Saturday, March 11, 2006

"Beyond the Capacity of Language"

Earlier today, Julia observed, "Ah now there's a hummingbird feeding. Poor thing, I'm sure he's very cold." Cold and wet it's been. I felt sorry for the worker I saw outside in the ditch, down chest deep in the muddy soil. Not to be compared with his miserable toil, still, the cold didn't keep us from some of our tasks either. Among the places we went was the library. I found a couple of DVDs which I thought would be of interest. Elie Wiesel Goes Home is one of them:

Plot Synopsis: "A documentary chronicling the adolescent years of Elie Wiesel and his "long trip", the history of his sufferings. In a remote corner of one-time Hungary, in the shadow of the Carpathian mountains, Eliezer was fifteen when Fascism brutally altered his life forever. Fifty years later, he returns to the town where he was born to walk the painful road of remembrance - but is it possible to speak of the unspeakable? Or does Auschwitz lie beyond the capacity of any human language - the place where words and stories run out?"

I recommend this movie to all. The movie is important with its horrible truths. How glad I am that Elie Wiesel speaks out about these terrible truths! I think, what is the cause of these evils? The unconscious, sleeping, silent majority that 'follows orders' and never questions. A great many horrors are washed over, ignored, and still people do not want to think about them. They want to keep unconscious, do not want to be disturbed. But it IS disturbing that so much evil there and elsewhere has been done.

I think of that unusual article someone posted to a favorite forum, "Cultivating Loneliness: The Ethical Fragrance of Yoga" There, you can be all of the concern 'not to cause harm', always thinking of 'unity', and then end up with this 'loneliness', and why is that? Because the 'isolate intelligence' is NOT a myth, because we can't REALLY enter another's head. I think of Elie Wiesel who wrote "not that you may understand, but that you will know you can never understand just what horrors we went through,"(paraphrased a bit.) So true. Perhaps this is the beginning of understanding, to know that we can't really entirely bridge the gap. We can get hints of what's happening with another, some clues of similarity of experience, but to enter their head and KNOW? That can never happen. I remember Laura suffering with her heart disease, the congestive lung failure, Julia trying to be comforting, "I know what you feel", and Laura correcting her, "NO! You do NOT know what I feel!"

It is all frustrating, that. But the great struggle, the important struggle is that we keep trying to communicate. It is all just hints of this and that, but occasionally, the veil breaks for just a second, and maybe some small insight breaks through. And then we are there again, in our separate worlds. But not to acknowledge this, which sometimes people fail to do, makes it that much more impossible that real understanding can occur. We MUST understand the difficulty of it all, respect it, and then maybe we can have this chance at any sort of bridging the gap.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Rejoicing in Solitude"

I was lying in bed, and these thoughts go round and round in my head. I was thinking about the following paragraph in the unusual article I read yesterday:

Loneliness - The Final Liberation

"Loneliness is the way by which destiny endeavors to lead man to himself." - (Hermann Hesse)

"Loneliness vanishes completely in the stillness." - (Paul Brunton)

Having successfully laid the ethical foundation enjoined by Patanjali, the adept is now poised towards the ultimate goal - liberation. Patanjali however, doesn't denote this culmination with conventional labels like 'moksha' or 'nirvana'. He calls it 'kaivalya,' derived from the word 'keval', meaning 'only'.

This is the detached isolation that those lucky amongst us feel in a crowd. Yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar describes it as an absolute state of aloneness. It is living in constant communion with a higher reality centered within our own selves - the ultimate fulfillment of yogic practice.

Thus, Nitin Kumar writes. However, most of us are not yogis. Meanwhile, the essential loneliness, how does this become a 'liberating' factor? This is something anyone truly awakened can learn. When Brunton declares that 'loneliness vanishes', what does he mean? I think it is not that the sense of essential separation goes away, but that it is no longer a painful thing. The 'loneliness' becomes 'solitude', and then becomes a strength.

I think of what makes for the most effective communication, when we consider what psychological effect our words have upon another. But how can we enter the mind of another and know? When we were discussing this, Julia said, "I simply treat others as I would want to be treated." What if they have a different modus operandi than we do? I can not know. We can only understand others as well as we understand ourselves. My words will only resonate within you if you have similar values as I do. If you don't, then I might as well be speaking French. Or Greek. Some language that you don't speak. But this is the beginning of understanding the basics of communication. The beginning must begin with knowing the essential difficulty, making peace with it, and resolving to do what we can, despite it.

But meanwhile, back to the center. The first thing is to find that 'higher reality'. Gurdjieff called it 'essence'. Strip away the surface things, the inconsequential things, the things with which the superficial are too absorbed. It's maybe why they can't stand to be alone. They don't want to be reminded that they are superficial. In crowds, they can forget it.

Those in touch with their essence do not ever forget their uniqueness, no matter how many surround them. Thoreau said, "Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervis in the desert." (Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), Walden) His compatriot Emerson had a similar idea, "It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of a crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), Self-Reliance)

This 'great man', (or woman), rejoices in his own consciousness. Like Byron, "In solitude, where we are least alone.", we enjoy the neverending panorama of thoughts and sensations to which we are witness. We understand we are NOT these thoughts, but the one who thinks them. In solitude, we know ourselves, can find our 'higher center'. It takes a keen 'ear' to locate this. Those who do not listen, do not find it. And it is all there, in the listening. Within each of our unique consciousnesses is a universe. Finding it and exulting within it is the 'liberation'.

From there, strengthened, we then go to 'the marketplace', in which ideas are exchanged. These thoughts here, born in my solitude, are now in the vast marketplace. You may find them here, but you will digest them in your own solitude.

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