and helpless to choose anything but what is chosen, even when the choice is to discard our belief systems. There is freedom within the strict parameters of a sonnet, or a brief haiku. Beliefs don't necessarily limit us. We are limitless despite any beliefs.

I love Wayne's World so much I want to marry it. Being a complete sucker for cinematic in-jokes, I feel a beggar at a feast when watching this surprisingly intelligent film. Not only do we get subtitle gags, but rooftop philosophy..."when you label me, you negate me" is worthy of a long-winded essay. I think it was Dick Van Patten! Enjoy...a LOT. (Apologies for the ad up front...I couldn't find another version except in German.)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

How Often Dost Thou with thy Case, thy Habit, Wrench Awe from Fools?

Sometimes, the expectations are met, and even then the ego feels a little cheated. The seeker will have a blinding flash of revelation and realise that this is it, that this reality lived is all the same thing, or that everything is one, or that there is actually nothingness, and what seems to be is illusion ("...albeit a persistent one" as Einstein observed). Whatever words or concepts attached to the revelation never capture it, or are a part of it, or are the current manifestation in this ever-changing endless moment. So, I was always here, this was always it, nothing has changed, notes the ego. Is this all there is then? Is this really all there is?

The ego may then be lived along the lines of row, row, row your boat. Life is but a dream, and the dreamer is no more; there is just the dream, manifesting. The story can then unfold in a stream of arisings, unlived by a dominant persona, unvalued by a needy identity. Life is everything, everything is life, there is no judgement, nothing truly matters, yet everything does by virtue of its apparent existence. But is that all there is? Is all there is, all there is? The ego will never be satisfied and that is its job. Questing, striving, improving, giving up, sinking, triumphing, seeking, finding; it will never be done, life will never be settled - but life not seeming settled is fulfillment disguised. If the illusion of reality is recognised, this striving, straining, project-building, happiness-confirming, comfort-saving unfolding of the human story can, at last, be fully stepped into and lived. The ego may arise, but its validation is no longer the tale being told. So roll up your sleeves and dig into it - with the ego, or egoless, whatever it seems like - even if it all seems black and full of despair, it's a miracle there is anything to do or feel or think or be at all.

I wasn't able to dig up the specific, small clip I wanted from The Return of the Jedi. In its favour, this longer clip takes place before the nauseatingly cute Ewoks show up. The bit I wanted was a brilliant exchange between Han and Luke, full of irony, and in a series lambasted for weak character development, illustrative of the timbre of their relationship in a 30-second snippet of dialogue. Also in its favour is the first glimpse of Princess Leia in her Jabba-slave getup, the launch of a million boys' fantasies...those that were teenagers in the mid-80's especially. I can imagine Carrie Fisher looks at this, notes her perfect stomach, and thinks, "I looked fabulous and it's recorded for all time in an iconic film." It's also fun to laugh at the state-of-the-art puppets, and stop-motion monster; kids today have little patience for these effects, built by the boys in the backroom with latex. In fact, my children are even discerning about the quality of CGI; if it's not top-notch, they're likely to inquire "CGI much?" of the screen. Touchingly, the monster's keeper puts in the best small role performance of the Star Wars hexad as the sole mourner of the beast's demise. I wanted the exchange between Luke and Han because it captures the attitude arising for me, the character Suzanne, or whatever it's OK to call the ol' identity today. Have fun watching.