Wednesday, March 12, 2014

All Night I

All night I danced round the house of my Beloved.
In the morning he came out 
          and offered me some wine.
I had no cup–
"Here's my empty skull," I said.
"Pour your wine in here."

- Rumi

* * *

The dreaming is code, ancient code, a phantasm of DNA stretching back millennia that tries to bridge the threshold between waking and sleeping, warning us, cautioning us against too much literalism and tries to cajole us into daring to see differently. We are its source and we are its product. How closely we pay attention or how little we care has a direct effect on how we view our lives - not just our immediate, bill-paying life, but Life with a big-assed, motherfucking capital "L".

Dreams are both near and far at the same time, cut from the cloth of our personal experience but also from a larger bolt: our ancient experience of crawling over this planet and trying to make sense of it.

It is this sense of being near and far, finite and infinite that lends our dreaming its otherworldly nature. How can it possibly be both? Because, my beloved, so are we. You fuck yourself when you lose track of this and come to believe only one extreme or the other.

* * *

There is inside us a desire to know, to understand, to make sense and from that sense carve meaning out of our days. We want to know why our parents were so crippled or why they could not see us for who we are or why babies die or why politicians lie or why the Holocaust happened or why our marriage failed or why our schools suck or why money talks and bullshit walks or why we were born in the first place. We want answers because with answers we can bear it. We can bear the thought of crawling across this planet and not really notice how infinitesimally small we are in the cosmic order. It is dizzying to consider how unlikely we are. So, we generally don't consider it. We like our gods to look like and act just like us. Ask Zeus, Ganesha, and all the saints Patrick.

This is not to demean or dismiss the glory of those stories, those beliefs, but to make the rather obvious point that the deeper we go into a particular pattern of belief we are the beneficiary of a more ordered world and also know less of it because we excise those things that don't comport with the system.

And all we do is build systems to house our beliefs.

It is how we know the world and ourselves in it. I believe in words and so order my life accordingly.

What do you believe in?

* * *

But why dream? Why be teased with such visions as arrive in the night?

Here's an answer - not the answer, just something to consider: we dream to escape the systems we live in. Your beliefs are both affirming and confining. If you are awake there should be a tension there, a measure of doubt, a willingness to question. Dreams dare to ask the questions you won't speak aloud. But why? If you accept that idea we are still stuck with the why of dreaming.

Here's the rest of the answer: for us to move further down the road.

We are born and, if we have the wind at our back, can stretch this life out 80 or so years. Not very much at all compared to the scale of all space and time. But we are here anyway. Our efforts to know and be known have created the world we live in: wars, architecture, governance, the judgment of beauty, domesticity, religion, insanity, farming, rocket science. Right on and it is always changing, evolving, moving. That change, that evolution, that motion is us crawling over the planet: sometimes moving forward, sometimes retrograde, sometimes with grace and other times with willful ignorance and fear. The dreaming challenges our waking selves and sows doubt or inspiration and we change again.

You are fucked, your life a pig-fucked mess if you do not adjust, change, grow, move. We are stunned to stupefaction by our losses and want no further change. Remember: what is to give light must endure burning. Life is in the business of transformation. When you think you know the answers, when you know the name of your Beloved and you dance round his door you only have the sign pointing to the reality behind it: change.

Dance. Empty your skull. Lose some certainty. The dreaming is who you are, too.

* * *

One last thing. Look around you right now. Look at the room you are sitting in. Listen to the music you may be playing as you read this. Pay attention to the things in your life. When we play with the dreaming, when we live from the tension between near and far and never from the certainty of either, we build things, leave marks, clues, testaments to our desire to know and be known. Look around your room right now. How many things are the leavings others left behind to help you on your way?

It is always nigh. It is always being nigh.

You just have to open your eyes.

* * *



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